ASK TONY: We are steaming with anger over endless British Gas Homecare boiler service delays
We have British Gas’s HomeCare 4 package, for which we pay just over £608 a year. Part of the contract is that our boiler and gas fire are serviced annually.
The last service was in November 2019, and I have been trying since November 2020 to get a date for the next one.
As I heard nothing and cannot get through online, I wrote to British Gas on November 11.
Plumb crazy: A British Gas Homecare customer has been left waiting 19 months for his annual boiler service
I received a reply on January 22, apologising that the ‘level of service you have experienced was not the standard you were expecting’. It gave a service date of March 22.
On March 18 this was cancelled by phone and I was offered a date in June instead — seven months late. This was not possible as we are supposed to be on holiday then.
I was very angry and the person on the phone said that someone would ring me back within 24 hours. I am still waiting!
This is the fourth year this has happened: I am given a date, and then I get a phone call to say the engineer cannot come and they give me a date a few months later.
More than £600 is a lot to pay out, and we are certainly not getting value for money.
L. C., Chippenham.
Tony Hazell replies: I am consistently astonished at the amount of money people pay for British Gas HomeCare.
You can have your boiler serviced for around £100 and a new boiler doesn’t cost much more than £1,000.
And yet for all this money, in this and other cases I have seen, British Gas is failing to offer a basic annual service on time.
While we may get the blah-blah Covid excuse, you say it has cancelled for the past four years.
British Gas has reimbursed the £130 cost of your boiler and gas fire services. It says your contract runs from May to May and it has serviced within the contract year previously (although you say it has cancelled initial appointments).
It has also offered a discount on your new contract, from £608 to £490.91. You decided instead to cancel. I don’t blame you.
A British Gas spokesperson says: ‘We’ve clearly let Mrs C down, but we’ve tried to put things right with her.
‘We’ve prioritised vulnerable customers and emergencies during this difficult time and are getting to 97 per cent of these types of customers within 24 hours.’
British Gas will fulfil the service you are owed.
Mercer stopped paying mother’s pension
My 81-year-old mother has not received her pension from Mercer since January this year.
I phoned Mercer on April 12 and staff spoke to me and my mother on another occasion.
We also wrote to the firm on April 29. My mother is becoming increasingly stressed over all this and regularly checks her old bank statements.
S. G., Lancashire.
Tony Hazell replies: I raised your complaint with Mercer and on the same morning you got ‘a rather apologetic phone call’ from them saying her pension, plus arrears, would be paid into her bank account the following week.
Mercer told you letters it had sent had been returned marked, ‘Gone away’ or, ‘No longer at this address’.
This is strange because your mother has lived at the same address since 1966. You wonder if they were inadvertently delivered to an empty property across the road.
Your letter shows the rest of us how important it is to keep pension companies informed of any address changes and to reply to requests for information.
Mercer chose not to comment.
Straight to the point
E.on took over my energy supply in December and said it would provide a new pre-payment card. This has still not arrived and it’s impossible to contact the firm.
S. C., Nottingham.
What you read in the welcome pack applies only to pre-payment gas customers.
You are on a credit meter but use a payment card. These allow you to pay your energy bill at the Post Office or PayPoint terminals.
You do not need a new card and can continue paying as you were.
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