So there you are, soaking up some winter sun in some Gulf state or other, and until the last day of your holiday, the uninviting feel of coming back to a cold house never enters your mind.
This of course, is why many people leave their central heating on over Christmas, whether they're at home of not. Without this gesture to profligacy and global suicide, you can spend a whole day waiting for the fabric of your house (especially one without cavity walls) to warm up, whilst you don sweaters, scarves and gloves. Either that or you ruin the whole effect of having saved a bit of 'lecky' during your absence by blasting the place with fan heaters for hours on end!
There does indeed seem to be a conventional and possibly incorrect wisdom that it's cheaper to leave your house heated whilst away, but surely, if something could be used to turn on your heating just one day in advance, the rest of the period whilst you're away could become a saving, the longer the holiday, the more the saving. OK, you wouldn't want internal temperatures to drop to that of the outside air, for fear of freezing your pipes.
Incidentally, I'd still turn my water supply off.
If only something existed that would keep your house from freezing and allowed you to switch on your heating from anywhere in the world, say a day in advance.
Well it does, and it was whilst I was in discussion with British Gas over a leaky drain claim that they cunningly sold me the solution to a problem I hadn't realised I'd got!
Going under the sexy name of 'Remote Heating ControlTM' - it must have cost them a fortune to get an agency to think that one up - it cost me £199 to have installed.
Bearing in mind that there's only one way gas prices are going, I expect that over its lifetime it will easily pay for itself, and anyway, its maintenance will be covered by my existing contract with British Gas. I'd like to point out that I don't use their gas, just their ability to fix boilers et al.
Access to central heating controls, and a means of removing the existing thermostat in favour of a wireless unit
Home broadband with a spare Ethernet socket on your router.
An internet router that's permanently on, and a spare mains plug-socket in the vicinity of the router to run the wireless link back to the thermostat/programmer.
They do not need to access your wi-fi but they do supply a booster plug if the signal fails to make it from programmer to modem.
This went surprisingly smoothly although I get the impression that it all depends on your existing installation.
In my case they only had to remove my hallway thermostat and replace it with the remote wireless receiver unit. Having agreed that my existing programmer just needed to be set permanently to 'All Day' (only for the central heating) means that there's very little to uninstall should I move and want to take the facility with me. This would only mean replacing the new receiver unit with the old thermostat - a mere three colour coded wires. It also means that I can override the controls should the electronics start playing up.
The only other physical part to the installation was the fitting of a modem unit by the router, needing a mains point and the Ethernet cable and socket that I mentioned before.
You can now re-site the programmer and thermostat as they are combined in the same unit and cordless. Hell, you could even walk round the house with it, making sure that the required temperature went with you! It would have been nice if the unit could have been fitted with a rear prop like a picture frame rather than a variety of screw holes, so it could be lodged on any shelf of your liking.
The rest was down to the setting up.
I find this is best done on a PC, rather than on the wireless programmer, and anything you enter via the BG web-site gets sent to your programmer in seconds anyway.
The BG confirmation e-mail gives you a link to the MyHome web-site, into which you log, and then are encouraged to change your password.
There's a little more hardware set-up to carry out, but unless anything goes wrong, this merely means getting the distant server to recognise a) your modem, and b) your wireless programmer, the latter showing the signal strength and the state on the internal battery.
It's very easy to set up your programmes, either on an advanced mode which allows for totally different ons/offs and temperatures per day, or you can take the line of least resistance and have just two programmes, one for weekdays and the other for weekends.
Either way, you can set different 'target temperatures', morning and evening, useful if more of your evening is spent sitting down. You can also set a minimum target in between sessions to stop any chance of the house freezing whilst the heating is off. In fact it will turn back on to protect the system from frost damage whatever else you've done.
Firstly, you can use the wireless programmer just as you've always done- the only difference being that you can put it where you like (not on top of a radiator please!).
Secondly, you can programme it from a full keyboard PC or Mac assuming internet access is present. This is by far your easiest option.
