Correspondence #8: British Gas

'Transfer me the moneyyyy! - a quote for all ages.

‘Transfer me the moneyyyy! – a quote for all ages.

Roger Moore is a towel thief. I’m quoting the great Alan Partridge here but for the purpose of this article it’s important to substitute the words ‘Roger Moore’ with ‘British Gas’, and ‘towel thief’ with ‘fucking thieving bastard’.

Apparently Laura has spent her entire adult life – that’s 50 years – trying to claim back the money she’s overpaid to British Gas for her household electric. Laura is quite the environmental crusader so has some of those shiny solar panels on the roof of our house which I always thought were just for show, or to convince people you cared about the environment when really you quite enjoy littering, and are vaguely impressed by huge oil spills that decimate the entire sea life in the North Atlantic. Amazingly, however, they actually work (my laptop is currently being powered by the Sun-God, Ra) and this caused all sorts of confusion to the top brass at British Gas who couldn’t understand the concept, and were baffled as to why our electricity usage was lower than they’d predicted.

Eventually, I decided to take on the case and politely asked them to give Laura her fucking money back because for months they just refused to hand it over. Given the robotic responses of each individual I spoke to, I’m convinced I was corresponding with an artifical intelligence of some sort. Perhaps a T-1000, but ideally Johnny-5.

N.B. As an added titbit of information, during this saga a British Gas meter reader came round to our house to read the meters, used our toilet and clogged it.

 

British Gas Customer Service <customer.service@contactus.britishgas.co.uk>
Jun 2
to me

Dear Miss Laura,

Thank you for letting us know that you wish to have a refund.

I’m sorry that you unable request refund form your online account.

I understand that the current balance on your electricity account is £1052.22 in credit. I do understand you should be able to request this refund without any error.

However, I would like to let you know, whenever we calculate your payment plan, we also consider available balance on the account.  This means, that your current credit balance is included in your payment plan.  This is the reason, when you request for refund system inform you that your payment amount will be incase.

Just to let you know, If you have a credit on your account at your annual review which is in mid October 2016 of £5.00 or more, we’ll automatically refund this back to you.

Please reply to my email, if you still wish to have a refund and I’ll be glad to assist you further. If you decide to have a refund then your payment plan will be re-started and payment amount can be increase or decrease.

I’m sorry that you have been unhappy with our service and have found it necessary to raise the complaint.  We appreciate all customer feedback as it enables us to continually improve the level of service that we provide to our customers.

Please get in touch by 16 June 2016 on the details above, so we can progress this for you.

If  you don’t need us to help or you’re happy that this is now resolved, you don’t need to do anything and I’ll make the arrangements to close your complaint on 16 June 2016.

If you’d like information about our complaints handling procedure you can view a copy by either going online at britishgas.co.uk/energycomplaints, or by getting in touch and one of our advisors will arrange to send you a copy free of charge.

Thank you for contacting British Gas.

Kind regards

Sunil Kshirsagar

Customer Service Advisor

 

Chris James Peet <chrisjpeet@googlemail.com>
Jun 3
to British Gas

Dear Sunil,

Many thanks for your friendly reply.

While I appreciate you taking the time to cut and paste large swathes of generic text from your ‘banal and pointless responses to irritating customers’ file into an email and clicking ‘send’, unfortunately the majority of your reply made no sense at all, and the bits that did make sense were irrelevant to the enquiry that I was making.

Call me unkind, but basing an electricity payment plan on the amount of available balance in the account is not only ridiculous but also vacuously stupid. I can’t even think of what it’s like being a new customer to British Gas what with not having any accrued credit at all. I should imagine the monthly payment should run into the millions. Similar to the way in which you treat your customers, I expect people revert to being Neanderthals, lighting small fires in their homes for warmth and murdering their neighbours for food. Given the excessive noise that our neighbours make, it’s quite possible that this could happen sooner rather than later.

In response to your information that come our annual review in October that any account credit over £5 will automatically be refunded to us, it makes sense to just cut out the waiting around time and pay us back the £1052.22 that you currently owe us straight away.

Please confirm this via email at your earliest convenience.

Kind regards,

‘Mr Laura’

 

British Gas Customer Service
Jun 4
to me

Dear Mr Laura,

Thank you for your email about the Direct Debit payment plan.

I’m sorry that you aren’t happy with the previous reply.  I do understand that there should have been actual credit on your account which you able to request easily.

Upon checking your electricity account, I see that the payment plan is set up incorrectly.   Please don’t worry, I’ve now cancelled the payment plan. However, I see that we haven’t billed your gas account in last 28 days.  In order to send the refund, it’s necessary to bring your account up to date.

