Marc Gander - The Consumer Survival Handbook


A 220 page introduction to all things consumer related by our own BankFodder.

Includes energy companies, mobile phone providers, retailers, banks, insurance companies,debt collection agencies, reclaim companies, secondhand car sellers, cowboy garages, cowboy builders and all the rest who put their own profits before you.

£6.99



Patricia Pearl - Small Claims Procedure - A Practical Guide


An excellent guide for the layperson in how to use the County Court - a must if you are intending to start a claim.

£19.99 + £1.50 (P&P)


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  1. #1
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    Default It's time for some serious action aggainst Brittish Gas

    Hi, I've been a menber on here for a while now and have found it to be very helpful. I've even got a good credit record now thanks to this site!.

    But for what is approaching 7 years now I have had a horrible time with brittish gas business. Their incompetance (if it is to be believed as such) knows no bounds. To be honest, I fully believe their actions to be fraudulent, there is just no other explanation for the extent of errors that ALWAYS end up in thier favour. I've just been to court about a warrant for disconnection, I think this was the 6th or 7th time? I forget. But again it got postponed and again I've got to deal with the stress of threats of disconnection for another month or however long it takes them to sort it out again.

    I run a small garage and am the only employee (Ltd). It doesnt earn me a lot of money but I get by. I know this is a business issue but I feel the fact it relates to my business and not my home isn't really the issue here, it's Brittish Gas in general and seems to be typical of their policies and tactics so I hoped to find someone with experience of dealing with them here.

    Ill try to summarise the problems, there is far too much to go into full detail. At this point I think the only action I can take is to prepare a court case against THEM. I have thought about the energy Ombudsmanicon but I'm not sure this is whithin their scope (I used the financial ombudsman once before about an insurance issue, and found the service to be fairly slow and dissapointing although it did eventually end up in my favour).

    Here goes:

    Timeline of problems with British Gas:
    (abbreviated)

    1. The initial electricity bill received in April 2007 was for 2659 (for a 4 month period), around 2459 of which was overcharged. The discrepancy was later put down to an incorrect meter reading supplied by the landlord (although it should be noted at this early stage that the ‘incorrect’ reading was in-between 2 professionally supplied, correct readings provided by their meter reading staff, just weeks each side of the ‘incorrect’ one. They were roughly 39,000, 25,000, 40,000, in that order). Threats and harassment were made from this point and still haven’t stopped to this day.


    2. Around this time my company received numerous energy supply bills, totalling over 10,000, for gas and electricity, regardless of the fact that since incorporation the company has never received piped gas supply, even to this date. The only utilities supplier contacted at this point with any details of the company were British Gas. All the bills had to be dealt with. Not the sort of stress a fledgling business needs!


    3. The initial issue seemed to be resolved later in that year, but subsequently the bills received were seemingly random, often overcharged by many thousands of pounds, even though the usage was steady at around 60/month. Due to the random nature of the bills, The company had no idea what was actually owed to British Gas for a substantial time. In that time a debt built up although payments were being made.


    4. After innumerable correspondence’s with British Gas over the years, the case finally got elevated to a ‘high’ level. The bills were investigated and dealt with by Yvonne Greenhalgh-Brown, who (seemingly) sorted everything out on the account in August 2010. To quote her email: ‘I understand that when you took over the responsibility for the property, on 18 November 2006, your account was opened to a meter reading provided by your landlord of 25303. This reading was clearly incorrect as we had received a read dated 23 October 2006 of 38348‘.


    5. The premises then had a smart meter installed and continued to pay money off the outstanding amount at a steady, albeit fairly slow rate. During which time the threats of disconnection and the subsequent business interruption or closure and extra charges continued. I was forced to send a letter to British Gas requesting them to stop the telephone harassment I was receiving from them (20+calls per day, 9am-11pm).


    6. During September 2011, I started to receive letters from Chase solutions on behalf of British Gas, regarding an apparently outstanding amount for a company I’ve never heard of, supposedly occupying the same address. This actually included a visit from a debt collectoricon, who promptly got shown the door. Upon checking my bills, The small print on the back actually included the name of this ‘fictitious’ company after a certain date (I say fictitious as there has, to the best of my knowledge, never been any company working under that name anywhere in the area for the previous 10 years or more). Again, after numerous correspondences’ and much time wasted, the issue was seemingly resolved.