Thirdly, there's a 'smartphone' or tablet app called MyHome which allows for a more basic input, like being able to set a new minimum, turn the system on and off, and alter target temperatures.
Fourthly, you can even send it a text message for those times when abroad that are just too prohibitive in costs to use the internet. This is somewhat more limited but costs very little to do. You can start or stop your central heating, revert it to its normal programme of events or set a new target temperature.
PROS AND CONS
To offset the £199 cost, you need to be the kind of user who could usefully turn off their central heating whilst away in the colder months, but have always been scared to do so. For ourselves, we always go away for Christmas (and use someone else's heating!). Likewise, we take a lot of weekend breaks, quite a few of which are during the 'autumn half term to spring half term period', notably months when we'd still be likely to have the heating on.
Likewise, it would be useful for those that never know from one day to the next what time they're coming home in the evening.
This gadget does not give you any control over your hot water but the whole point is to come home to a warm house, even though it was cold the day (or hours) before.
Apparently, control over water heating may be possible in future.
If you've never been particularly happy with the positioning of the thermostat in your house, now's your chance to experiment.
FOOTNOTE: Now that we've been running it a few weeks, we've had occasions to sing the praises of its versatility and to curse its limitations in equal measiure. Firstly, the good news - because you can set a minimum temperature in between periods of "ON" - primarily designed to stop pipes freezing, you can also set a day-time temperature only slightly lower than the two 'daily timed' periods, so you only get a slight dip during the day (say down to 18C from 21C), which allows for less gas usage as you 'busy yourself' around the house.
The bad news? Well, with our old programmer facility, we could press an 'advance' button which would bring forward the next listed activity, i.e. "ON" if you come home earlier than planned or "OFF" if you go to bed earlier than expected. There doesn't seem to be an equivalent with the new set-up. Sure you can switch it to manual in between the two daily timed periods, but you have to remember to turn it off afterwards otherwise you'll have left it set to "Continuous" effectively. Off course, with a smartphone or tablet by your bed, you can switch it off from there!
My late grandmother, suffering from cancer, ordered a basic gas fire (the wall hanging sort, probably the cheapest you can get) and installation. She paid £500. Yet this is a huge overcharge on British Gas's part, surely? Im wondering if a 3rd party was involved and she was scammed.
I would like to formally log a complaint against British Gas (Home Services) and Dynorod for not being able to investigate & rectify a possible leak at my Property for the Last 6 months. Contrary to what Dynorod says, I have NOT received any missed call not any letter or email stating progress of this job (all my contact details are available with both vendors) and the job is still open. Dynorod have missed 2 appointments which on one occasion turned down an appointment due to heavy rain which I can understand. I have to stay at home each time an appointment is booked and its now 2 times that it has been missed. It's a shamble since I'm not sure who is now responsible British Gas or Dynorod since each ask me to speak to the other. Dynorod does not even have a complaint procedure and the only email available is firstname.lastname@example.org on their website.
This whole issue has now created a dispute with Seven Trent Water who has slapped me with a bill of £2383.76 claiming that it's as per the consumption recorded. I dispute this amount since this property is only occupied during the weekend since me and my wife who live at the property work away from home during the week. Besides, I cannot have a consumption that is twice that of a neighbour
Now I will start by saying that this is a comprehensive look at my British Gas experience. If you want to skip the details and get to the points:
* Good points: UK call centre with, generally, helpful staff - on a free phone number; you can arrange for them to call you back if there's a long queue to speak to an advisor; the bills are easy to read and understand; you can see your current usage compared to the previous year's usage.
* Bad points: They are incompetent and will happily gobble up your money unfairly (read on...!)
I can honestly say I will never EVER use British Gas again and implore all my friends and family to ignore the cute little adverts as they are a misrepresentation of the horrendousness that is British Gas! Fact.
I have sectioned the below tale of woe into chapters for ease of reading :)
~ The British Gas Saga...~
I am currently in rented accommodation and have been for the past 7 years. All, apart from my latest house, have been rented directly from the landlord and they have all insisted the same gas and electricity is used in the house - presumably to make it simpler on them when they have people moving in and out.