It would be great, if you’ll reply to my email with the current readings for both gas and electricity. Once I receive the readings, I’ll first bill the account then set up payment plan and send you refund.

I’ll give you calculation about how the credit balance adjusted against payment plan. I’ll also let you know, if I’ll be able to send you the refund. I’m sorry that this information wasn’t given to you in ealier email. It was never our intension to make our customers unhappy with our reply.

Mr Laura, I really want to help you and I assure you that I’ll set everything right for you. I also understand your annual review will be done by mid October 2016 which will be longer period to have a refund.

Furthermore, I see that you aren’t named on Miss Laura’s account. It would be great, if you’ll reply to my email with the scan copy of Letter of Authority duly singed by her. Once I have it, I’ll add you as a representative on the account so that you can contact us on behalf of her.

I’m sorry I’ve not been able to fully resolve your enquiry today. I’ll contact you again on 5 June 2016 to give you an update on my progress.

If you would like to review our Complaint Handling Procedure please visit our website or alternatively, reply to my email and I will arrange to send you a copy free of charge through the post. If you have any questions in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to reply to my email.

Thank you for contacting British Gas.

Kind regards

Sunil Kshirsagar
Customer Service Advisor

 

Chris James Peet <chrisjpeet@googlemail.com>
Jun 6
to British Gas

Dear Sunil,

Many thanks for your friendly reply.

Additional thanks for noticing that the payment plan has been set up incorrectly. Given my recent experience with British Gas in order to secure this long overdue refund which has included telephoning you 34 times, live-chatting on your website 12 times, chatting for an hour to a man who came to take our meter readings about what the best way to open a cupboard door is, and currently corresponding with you via email, it doesn’t surprise me that our account is in something of a mess. I suspect incompetence is just standard operating procedure at British Gas.

I’m intrigued to know exactly how the credit balance will adjust against the new payment plan. As I understand it, there’s £1052.22 in our account that we’ve overpaid and as I presume you’ll estimate what our electricity consumption will be over the next 12 months, I suspect a large portion of this money will magically disappear in order to reflect this hypothetical scenario. In 2014 I estimated that England would win the World Cup and gambled approximately four months wages to reflect my confidence in this hoping that the winnings would allow me to set up my own science lab like Walter Bright out of Breaking Brad, and perhaps one day come up with an alternative fuel source in order to bring the fossil fuel industry to its knees. Unfortunately England went out in the first round, as did a third of my annual salary from my SkyNet account, leaving me completely destitute and realising that clairvoyancy probably wouldn’t be a good career choice. Given that we’ve overpaid over £1000 to British Gas, I suspect your skills at predicting the future should amount to something similar.

With this in mind, once again I would like to request the full refund of £1052.22 that is in our account, along with any interest that British Gas has accrued on this money. Although the internet exists and I am currently on it, I couldn’t figure out what the current interest rates are so I asked the angry builders who are currently putting in a new downstairs toilet in our home. They said we’re due back another £500 on top of this and I for one won’t argue with them as they seem to be perpetually annoyed, and have poor taste in music and questionable views on the EU referendum. I would also assert that this additional interest payment we’re probably due will include the emotional distress of having to repeatedly correspond with a company that clearly doesn’t like us.

As requested, here are the latest gas and electricity readings, taken by the aforementioned gas and electricity meter reading man who visited our home earlier this month. He enjoys cupboards, using our toilet and taking gas and electricity meter readings.

Electricity: 91147

Gas: 1121

I hope this matter will be resolved and our full refund will be forthcoming because we’re running out of food.

Kind regards,

‘Mr Laura’

 

British Gas Customer Service
Jun 8
to me

Dear Chris

Thank you for your email about refund.

I’m sorry to know about your financial issues and you’ve not yet received the refund. I’m also sorry as you’ve to contact us numerous times to receive the refund. I regret that your impression of British Gas is not good at present and would like to assure you that this is not typical of the level of service we strive to provide.

Last we’ve annually reviewed the electricity account in mid of November 2015. At your annual review if your account is in credit by over £5.00, and the bill is to an actual meter reading, we’ll automatically refund the credit to you. As the account was not billed to an actual meter reading the refund was not sent automatically by our system.

Just to let you know, your payment plan runs for a year and we split your expected usage over equal instalments.  This means that in the summer you’ll usually pay more than you use to cover your higher winter usage.  It’s normal for you to build up credit or debit balances from time to time, these even themselves out over the course of your payment year. Our aim is for you to have a zero balance at the end of your payment year.

The reading confirmed by you of 91147(electricity) and 1121(gas) are same as confirmed on 1st June 2016. Please reconfirm your meter readings.

