Sneaky Direct Debit - British Gas

(19 Posts)
MrPebbles Thu 07-Jan-21 11:24:31

Maybe I'm in a small minority here. Perhaps everyone else is super organised and spotted this in the British Gas terms and conditions

I've just realised that BG Services have been taking £11.50 a month from my bank account without my knowledge or active consent.

Apparently some of the tariffs have a 'free' home care service built in for 12-18 months and after that they start charging you.

You don't get a separate contract for this, there is no proactive subscription - you don't actively state "I want this service and please start charging me". They already have your bank details for energy and just start taking it.

WTF?! Hiding a sneaky auto renew service into your energy agreement and then taking money 12 months later....

I think that's really underhand and sneaky behaviour from BG. Or perhaps I'm just a complete tool and should have realised 😂

I bet there are thousands of people with this DD coming out without their knowledge.

OP’s posts: |
ANewDawnANewDay Thu 07-Jan-21 11:27:28

Wow! That's bad. Never heard of this and you are right - it's very sneaky.

Am not with British Gas - but the water company keep pushing their insurance. I'll need to check they haven't taken a leaf from BG's book.

BarbaraofSeville Thu 07-Jan-21 11:35:25

But you say yourself that the product that you signed up for included a year of free home service and after that, you would have to pay?

It's pretty standard these days that anything that comes with a free trial will continue unless you actively cancel. Or will increase in price after an initial discounted period. A pain, but you have to keep on top of these things if you don't want to pay the higher price.

How long has this been going on for?

shitinmyhandsandclap Thu 07-Jan-21 11:37:23

Yeah not getting what was sneaky - you should always read terms and conditions before signing up

DianaT1969 Thu 07-Jan-21 11:39:39

Thanks for the heads up OP. I recently got moved to British Gas when Robin Hood Energy went under. Will check my tariff.

Timeforabiscuit Thu 07-Jan-21 11:41:26

Sneaky and short sighted! It was these practices which made me move over to Igloo (which I'm very very happy with, especially as they credit you interest if your account is overpaid).

Lunariagal Thu 07-Jan-21 11:42:26

You're right, they are sneaky buggers.

However

Does include boiler cover?? If so that's incredibly cheap. We had bg boiler cover for years and in the end we were paying £30 per month. Service was very good however and certainly had our moneys worth over the years. Only stopped as we fitted a new boiler with a 10 year warranty.

Might be something worth holding on to.

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myusernamewastakenbyme Thu 07-Jan-21 13:08:43

I check my bank account online daily and i know exactly what direct debits are set up on my account and for how much and the date they leave my account....im shocked that this payment has been leaving your account and you've not realised before now.

Arrivederci Thu 07-Jan-21 13:21:00

I was considering starting a homecare package with British Gas until I saw today they have adopted a fire and rehire tactic to force their engineers into new contracts, and there is a large strike going on. Now off to find a service company with better business ethics...

NoWordForFluffy Thu 07-Jan-21 13:50:39

I was with BG and knew all about this. They make it clear by post when you sign up. They also wrote to me when it was due to be chargeable, so I could cancel it (I think I also got a email). It's also a separate section on your online account.

MrPebbles Thu 07-Jan-21 14:32:34

I should have noticed the direct debit myself, that was stupid. But at £11.50 it fell in with the noise of all the other bills until today when I did a bit of a review, which I do a few times a year.

I didn't take out the boiler cover. That's the point. We had literally just finished a house project which included a brand new boiler, radiators abs plumbing throughout the whole house. I didn't need or want boiler cover.

So that's my point. They've recommended the cheapest tariff. Not made it all clear that I was buying boiler cover, hidden the auto renew into the small terms and when they started billing it 12 months later, sent me nothing to say that they were auto renewing a service I hadn't actually signed up for.

That's just underhand

OP’s posts: |
MrPebbles Thu 07-Jan-21 14:36:22

NoWordForFluffy

I was with BG and knew all about this. They make it clear by post when you sign up. They also wrote to me when it was due to be chargeable, so I could cancel it (I think I also got a email). It's also a separate section on your online account.


See I never got any post for this. If I had I would have said no thank you. Given we'd just replaced the boiler there is no way I'd have done this.

I did get an email saying my tariff was ending but nothing about the boiler care.

When I called them they couldn't even find it in their system. Took the man 10 minutes to find it because apparently it wasn't even attached to my energy contract but a separate agreement.

Which makes me call bullshit when he consequently said it was part of what I signed up for.

OP’s posts: |
WeBuiltThisBuffetOnSausageRoll Thu 07-Jan-21 14:43:24

I never understand the point of trial periods for insurance, where the likelihood is that you won't have to make a claim and use it. How can you possibly evaluate it in a way you can with an entertainment package, magazine subscription or gym membership etc.?

Although they call it a trial period, it has 'hope you forget you're going to start paying for it - as you're not actually currently actively using it anyway' written all over it.

JustCallMeGriffin Thu 07-Jan-21 14:59:39

Arrivederci

I was considering starting a homecare package with British Gas until I saw today they have adopted a fire and rehire tactic to force their engineers into new contracts, and there is a large strike going on. Now off to find a service company with better business ethics...

Make sure you avoid business with Asda and British Airways too then.

Fire/rehire is a Conservative government jewel that they're rather proud of and now we're out of the EU it's just the thin edge of the wedge that increases employers rights over employee ones...so you should also avoid giving money to anyone that supports the Conservatives or Brexit too.

mrsm43s Thu 07-Jan-21 15:00:09

To be fair, I was on a tariff with the free homecare package, and they told me when I took out the tariff that I'd need to cancel at the end of the year if I didn't want to pay for it. They also emailed me again about 30 days before the free period ended to let me know that they would start charging me. I cancelled without any difficulty, so I just had my free year.

The trick is to actually read the emails that you get from them. Easy to miss the important ones in amongst all the other general bumpf though.

Gurufloof Thu 07-Jan-21 15:07:24

BG did a sneaky one on my mothers account. Years ago she started a boiler cover thing and it went fine up until BG said they will no longer cover the boiler because of its age and sourcing spare parts. All fine and good, but they kept taking the cover money. As this was before online banking etc, it went on for about 2 years before she noticed. I think thats bloody cheeky, to say you can no longer cover it but keep taking the payments.

Newnamefor2021 Wed 10-Feb-21 19:04:43

They don't play clean that's for sure. They have most of the engineers off on strike due to their fire and rehire practice, GMB said they had never seen a company play so dirty. They tried to take my mum to court over £3 hive contract that she tried to cancelled 3 times and was confirmed and three months later she cancelled the dd and Bret went after her and threatened her.

I am usually a great advocate of British Gas but they they are treating their staff and customers which such contempt.

Islab Mon 26-Apr-21 09:00:32

I'm so glad you posted this. I've just gone into an overdraft due to this. I could have sworn the letters stated do nothing if you don't want it but apparently BG assure me I'm wrong. I called right away and cancelled which they had no problems doing and I'll get the £11.50 back but still if the account wasn't empty I wouldn't have realised for a month what had happened!

Holandcleo Mon 07-Jun-21 14:41:57

Just a heads up. Even if you have a brand new boiler, it will still require servicing in order to maintain it. If you left it for years without a regular check or service, it could cause many issues.
Many homecare policies include regular services and emergency call outs 24/7.
Worth checking exactly what you’re getting under your new boiler guarantee. Sometimes it’s simply an insurance for complete failure but doesn’t cover servicing, maintenance or emergency minor/major repairs. Also may not cover bank holiday call outs etc.

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