For the past three years my gas has been supplied by British Gas. Initially when we moved into the property we received a welcome letter outlining that British Gas were supplying the property and for us to call them with an accurate meter reading. I called straight up and provided the meter reading. I was asked if I'd like to set up a direct debit, which I declined as I'd prefer to pay on a quarterly basis. If you provide accurate meter readings and pay for exactly what you've used, you can't be in debt - simple.
~ Paper/ Paperless Billing ~
For the first 12 months or so we received a paper statement through the post. Usually I paid using their automatic payment system which is simple, if a little tedious, to use. You call the free phone number on your bill, enter your account number and then follow the automated messages which confirm your balance, ask how much you wish to pay and then ask you to enter your card details using your phone's keypad. I've never had any problems paying my bill in this way. If you do want to speak to someone you just choose to speak to an advisor rather than use their automated system. You can also choose to pay by SMS, internet/ phone banking, online, at the Post Office, or by Pay point. I've only ever used their automated phone system so can't comment on how well the other payment methods work.
On every bill there's a little box saying "Switch to Direct Debit to save money" - but I prefer to pay for what I've used. As a student I moved house every year, so I'd rather know I don't owe anything than end up with a balance to pay when I move.
~ Setting up a Direct Debit ~
One day, about 12 months or so after being with British Gas, whilst I was happily filing my bills and bank statements (I absolutely love doing this and will store up paperwork so I can spend a full day filing and sorting and colour coding... !), I realised I hadn't had a gas statement for about 7 months. So I rang them up to ask them to send me a bill. The bills are sent quarterly so I'd not been sent the last two statements. The man on the phone explained I'd asked for paperless billing. I hate paperless billing - I know it saves trees and all that, but I keep files of my bills so it's all in one place and there's no chance of me forgetting to pay! I explained to the man on the phone that I don't want paperless billing, so could he please send me my latest statement. After about 10-15 minutes of arguing that I would remember asking for this if I had done so, and insisting that my partner wouldn't have asked for this either as he doesn't get involved with the bills, the man said he'd switch me back to paper statements. Great!
"Oh", he adds, "would you like to sign up for direct debit?". I politely declined and said I'd pay when I got the bill through. "Well", he said, "you do owe us £326, so you'll either need to pay in one lump sum or set up a direct debit and pay it in instalments.". Woah, hang on a minute there, Buster. My bills are usually around £80-£100 per quarter and seeing as I'd missed a maximum of two state I should only owe a maximum of £200 (MAXIMUM). So I go outside and get my accurate bill reading... "No", he says, "that reading is showing that you now owe £365". So, British Gas are saying in the past month or so I've used £40 of gas?
Anyway, I presumed we'd maybe been careless with gas. Perhaps we'd been cooking more than usual and I had been a bit lenient with putting the heating on... So, as I don't have a spare £365 knocking around I agreed to set up a direct debit of £53 a month which, I was told, would cover our usage and pay back the money we owed. To be fair to the man, he was very polite.
Setting up the direct debit was simple - give your account number and sort code. Done. They managed to set that up without any problems... surprise surprise!!!
~ The Incompetence Continues ~
Anyway, the net quarter I get a bill (paper version this time!) saying we were £520 in debit. I called the free phone number again and told the woman I though something was wrong because despite paying £53 a month I was now over £500 in debit to them. She was a little snooty and said that it had been a cold winter so I'd probably had the heating on a lot. By this point I am now refusing to switch the heating on in our single glazed house and me and my boyfriend are wrapped up in jumpers in bed and huge woolly blankets! (Woe is me!)
Anyway, I get a letter through the door about 6 months later saying that due to the amount of money I owe them they are going to put my monthly direct debits up to £73 per month!!! Again, I called their free phone number, and spoke to a woman and explained that I couldn't possibly be using that much gas and I just don't have that sort of money to pay out. The lady informed me that as I had used the gas, and they had done a meter reading recently to check, I had to pay the money. However, she said she'd arrange for someone else to come and check the meter in the next few days to make sure.
