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Hi All,

 

This is my first ever post anywhere (which goes to show how strongly I feel).

Actually I posted it up in the stickys at the top but realise it should probably be here instead - sorry but I am new to this.

 

Firstly I should point out that this is written without prejudice and is not intended to cause offence. If it does offend anyone I sincerely apologise.

 

Sorry for any bad grammar, spelling mistakes and typos.

Ok here goes:

We were having with our central heating. The fan in the boiler was getting very noisy and so was the pump airing cupboard.

We called British Gas Homecare out and an engineer came to fix the problem. Well all he did was oil the fan and turn the water pressure down. All was quieter (not as quiet as usual, but quieter than when he arrived). The following day the heating packed up all together so we called them out again. A different engineer arrived and diagnosed the problem as a bad quality water supply (iron particles clogging up the pipes). He fixed the problem by washing out the pipe leading to the pump and all seemed ok. However he said we need to get all the pipes replaced with a wider bore as the ones we have will keep clogging up and they are too small to be power flushed.

He quoted the job and British Gas phoned a week or so later to book the job saying they need 2 days to complete.

 

Day one - Thursday December 16th:

After much discussion between the 2 man installation team as to where they need to lay the pipes, they tell me to clear furniture from some areas while they start work (which I had to do by myself). Anyway, about an hour into the job water starts pouring through the kitchen ceiling (coincidentally, onto the things I had just cleared out of the units upstairs for them). I ran up the stairs and said “You’ve hit a pipe or something because there is water coming through the kitchen ceiling”

The one that seemed in charge came to look. While I cleared the area and got a bowl to catch the water, told me that it was just water draining for the old system and there’s nothing that can be done about it. Apparently they drained most of it but there will always be some left in the pipes.

Could they not have prepared for this and had something ready before cutting the pipe?

I then phoned (the first time I have ever really been thankful for mobile phones) my parents (after all it is their house), and luckily they were on their way back from mums hospital appointment. At least I wouldn’t be alone for much longer.

My parents arrive and so does a supervisor from British Gas. He looks at the damage and says “Well its just one of those things that’s bound to happen on an installation.”

He also explains that we should not go upstairs as it is a health and safety risk with the floorboards up. Little does he know that the other two have already had me walking across the joists half a dozen times or so with coffee and to move furniture for them.

Later:

Part of the ceiling (the kitchen again) came loose. Up the stairs I went “Guys, you’ve hit the ceiling now and it’s coming away!”

They both come down and the one in charge looks at it and says he can’t understand how that happened. The other one says that ‘They’ (meaning ‘The Powers That Be’ at British Gas) will have to pay to put that right.

I’m already panicked by the water damage and now this!

Later still:

So there we were my parents and I, huddled in one room trying to tidy up and keep warm by wearing our hats and coats.

That loose bit of ceiling I mentioned in the kitchen suddenly comes down. We all jump. Dust everywhere. We all coughing and I open the front and back door to get some air. Not for long though we are so cold. The one in charge comes down (I didn’t need to call him this time). The conversation when something like this:

He says “oh, when did this happen?”

We said “Just now. You must have heard it!”

“No”

“What do you mean no?”

“Well we were banging so couldn’t hear much else…and there’s no dust”

“What are you trying to say?!”

“Nothing…it just couldn’t have been anything we’ve done”

The conversation when on like this for a little while longer, he then walked away and came back with a camera phone and starts taking pictures.

My dad then takes some pictures of his own (good thinking dad).

The supervisor returned shortly after.

He said “Get on to your insurance”

We are thinking ‘It is your fault so you should be dealing with repairing and recovering the cost. Not us.’

He said that it was just waiting to happen and it was a coincidence that they were working at the time.

I then told him that we have been here almost 10 years and it has been fine in all that time. If they were not here it would not have happened.

He then explains that British Gas cannot and will not accept liability or responsibility.

After much debate the day ended and they left us with 3 useless fan heaters.

