to think British Gas have fleeced my Gran?

(26 Posts)
CheshireDing Mon 28-Dec-15 16:45:46

Happened to have a conversation with my Gran where it turns out she had her boiler replaced and the old one removed by BG, total cost £3,000. Plus they charged for an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).

I looked online and it took seconds to find the same boiler new for around £700. We had our boiler removed and replaced last year due to a leak by a regular Engineer (not BG) and total cost was £1,900.

I have written to BG complaining about the cost, the unnecessary EPC (she didn't even know she had had it done) and for a breakdown. They wrote back basically saying no to a breakdown and that I could contact a Solicitor but they didn't think I would gain anything.

I then wrote to the energy company Ombudsman they have have written back saying it's nothing to do with them either.

I would appreciate any thoughts as to where to go from here as I definitely think they have overcharged her.

ScentedJasmine Mon 28-Dec-15 16:51:13

A break down of cost seems a reasonable request....
Bet the cost of fitting very high.

FelicityGubbins Mon 28-Dec-15 16:54:25

They have overcharged, but unfortunately like the payday loan companies there is no law saying they have to charge in line with what is fair sad
There isn't any way you will get any kind of refund, it's shit but one of those things.

Enjolrass Mon 28-Dec-15 16:56:03

The energy ombudsman only deals with gas and electric supply, they can't do anything.

You would need to prove that your gran was not told about (and charged for) the certificate.

If it is still the same as four years ago, British Gas are more expensive to fit a boiler however, the guarantee is longer and you get home care included for a period as well.

How much a boiler costs to fit is not a set amount. Yet ca charge what they want to fit a boiler and charge more than small companies.

Unless you feel the amount quoted was different to what she paid or can prove she was bullied into paying for it. There isn't much you can do.

Yes other people will fit it cheaper, but that doesn't mean they have done anything legally wrong.

I would say your best bet is to cal citizens advice.

Daffodil90 Mon 28-Dec-15 16:56:42

They will probably only deal with your gran as she is their customer. I doubt they would provide transaction details to anyone else. Can she ask for a breakdown of costs/was she provided with a quote or has an invoice?

Maybe there was additional pipe work if it was unsafe? Sounds pretty steep though....

Enjolrass Mon 28-Dec-15 17:01:01

Does she have the quote?

Or any paper work. She should have been left some and with the warren to.

I can only liken this to having your car fixed. If I want a service I go to my local garage as its half price the cost of the branded dealership.

Companies are allowed to carve what they want, as customers it's up to us to vote with our feet.

Birdsgottafly Mon 28-Dec-15 17:02:43

British Gas overcharge, it tends to be Pensioners and those with money who are happy to use them, because of them being a long standing "reliable" company.

She hasn't been scammed, she's just paid more than she needs to.

How does your Gean feel about it? It can be very upsetting for an elderly person and can effect their physical health.

It might be better if you let it go.

Stylingwax Mon 28-Dec-15 17:16:34

British Gas are more expensive than anyone else. I don't think you'll get anywhere to be honest. Actually I'd say 3k for a boiler inc. fitting from them isn't too bad though I appreciate you could get it cheaper if you shop around. But then you can get anything cheaper if you shop around.

CheshireDing Mon 28-Dec-15 17:33:23

Thanks everyone, Gran isn't upset and is usually quite savvy but yes is definitely one of the generation who LOVE BG (and get charged more by them).

The paperwork she does have has naff all with it and they did telephone me to say they would speak to her first to check it was okay to correspond with me (which she said it was), hence their letter back telling me to take a hike sad

I might try CAB as suggested. It is so annoying as the previous boiler was at most 7 years old. I know they say they only last about 6 years now (unlike the old boiler we used to have) but I reckon that's obsolescene for you (new word I learnt whilst watching documentary) grin

Enjolrass Mon 28-Dec-15 17:51:50

How did they end up quoting her? Did she call them? Does she have home care? Was the quote arranged on the back of a call out?

If she does have home care, did BG fit the old boiler? Has she had home care every year since the last one was fitted (if fitted by BG)

They don't have door to door men, as far as I know, anymore.

Why was it replaced? Was it not efficient? kept breaking down? Not to current standards? At your grans request?

You need to know the facts for cab to be able to help.

Enjolrass Mon 28-Dec-15 17:52:30

When I say home care, I mean their service and repair contract.

BarbaraofSeville Mon 28-Dec-15 17:58:33

Sorry, nothing can be done about it, except to encourage your Gran to always get more than one quote in future.

British Gas have always been stupidly expensive and rely on people blindly trusting them and not shopping around. Absolutely disgusting behaviour but there you go - everyone does it these days, if you don't shop around and look for deals, you get ripped off.

Theoretician Mon 28-Dec-15 18:04:48

British Gas reckon it would cost me £4500 to £5000 to replace the boiler in my flat. The current boiler cost me £1500 when it was installed in 2002. The new one will be the first condensing one so would need new pipework laying for the waste pipe. (Unless I do what all my neighbours have done, and exhaust into rain gutters. That's against regulations, though British Gas guy commented that in our case it makes no practical difference.)

dolly2016 Mon 28-Dec-15 18:08:33

She is paying for the brand.Who would you expect to charge more to change your oil, a Mercedes main dealer or a merchanic working out of a lock up?