Surprisingly I did not hear back from them.
~ More Incompetence... ~
Another 4 months later I had a phone call from British Gas. "Hello Miss Blue_Ashleigh, due to the amount of gas you're using and that you're in £613 in debit to use, we're going to increase your monthly payments to £118 per month". By this point I am tearing my hair out. I don't have a fantastically well paid job and £118 per month on gas alone is a huge amount of money. Not to mention the fact I'd been a mad woman shouting at my boyfriend to hurry up out of the shower, not having the heating on (even in the SNOW), limiting our gas cooking...
I should point out, on the bottom of the gas statements there is a 'last year's usage' and a 'this year's usage' in an easy to understand bar chart. On our quarterly statements it was showing that this year's usage was 4 times that of last year. I questioned this with the operator who agreed that it was an usual change in gas usage. She took my latest meter reading, but confirmed that I was indeed using over 4 times the amount of gas I had used the previous year.
I then started going round the house sniffing in case I could smell a gas leak! But no... (thank fully, I suppose!). Our boiler was regularly checked, as it was a rented property, so I knew that wasn't faulty.
Anyway, as there's nothing you can really do I ended up paying £118 every single month. At least I would still have gas and we planning to move out shortly anyway. Although the thought of having to pay off a massive bill when we moved was weighing on my mind.
~ The Lack of Communication British Gas Bestows on Customers ~
Then I received a statement which was for the Bill Period: 01 Jul 08 - 16 Jun 11. A bit odd, I thought. Anyway, I sat down and read the 7 page bill. At the bottom: "Your new account balance: £849.48 in credit". My first thought was, blooming heck they owe me £849.48 fantastic. Moving swiftly onto, THEY OWE ME £849.48 AND I HAVE BEEN STRUGGLING TO PAY BILLS FOR THE PAST 2 YEARS. Deep breaths.
There was no covering letter saying they had got the bills wrong. Nothing.
So I called them. AGAIN. "Oh", the man says, "how odd... let me have a look..." (tumble weed rolls past) "let me speak to my manager". After about 5 minutes he comes back onto the line and says that they had thought I was on a metric metre, but actually was on an imperial metre so they thought I had been using more gas than I had. (Still no apology I hasten to add!).
To be fair to them, I requested my money back and within 5 days it was sat in my bank account. I am fairly sure if I had moved out before they had got to the bottom of this I would not have got my money back! It is unbelievable that someone comes to read the meter but they can't tell the difference between metric and imperial readings. Anyway...
Two months later I moved out of that property into a new one... leaving British Gas behind! I called up when I moved to give my last meter reading and settle the account (a whopping £23 for the past two months!). Done, dusted, saga over.
But no... still they plague me!
~ The Inability To Close Your Account ~
I had a letter from them which had been sent to my previous address but redirected by the joy that is Royal Mail! "Dear Miss Blue_Ashleigh, we hope you're settling into your new property and we're glad you've chosen to use British Gas." Hold up a minute, are they suggesting I have opened a new account with them but at my old address??? Yes, yes that is exactly what they had done. Dimwits. The man was very apologetic and said they had been mistaken - clearly I would not move out on 1st September only to move back in on 20th September. So he said he'd closed it all down and that's the last I would hear from them. Sorry.
Today I had a letter saying 'Your gas statement - actual' for the previous property but sent to my new address. WHAT!? I call up... yet again. The rather rude man said I owed them the money. I explained I'd settled my account (£23) when I closed my account. Apparently they had not taken that money. So I went online, and true as he said there was no payment to British Gas at the start of September. He assured me that once I paid I would not hear from them again. I agreed to pay if British Gas did not contact me futher!
He finished the call by saying "Would you like me to change the supplier on your new property to British Gas?". I politely, and reservedly, declined.
~ Concluding remarks ~
Current price I've been paying is 8.454p per kWh - for a two bed, terraced with minimal gas usage it costs (when they charge us correctly) about £20-£30 per month.
