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British Gas - billing me for business not domestic electricity

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Hi,

 

I'm hoping someone can offer some help! (and sorry it is so long - I don't want to dripfeed)

 

In January, I moved into a new build property. I contacted my previous suppliers (SSE) and asked them to move my account over to my new property - a simple process, I hoped.

 

I was wrong! In March they came back to me to say that they couldn't take over my account, as British Gas had me classified as a business address. I then spoke to British Gas Business - advised them that the house is indeed residential, that I wanted it corrected to show this and a bill so I can pay my balance with them before moving back to SSE. They also updated my address, which they had completely wrong.

 

They advised it would take 6-8 weeks in order to change the profile of my address, and for a specialist team to recalculate my bill. Also, that they would freeze my account, and to ignore anything that came through the post from British Gas Business, as the residential team would be taking over.

 

During this time, the letters starting rolling in - a bill of £1500 for 4 months electricity, and letters advising that debt collectors would be coming to the property; that they were disconnecting me in 7 days, that they were adding £100's of charges on my account in late payment fees.

 

During this period, I called BGB, who advised that it was still in process, and that there was a backlog. When I got the letter advising of disconnection, my partner got quite worried, so I called BGB. This time their adviser said that they tried to call me twice on my mobile to advise that I needed to sign a contract before I could be moved over to a domestic profile. As I hadn't answered their calls, they had cancelled my switch. (No letters, emails or voicemails left to advise of this) - the reason I didn't answer is because I work!

 

During this call, I was told I now needed to pay £1750, or they would be continuing with their threats of disconnection and bailiffs etc - despite the fact they were still billing me for business tariffs. When I mentioned that residential prices would leave my bill to be less than half of this, I was told that "You can make an estimate of your bill and pay us that" - surely it's their job to bill me correctly, but never mind! Finally, after asking for escalation to a manager to lodge a complaint, I was told that they would again freeze my account, and pass this to a complaints team to handle - this is when I requested that everything was to be conducted through email only.

 

Over the last couple of days, I have had an email from their complaints team regarding this. They have now moved my profile over to domestic; however will not recalculate my bill unless I sign up to a contract for Electricity with them. Also, they admitted to me that they were informed in February that the property was domestic, but just continued to bill me as a business.

 

What else can I do to get this resolved, other than signing a contract with them? I feel it is grossly unfair to be expected to pay double the amount for my electricity supply, because their systems incorrectly had me assigned as a business. Equally, I don't want to be tied into a contract with a company who have treated me so appallingly.

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I think your next course of action is to write to the complaints team and tell them that a deemed contract exists in this instance as they were the existing supplier of the propety. Ofgem advice to suppliers states that deemed contracts should not be onerous and with fair terms and conditions. By incorrectly billing you as a business they are acting unfairly. Also, the delay caused by their error is leaving you out of pocket.

 

Ask for a final response so that you can take this to the Ombudsman.

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