    7. The business continued to pay off the debt but after receiving more threats I decided to look into the account myself, as the debt was nearly cleared; to work things out properly, from scratch. This included checking all bills, meter reads and rates, and compiling them into a spreadsheet. The resultant total as far as I could tell, showed my actual amount owed to be roughly 200 less than what was being asked, making the total owed at that point to be a little over 300. As it turned out, I had missed one payment I had made, and included another twice (not that I should have been made to work it out at all, of course) so my total was 60 out, bringing the total at that point to a little under 400. Instead, I received a bill for over 1400. This was during October 2012. It seems the issue with the starting meter read has been brought back from the dead (although I have no idea how this level of incompetence can happen at such a ‘high’ level in a company such as British Gas). Numerous dates and meter reads were invented to suit British Gas’ needs, even though I have the correct documentation, including a date 6 months before the property was taken over.


    8. Numerous correspondence was sent through various methods including (but not limited to) 24 emails for this issue alone. None of which were read through properly or even taken any notice of. For such a seemingly simple issue I find this very disappointing that nothing has been done even now about this.


    9. Face to Face supplied a warrant notification to the company dated 20th May 2013, to appear on the 19th June 2013. On the 17th June 2013, my account was cleared and all debts paid with British Gas (after careful calculation, excluding any overcharging). This is the third time Face to Face have taken me to court over this account and this same issue. Not once have I received any form of compensation or costs. Upon ringing British Gas on the 17th June 2013, I was informed the complaint was still open on my account (although I had been previously made aware it would be closed).


    10. It has been back in court every month since then, I have attended June, I missed july as I did not receive the letter (the guy from face to face actually turned up at my work but said he couldn’t cut me off as there was no engineer working that day!), and I attended august and September. Every time it just gets postponed. This last time I actually got to go in and speak to the judge, but they had already decided to postpone it. Apparently the representative did not have the information required. I had all the necessary information with me but wasn’t given a chance to present it.


    11. On many occasions, dates, meter reads, facts and figures have been altered and adjusted to suit BG's needs. As well as plain and simple lies being told. It's a shame for them that I have all original documentation!

    I see no other action than to pursue BG for damages and costs, as I am substantially out of pocket for all this fiasco. I would ask the courts to award costs, but it just gets postponed every time. I've spent hundreds of work hours correcting their mistakes and preparing all the information I need, not to mention the time spent away from work attending court all those occasions.

    I would have switched suppliers, but since there has always been a debt on the account, through no fault of my own, I have not been able to (or so I have been told). I've missed out on some good deals on electicity because of this. It would not suprise me if this was intended. Indeed, nothing BG does suprises me now.

    I wish I had recorded all my calls to them over the years as on one occasion the girl on the other end of the phone told me, upon being quizzed why I should recieve a 4000 bill for one month in a 1000sq ft premises, that "BRITTISH GAS OFTEN SEND OUT OVER THE ODDS BILLS TO SCARE PEOPLE INTO PAYING". I think I must have 'derren brown'ed' her into admitting something she shouldn't have!

    It has been escalated to a high level whithin BG on a few occasions now and still hasn't been dealt with properly. It would even be classed as an historic debt and become unpayable, but it doesn't seem to stop them. Every single bill I have recieved from BG in 7 years has been overcharged, by either hundreds or thousands of pounds.

    This cant be purely clerical error. I know it's brittish gas, but thats pushing it even for them. I cant begin to describe the stress this has caused me over the years. this last bout being the worst, not long after it started my engagement split up and I lost my future wife and stepson. It's difficult to prove who would be responsible for such a thing but the stress I was under from BG played a major part in this. No amount of money could compensate me for that.

    Any help with preparing a case or even just what direction to take would be greatly appretiated. Sorry for the long post.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: It's time for some serious action aggainst Brittish Gas

    Sorry I can not help much but I can sympathise with you. I too have been going through very similar ordeal for the past 2.5 years. Except my energy company is npower. British gas did horrible things to me for years and got huge amount of money out of me. At the end I though I got free and went with npower. I have ended in hospital with stress of their last raid.
    Perhaps you can help me! Have you ever experienced non-existant warrants? I can not get a copy of mine. The court tells me there was no such claim or warrant but on the other hand there was something to force entry to my home. So I can not challenge the warrant. Did you find yourself in that position too? or do you always receive a claim and response form before the hearing.
    Sorry! you ended up helping others with your horrible experience.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: It's time for some serious action aggainst Brittish Gas

    Lets start with your opening reading. It is possible that the previous occupier of the unit used a considerable amount of electric. The previous supplier sends an estimated reading to the current supplier and this starts the new supply account. If it is the same supplier, then again an estimated reading is used to open the new account. The estimated reading is based on the previous occupier's consumption which will account for the difference between the LL reading and the BGAS reading and all future readings are based on historic readings. It seems that you never checked the meter reading on taking occupation.