Yes, they have a free phone number. Yes, they are based in the UK. Yes, their bills are easy to read and understand. However, that does not excuse their complete inability to provide the customer care they should.
If you wish to torture yourself, please visit the British Gas website and request they supply you with gas: http://www.britishgas.co.uk/products-and-services/energy/our-tariffs.html. You can also deal with your account online should you so desire.
We first joined British Gas when we moved into a new rented house a couple of weeks ago, the meters we've got are gas and electric, both on pay as you go.
We had experienced issues with the gas meter as it has been swallowing the majority of credit that we were putting on it. I called British Gas straight away and got through to a very helpful lady, she talked me through how to go through the meter to see if there was a fault. It turned out that there was a fault with the meter so they booked me in for two days later for the engineer to come and replace the meter, they also promise to refund the money that was taken.
When it came to the day that the meter was supposed to be changed, unfortunately I received a phone call saying that the engineer had broken down, I thought this was good though that they pro-actively called me while still in the allocated time. They then re-booked it for two days later.
The engineer came out to replace the meter and there was no bother at all, I called Customer Services after the meter had been replaced and they credited the lost money back onto the meter (I had to top up three times for it to appear, but it did).
Overall I found the entire process easy and it has given me a very good opinion of British Gas, although pay as you go meter's are pricier than the monthly bill, in renting accomodation you don't always have a choice, so I would recommend British Gas to others as the service you receive when there is a fault is fantastic and everything is as quick as it can be and is very efficient and the information they provide is accurate
I have service homecare with British Gas . I had to phone several times to get a plumber out which turned out to be Dyno Rod he came out and caused me bad leaks in piping flooding my neighbour, they dont want to come back out and fix problem they caused. waste of time phoning through british gas they only pass you through to dyno rod they cannot understand plain English. I have been forced to get another plumber. I would advise any other Briitish Gas Homecare customer not to take out this plumbing and drain service , you are just wasting your money you get nowhere with this mob.
On Saturday 20th Nov we discovered water seeping through our lounge carpet. We rang through as we are covered by BG home care insurance . First use in 10yrs! a plumber arrived from DynaRod.
On removing carpet and screed flooring engineer confirmed leak but felt that the only way to resolve the issue was to have someone return on Monday with a kango as he could not repair the pipe safely without digging out below the pipe to ensure a clean cut and ensure no further damage to the pipe. Hot water was turned off. This put us in a bit of a predigament as have a disabled son and hot water essential. However, we understood that the plumber had based his decision on ensuring a safer, more efficient repair
On Monday an engineer arrived, he did not use the kango, fixing the pipe after cutting with a hacksaw blade twice - the first cut was not a clean one. he commented how awkward it was to cut and advised he did not know he was supposed to bring a kango. It was evident that he was finding it difficult to tighten the joint using the grips due to lack of space too. That evening the repaired joint began to seep water. Hot water turned off again
On Tuesday an engineer returned and tried to fix leak, again cuttin the pipe with a hacksaw. we turned on the water but the joint still leaked. He attempted to tighten the joint again, with difficulty due to lack of space. On turning on the water again the leak was worse and from somewhere else in the pipe further back under the screed. He decided he would need to return the next day with the Kango - still no hot water.
On wednesday the engineer returned with a collegue and a kango. After removing a small amount of screed from the floor they decided that our insurance did not cover us as the pipes did not have the right lagging! so still no hot water
I rang Dynorod on Wednesday evening as have been advised by two Gas engineers the lagging was fine - the pipes had been under the floor for more than 13years, with no issues, and the hair felt lagging which has a plastic sleeve, as our is, was exactly as required. This lagging is intact and not disintergrated. If there was something wrong with our lagging why did it take four visits to decide this? Why did the engineer only decide there was an issue with the lagging when he had done further damage to the pipe? Why did the engineer not use a Kango so that the first repairs could be done safely?
