Gransnet forums


AIBU to expect British Gas to honour its contract?

(87 Posts)
OldMeg Thu 01-Mar-18 21:19:47

Tonight at 7.30 pm our boiler broke down. It’s -3 outside and falling.

We have a Homecare agreement with British Gas plus our boiler is monitored 24/7 under a scheme we pay extra for.

So we rang the 24/7 ‘helpline’ (I use the term loosely) and it was engaged, and engaged and engaged. You could not use ringback on this number. I redialled and redialled and redialled.

Meanwhile DH was ringing other British Gas numbers and not getting through. After almost 2 hours we’ve given up. Apparently they are ‘very busy’ according to one answer machine he managed to access before the voice said to ‘ring back at a less busy time’ before cutting him off. ?

So here we are two OAPs in our 70s in a freezing cold house. No heating and no hot water. Our kind neighbours have lent us a couple of electric heaters and we’ve dug out the hot water bottles.

So much for British Gas....and this time I DO SO HOPE that this thread gets picked up by the DM as .....I’m about to shout BRITISH GAS HOMECARE IS CRAP - with apologies to those who don’t like naughty words. ???

J52 Fri 02-Mar-18 08:53:11

If you smell gas, I believe you phone National Grid 0800111999.
Maybe your supply pipe has broken. Good luck.

OldMeg Fri 02-Mar-18 08:59:35

Yes J52 and at last got an answer from them. That’s why we’re sat here will gas turned off, doors and windows wide open. Not allowed to turn on electric heaters or make a cup of tea.


hulahoop Fri 02-Mar-18 09:09:48

Have just contacted look north they are looking into it but they are having probs getting hold of anyone , I have also contacted radio Leeds !!
Old Meg have you rung emergency number ? Keep as warm as you can

Elegran Fri 02-Mar-18 09:13:27

A year or two ago I had that sitting with doors and windows open in a smaell of gas, too. They advised me to leave the house if possible, so I sat in a neighbours kitchen drinking tea. On that occasion they were there before the tea was cold, checked very thoroughly but could find nothing wrong. The boiler is in the cellar, in the same room as the freezer and washing machine - it turned out that a frozen Brussels sprout had fallen out of the freezer and rolled underneath. It was gently rotting.

OldMeg Fri 02-Mar-18 09:16:44

Just had phone call back from the ‘emergency’ number saying they can’t get to us any time soon.

Hulahoop if the media can’t contact anyone what chance do we have?

hulahoop Fri 02-Mar-18 10:08:26

How are you doing oldmeg we have just got hold of a manager he will try and get engineer to us today fingers crossed

Charleygirl Fri 02-Mar-18 10:17:11

It is of no use to you poor folk shivering but I would not touch BG with a barge pole. They take your money very willingly, charging well over the odds for a lousy service- I go locally each and every time.

Maggiemaybe Fri 02-Mar-18 10:24:22

Oh goodness, OldMeg and hulahoop, I hope someone does get to you soon, what an awful position to be in.

Can I just say, though, for anyone with a frozen condensate pipe, as mentioned by several people above. Please do not use boiling water, or even very hot water, as you run the risk of damaging the pipe. We had to unblock ours yesterday and again this morning and pouring warm water over it did the trick within a few minutes.

Lazigirl Fri 02-Mar-18 10:35:58

We don't use BG because they are so expensive but last bad weather here when our boiler played up local firms were also overwhelmed & couldn't come for days. It's very concerning for vulnerable customers, I wonder if BG do have a proper system for prioritising them. My mother is vulnerable and has had visits from them on Sundays, but not when the weather is this bad.

OldMeg Fri 02-Mar-18 11:33:16

Catch up. The person re the gas leak arrived at the same time as the local gas engineer. Neither from BG as the emergency gas leaks man was from the National Grid.

Both lovely chaps. Grid man confirmed the smell of gas is from the pilot light which was trying to ignite and couldn’t.

At least we are now sorted. No thanks to BG.

Incidentally have you seen how much their top managers are paid and all the perks they get?

OldMeg Fri 02-Mar-18 11:34:13

Good luck hulahoop hoping you get sorted soon ?

Nonnie Fri 02-Mar-18 12:23:05

They are talking about this on You and Yours on R4 right now.

Jalima1108 Fri 02-Mar-18 12:37:23


Check the condensate discharge which should be leading from your boiler to outside.

It could be frozen up and the boiler will stop working if the condensation cannot get away.
If one of you could go outside (carefully!) and check, if that is the problem then pour a kettle full of hot water over the pipe until it unfreezes and the ice comes away.

It's worth a try, a tip from our plumber yesterday. Ours hadn't stopped working but he had had six call-outs by 9.30 am yesterday and was rushed off his feet.
(Not British Gas)

Jalima1108 Fri 02-Mar-18 12:38:53

Please do not use boiling water, or even very hot water, as you run the risk of damaging the pipe.
Oh! That's what I thought he said - DH just said 'No, no, hottish water is what he said' blush

Jalima1108 Fri 02-Mar-18 12:40:00

and I see you have tried this already OldMeg

Read the posts J but I was eager to impart my new bit of knowledge.

Jalima1108 Fri 02-Mar-18 12:41:32

OldMeg can you call a local plumber and send British Gas the bill as they have failed in their duty of care to you?

henetha Fri 02-Mar-18 13:07:49

I've had similar trouble with BG in the past and won't have anything to do with them now.
We are better off not paying these expensive deals but just getting to know a friendly gas man locally.

hulahoop Fri 02-Mar-18 13:22:08

Got hold of one of managers who got engineer to come he as been, our pipe was lagged on the inside so water tip would not have worked so as removed lagging which was frozen solid we were told this wouldn't happen !! But they obviously do ! Glad you are sorted oldmeg keep warm ?

OldMeg Fri 02-Mar-18 15:11:24

Does that mean you’ve got heating going again hula? Hope so.

humptydumpty Fri 02-Mar-18 15:44:44

My boiler's also stopped working! - good job I'm not at work today so noticed; have rung local engineer so fingers (and everything else!) crossed..

OldMeg Fri 02-Mar-18 16:17:37

Just had a smarmy and useless reply from office of CEO. When I replied, guess what? They’ve all knocked off until Monday.

Nice work if you can get it..

humpty best of luck though you stand a better chance with a local chippy. Even if he can’t get out to you straight away at least he can be reached.

Baggs Fri 02-Mar-18 16:22:14

If you've had freezing conditions it could be that the condenser pipe from your boiler, which usually is white and outside the building, has frozen rather than that the boiler doesn't work. You can carefully pour hot water over your condenser pipe and see if that helps.

DD did this the other day so didn't need a boiler engineer.

And there's advice to the above effect on Twitter.

humptydumpty Fri 02-Mar-18 16:23:09

He's already got here smile - the condensate pipe was blocked by ice. Just being fixed. Luckily had bought spare portable heater this morning so have had some heat in one room.

Baggs Fri 02-Mar-18 16:24:08

Oh. Just read the rest of the thread blush

Try a hair dryer if you don't like the hot water idea.

humptydumpty Fri 02-Mar-18 16:47:34

Thanks Baggs. The gas fitter has cut off the top of the long pipe leading directly to the outside drain, which seems to be frozen solid - leaving a small gap below the exit from the boiler pipe. He has advised me as you say to use hot water on that bit of pipe if it happens again. It was actually useful to have him come out as he has checked all the radiators and topped up the boiler as the pressure was getting low.

He also said they have several call-outs from people with BG contracts who haven't been able to get them to come..,.