A billpayer was outraged after being overcharged thousands of pounds for energy he did not use. A number of customers have claimed their supplier charged them direct debits that were not accurate representations of the actual amount of gas and electricity they were using.
One mortified Daily Telegraph reader, Alan France, from Buckinghamshire, said he was even billed as much as £55,000 by British Gas due to a technical fault.
Mr France said he accidentally changed his direct debit using British Gas’s app but was left found his supplier unresponsive and the app unusable as he scrambled to resolve the issue.
He told The Daily Telegraph: “I obviously disputed the increase and questioned why their software would allow a customer to do that in any case.
“For most of the time, the direct debit manager function on the app said: ‘We’ve hit a glitch. Sorry, you can’t adjust your direct debit right now. Please try again later’.”
His supplier eventually did fix his direct debit and apologised for not responding to the complainant sooner.
Another British Gas customer, Jan Gayner, a 78-year-old from Fulham in southwest London, said her supplier hiked up her monthly payments to £220 a month in January.
This is despite the fact she was more than £1,000 in credit. Credit balances are normally at their lowest as winter comes to an end. This is why Ms Gayner was aghast when she saw that she discovered that she would be paying more every month.
She told The Telegraph: “I want to switch but I can’t because as long as they hold onto £1,000 in the ether how do I know I’m going to get it back?”
Eventually, her provider refunded her credit and offered compensation “in the region of £75”, later apologising for the delay in resolving the issue. For a short time, she was even unable to see her credit balance whatsoever.
A British Gas spokesperson said that customers can self-manage their accounts online, including setting up and managing their direct debits.
This comes as energy bills remain at record highs and are even set to soar by £500 in April when Government support becomes less generous.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has previously said that the Government’s support “can’t last forever” and announced that the current £2,500 price cap will have to rise to £3,000.
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This means households with typical energy usage will be paying hundreds of pounds more for their bills, and it also comes as the Government’s £400 winter discount draws to a close.
For millions, the historically high energy bills are already forcing people to choose between heating and eating as a cost of living crisis rips through the nation.
Carmel Hill, a 58-year-old grandmother who has suffered three strokes and lives alone, has rarely been putting her heating on. Instead, she uses blankets and dressing gowns to keep warm.
She no longer works because of her health problems, meaning most of her time is spent in the house.
As the bill rise looms, Ms Hill said she will have to cut back on energy use and food in the summer.
She told Birmingham Live: “In the summer time I can cut back on my food as I don’t need as much to keep warm…It shouldn’t be like this.
“We’re supposed to be one of the wealthiest countries in the world but I’m having to look at what I eat in the summer so I can afford to eat in the winter and use the heating at the same time.”
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