The worst customer service I have ever experienced
Your leg is a little sore, so you go to the doctor. He has a look, nods, and tells you that everything is fine. You go home, relieved. A few days later, he phones you and tells you that in fact, your leg needs to be operated on. There’s a problem with it that can’t be solved using medication. Shocked, you question the decision. Yes, he’s sure – you need an operation. You’re not convinced, but reluctantly you listen to the advice, and you head into surgery. A few days later he phones you again… it seems he’s made a mistake. Your leg was fine, and didn’t need to be operated on. He’s sorry, and to show just how sorry he is, he says that he’ll send you a cheque for a few pounds. He hopes that this will be satisfactory. Sounds unbelievable? Maybe, although this is how I was treated by British Gas. Luckily, it didn’t involve any body parts – it was only my boiler, and electrics.
In 2012, unfortunately, my boiler was “diagnosed” by British Gas as condemned, and after replacing it, British Gas let me know that their call centre had made a mistake. Interestingly enough, I’d just taken out an insurance policy with them, which included my boiler. Even more interestingly, my first service mentioned nothing about my boiler being condemned. In fact, it only found two issues, which were easily solvable, and for a significantly smaller amount of money. So what, I hear you ask. Well, after condemning my boiler (just after I took out insurance), they also condemned my electrics (covered in the same insurance policy). They condemned my electrics, after investigating a blown fuse, by telling my tenants that if they touched anything, they would be electrocuted. A nice message to deliver, when there are small children in the house. More interesting than all of that, is that a few weeks prior, I was living in the house, with a working boiler, and working electrics. No shocks, no electrocution, no lack of heating… all of it… working. Doesn’t it seem odd – they’ve just insured my boiler and electrics, and now they’re telling me to replace both, at my own cost of course. Seems awfully convenient from where I’m standing! Their excuse for the boiler – the plumber that replaced it should have known better, and should have gone against what British Gas had said. They’ve deftly avoided the electrics issue.
After a year of battling with British Gas, receiving little understanding, empathy, or in fact any sincere acceptance of responsibility on their part, I’ve exhausted negotiations. I am no longer able to discuss, on a reasonable level, how appalling their service is, how badly they treat customers, and how their actions have expensive consequences, which I have had to pay for. They have now reverted to illogical, absurd explanations and given that I’ve spent a year fighting with them, I have no energy left to try and decipher their condescending, patronizing, and arrogant posturing. I spent £1650 because of their mistake, and the original compensation offered was a meager £30. That’s what I’m worth to them. The phone calls I’ve made cost more than that. I’m now up to a whopping £180 after the year of explaining and fighting.
I can’t change the world, I’m not able to rally troops, and I clearly can’t get big business to see my side. That said though, I will be damned if I let British Gas push me around like my money isn’t worth anything, and like I don’t mean anything because I’m one of millions. My voice should still count! So, my plea to all other British Gas customers is this: if they have in any way cost you money that you shouldn’t have spent, speak up. Please. If this is a constant and consistent behavior, in spite of fines being issued, appalling customer service figures, and a general unease when people speak their name, we need to do something to shine a light. Maybe they won’t listen to me, but they might listen to 10 or 100 or 1000. We pay for them, so they should provide the service.
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