Today, Thursday 17th Nov, i rang through to DynoRod on at least four occasions, each time being promised my complaint was being looked at and someone would ring by the end of the day. STILL NOTHING.
Home care insurance with BG - Don't waste your MONEY!
When I moved into my first house I was a bit unsure of who to go with as I had never been in the situation before where I had to shop around for Gas/Electric. A saleman came to my door who was not to pushy like a lot of them are! He sold British Gas to me. They were absolutley fantastic, they arranged the switch over from the other provider, all I had to do was submit the meter readings, the kind gentleman that game round also found my gas meter as I had no idea where it was! They also set me up on a billing system called energy smart which all you do is submit your actual meter readings every month so your bill is up to date and not estimated and you only pay for what you have used. They send me an email and a text asking for the readings so if I have a problem with my phone or internet it has two ways of being sent. The customer service is fantastic they called not long after I had set everything up to check it was all ok and if I had any enquiries, when I had to email them a question they would call back within a matter of 24 hours to help. I can't fault the company they have been brilliant for me and would recommend to anyone, they have so many different tarrifs and plans that can suit anyone.
I have always had my supply by British Gas for over 30 years, whenever I have moved homes they supplier was with this company and so I just stayed to make it easier than have the hassle to switch, I have never had any problems with them, although I cannot compare them with anyone else, but whenever I have had any problems they have sorted them out very quickly, except for late last year when I received a cheque in the wrong name, my christian name was wrong and I could not put the cheque into my bank and so I telephoned them and the woman on told me to send the cheque back to them and they would send me another one in the correct name immediately they received it but I waited over a month and I did not hear from them and so I had to keep calling them almost every couple of days as they said they would send it the next working day, this went on for another couple of weeks and after about 6 weeks I called them again and told them that I was going to switch suppliers and it did the trick because that same day manager called me to say he was very sorry for the delay and he would send it immediatley and he did and he said that for the hassle I has over the past weeks he would give me a £10 high street voucher in with the cheque which I did receive 2 days later.
I do think that they tend to pass you from one person to another when you telephone, and it can be annoying and inconvenient and there is a lack of communication.
With only this one occasion I have not had any other problems and although I must start to do a comparison to see if I can receive a cheaper supply.
I also in this home have dual fuel discount for having both gas and electric with them, although it is only £15 a year it is a saving.
I rate it a 4 star.
This review is written in relation to the fixed price boiler repair service offered by British Gas.
Whilst I was glad that my heating bills would be reduced for a few days, the fact that my boiler had decided to stop working meant that I knew I was going to be paying out a bit of money to get it back up and running.
Having read that British Gas can sometimes be a bit hit and miss with their level of service, I decided to call out the company that installed my 12 year old boiler (put in by previous occupants) to have a look and hopefully sort the problem. Now as this review does not concern this company I do not want to say too much other than there was a lot of huffing, talk of throwing good money after bad and worst of all, I now know, finding fault with parts that were working fine (I think / hope this was incompetence rather than an attempt to rip me off). After an hour or so I'd lost patience and any trust in this engineer so I asked him to put by boiler back how it was and leave (the company have since had the cheek to try and bill me for the call out!).
After this debacle I decided to just go with British Gas using there fixed price boiler repair service. The fee is based on your post code and for my address, the price was £192. This price includes the call out, labour and parts for the first fault that is found and any connected faults. This aspect gave me some concern as when I hear things like this the cynic in me always thinks "don't worry, they'll find other faults!" It is also important and comforting to know that there is no fee if they cannot fix the problem and there is a 12 month guarantee on all work. There are other terms and conditions which can be clearly found on the British Gas website.
To book the service you call a free phone number. After taking a few details, including a card which payment will be charged to after the work is completed but excluding the make and model of the boiler as I was told they cover most boilers out there, the customer service representative said that as we had no hot water or heating we would have an engineer with us the following day between 8am and 1pm and that I would get a phone call 15 minutes before he arrived. As the morning went on all those stories of engineers not turning up when they should and thoughts of days off work wasted went through my head. Then at 1130am I received a call saying an engineer was on his way and would be there in 15 minutes. About 15 minutes later, give or take a couple, the engineer arrived.