    Theoretically the LL should have transferred the account into their name and advised BGAS that the building was empty. BGAS should have had a closing reading from the previous occupier, a reading from the LL when you took occupation. Does your long MPAN number for electric start with an '03' or '04'? If it starts with a '05' it may mean that you have three phase power and you will pay a lot more. I would strongly recommend that you do a meter read at least once a month and pass it onto BGAS.


    If the LL gave the incorrect closing read for the previous occupier and it is lower, there is a good chance that you were being billed for the previous occupier's consumption. Your experience with BGAS seems to reflect the standard of customer service offered by BGAS. I have a friend who works for himself and his sole job is sorting out problems like yours and he makes a very good living out of it as people are happy to pay him 500 to save them thousands. Unfortunately forum rules prevent him from passing on details, but the point is that you are not the only one with this sort of problem.


    A way forward is to do monthly readings, request a deadlock lettericon from BGAS disputing the debt and then to escalate it to the energy Ombudsmanicon. The FOS will not be able to help.

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  4. #4
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    Default Re: It's time for some serious action aggainst Brittish Gas

    Hi, thanks for the replies, and sorry i didnt get back here sooner.
    I've been on the phone to Brittish Ass today and aparantly they arent taking it back to court (yet), so they must have realised they haven't got a leg to stand on. But that now leaves me substantially out of pocket, with no easy means of claiming that back. I've turned up to the court 5 times now, thats 5 days where my business has been disrupted, not to mention the preparation i went through for them. But they still think I owe the amount. Only now its even higher, as i havent paid since june. This is due to them moving me to out of contract prices, as they wouldn't re-negotiate a decent contract due to the outstanding amount (which i dont owe!). So needless to say, I have no intention of paying these ridiculous bills untill they agree a fair rate and backdate it.

    I dont blame you for missing it, or maybe i didn't make it clear in first extra-long post, but the opening reading was an incorrect reading given by my landlord. I'm fairly sure it was an ajacent unit as I checked when it was occupied after gettting to know the tennant. But it has been dealt with at least twice before and supposedly put to bed, only for them to bring it back up and bring out the threats again (actually, it wouldnt suprise me if my landlord gave it with the intention of avoiding a bill himself, he's not the most trustworthy of fellows!).

    So one erroneous reading which is 'clearly incorrect' is being used to try and con me out of my money. These tactics cant be a good business plan, as as soon as I can do, I will be leaving Brittish gas for the rest of my life, no matter what they offer. They are crooks, and they are being allowed to carry on as if it is ok for them to do so.
    Ask yourself this question: have you, or has anyone you know ever been overcharged by brittish gas? I'm guessing yes, as everyone I've spoken to has a similar story. Now ask yourself this question: Have you, or has anyone you know ever been UNDERcharged by brittish gas?
    In 7 years of being a customer with them, every single bill I have received from them has been overcharged by hundreds, if not thousands of pounds. I understand mathematics. If it were pure clerical error, the chances should be 50/50. which would make the odds of them overcharging me all this time the same as winning the lottery 3 weeks in a row! And I'm not that lucky.

    The energy Ombudsmanicon is probably the next step, but I would prefer to take action against them in court myself to be honest. I think after 7 years of threats and fraud, it has come to that.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: It's time for some serious action aggainst Brittish Gas

    There was a case on CAGicon regarding a woman taking BGAS to court for harassment adn she won and was paid compensation. It used to be a sticky but no idea where it has gone now. Perhaps adminicon can dig it out again? I think this is going to be your way forward, but your biggest obstacle is proving incorrect opening read and consumption for period of occupation.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: It's time for some serious action aggainst Brittish Gas

    Hi, late reply again but more developments. First, in reply, I have a copy of every bill ever received, showing the wrong readings and the ones where they have corrected the readings, also ones from a later date where they have reverted to the incorrect readings and generated dates to suit. I also have an email from a high level member of staff confirming the incorrect readings as such and quoting the correct ones. Which have since been ignoredicon (could be because I found a discrepancy in their calculations whereby I owed them ~200 more than I should have, I get the feeling it was done out of spite!) causing the latest round of nonsense. I even quoted previous corresponance as evidence but this was just ignoredicon.

