Dear all, 08/01/2021
Please find below, an overview of my experience with Scottish Gas, which will appear truly unbelievable. Should any party be considering use of their services, please do not consider. Read my experience, and then judge for yourself. I am not one for anonymous malicious adverse communications, which would disallow the recipient the opportunity for recourse, so in this instance, I will disclose my customer account number, should this communication end up being reviewed by Scottish Gas personnel at any point in time (Gas account number 851012491314).
My personal background. Retired, along with my wife November 2018, and moved into a new build property in Edinburgh, 26th February 2019. Single pension, and wife with medical condition. No sympathy vote required, simply additional information which exacerbated a fundamental requirement for my wife to feel financially comfortable enough to switch the heating on. This rarely occurred, out of fear of unknown accrued bill costs.
Shortly after uptake of the property it became abundantly clear to me that Scottish Gas had the incorrect meter serial numbers etc for the property, therefore billing was stalled. This is the only element that I will give to Scottish Gas, for balance, as the serial numbers were incorrectly provided by the estate builders, initially.
However, this is where things began to take off negatively, for an intense period of six months, where I spent many, many, many, man-hours on the telephone to Scottish Gas operatives, repeatedly providing the same sets of serial numbers and readings, to absolutely no avail. Many of these calls last hours in duration, and were to separate operatives globally. Uk, South Africa etc.
Throughout this extended period, call centre operatives periodically escalated the problem to ‘Case Handlers’ and indeed a Complaints Resolution Manager’. All of these actions resulted in no further progress, despite my repeated provision of serial numbers, and ultimately actual photographs of the meter units, with the respective serial numbers clearly visible. In actual fact, a Scottish Gas engineer personally visited my property mid-way throughout this process, again to no avail.
Note a sample of personalities engaged with throughout the period:
- Lona Somlata
-Graeme (23rd May 1.5hrs duration)
-Tamica (30th May)
-Sarah Woodward (30th May Complaints Resolution Manager)
-Carlene (1st July. 30 mins)
- Gwyneth (9th July)
- Maria Bell (New Case handler. Transferred to her due to inaction by previous handler. 6 calls to this individual over a period of time)
At this point, and out of utter stress and frustration, I initiated a change of energy provider request from Scottish Gas to SSE (Scottish Hydro. 18th July)). This transfer was unable to complete for many weeks, as Scottish Gas had STILL not managed to transfer my meter details onto the national database.
In continuing to engage with Scottish Gas, further calls were made to their operatives, as follows:
- Selwayne (9th Sept. South Africa. 25 min’s)
- Tashreeq (18th Sept)
- Phil (23rd Sept)
- Natasha (7th Oct. Advised Natasha at this stage that I would be unwilling to settle outstanding bills until I was compensated for severe stress and not least a massive unkown number of total man hours on the phone.
- 16th Oct I received an exceptionally aggressive call from a male Scottish Gas operative indicating severe threats (legal etc. Forgot to record name), should I not IMMEDIATELY pay in full, my electrical bill. At this stage I paid £318.40, which I regret doing. This only served to increase my resolve to hold out for an ethical Scottish Gas response on my gas bill, which still rolls on, as follows:
- 24th Oct raised complaint on my billing, as all bills had commenced from zero meter readings, where correct start bills meter readings had already been provided, avoiding my liability to pay costs prior to my entry into the property.
- 6th Jan 2020 (almost a year from commencement with British Gas), is where my last communication occurred, which is the most unsettling one. Call made to Pritpal at Scottish Gas, whom indicated that due to no resolution, he would be REFERRING MY CONCERN BACK TO THE ORIGINAL CALL HANDLER. Complete ‘reset’.
- HOWEVER, the above action did not occur, and my next communication received came directly from a company called Moorgroup (A debt handling agency), whom are now in regular chase contact with me, attempting to recover around £200 of gas billing, with I guess, the next stage being a court summons for monies due.
Beyond the above points, if any reader is in ANY doubt at all, as to my integrity and honesty, I have saved the best for last.