My boiler was stripped down and the problem was instantly identified. The engineer said that he didn't have the part (a transistor board) with him but got straight onto a laptop and said he would order one and would be back the following day to replace it. Given the nature of the identified fault, he said that if there are any other problems, they might not be identified until this part was working again. The alarm bells sounded in the distance but I was happy so far! The only issue would be the fact somebody would have to wait at home the following morning for the engineer to arrive but this was a minor inconvenience.
The following day was similar to the previous one. We received a phone call well within the allotted time and the engineer was there within the 15 minutes. Thankfully, the part was replaced and the boiler fired up as it should with no other faults.
I accept that with such a big company that visits a lot of people on a daily basis there are going to be complaints and it is these that you often hear about. I cannot really have any. We knew what we would be paying (provided there were no serious problems), the engineer, who was polite and chatty, turned up when we were told he would and seemed more than competent at what he was doing and ultimately my boiler is now working again! Given that there are companies that will create work for themselves and find non existent problems, I think £192 is good value for a good service and peace of mind. They have also now probably found themselves a new customer for their homecare product (I already have my gas and electricity with them).
My gas boiler has recently started to have a few problems and although I am not a British Gas customer, I asked them to come out and have a look at the boiler. The lady in the call centre was really helpful and was able to get an engineer out to me within a couple of days. The engineer even called me on the day to confirm an estimated time of arrival so that I didn't have to wait in unnecessarily. After inspecting the boiler, he gave me a fixed price quote for the repair which was fully inclusive of parts, labour and VAT.
After doing a bit of research and getting some like for like quotes from other companies, I found that British Gas were only slightly more expensive than the other companies I tried. As one of the biggest gas companies in the UK, I decided I would use British Gas to complete the repair for peace of mind.
A few weeks after having the repair completed the boiler broke completely - it was over 20 years old! I contacted British Gas again and said that I needed a quote for a new boiler. The same engineer came back to give me a quote and to my surprise, he deducted the cost of the previous repair from the cost of the new boiler.
This gesture of goodwill combined with the excellent customer service received will ensure that I ask British Gas to quote on any future gas related repairs. Although a little bit more expensive, I would recommend British Gas for any boiler repairs as they were absolutely spot on!
British Gas are a company that tries it on with very expensive prices and if you don't notice that they have changed them when it comes to it they will renew your contract automatically and even extend it to two years. When this happens they will not listen to anything that you say at all they are not interested.
I have subscribed to British Gas Homecare 400 for several years. This week I needed to call them out because there was a leak under my toilet.I was told that the concealed cistern, which fits inside a ceramic casing, was leaking badly. British Gas confirmed that this was covered by my insurance, and would be rectified by Dynorod.
Dynorod, after inspecting the toilet,later informed me that it was NOT covered. I made several phone calls to British Gas, who apologised on each occasion and agreed that I WAS insured, but each time before an engineer could visit, Dynorod phoned me back to say it WASN'T insured.
I have now had no working toilet for two days, and the only reason given by either firm is that ceramic cisterns are not insured, even though the fault is in the plastic insert.
I'll not be renewing this insurance or recommending British Gas.
We joined British gas when moving into our new home because they were the holding supplier and we thought it would be easier to stick with them...how wrong we were!
I set up our account in joint names with me and my partner. About a month later I received a gas bill for in excess of £500!!! I could not understand how we had accrued such a bill in a 1 bedroom house with no central heating. After many calls it turns out that they had put my name against the debt from the previous tenant and my partners name on the new accont. Having gotten to the bottom of this I thought it was resolved and they sorted it out. Again, how wrong I was.
They amended their database but conveiently neglected to tell their debt collectors so we had debtors letters turning up threatening bailiffs as we owed so much money. Again a few phone calls resolved this but still my partner was very upset by it all as was mid uiversity finals and did not need the extra stress.
