I was contacted last week about British Gas by Debby Clarke on behalf of her 90-year-old mother, Eileen. She told me: "In October 2014 she received a bill for £1,852.27 when the usual bill is around £100."
There followed much toing and froing between Eileen and the company, which culminated in a British Gas worker identifying a faulty meter. That seemed to be that until, at the end of February, she received a demand for full payment.
Calls to British Gas led to her being told that everything would be sorted out, but then she started receiving distressing late-night calls from the debt- recovery department. "I answered the second call on Wednesday night and pointed out Mum's age and the fact that the bill was disputed," Debby told me. "By now, as you can imagine, this is causing her a huge amount of anxiety."
Things should have been cleared up without causing anxiety for Eileen. When I contacted British Gas, I'm glad to say it agreed. "Unfortunately the day and night readings were mixed up," the company admitted. "As the mistake was no fault of Mrs Clarke's, we have removed the balance in full, including the actual amount owed for night use."
British Gas wrote off more than £500 that Eileen did owe them. I wish all companies would admit their mistakes and sort things out quickly.
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