 

Day two - Friday December 17th:

A comparatively uneventful day - The rest of the ceiling seems to be holding in place but did they do any work?

“What about this hole” we asked. “Where is your supervisor?”

Their supervisor was off that day but it didn’t matter as they had not finished and one of they will be back to finish on Monday.

Luckily the heating was on upstairs so we wouldn’t completely freeze.

 

Day three for them but day five for us - Monday December 20th:

One of them turned up and started.

When the supervisor arrived we had a few things to talk about:

 

  • The kitchen ceiling being the obvious.
  • This new and supposedly improved piping is very noisy, banging and clicking. It sounds at times like water dripping. It is constant when ever the heating is on. It has even woken me up several times.
  • There were bits of pipe and nails lying under the carpets.
  • When we tried to gather up the above mentioned items we noticed broken floorboards (in between joists so if stepped on you go through) and floorboards that cannot be nailed back down as your new pipes are in the way sticking up higher than the joists in places.
  • This (above) now explains why we get a clanking noise when walking around upstairs.
  • We also noticed burnt toilet rolls (we wondered why we were running out).
  • Some of your new pipes have been bent where they shouldn’t have been bent and yet others have not been bent where should have been.

(The smell from the new piping was awful but that has faded now.)

 

This is all we have seen without looking too closely as without moving furniture and lifting carpets everywhere we do not know what (if anything) else has been damaged.

 

The heating seemed to work better and definitely quieter before British Gas got their hands on it.

 

British Gas insisted that we need these ‘improvements’ (and I use the word begrudgingly). They insisted that they were the best people to do it (‘You could get someone else to do the work but you never know what cowboys they might be. At least with British Gas you know you will get top quality work and fully guaranteed’)

 

I find the standard of work (and I’m not sure if ‘work’ is the correct term for what they did) and their attitude completely unacceptable especially considering the high price they charged. We told them, before they started, that none of us are working so we will have to pay by credit card increasing our household debt and my mother 71 years old and father 62 in January 2010 both have life long illnesses so prolonged exposure to cold is not a good idea (five days without full central heating).

 

Can anyone please advise me on what to do to air my views and seek some sort of recompense?

I am disgusted that British Gas is legally charging my dad for the pleasure of demolishing our home in the guise of essential home improvements. I feel that they should be paying us. Not the other way round.

 

Sorry for the rather long rant. I really do appreciate it if anyone has taken the time to read this and I would be very keen on hearing your views.

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strangerica,

 

I would suggest you put your complaint in a letter, as I doubt the callcentre could help with this. Send as recorded delivery, addressed to:

 

Scott Boose

Centrica Head Office

Millstream

Maidenhead Road

Windsor

Berkshire

SL4 5GD

 

Scott is the Managing Director for BG Service and Repair. I would hope he would take ownership of a complaint as serious as this.

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being my brother is ex and i mean ex british gas

 

was this british gas who did the install, was it british gas vans as british gas sub contract a lot of work

 

 

the first thing you need to do is contact your own house insurance provider, tell them you hold british gas liable for all damage and let them take it on

 

a complaint then needs to be made to british gas by you in writing

 

ive seen some crap in my time but this water damage excuse is a joke.

 

a system is drained first, there should be no water left in the upper part of the house, its called gravity,

 

ive done so many with my brother and complete boiler installs to know better.

 

british gas like any trades man has a duty of care

 

you should not be doing donkey work for a start

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strangerica,

 

I would suggest you put your complaint in a letter, as I doubt the callcentre could help with this. Send as recorded delivery, addressed to:

 

Scott Boose

Centrica Head Office

Millstream

Maidenhead Road

Windsor

Berkshire

SL4 5GD

 

Scott is the Managing Director for BG Service and Repair. I would hope he would take ownership of a complaint as serious as this.

 

MrHandyman,

 

Thank you so much for this. I will certainly give it a go. Fingers crossed something will be done to correct the damage.