To them this little mix up meant nothing but to us meant we were actually declined from applying for a new bank account because it had affected my creidt rating which was fine before this happened. I was fuming.
None the less we stuck with them through their ridiculous price hikes and all.
The straw that broke the camels back however was when I paid my bills on time as always, over the phone by debit card. They gave me my payment reference numbers which silly me thought meant the payment was confirmed. Alas, that is clearly too much to expect. A month later they started sending overdue notices for the two bills and threatening legal action again. Apparenlty despite giving me payment reference numbers and confiming the card transaction over the phone it is still my resposnibility to esure they take the money - what more could I have done??? I gave them everything needed to take the money!!!
Apart from dire service their prices are high and overall I would advise to avoid this company at all opportunity.
When I was younger , I used to work for a company called the Cobra Group . We were salespeaple, hired by energy companies, mobile phone networks, and kitchen companies to go door to door, setting people up with contracts, encouraging them to get a quote, or trying to get them to change energy provider to NPower .
We had a pretty strict code of conduct - for instance, for anyone over 75 who wished to change over to Npower, we had to have someone else sign it, preferably a relative, to say that the person changing contract was of sound mind . We were not allowed to decieve people into changing over in any way - we couldn't falsely claim our prices were lower than their current supplier if they were not , we couldn't tell them signing over to us was essential if it was not .In short, we were people simply doing our jobs in a decent way .
All thats a long time gone, and now I'm amum. Yesterday, I gota knock at my door, and a chappie from British gas was stood there. Hvaing memoeis of having the door slammed on me when I was a cold caller, I politely listened to what he had to say .
He asked me who my electricity and gas bills were paid to . I asnwered that I paid through Ebico, a not for profit energy company who use Southern Electric and Scottish Power grids, and who make a point of charging the same for bill payers as they do for prepayment meter payers . Most energy companies charge you more if you use a prepayment meter, Ebico don't - that's why I chose them.
He then informed me that from the beginning of 2010, all energy companies would be required to operate through British Gas grids, and would have to pay British Gas a rental charge, meaning my prices would go up . Of course, if I changed to British Gas, my charges would fall, and they wouldn't have to pay rental on their own resources .
At this point, I began to smell a very large, very stinky rat . He came in, and gave me more of his story - how prices would, for customers who were not with British Gas, rise by approximately 10% over the next 3 years. He basically spun me a story that unless I signed over immediately to British Gas, I would lose a few hundred pounds a year.
I knew he was talking rubbish - partly through my own experience, but also largely in part due to him not being able to substantiate his claim with hard evidence, such as any copies of newspaper articles, price comparison sites, etc .
By this point, I had a plan . When he told me I scould sign a form to convert my meter to British Gas rates without actually changing supplier, I signed over, and took a copy of the triplicate form he gave me . After he left, I read it carefully - just as I thought, he'd tried to con me into changing contracts by telling me lies, something I further confirmed with a little internet research.
I phoned British Gas within half an hour, telling them of his actions, and giving them the number on the form that identified who he was. I also sent them a photocopy of the form by registered post the same afternoon . I was promised on the phone they would look into it .
A coupleof days after I sent them the photocopy, they got back to me,informing me that this particular employee had been working on commision (surprise surprise) via an outside agency they hired to generate contracts . They agreed that his conduct was deliberately misleading and was at the very least unethical, and informed me that this particular gentleman would no longer be working either for them, or for the agency they hired.
Further to that, they agreed that since I had signed over to them in order to give this evidence, to get in touch with my own supplier and cancel the changeover - which they did . They also informed me that shortly, a little gift would be arriving in the post for me in thanks for pointing this out .
A few days later, I recieved a cheque for £75, and a box of chocoolates.
British Gas may not be the cheapest company out there for you . But they certainly take fraudulent employees, even those employed by external revenue generating companies, very seriously . I recommend that if you have beem mis-led into signing to a new service provider, you get in touch with the company and let them know .
I may not take power from them, but British Gas as a company I have a great respect for - they take consumer concerns very seriously , and I appreciate that.