    I've read that particular case, and the woman in question didnt go through 10% of the sh*t I've had to with them, not even close. Her case was for a period of 6 months only, mine has been ongoing for 7 years now, not knowing if I'll still have a business when I turn up to work everyday. But I also came accross a case (not as strong as mine or hers mind you) where a man tried to sue british ass also but ended up being countersued for a larger amount, just because he tried to sue them, and this I believe put him out of business. Sounds like scare tactics to me but its nothing they arent capable of. I dont like being bullied though and i wont stand for it.

    Currently they have started harassing me by phone again even though I sent them the telephone harassment letter a couple of years ago. I've requested many times to be contacted by mail or email since I have no evidence of what they've said if they call me. plus they dont take no for an answer and just keep calling no matter what, assumingly until I pay the money that I dont owe them.

    I currently havent paid them for months as I have no clue what I owe. Every time it went to court I took the time off work, prepared my case, and every time (6 times now? i forget) because I showed up it got postponed or cancelled. The last time was apparantly because (and I quote the judge!) 'the man from british gas hasn't got the relevant information with him'. I however, had everything he would have needed with me. I made some sharp remarks to the judge on my way out!

    Since not paying them I estimate I owe something like 400-550 maybe, but have no definte figures. This is just a rough estimate from my previous average useage. When my last contract was up for renewal I spent an entire day working out what I actually owed them, paid that to the very penny and rang up to try and arrange a new contract. because there was still an outstanding amount (that I most certainly didnt owe) they said they wouldnt and that they would move me to out of contract pricing, even after I explained the situation. so now im receiving bills of around 2200 total owed through no fault of my own. I could waste another day of my time (anywhere between 100-200 of lost work) working out my actual bill and pay this, based on the contract pricing i would have been on had they not made a mistake, but untill they correct their mistake im just going to have to keep doing this every time I pay them. I cant afford to do this obviously.

    I forget the word for it, but I have been trapped with BG for 7 years because of this, I would have left them after the first bill if it wasnt for all this.

    My time alone in working out their mistakes and attending court and all the numerous correspondances would run into the thousands of pounds. I'm understandably sick of this now. not really sure where to go from here.


  7. #7
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    Default Fabricated warrant from British gas?

    After 11 years of problems with British gas business electricity supply and more billing mistakes than I've got time to list here they are still pursuing me for a debt I dispute. The Ombudsmanicon have failed me on this matter so my options are limited at this stage, I have so far attended court for disconnection warrants 9 times, each time but the last it's been removed from the list that morning, without notification to myself.

    The last time (11/4/18) I turned up on time as usual armed with all my information and up to date figures according to my (correct) calculations.
    A representative of a different firm turned up with some British gas warrants, but only residential ones. He had no information about me or my business.

    I called British gas and asked what was going on, to be told it had gone through that morning.
    I spoke to the court usher, she then called them herself asking to be put through to Karen Walker (the name on my warrant notification) she got through, got asked to hold and was hung up on.

    I then got to see the judge who seemed impressed that I had turned up on time with my information and had took steps to find out what was happening.
    He assured me that British gas had not turned up and that if they did turn up later that afternoon that he would not be issuing a warrant because they weren't on time (this was 2 hours after the time on my notice).

    Today (16/4/18) I have received a lettericon from bg dated 12/4/18 starting that my electricity will be disconnected as the warrant was granted.
    I've tried calling them but the office is shut.
    Is this just more scare tactics?
    Or have they fabricated a warrant?

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    Default Re: Fabricated warrant from British gas?

    I can't imagine that they have fabricated a warrant – so I expect that somehow or other they have obtained one.

    If I were you I would go back to the court doublecheck.

    In any event, it seems to me that you've got a very serious ongoing problem and maybe you would like to tell us about it – in which case please start a new threadicon.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Fabricated warrant from British gas?