Theoretician Mon 28-Dec-15 18:15:36

Only 7 years old? Condensing boilers are meant to last ten years, end even that is outrageously low compared to the previous generation of boilers we're no longer allowed to have.

Seriously, if I thought a new boilers were only going to last 7 years, I'd start doing the calculations, as electric heating would probably work out cheaper for me.

I intend to hold onto my current boiler as long as possible. Even if I spend £400 every time it breaks down, it will work out cheaper than installing a new one, which I can expect to depreciate at £400 a year. (When I have a repair I tend to sign up for a one year British Gas maintenance contract, so even before the engineer comes, I know the existing problem and any in the following year are covered. Then at the end of the year I cancel the maintenance contract. If I go another year or two without a problem it works out cheaper than being insured all the time. My boiler has a habit if need a new circuit board, due to a design flaw, so I expect an expensive repair every five years or so.)

bloodyteenagers Mon 28-Dec-15 18:32:32

Not called Bloody Grabby for nothing.
I would be
Mentioning it on Twitter. Along the lines of refusing to send out the break down. Not them robbing old ladies

HelenaDove Mon 28-Dec-15 18:35:25

www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/bills/article-1710224/Are-condensing-boilers-a-waste-of-money.html

CheshireDing Mon 28-Dec-15 19:12:07

I could try and tell her to speak to us in the future before getting booking big jobs in but I know she probably wouldn't (as is very independent) and fair enough.

She does have the annual maintenance/service thing and I "think" what happened as they said boiler needs replacing/cost more to fix etc and as she thinks the sun shines out of BG bum she went along with it.

I will quiz her further before trying to speak to CAB.

I understand what people are saying about shopping around, I suppose it just seems second nature to me to do that, and companies like BG do just rely on customers whom they have had for years just agreeing to what they recommend <sigh> sad

CheshireDing Mon 28-Dec-15 19:14:21

Are condensing boilers those ones where the other winter they kept breaking and people were waiting months to get them fixed due to the pipework or something?

(vaguely remember IL's going on about going out many times a day with a kettle to defrost the pipes) which just sounded ridiculous (but I switched off listening after a few weeks) grin

Enjolrass Mon 28-Dec-15 19:18:37

When it gets very cold condensing boilers can fail. The trap and pipe gets frozen and boiler packs in.

You can insulate the pipe but that doesn't always work.

But yeah best way to defrost is to pour hot water carefully on the pipe outside. Pita

HelenaDove Mon 28-Dec-15 19:28:40

Unfortunately that is a risk many people who rent wont take because they could make themselves liable to pay for the repair if that action does crack the pipe.

This condensing boiler idea has been dressed up as eco friendly when the real reason for these boilers not fit for purpose is to make money out of owner/occupiers and tenants.

JT05 Mon 28-Dec-15 20:38:48

Used BG for over 30 years. Had excellent service and rarely had any problem with the boilers (2). Only ever had problems with old radiators. Worth every penny.

Enjolrass Tue 29-Dec-15 07:30:43

Unfortunately that is a risk many people who rent wont take because they could make themselves liable to pay for the repair if that action does crack the pipe.

It's not something I have come across. If that is the case they would need to all the landlord to sort it.

OP the reason I am asking about who fitted the last boiler and if she has consistently had home care since then is because British Gas, used to replace boilers under 10 years old with a big discount. One of the conditions was that they fitted it, I was manufactured less than 10 years ago and the customer has had home care for that entire period.

There are other t&cs but that's the basics of it.

Also if the boiler is labelled 'not to current standards' it's not an issue and doesn't need replacing. It just means that the boiler was fitted now, they would have to make changes.

About 7 years ago (ish) the health and saftey executive said that the pipes leaving the house had to be higher than in previous years. It left lots of people with boilers 'not to current standards'. Even if they had only been fitted a few months before.

It doesn't mean it's unsafe, or must be replaced. If they made your gran think that 'not to current standards' meant the work needed doing, that may be another route to follow up. But you would need proof of that.

mincepieprivateeye Tue 29-Dec-15 10:22:35

Last year my parents had problems with their boiler and have BG service contract. The first engineer fixed it but also said they could do with a new one and gave them a quote. The house has electric storage heaters so the boiler is only a water heater, the quote was for a combi boiler. As both parents have dementia I always ring to talk to whoever is fixing things if I can't go in person. When he told me about the new boiler quote I said they didn't have central heating to which he replied it was ok they could do that as well. I told him no way was I putting them through all that upheaval. About a month later it broke down again but this time the engineer told me BG didn't do water heaters anymore but he gave me names and models of reliable
makes and said a good plumber/gas fitter could install it no problem. He fully agreed not putting my parents though central heating being put in.
We have BG cover and never had a problem but I think if people work on commission it can make them more pushy.

x2boys Tue 29-Dec-15 11:06:49

my parents have boiler cover with british gas their boiler is the same one that was in the house when the house was built in the 1960,s it pisses british gas no end having to come and service their boiler and every year they tell my parents they cant get parts for the boiler if it breaks down but the boiler goes on and on .

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