Also having checked the account details further, I see that the energy account for your address is solely registered in the name of Miss Laura. Due to Data Protection Act I’m unable to discuss the account details with you and proceed with your request to send refund.

We’ll be happy to add you as nominee on the account holder’s energy account to make sure that we can discuss all  the account details with you in future.  Please reply to my email with the Letter Of Authority signed by the account holder so that we can add you as a nominee on the account.

I wish to resolve this matter as quickly as possible for you. Please get in touch by 22 June 2016 with the details above, so I can progress this for you.

If however, you don’t need us to help or you’re happy that this is now resolved, you don’t need to do anything and I’ll make the arrangements to close your complaint on 22 June 2016.

If you would like to review our Complaint Handling Procedure please visit our website or alternatively, reply to my email and I will arrange to send you a copy free of charge through the post.

We look forward to hearing from you.Thank you for contacting British Gas.

Kind regards

Kiran Jawale
Customer Service Advisor

 

Chris James Peet <chrisjpeet@googlemail.com>
Jun 8
to British Gas

Dear Kiran,

Many thanks for your friendly reply.

While I understand your insistence on repeating what has already been discussed in great detail via email, telephone, web chat and with a real life human being, I fear the circles we appear to be going in in order to get this resolved are becoming all too reminiscent of my current failings at learning to drive, specifically the many times I drive for whole hours in circles on the inside lane of a roundabout and being completely unable to exit at any point unless I drive into another car and run it off the road. Did you know if you crash into another car and cause extensive damage and injury you can’t just drive off into the sunset? I had no idea.

I’ve also taken the time – at no extra cost to you – to ask my girlfriend to add me as a VIP on the account in order to enable me to comprehensively meddle in her affairs. It should be noted here that she is 36 months pregnant therefore some of her communication with me was somewhat erratic and I was forced to place her in an arm-bar like the ones you see in UFC so I could get her to acquiesce to me being on the account. The below correspondence is a letter of authority discussion between me and my beloved with regards adding me to the energy account:

Me: ‘Hi, baby.’
LC: ‘Hi, baby. You are so handsome and sweet and wonderful. Thank you for spending 6 weeks of your life speaking to the British Gas people in order to get back the money that they stole from us.’
Me: ‘Thanks, baby. I’ll do anything for you. Will you give me access to your energy account so I can discuss it in more detail with Kiran and Sunil? I could really use £1000.’
LC: ‘What? Excuse me while I’m sick into the toilet.’
*waits*
Me:
‘Are you okay, baby?’
LC: ‘Not really. It’s tough being 36 months pregnant, you know.’
Me: ‘Enough about that. Where are we at with me having direct access to this £1000?’
LC: ‘What?’
Me: ‘Hey, baby. Have you ever watched the UFC?’
LC: ‘What’s that?’

I, Miss Laura, hereby allow my beloved fiancé Chris James Peet, aka ‘Mr Laura’, full access to my British Gas & Electricity account.
Sincerely… Miss Laura.

Finally, given your obvious displeasure at having to pay us back the money that we’re so obviously owed, would it be pertinent in this instance to simply cancel our account with you, pay off our final bill and reclaim the money that way? We’ve decided to revert to the ways of the Neanderthal man as per my original email and will be setting fire to all of our earthly possessions in order to keep us warm during the lonely nights, cook our pet fish as food, and perform naked ceremonial Pagan rituals to the Goddess of Gas & Electricity around a homemade bonfire in our living room in order for us to have a blessed summer.

Therefore, as we are going to be leaving British Crass then we’d like the full refund of £1052.22 to deposited into our account along with any accrued interest on this. I will send updated meter readings when I learn how to count.

I look forward to your Speedy Gonzales response.

Kind regards,

‘Mr Laura’

 

British Gas Customer Service
Jun 8
to me

Dear Mr Laura,

Thank you for your email about the refund.

I’m sorry you’ve not yet received the refund and for the repeat contact this has caused.

I’m sorry for your driving concerns.

I’m sorry to know about Miss Laura’s health and for repeat contact this has caused.

I regret to inform you that, due to Data Protection Act we need the account holder to contact us or you can reply with the Letter Of Authority signed by Miss Laura (account holder) so that, we can process your request for refund.

Also the reading confirmed by you of 91147(electricity) and 1121(gas) are same as confirmed on 1 June 2016. Please reconfirm your current meter readings.

I wish to resolve this matter as quickly as possible for you. Please get in touch by 22 June 2016 with the details above, so I can progress this for you.

If however, you don’t need us to help or you’re happy that this is now resolved, you don’t need to do anything and I’ll make the arrangements to close your complaint on 22 June 2016.

If you would like to review our Complaint Handling Procedureplease visit our website or alternatively, reply to my email and I will arrange to send you a copy free of charge through the post.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you for contacting British Gas.