    I'm hoping it was an auto generated letter and like I say, more scare tactics. But I Don't believe I've ever received one of these before. I'll ring the court now. Although I Wouldn't put anything past them, I know just how deviant they can be.


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    Default Re: Fabricated warrant from British gas?

    Well I've spoken to bg, as far as they know it will be going ahead, but they called the person who would have put it through and got no answer, so I'm to ring back tomorrow.

    Spoken to the local court, they couldn't tell me either way as it was commercial and they didn't have access to those records. They did give me an email address to send a request to, which I have.

    It seems that if they do turn up on the 25th, it will be very difficult to prove if the piece of paper they bring with them is legitimate or not. I'm not lying down and taking this.


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    you need to send a short letter to the judge you spoke to on the 11th and tell them what BG have said and ask whether the warrant was granted and if so on waht grounds after your representation was accepted.
    As you know, most of these things are automatic so Bg and the courts service may well have just assumed that it was granted when the judge decided otherwise. they will then have to go through their files and undo their error

    the costly alternative is to go for an injunction against BG


  12. #12
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    So I've spoken to bg again, apparently their representative was stuck in traffic and didn't get there till after 1, getting in on a 2pm session and getting the warrant granted. Doesn't explain why when I rang them at 11am that day they told me it had already been through.

    I will be speaking to the courts again. Turning up 5 hours late is not acceptable in my eyes, especially after the judge told me he would not be issuing a warrant if they did turn up late. I would not have left unless he said this. Somethings not right here.

    Does anyone think the Ombudsmanicon will do anything about this warrant since its after the date they previously looked into? After all, British gas have admitted they weren't there on time...


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    Also, can you do an SARicon for a limited company? I might be getting a bit off topic here though


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    no

    Quote Originally Posted by andonandon View Post
    Does anyone think the Ombudsmanicon will do anything about this warrant since its after the date they previously looked into? After all, British gas have admitted they weren't there on time...
    you need to apply to the court to get the warrant scrubbed. This may well have them asking for a small fortune to do so as you failed to get the matter chucked out when you spoke to the judge but be persistent. If you spoke in open court it will all be recorded so ask for a copy of the recording. If it was in chambers then you are stuck with their mistake.
    Quote Originally Posted by andonandon View Post
    So I've spoken to bg again, apparently their representative was stuck in traffic and didn't get there till after 1, getting in on a 2pm session and getting the warrant granted. Doesn't explain why when I rang them at 11am that day they told me it had already been through.

    I will be speaking to the courts again. Turning up 5 hours late is not acceptable in my eyes, especially after the judge told me he would not be issuing a warrant if they did turn up late. I would not have left unless he said this. Somethings not right here.



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    Default Re: Fabricated warrant from British gas?

    The warrant has been set aside, success!
    After finally getting through to the right department at the courts and getting a direct line to contact them on and resending the email on Friday, they have been in touch with british gas and now they have reset the proceedings.
    Whether or not they actually turn up tomorrow remains to be seen but the courts are on my side for this issue now and I have a contact number and name at bg that dealt with it. I have nothing in writing at this point but I feel confident I won't be getting cut off tomorrow.

    I've been over and over my figures and I'm confident that had British gas never miss billed me that I wouldn't owe them anything at this point. I've won this battle but the war is not over yet.

    I'll start a main thread with the issues I've been having, thanks for all the help.


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    Default Re: Fabricated warrant from British gas?

    Make sure you don't leave court tomorrow without something in writing about the decision, whatever way it goes.


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    Default Re: Fabricated warrant from British gas?

    did you ask for your costs for thewasted time for the previous visit? Somehtinmg to bear in mind as you can show that BG are being unreasonable.


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    It wasn't back in court on Wednesday, that's the day they were due to come and disconnect me, like I said, last minute!

    And I've been to court 9 times with this now, I've not been reimbursed for any of it and I absolutely am out of pocket over it for all the lost time. I've also found some direct proof last night, extra to what I already had that backs up my claim. I may have to take legal action against them.


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    Default Re: Fabricated warrant from British gas?

    you will find it difficult to claim for anything after the event. You need to take a letter with a schedule of loss on it and present it at the time. you can claim travel, loss of earnings etc but state that you are claiming it because of their unreasonable behaviour


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    I had no option to as they hadn't turned up so no warrant was applied for while I was there. No doubt I'll be back there soon enough though lol.



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