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I feel like banging my head against a brick wall with some "companies" ; - please help me tackle them!!

(12 Posts)
ELF1981 Mon 30-Jul-07 08:29:32

Inland Revenue

If I phone them, they tell me I have failed security questions (not sure how they can get my address, national insurance number and birthday wrong, but they have). Eventually got through. I called them to give them an update on wages etc, they have sent out paperwork which says if I dont repond they'll use those figures, despite the fact I'd called them to give them different ones. Now I cant get through, only have today and tomorrow. They have understated DH's wages by 10k

British Gas

After MANY arguements with them, them threatening to take us to court, us counter threatening to take them to court (we love a good fight), they finally accepted our gas bill was wrong, cut down from £600 for the year to £370, but the electric dispute is still going strong, trying to charge us £600 but it turns out they installed the wrong meters when we moved to them, they have us on an electric "contract" (which we never signed) suitable for people with storage tanks (which we dont have). They tell us we cant dispute the bill as its only an estimate (despite the fact we have given a reading each month during this year long dispute) and they'll send a new bill... and they send one with estimates.

Sky

I sign up for half price sky through a work offer, get my first bill, it's full whack price. Call them to dispute it - they tell me I should have taken advantage when it was offered. I explain that they phoned me with the offer and I signed up, how much more "take advantage when offered" can you get? Still unresolved.

O2

Currently cant send text messages, call O2 for the settings, they give me another number to call which puts me through to the POLICE!!

Who do I tackle first because I'm getting REALLY tired of arguing and explaining.

RubySlippers Mon 30-Jul-07 08:32:18

o2 and sky can wait -
British Gas and IR need to come first
speak to managers/supervisors only

edam Mon 30-Jul-07 08:34:32

agree with priorities. I'd contact one of the newspaper personal finance columns with ONE of the problems and another newspaper with another. And take one of the other problems to Trading Standards. Sometimes big companies only sort out their act when threatened with publicity/officialdom.

Ladymuck Mon 30-Jul-07 08:35:09

Inland Revenue - send fax, or at worst send by snail mail. Make sure that you NI number 9and if possible tax reference) is clearly displayed.

Sky - phone up and say that you are cancelling as this wasn't the deal you signed up for.

BG - depending on when you signed up I would try here

o2 - can you google the customer service number, or check their website?

edam Mon 30-Jul-07 08:35:29

You could also take out a sub to the Consumer's Association, now known as Which?. Their legal service will assist you in this sort of case and their advice will help you in the first place!

edam Mon 30-Jul-07 08:36:22

Oh, and whenever you are getting the run around from customer services, look up the chief exec and head office and write personally to him/her stating that customer services have failed you.

ELF1981 Mon 30-Jul-07 08:44:12

thank you

We have already been to the customer relations manager at BG and they "sorted the gas", but the electric is ongoing. Twice they have threatened to cut us off on both supplies (in the middle of winter, with a child and adult with asthma ) We have spent so much money and wasted some much time on this - we haven't paid any gas or electric for a year, we waited 6 months for the electric bill despite us chasing. Am on the verge of telling them that we are going to go to the papers, can imagine a nice shot in the local rag with me holding DD in one arm looking miserable and holding a gas bill in the other.

RE Inland Revenue, am going to keep calling them today, if not will post.

Will check back in at lunch and let you know of any progress!!

ELF1981 Mon 30-Jul-07 12:39:38

eventually got through to Inland Rev, they then told me I didn't have to update so long as I remained within the 40-50k bracket!

Rang O2 as not text messaging was annoying, must have got a helpful person and can now text.

Just got to ring British Gas tonight, then Sky, and then Autoglass (seeing as my windscreen is defective!!)

fizzylemonade Mon 30-Jul-07 14:29:47

Having worked for utilities companies (billing and debt collecting) threatening anything like court action against the company or going to the papers gets you nowhere.

Ask for help, be nice (they like to help nice people and then take the credit for sorting out the mess!!!) take down the name of the person you speak to - their full name if they are allowed (some companies only allow you to call yourself Mrs Lemonade) get a direct line to them and find out which call centre you are dealing withso that you can go back to the same person.

Storage heaters are just electric heating BUT some people without electric heaters benefit from having a 2 rate meter (they put all timers on washing machines, tumble dryers, dishwashers etc so they come on at night and use the cheaper rate) They can work out if you would be better off on a standard single rate meter and you can have your meter changed.

Are your meter readings anything like theirs? If not then have a look at your meter and write down the meter number so that you can make sure they have the correct meter registered against your property. As you have taken meter readings all the way through (well done) it means if the opening reading is wrong they can work out your average consumption and guess an opening reading.

A bill should be produced every quarter averaging 91 days, depending on where you live they are meant to read your meter at least twice a year or 3 times. I would ask them to come out and read your meter so that they can see for themselves what your readings are etc. Also ask when your "read quaters" are so you know when they are meant to read the meter.

Ask to see a copy of the "contract" you supposedly signed and this should get you somewhere.

If you still have problems after all this then approach OFGEM (are they still called OFGEM- I have been out of that for about 6 years)

A tip for complaining is -state what has happened and what you want to now happen. Companies who mess up can give "ex-gratia" pronounced x grey sea a which means they can knock money off your bill!!!

Can't help with the rest but hopefully this should help.

edam Mon 30-Jul-07 18:20:15

Disappointing to hear that utilities don't care if they are breaking the law.

ELF1981 Mon 30-Jul-07 20:21:14

BG wont talk to me, they have (again) lost the details for me to be able to talk on the account (its on DH's name).

We have on several ocassions spoken to customer service managers and these have been various issues:

* They had us on a daily estimate for gas which we were not even using a week
* Wrong meters installed for electricity
* No bill for electrity for six months
* Dozens of phone calls to get them to register the actual units used rather than them sending us estimated bills
* Three disconnection letters for gas, two for electric, two court letters.

And a load of other stuff!

Will get DH to phone them tomorrow evening. He's more forceful than me with BG, I end up getting wound up and wanting to reach down the phone line and bash the customer service persons computer to pieces!!

fizzylemonade Tue 31-Jul-07 20:29:46

This Data Protection law gets banded around a lot, it is a whole load of crap because utilities regularly contact other companies and trade forwarding addresses etc - I KNOW I did it!!!

You are not asking for them to disconnect the supply or close the account so nothing malicious you are just trying to sort out the bill.

There should be paperwork about the meter being installed, I would demand someone to come out to take all the meter details, don't be fobbed off by them, they are paid to do it.

Have a list of what questions you want answering and what you want, then when you come off the phone you know all your questions have been answered and your issues addressed.

I have pretended to be my 60 yr old mother before now so that I can tear strips off BG, they are terrible. My advice, change supplier when this is resolved!!!

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