As one of the largest energy suppliers in the UK, it is unsurprising that British Gas are unable to please everyone – however the company are honest about their complaints record, with full statistics about the nature of complaints that they receive from their customers – along with the actions they are taking to remedy any issues – freely available on their website under the British Gas Complaints Performance section. Unsurprisingly many of the issues that energy users have with the company are related to finances.
Why complain to British Gas?
Billing issues are predominantly the main reason for complaints made to British Gas – there are two main problems that customers often report having. One is that – owing to many bills being estimated – energy users are being charged too little for a period of time, before being confronted with an urgent request for a large payment when the company have realised their error. At the opposite end of the spectrum, customers report that they are regularly being overcharged by British Gas – which is leaving them in credit with the company.
Payment-related complaints are usually put down to a change of season – as well as a misunderstanding of tariff changes or Direct Debit plans on the part of the customer. Estimated bills take into account things like the expectancy that houses will be using the heating more over the winter, or using the garden hose more in the summer – in cases such as these it is recommended that the complainant take their own meter reading, which can then be reported to British Gas so that they can accurately measure how much is owed.
Payment Plan issues
Payment plans are reviewed at least twice each year – which usually result in British Gas upping the price of their gas supply. Factors that relate to this often surround simple supply and demand – while natural disasters that can disrupt the production of natural gases will also result in prices going up. These price changes are generally well-publicised in the news, but not everyone picks up on them – subsequently getting a sharp shock when they see that their bill is much higher than it was previously.
Customer Service complaints
Unfortunately for British Gas, among many of the complaints they have received relate to the Customer Service department itself. Unlike some of their competitors, British Gas actively encourage people to call them as opposed to diverting them to their online help – however this can leave some customers with long waiting times on the line.
The British Gas complaints process
- Gas and Electricity complaints freephone number – 0800 072 8632
- Pay As You Go complaints freephone number – 0800 072 8633
- Insurance and Repair complaints freephone number – 0800 691 1914
Whether the nature of the complaint is for gas or electricity services – or if the customer is a Pay As You Go account holder – British Gas have a similar complaints process for each issue. The company recommend phoning directly on their free numbers number listed above – or else email them or write a letter to the address listed on their complaints page. Should the customer be unhappy with the resolution of their issue, they are then recommended to contact the director of the customer service team.
I am not happy with my resolution
If a customer is still feeling aggrieved after going through those first two steps, we recommend seeking help from the Citizens Advice Bureau – which will offer impartial help on a range of issues that often repeat themselves. After eight weeks, the customer has the right to report British Gas to the Energy Ombudsman – who will assess the evidence provided and make an impartial decision. This could result in British Gas having to apologise to the customer or offer a financial reward by way of recompense.
What steps are British Gas taking to rectify complaints?
Like many of their competitors, British Gas are seeking to reduce estimated bills by promoting their range of Hive Active Heating meters – these are electronic meters that constantly update their readings and send them directly to the company, ensuring that British Gas are accurately aware of their customers energy usage at all times.
As part of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) initiative, British Gas are also providing subsidised insulation for those eligible. With many issues arising over a misreading over a tariff or a bill, the company are also working to simplify their bills – explaining key facts about it so that the customer can understand as fully as possible why they are paying what they are.
British Gas are continually improving their customer service department. Unlike a lot of companies it is not hard to find their contact phone numbers – while their website also offers a substantial FAQ section.