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(67 Posts)
Patsy70 Fri 19-Aug-22 15:45:44

We pay this bill by monthly direct debit. Last month the amount was £56.36. This month it is £239.09.
There has been no notification of this huge increase. When I attempt to access my online account they will not accept my email address, which has been changed in the past few years since registering online. There is no opportunity to provide the new one or to see our account. I spent 3 hours both online and on the phone trying to get answers. I managed to log a complaint, which could take between 7 and 21 days before anyone contacts me. Apparently, this is happening a lot with regard to the over-inflated direct debits. Has anyone else experienced this?

growstuff Fri 19-Aug-22 15:50:04

If you've changed your email address, it could be that the notification went to your old address.

Chestnut Sat 20-Aug-22 09:36:16

I find it hard to believe they would not keep you informed of what is going on, but if you've changed your e-mail address then that is the reason why. You should have changed it for your online account. You should login to British Gas using the old e-mail address and password, then change to the new address when you get on the site.

If you can access your old e-mail messages I'm sure you'll find everything there.

Keeper1 Sat 20-Aug-22 09:40:46

I was contacted by British Gas suggesting I set up a direct debit and I refused they asked why. Your experience is the reason why I like to control what goes in and out of my bank account and not have companies increasing amounts as they see fit.

Maggiemaybe Sat 20-Aug-22 10:34:43

I’m guessing from those very precise figures that you pay for what you’ve actually used each month, OP, rather than paying the same amount each month? If that’s correct, could there be a problem with your latest meter reading?

rosie1959 Sat 20-Aug-22 10:43:04

I am with British Gas our DDM was reviewed in July and they have increased it by £50 per month. It was set out on our bill and advised us of the increase. We are in credit buy I left it as our fixed term ends September we had a very good rate so this will go up a lot
All of this is on line so you can no doubt access this with your old email address if you did not change it on your account

glammanana Sat 20-Aug-22 10:47:43

I would stop the payments from your bank straight away BG will soon get in touch with you one way or another I'm sure.

NotAGran55 Sat 20-Aug-22 10:58:15

Patsy The details of the charge should be on your last bill - have you checked that the bill was produce on your actual meter reading or an estimate?

Do you provide the readings or do you have a smart meter?

As Maagiemabe says, this looks like a ‘variable’ direct debit based on your actual usage and not a ‘fixed’ direct debit which would always be a round amount.

Joane123 Sat 20-Aug-22 11:02:59

I cancelled my DD with British Gas after they took out an amount of almost £150. I had spoken to them previously and we had agreed an amount of £90 per month.

I wouldn't give them the opportunity again to take what they want. They are a disgrace.

Jane43 Sat 20-Aug-22 11:10:08

When we accumulate a lot of credit our supplier reduces the direct debit accordingly and there is also a facility on our account to reduce the direct debit ourselves.

Patsy70 Sun 21-Aug-22 09:55:48

Thank you for your responses.
I have attempted to change my email address. My old email is no longer active. I registered for an online account some years ago with my old email address. We have received no bills, which have obviously been sent to my online account, which is inaccessible. It has only caused alarm this month because of the very large increase. My OH is prepared to wait to see what the direct debit amount is next month 🙄. I will try and speak to BG again tomorrow, as I need an explanation and now wish to revert to receiving bills by post. The problem is there are so many people in dire straits currently so it is nigh on impossible to get through.
Joanne123. Yes, I would be happy to discontinue direct debits after this experience, but OH is reluctant and he deals with our joint account online. However, I might insist if I am not happy with the outcome.

Shrub Sun 21-Aug-22 10:11:31

I keep getting emails to a completely different person from British Gas. They are sent to my g-mail address to someone miles away, they show her address and account number. So it could be that your emails go anywhere!

ayse Sun 21-Aug-22 10:20:38

My DH had real difficulties with British Gas. It took him a year and a half to sort it by eventually going to The Ombudsman. British Gas had added his account to someone else’s account with the same name. It wasn’t until he threatened them with the Ombudsman than they started to resolve the issue.

Personally I’d be contacting the Ombudsman after 28 days of not being able to resolve the issue.

volver Sun 21-Aug-22 10:23:28

Apologies in advance if this sounds harsh.

No company can unilaterally change the amount they charge anyone on direct debit without telling/asking you first. I use DD for almost all my bills and for my DH's, because it is one less think to worry about every month - at least we know the bills are being paid. But part of that contract is that I have to keep an eye on it. So you not checking your bills because you've changed your email address is not the company's fault, sorry.

My advice - do not cancel your DD as they would be entirely within their rights to cut you off. Persevere with trying to contact them, even if you have to hang on the phone for hours. You need to get this sorted. Tell them what has happened and that you need to change your contact details.

If you have been overcharged you will get the money back. That is much easier if you are paying by DD. Try to make your DH understand that.

Patsy70 Sun 21-Aug-22 10:50:55

volver I wouldn’t dream of not paying my bills if I discontinued paying by direct debit. There are other methods. Yes, we use DD for all bills too. BG have made it impossible for me to change my email address. How is that my fault?
ayse. I sincerely hope it doesn’t take that long, but my next step, if this isn’t resolved, is to contact the Ombudsman.

