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CENTRICA & CST - Reclaiming Training Bonds as Overpaid Wages


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Hey BadMojo,

 I'm in the same boat.

 

Heard nothing since I left in 2017. My Union Rep told me to ignore any correspondence, because there was thousands of engineers they'd have to go after before me, besides he'd never heard of them chasing up Engineers for the so called 'bond' as Centrica don't have a leg to stand on (I wonder if we have a case against the union).

 

Centrica also took my final wage, leaving me in financial dire straits, fortunately I managed to borrow money, so I could stay in my home. I did complain to Centrica about this, but they wouldn't reply to my pleas for help. They did this to several people who left before me, including one guy who literally just had a new born baby. Leaving him having to beg for money, to keep a roof over his child's head.


I thought the way Centrica did this was either illegal or immoral but as a lowly engineer, I couldn't fight it, so considered the 'bond' dealt with as they had taken all of my money. 

 

I was shocked to receive my CST letter on 28th June (Dated 8th June - which I think was deliberate) stating I'd been overpaid - This is false. During my time at BG I was in fact underpaid, by a minimum of £4,000 per year compared to other comparable utility companies wage structures.
 

I replied to their letter, stating I don't know anything about being 'overpaid' and I wanted documentation and evidence. I've heard nothing back until today... When I received a Claim Form from County Court Business Centre demanding £2500.
 

I have spoke to someone within the CST legal department today. He actually read out my response, so they got my letter, but said, they'd already proceeded with the case.

 

I've asked for evidence, which he said he would send straight through, and after being cut off and calling back they said they've asked Centrica for this evidence. Strange?


They also told me that this Court letter is on hold and I don't have to do anything - which I don't believe... 

When I left I had discussions with the union about constructive dismissal - It seemed like Centrica had taken on too many engineers and once they were out in the field, they were trying to get rid of them.


My previous BG manager, who head-hunted me after I left, said he left because he didn't like the way BG was treating their engineers... and 'it wasn't just the engineers they were trying to get rid of, it's the old school managers too" - So that may have a bearing on our cases...
 

You are not alone BadMojo, and if I hear anything, I'll post it on here... 

I'm glad I found this page today

 

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@WildWookie

thank you for this very interesting story.

Would you mind starting a new thread and telling us about it there and we can ask questions to find out where you are in all of this and maybe offer you some help.

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yes start a new topic please

hit create in the top red banner

 

also pop the results of this in your 1st post too

 

You have received a Court Claim ISSUED IN ENGLAND & WALES What you need to do - Financial Legal Issues - Consumer Action Group

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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Hi I responded to BadMojo... and was asked to start a new conflab, so here goes.

 

 

Centrica seem to be targeting 2017 leavers from British Gas. Apparently reclaiming 'alleged' training bonds under the false title of 'Overpaid Wages'.

After hearing nothing for over 4 years, all of a sudden I received a letter dated 8th June 2021, which arrived June 28nd 2021 from CST Law. Looking at other replies, this seems to be happening a lot. I don't know if it was deliberate, but it's strange that it's happening to many BG ex-engineers - Modus Operandi?

 

A bit of background here...

It was only a couple of years after the economic crash, so many of us were grateful to have a job... 

British Gas sold the fact that you would be working for BG and that was a status symbol... So not only were BG wages roughly about £4000 per annum lower compared to other utility companies, they included something in your contract, saying they could claim a training bond from you if you left. £9000 if you left year 1, £6000 in year 2 and £3000 in year 3. 

 

A lot of new starters were nervous about this, but a job was a job and as soon as you left the training centre you were reassured on patch at Team Meetings about this so called Bond. I was told not to worry! When asked, these 'bonds' were dismissed by union reps, as unenforceable, and were "just a smoke screen to keep staff retention up, as all training was in-house and carried out by BG staff, so by law, there was nothing to pay back - So don't worry about it" - Direct quote!!!!

 

During training, engineers were also told/ coerced into joining the GMB. They would cover your back and be on your side if anything happened - As time went on though, they didn't seem to be, they appeared more to be a political arm of British Gas. I remember them making a presentation - 'telling' engineers which way to vote in the 2016 Europe referendum. That didn't go down well with a few of the seasoned engineers - who shortly after , weren't there.... Mnmmnnn.

 

In early 2017, rumours were rife about BG recruiting too many engineers, and we were told to watch your back and cover your behind.

So whether, leaving was your choice or not, it seemed in 2017 a lot of engineers left. The confident ones, the opinionated ones, the loud ones. If you didn't keep your head down, you could be next. Some engineers were offered Hobson's Choice... Either go or be forced out...

Constructive dismissal comes to mind, but who is going to take on Centrica?

 

Every engineer who left, who I know, didn't get their final wage. A lot, including myself, were left in severe dire straits. Every engineer who left, who I know, kicked off about this and were ignored by British Gas. I thought they had a duty of care? I actually called my union rep, I enquired about BG holding back my entire final wage and if it was legal. He told me I could fight for my wages, but it would probably cost me more than I was owed... and did I really think I would win. With no wage, no money and no safety net, 

 

I asked advice about the bond... He told me they wouldn't chase me for it... in all his years he'd never heard of BG demanding it from anyone, besides, they'd taken my wages and that probably covered it anyway. So don't fight for your wages and it'll all go away. So I for one, didn't fight. I just went. Like a lot of other engineers, I just moved on. skip forward 4 happy years since I left British Gas and CST Law is now demanding money on Centrica's behalf!!! Where do we stand?

It seems that their demands are erroneous. I was never overpaid, so therefore I don't owe Centrica anything... There was no external training - So as the union rep said - "There's nothing to owe"

 

Do I make a counterclaim for my wages? A counterclaim for putting me into hardship? A Counterclaim for their failure of duty of care? I didn't ask for this fight, but if Centrica are coming for us, could we band together and go after them? Could we get this kicked? Could we countersue?

 

Any help would be gratefully received!!

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please complete this:

 

 

no dont counterclaim

there isn't anything in the UK like class action and individual private court claims are far more damaging esp to a large co. like BG.

 

 

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi BM,

I've acknowledged the court documents. and now I'm waiting for their evidence. Nothing has arrived as yet.

As I don't think there is any!!!

 

As I recall, they dropped the bond on us in the training centre, rather than within the employment contract - possibly a way to get around employment law, but they aren't claiming a  bond repayment, they're claiming 'Overpaid Wages' and I've never had overpaid wages.

 

Working for Team Penguin we were underpaid compared to the rest of the industry by thousands, so to me, that's an untruth - Unless I'm mistaken, they need to prove I was overpaid.

 

To be fair I'm not worrying too much about it. I've acknowledged their claim, I've disputed it... I'll go through the system and if I have to pay up in the end - well, I'll pay up, but it'll only be what I can afford. 

 

The union was pretty adamant that the bond wasn't enforceable, but they would never say that in writing, as the union were on too much of a good thing with British Gas. They talked the talk, but when it came to it, they did nowt for me and other leavers who I've spoken to. Just platitudes and their advice, which of course was off the record

 

So, I'll just sit and wait until I hear anything!

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can you fill this out please:

 

 

did you send a CPR yet?

 

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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