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I Need Help_british Gas Business

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My parents have a small business which they purchased in 2003, they previous owners were with british gas and so we carried on with them knowing little it was a 3 year contract. Anyway before we purchased the shop it used to be a one building so had two meters for electricty, but just before we took over the previous owners converted all the living space into seperate flats so each flat had they own pay as go meters. The shop still had two meters british gas started to send large electricity bills for 2 meters which they made a total value of £3000, i disputed this with them as one of the meters wasnt even being used, and i had it removed. They said it was a my reponsibility to pay even though they came out to remove it and they knew it wasnt in use. After sending letters and letters getting no correspondence i thought the matter was resolved.


I moved out and so i didnt keep a eye on what bills they were sending my parents, just found out my parents have been paying instalments for the previous balance and yet our bill was £700 a MONTH. Being a small business paying of back log meant the monthly bills were increasing more as time went. I took the matter to resolve so looking at the latest bill for June, it was £690.00 i rang them up and said for a small shop it was really high, she has it was estimated and she has the meter redaing for June but the hadnt adjusted it, so when i asked her to adjust it the amount fell to £375.00, which is nearly half, i asked her that i wanted all the full breakdown of all the invoices paid and payments made in writing or statement format as they balance carried over on my account was round £4000.00 which is alot. She said she couldnt do that due to they system being down and asked her when can she, she replied she cant, she will give me them on the phone, i wasnt going to waste time on the phone to her as i'd already been in que for 25 minutes. So i said no, i want it all in writing everything since the account was opened, she said "actually let me see if credit control can do it, they can" put me on hold for 15 minutes came back and said cant get through due to lines are busy and someone will call me back in 15 minutes, she said we should make payment, and i replied not until this value i am disputing i get a full breakdown off.


I then asked her when the contract expires as from what recalled it should have expired or near to expiring, she said 11/08 and said it was renewed in Nov 2006, when questioned how it was renewed she stated they sent us a letter 120 days prior to expiry and since they didnt hear anything they renewed it automatically for another 2 years.........can they do that? she said i need to speak to renewals on another number.


So rang that number and the lady said they can do that......it was stated in the original contract, but i have signed anything to renew it. Can they still do that? We hadnt received any reminder which she couldnt find proof of delivery for either, said i coulnt get out of the contract until Nov 2008 now, but she can wave the standing charge from no on if we are unhappy with the charges doest make much of difference only £70 per month. I said sound ok but will have to discuss with my parents she said fine verbal contract accepted and in the post will get contract and have 7 days to cancel if not happy.


Now the other lady never called back. What can i do as i want to know the following


1) If all the bills are estimated and theyve made a huge amount can they not go by the actual meter reading throughout the whole period and re calculate it as the fact of just that one month was £375 to what they estimate £690 is alot so that will reduce the amount owned by nearly half.....is that correct can i argue that point?


2) Can they automatically renew the contract without a signed contact copy?


3) Plus they put on £50 admin charges with each bill as its not DD, is that not disputable?


Anyone who can help me please let me know.

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