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being my brother is ex and i mean ex british gas

 

was this british gas who did the install, was it british gas vans as british gas sub contract a lot of work

 

 

the first thing you need to do is contact your own house insurance provider, tell them you hold british gas liable for all damage and let them take it on

 

a complaint then needs to be made to british gas by you in writing

 

ive seen some crap in my time but this water damage excuse is a joke.

 

a system is drained first, there should be no water left in the upper part of the house, its called gravity,

 

ive done so many with my brother and complete boiler installs to know better.

 

british gas like any trades man has a duty of care

 

you should not be doing donkey work for a start

 

Thank you postggi for your advise, and in answer to your question - yes it was British Gas, not a subcontractor. They had a British Gas Transit van.

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To be honest strangerica, I think the outcome they will suggest is to claim your house insurance and let them pay the excess, as that is what I have seen in the past with regards to property damage. However, make sure that you tell them you are not affecting your premiums because of their mistakes, and they should come back with a better offer, i.e. pay for the repairs themselves.

 

Just out of interest, in which town/city do you stay?

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Thank you again MrHandyman for your replying to me.

 

We've been on to our insurance company and they are saying that there are exclusions in the policy which means we only possibly covered for the water damage...Now I don't see the point in repairing a crack when there is a big hole next to it.

Anyway they are going to send a contractor to asses the damage and to see if it can be all classed as one claim (initially they said that all the damage will be seperate claims, however as we would only be covered for the water damage they will see if they can bundle it all together as one job).

If they can sort any of the damage out we would still have to pay £250 excess (which we cannot afford). So I'm still praying thet British Gas will sort out their mess.

 

Sorry I sound like a big complainer but I'm really not, I'm so fed up with being walked over and ripped off.

 

In answer to your question I am living in South Yorkshire - not too far from Sheffield.

Edited by strangerica
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They will most definately pay your excess, and if it is not covered under any circumstance I would think they would cover any extra charges.

 

I expected you to say you were from the London area, as this sort of thing is quite common there. In the more northern areas of england it is very rare for this sort of thing to happen.

 

Make sure that you send that letter to Scott Boose, and when the field manager contacts you make sure that he knows you have contacted Scott with the details; I would think that this would secure the field managers co-operation.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Everyone,

 

We have just got the bill from British Gas and it's £476.90 more than their quote!

 

Other News:

A contractor come out to us on behalf of our insurance company and we are now waiting to hear back from them.

 

I've had about enough of this and I'm at my wits end.

 

I'll keep you all updated as and when things happen.

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Hi Strangerica,

 

I'd be a bit careful about claiming through your insurance company as it's almost certainly likely to affect your future premiums even if British Gas pay the excess.

 

I too had water damage caused be British Gas about three years ago. I insisted on dealing with them directly. The very fact that I told my insurance company meant that they increased the cost of my policy automatically the following year, but they cut it back down and amended the details when I pointed out that I had taken on British Gas myself.

 

British Gas will send round someone whom they will describe as an independent loss adjuster - possibly Knowles Loss Adjusters. They aren't independent they are part of British Gas.

 

British Gas will try everything to avoid paying out. The engineer I had put a closed valve in the system - something that should never be done - and the evil witch at the British Gas Claims Department actually said I had probably done it myself. :mad::mad:

 

I wrote loads of letters including one to the CEO of British Gas, but they fought the claim all the way until I issued proceedings against them in the County Court and then they settled almost immediately. I wish I had taken that action earlier.

 

Please don't incur any credit card debt.

 

Write to them telling them you expect them to repair the damage immediately, and that you had a Homecare Contract, and that in view of the damage and inconvenience they have caused you, you shouldn't be paying them anything for the work on the pipes. Tell them that their failure to do this will result in your issuing proceedings against them in the county court and you will also be claiming damages for stress and inconvenience.

 

If they don't respond, then send them a letter before action.

 

If they still don't respond issue the county court claim. If you are not working I think you can get a fee exemption. If not, the cost of the court fees will be added to what they have to pay. Make it clear that you have the photos as evidence.