JaneJudge Sun 21-Aug-22 10:56:17

I am sick of Brutish Gas. They once took thousands out of my account on a ridiculous estimated bill (despite the fact we have a smart meter) and yesterday I received a debt collection letter off a legal company working for them trying to recover a bill for when I didn't live here angry they waste so much of my precious time

NotAGran55 Sun 21-Aug-22 10:59:05

Have they been pricing your bills on estimates or have you been providing them with your actual readings Patsy?

Just a possibility, they have been estimated historically and they finally got a ‘firm ‘ reading and the last bill is a catch-up one?

You shouldn’t have any problem reverting to paper bills provided you can contact them which isn’t easy as you say.

Good luck with it.

volver Sun 21-Aug-22 11:17:12

Patsy70

volver I wouldn’t dream of not paying my bills if I discontinued paying by direct debit. There are other methods. Yes, we use DD for all bills too. BG have made it impossible for me to change my email address. How is that my fault?
ayse. I sincerely hope it doesn’t take that long, but my next step, if this isn’t resolved, is to contact the Ombudsman.

Patsy70 I'm not trying to say you would, but somebody upthread suggested it and, like me, I think you agree that would be a no-no.

Again, sorry if this sounds harsh...

It is your fault if you have changed your contact details (i.e. email address) and have not kept BG informed. BG can't just have someone call up and change the contact details on an account, because you could be anybody. I could call up and ask them to change the email address to mine, and that would be unacceptable wouldn't it? Presumably you also had a password? So they would need to know that as well to be completely happy about changing your online access?

I do see that it is frustrating, but right now I don't think this is a BG problem. As far as I can see you have no idea if the £239.09 is right or wrong. Because you have not been keeping up to date with the information that BG is sending you.

Anyway, my first post was full of mistakes; it is DF's bills I manage through DD and I can see that your DH is in favour of sticking with DDs. Apologies.

Mine Sun 21-Aug-22 11:58:52

I'm give my readings for both gas and electric monthly...I then receive my bill on line and pay by Internet banking...This way I have control of how much is leaving my bank...

Patsy70 Sun 21-Aug-22 12:01:22

volver Actually, it was not my fault that my email changed, so please don’t make assumptions. As I’ve said, the BG system would not allow me to provide my new email address. Yes, I know that sounds infeasible, but it is a fact.
JaneJudge. That is so very frustrating and worrying for you, and I do sympathise. I agree, so much time is wasted due to their incompetence. Maybe you should contact the Ombudsman too, as recommended by ayse. Good luck.
Thank you NotAGran. My OH keeps a close eye on the DD payments, which has not caused any concern until now. If any notification was sent by BG, I’m assuming it went via email to my non existent address, nothing received via the post. I can’t recall providing a meter reading or having it read recently. They fix the rate for a year, then adjust it according to the amount of gas used.

Patsy70 Sun 21-Aug-22 12:02:49

A good idea Mine.

volver Sun 21-Aug-22 13:06:50

volver Actually, it was not my fault that my email changed, so please don’t make assumptions. As I’ve said, the BG system would not allow me to provide my new email address. Yes, I know that sounds infeasible, but it is a fact.

Even though it wasn't your fault that your email changed, it is your fault that you didn't advise British Gas of the change until you feel that you are faced with something they have done wrong. You have an account that is managed online, they will have been communicating with your old email address and you have no idea what they have been telling you, because you did not let them know how to get in touch with you. You knew that your old email wasn't working any more, and you didn't tell them.

What they have done seems entirely valid to me.

Perhaps there will turn out to be a problem in what they are trying to charge you. But blaming them for something is not on until you know the full story.

Joane123 Sun 21-Aug-22 13:12:20

Where has any one suggested they will not pay their bills.

I have cancelled my DD and would never let BG has access to this again.

I received a bill last month and paid. I expect another one this month.

And just to add, they did not have permission to take money from my account in excess of what they usually take, i.e. £140 against the previous £60.

volver Sun 21-Aug-22 13:16:54

Where has any one suggested they will not pay their bills.

This thread, 10:47 this morning.

And just to add, they did not have permission to take money from my account in excess of what they usually take, i.e. £140 against the previous £60.

I'm going to guess that you have signed something, physically or electronically, that says they are allowed to take the amount you owe them. People cannot unilaterally take money out of your account without your permission, despite what urban lore tells you.

Teacheranne Sun 21-Aug-22 13:23:16

Have you tried Live Chat on the BG website? I used it to query an unexpected increase in my DD recently and it was dealt with very quickly. The explanation given was that there had been a computer error which led to the system thinking I had used a huge amount of gas in the previous quarter. My DD was immediately reduced to the original amount.

I think Live Chat could also tell you how to change your email address, they do ask some security questions before engaging in a discussion so your old address might still work then you could explain your problem.

Apologies if you have already tried that, I find though that when it’s impossible to get through on the phone, Live Chat usually sorts things out.