Tuesday, 5 July 2016

5th July 2016 - The Saga of British Gas Continues

Thought for the day :"Three things I am happy about : Family.. Friends .. Caller ID allowing me to avoid Family and Friends"

And so the British Gas Saga continues...   Got a bill this morning - surprise surprise.
Did not have the new tariffe agreed on after my call to British Gas in May ...  Seems there is not much of a record of my call - even though I spent a significant time on the phone talking to Mohammed on the 6th May.

But as a recap - let us go back to the start of it all - A blog from the past  That is the one that links to all the previous problems...

(Brief summary for those who prefer to skip read - New storage shed - minimal power requirements - incomplete invoice address - no invoices - wrong tariffe - corrected tariffe - bills and credit notes thick and fast - meter reading shows £2000 used - proved no meter reading taken - meter checked and examined - credit notes - more bills for thousands of pounds - more credit notes - change of tariffe - meter reading taken - requests for bills and summary - complaints - complaints not investigated - 10 to 12 bills recieved monthly all on the same day ...  now read on)

And so - despite two complaints that have been ignored - we seemed to be going in the right direction - other than the total failure of anyone in British Gas to actually send me the invoices that they wanted paying - with a summary of all those that were cancelled.

But Mohammed, it seems, did not change the tariffe...   So I called again today . After explaining in depth I of course got the usual - "Oh - it seems you are a corporate account "  ( Why ??  I do not know - it is an empty storage with almost no usage - 7 units in as many months) and off we go to explain to someone else..

And so I get to talk to Joe - seems a nice chap and he decided to back date a new contract at much better terms - even than I had before April - so quite happy with that - Of course, there will be a further 6% discount if I pay by direct debit - which seems reasonable . But on the 28th of the month - they will of course charge me all the money that I owe from the previous invoices - which I do not mind - but I would like to know what they are..

So Joe can set up the new contract but cannot get me the invoices. I need to speak to Customer Services...   so he puts me through - or rather I get cut off..... Sure it was not his fault - it is not as thought this happens regularly - oh - read my previous blog - it does happen regularly.

So I call again - luckily I am on all inclusive calls with sky - and I am not really doing anything else. And I talk to someone - I did not get the name. "Please can I have a copy of the invoices that you want me to pay - as they did not get sent to my correct address?" Seems reasonable??
"I can only give you 5 invoices"
"But I need all of them for my records as you will be charging me at the end of the month"
"I can only give you 5 invoices"
"I need more"
"I can only give you more if it is authorised by Customer Services"
"But you are Customer Services"
"Then can you authorise it then please"
"I can only authorise 5 months"
"I see...  Can I speak to a supervisor - they maybe able to authorise"
Silence...   Connection  .....  Dial Tone ...

It seems I have been cut off..
So I ring again ...
I speak to Tandra - I manage to get the name this time
I explain what I am after - and she tells me
"You can only have two invoices. Or you have to email in to Customer Services"
"You are Customer Services?"
"I would like to speak to a supervisor ..."
"There are no supervisors here"
"I find that hard to believe"
"They are all in a meeting - it is meant to be an hours meeting - I do not know when it will end"
"How do I get the invoices?"
"you have to email"
"I have had bad experiences with email with your company. Your company claim that they have sent them and I do not receive them and I send emails and your company claims it does not receive them - that is why I am talking to you in Customer Services - one to one"
"hang on please"
two minutes silence
"I have sent you a paper copy of the application form it will be with you in 4 to 7 days"
"Thank you ... Can you put me through to your complaints department please"
"I am the complaints department"
"I deal with complaints.... they come through to Customer Services"
"So if I want to complaing about the way I have been dealt with today - I have to speak to you ?"
"I would like to enquire about my complaint of 6th October - Reference 38486831""I do not have a complaint open against this account"
"I do - I have it in front of me - let me read the email acknowledgement"
"There is not complaint open"
"Then I would like to open a complaint please. "
"Okay thank you"
"Have you done it?"
"I have made a note and will email the department"
"But have you opened up a complaint as I requested?"
"No I have made a note"
"I would like you to open a complaint please - that the complaint reference number 38486831 has not been followed up properly ...  I would like you to take the details that I request..."

"Can you please give me a reference for my new complaint "
"Hang on ".......

I seem to be listening to the dial tone again...    I was being very polite and very patient -

But sadly - I still do not see that I will have copies of my invoices - which means I really can't allow payment at the end of the month..

So - I find that there is an email address for dealing with accounts - nope - I do not trust the way they deal with email - but I thought I would try it anyway - 

I thought I may try again - so I have sent the following email to myaccountexecutive@centrica.com which sounds very grand and I am hopeful of a response (just not very)

Dear Sir

I have had my corporate account converted today after a number of weeks trying to sort out my account.

I have elected to pay by direct debit with the offered 6% deduction

Due to confusion in your company over the last 18 months I have failed to receive a number of invoices as the postal address did not include the house number and thus never arrived.

Equally, due to failings in fictional or deceptive meter readings – I received spurious bills for sums in excess of £1800 per month.

I have been trying to resolve these matters for over a 12 month period including registering two complaints – neither of which have received anything other than an email receipt in one case.

I am informed that with my new account, back dated there months, I will receive a bill for the total amount outstanding at the end of this month which I will be delighted to pay. This will incorporate all previous outstanding bills.

However – I contacted your customer services department today – I have now been on the phone for over 2 hours trying to sort this in order to have a definitive copy of those bills that you wish me to pay so I can check against my records.

I have been refused any more that 5 invoices by one operative – I understand that there may be a restrictions for your standard call centre colleagues and asked to speak to a supervisor… I was disconnected ….

I phoned again, where another operative told me I could only have two invoices and she has reluctantly, (after holding for two minutes), sent me a paper application through the post as previous emails had failed …. I asked to speak to a supervisor and was told that they were in meetings and there was no-one available.

I asked to be put through to a complaints department and was told that I had to make the complaint to her (Tandra) – I asked to raise two complaints – one relating to the existing complaint that according to my records has not been closed and asked for a reference number for the new complaint – and was not given one - I was asked to hold and the operative rang off.

I thus have no reference for my complaint or record of my second complaint regarding access to a supervisor.
Now, I have two simple issues:

  1. If British Gas wants me to pay the bills – I would like sight of them – so I have asked for a copy of any bill British Gas thinks I have not paid … This does not seem unreasonable to me
    I would be grateful if you could arrange this
  2. In two cases operatives have seen fit to close a call and hang up – if recorded you may listen and you will find I was not at all abusive, and as a Call Centre manager in the past – I fully understand the pressures and possible restrictions they work under – but that is why access to a supervisor – or the offer for a supervisor to call back should be available …
Yours sincerely
Please acknowledge this email – as previous emails have been lost in the ether

to be continued (no doubt)...

In other news : Raising a family is often described as difficult.
"Not if they were buried together" said the Necromancer
Have a new song...

Weight plateaued again today at stone and a bit loss - blood pressure steady though -
Still dry !
Cheers -
Have a good day !

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