 

They will back down, but you might as well avoid the months of nastiness I went through by showing them you mean business now.

 

Good luck. They are the worst company in Britain.

 

DDx

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you all again for you help,

 

Here is an update on the progress:

 

We sent a letter to Scott Boose at the suggestion of MrHandyman, and a following email to Phil Bentley (the MD of British Gas).

Mr Bentley replied to our email quite quickly and his reply was polite and apologetic and he assured us that our experience was very rare and will be dealt with.

 

We were soon phoned to arrange a time for someone to come and have a look and talk to us about what can be done. It turned out to be the same unhelpful supervisor that we originally saw but with a more understanding and helpful attitude (the letter seems to have helped). Anyway because he told us to get on to our insurance in the first place, they told us to get in writing what British Gas will actually do. Several phone calls later to both British Gas and our insurance and they still refused to put anything in writing. So our insurance said they would talk to them directly (that was today). Soon after we got another call:

 

British Gas are coming next week to repair the damage to the floors (quote: "as best we can") and plan to stop the constant noise from the pipes and also reposition a few exposed pipes to a more aesthetically pleasing and less dangerous location.

Yippee! A good start (I hope) - but that's not all:

 

They have also agreed to get a builder in to look at the ceiling incase the artex contains asbestos and they said that they will be get on to thier insurance to see what can be done about the damage to the kitchen ceiling.

Things are looking up - I will update again...

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Do NOT claim on your insurance, claim on THEIRS! The damage you have is caused by them so they pay, not you.

 

The bill is £476.90 more than their 'quote'. Did you get this 'quote' in writing? If so, that is all you pay.

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Twice we've told British Gas that that have sent the wrong bill and they've told us they will correct it and send it to us.

Today we recieved a final demand for the incorrect bill (we do have the correct quote in writing) threatening to alert their "Debt Recovery team" if we don't pay the full amount (even though we should be paying in installments) in 7 days.

The bill is dated 3 days ago and we now have 2 days for the weekend so thats 5 days already before we can even contact them again!

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Some Positive News

 

Today a man from British Gas arrived and started to get to work on the problems.

He has moved some of the pipes into corners of the room and screwed down a couple of the broken floorboards to make them safer until they are replaced.

Because he had to cut some pipes to move them he drained the system and refilled it. After bleeding the radiators they all seem to heat up now (some more than others, but that has got something to do with how they are now set up apparently).

Anyway, something that he has done (he is not sure what) seems to have reduced the constant banging/clanking noise we have been suffering with. It is still there but now much much quieter and I'm sure if it stays that way I will get a better sleep at last.

Anyway, he is coming back tomorrow to do some more.

 

They tell me that they have put our bill on hold until this is all resolved and their insurance company will be contacting us to arrange a date to look at the ceiling damage and also the broken floorboards.

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  • 2 months later...

Hi All,

 

Sorry it has been so long since my last update but it has taken a long time for BG to do anything. After a long wait and many phone calls we have finally had a rather good result.

British Gas insurers have repaired our ceiling and also replaced the dangerous floorboards (not all the damaged ones but at least we no longer fear walking in our own home). To be honest they have not done the finest job on the floorboards but we are satisfied. There is still some noise but we are learning to live with it as it is not longer constant and is much more quiet (most of the noise was from some wood (part of a joist) they had used as a wedge between 2 pipes).

Also one of the floorboards they had actually put down we have since found out they had screwed through the earth but we have been told it should still be safe (fingers crossed).

In all fairness the repair to the kitchen ceiling is fantastic and it is impossible to tell there were ever any damage let alone a big hole.

 

 

Oh, the reasons the radiators were not heating up correctly was/is due to 2 things.

1. They had forgotten to open some of the valves up.

2. The way they have configured the system some radiators now run off others so we will have to turn some down to get others to heat up.

 

 

 

All that said we have already received a new bill (funny how they can be prompt when they want money) and for the correct amount this time.

 

I am now wondering if we have any grounds for some compensation.

What do you think?

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  • 2 years later...
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