Kind regards

Kiran Jawale
Customer Service Advisor

 

Chris James Peet <chrisjpeet@googlemail.com>
June 18
to British Gas

Dear Kiran,

Many thanks for your friendly reply.

After taking your advice and once again contacted British Gas in order to secure this refund, I have now managed – via 14 customer service advisers, a lot of swearing and a mild heart attack – to be added to Miss Laura’s energy account. It only took 7 hours being transferred between telephone operators and extensively clueless human beings in order to arrange this.

Once, when I was about 9, I was forced to watch a film entitled, ‘The Never Ending Story’, which was about a drunk flying goat who transported a small boy around space while reading a large dusty book that he would punch a lot. For a child, it was entertaining in a way that watching someone fall over in public and hurt themselves would be for an adult. Eye-opening, exhilarating and potentially bloody. It didn’t escape me, however, that the story did actually end after about an hour and a half which, looking back, was the biggest example of false advertising I’ve ever seen, and it scarred me for life.

Thankfully, due to the protracted nature of this correspondence with you, I am a believer once again in ‘The Never Ending Story’ saga only this time it’s called ‘The Never Ending Story Continues To Never End: The British Gas Years’. I think it’s a catchy title.

With contemporary film being the theme of this email, allow me to quote from another recent film in order for us to secure the £1052.22 that you’ve stolen from us. It’s from a movie entitled ‘Jenny Maguire’  which stars Tommy Cruise as a secret agent who steals money from one of his clients, Tuba Goody Jnrs.

‘Please transfer me the money! Please transfer me the money! TRANSFER ME THE MONEY! TRANSFER ME THE MONEEYYYY!’

It’s an excellent quote and food for thought too.

I expect a full refund will now be transferred into our bank account in due course.

Kind regards,

Chris ‘Mr Laura’ Peet

 

British Gas Customer Service
Jun 20
to me

Dear James Peet

Thank you for the enquiry you sent regarding a refund, I’m sorry it’s taken me a while to get back to you.

Unfortunately I am unable to help for the time being, as you are currently not named on the account, and as such I am unable to disclose any information regarding the account.

This is due to the Data Protection Act.

If you would like to be named on the account, please call us on 0800 048 0202* when you are with the account holder, so we can get permission to either speak to yourself, or add your name to the account.

Alternatively, you can send in a signed power of attorney letter from the account holder, with the account number and details, authorising you to be added to the account. This can be posted, or attached to an email. Our mailing address is:

British Gas, PO Box 227, Rotherham, S98 1PD.

Once you have been added to the account, or we have verbal permission from the account holder to discuss the account with yourself, we will be able to disclose any information you require.

I apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

Please contact us should you need any help in the future and thank you for contacting British Gas.

Kind regards

Christopher Smith

 

Chris James Peet <chrisjpeet@googlemail.com>
Jun 30
to British Gas

Dear Topher Smit,

Many thanks for your friendly reply.

I apologise in turn for my tardy response but after receiving your latest email regarding not being named on the account after previously being added to the account by a dozen customer service advisers, I’ve spent the previous couple of weeks in a secure mental health facility.

While it must rank as one of the most satisfying aspects of your job, telling people to frack off in the most roundabout way possible doesn’t naturally appeal to me. I prefer to do it directly, especially if I’m doped up on all those drugs that I stole from the mental hospital.

With this in mind, it greatly pleases me to inform you that this is a sentiment that very much rings true as given the ongoing saga of securing the refund, a quality of customer service that ranks up there with having one’s head slowly crushed in a vice, and a quite astounding level of stupidity as standard operating procedure, I have no other alternative but to abandon ship and move to another energy supplier.

Thankfully, and via another four telephone calls to your helpline which included being hung up on three times, we have managed to secure the refund. I did this all by myself on the telephone despite not being on the account. When the adviser asked to speak the account holder I simply affected a voice similar to that of Marilyn Monroe when she serenaded JFK on his birthday, way back during the first world war. To be fair, anyone hearing that voice would be putty in their hands so I was able to close the account and acquire the funds that were due to us. As a watertight security measure, handing a phone over to the account holder to okay someone else to meddle with it is on a par with those watertight doors on the Titanic: fucking pointless. The ship sank, you know. I saw it once in a documentary with her out of that film she was in with Leonardo the Caprio. I hope this explains the reference of me abandoning ship. I own my own lifejacket.

Anyway, as much as it upsets me to finally end this correspondence, I am now ending this correspondence.

Frack the frack off.

Kind regards,

James ‘Mr Laura’ Peet

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Posted on 30/06/2016, in Human Beings Still Exist and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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