At the point of my attempted energy transfer from Scottish Gas to SSE, I simultaneously raised a formal complaint with the energy ombudsman over Scottish Gas’s utter incompetence and unethical and non-professional conduct. Once again, and for transparency, the complaint reference details are:
Your reference: EG058120-19 Date: 15 Oct 2019
Andy Dossett Investigating Officer (Ombudsman)
After an extended investigation, the ombudsman found entirely in my favour against Scottish Gas, proposing that Scottish Gas award me £75 in compensation and that they write to me formally to apologise. While that, at face values appeared to be a positive resolution, I am sure that any reader of this review will find it hilarious that an award of £75 for my incalculable manhours and severe stress, would compensate me appropriately. As a complainant, you can therefore press the ‘accept outcome’ function on the on-line complaint, or decline, if you disagree with the findings. If you decline (as I did), the complaint is therefore regarded as ‘null and void’, as if it never existed, and therefore the accused party can regard the award against them as ‘non binding’.
For those that are unaware of the ombudsman process, the complainant and accused both have visibility of the other parties exchanges (edited by the ombudsman). I therefore had sight of Scottish Gas’s statement that they would compensate me appropriately, and that they would write to me with an apology letter. This never occurred.
Having queried the above with Moorgroup, the debt recovery service, their dialogue with Scottish Gas has restated that they regard to ombudsman’s finding as ‘non binding’, and that they have no intention of offering compensation and/or a letter of apology, as per the previous commitment.
It is now 17 months since I attempted to use Scottish Gas’s energy services. To date events:
- Could not set up correct billing, despite my best efforts
- Bounced me round numerous personnel and call handlers for months (No Covid factor here to mitigate)
- Threatened legal action against a customer who had been desperately TRYING to pay them for between 6 and 8 months, to no avail
- Washed their hands of the problem and passed to a debt collection agency
- Saw the energy Ombudsman award against them, and used the complainant ‘decline’ option to regard the outcome as ‘non binding’. Any substantive organisation, in this day in age would still have had the decency to write and apologise for their actions and inactions.
- Notably, and from ALL of the Scottish Gas operatives engaged with, NOT 1 individual, at any point, asked what they could do to keep a customer, whose only apparent failure, was a desire to pay his bills over a period of many months.
My apologies for the length of this communication. Sadly it is not over yet, for myself and my wife, as the stress continues, with what I am sure will be an impending court summons, where presumably a judge will rule on the events above, which I will present in full. I will continue to amend this post, and repost consistently throughout the year, until such time as the matter is concluded.
And here we go again:
23rd Sept 2020 Calls to Scottish Gas, after being ‘back referred’ from Moorgroup, the debt collection agency. Discussions with Lisa, Customer Advisor (Complaints), and then finally, Pauline, Customer Services Advisor, Collections Department. During these calls I requested that THIS communication be placed in front of a manager in responsibility for consideration. They POINT BLANK, refused to do so, and further confirmed that they had no intention of making ANY form of apology to me.
I further indicated that unless they did so, I would be publishing this review, and republishing on a weekly basis, for a period of 18 months, more or less in line with the length of this complaint against them. So here we go. It’s a large organization, and I am only one individual, but these forums are all we have. Please AVOID these horrible human beings.
Further response from British Gas to my formal complaint, by Hannah Jeoffrey from their complaints team on 9th Oct, indicating that they wished to engage, and that if I did not respond to them within 14 days, they would close my complaint again, as no further action required by me. I responded IMMEDIATELY, and now, (20th Oct), 11 days later, she STILL has not responded to my concerns, which, primarily required a letter of apology from them. I froze my online postings at their point of contact with me, but will, of course, start to repost updates from Tues 20th Oct, if I have not had a satisfactory response. That post will be post 3 of 72 ongoing posts.
Well! They finally responded in Nov 2020. A written apology, nearly 2 years from the start of this fiasco, but ZERO compensation for two years of my time (and theirs). Compensation offer related to suggesting they would not demand the late bill payment charge(Which was only there, due to the complaint existing), and even more laughably, they would not demand the early contract closure fees of £30 per utility.
In the end, I paid my outstanding bill, reluctantly. This is now post 4 of 72 posts. I will continue to share throughout the year, until British Gas ‘DO THE RIGHT THING’. This is NOT over. No commercial savvy, at all!, for such a large organization.
A truly disgusting horrible, thoughtless and unprofessional organization. Please avoid, if you possibly can.
Best regards from Edinburgh.