British Gas Services
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A while ago, I employed British Gas Services to install a new central heating combi-boiler and replace all the pipework to the radiators. I was told that I would never be without hot water and that I would also get a 5-year complete plumbing and draining policy. It was due to start and finish the job on a Monday, with the parts being delivered the previous Friday.
All the parts were delivered and the scaffolding erected on the Friday. Apart from having the parts and scaffolding getting in my way all weekend, I was happy.
The two fitters arrived on Monday morning. When I explained what was involved, it turned out that all the wrong parts had been delivered and that the fitters had been given the wrong paperwork. They understandably refused to start the job and left.
I telephoned British Gas and was assured that the correct parts would be delivered and another fitter would carry out the job. I also wrote to it explaining exactly what parts were missing.
It arranged for 1 fitter to carry out the work on the next Monday and Tuesday. When he arrived on the Monday morning, he also had the wrong paperwork and the correct parts still hadn't been delivered. However, he agreed to start the job and arranged to actually have the correct parts delivered. The actual job itself (the fitter was a contractor, not a British Gas Services employee) was carried out professionally, although I was left without hot water for two nights (understandable, but not what I had been promised by the salesman).
When I received the paperwork, I realised that my 5-year cover only covered the boiler (not my drains or plumbing). It took another 3 weeks before the scaffolding was taken down, by which time the roof that it was erected on had been cracked.
Unfortunately, British Gas Services is saying that the roof was already cracked before the scaffolding was erected and that their salesman had never offered plumbing and drainage cover. Unfortunately, I have no proof otherwise, so there is little point in taking the case to court. Since then, British Gas Services has failed to return my phone calls or respond to the majority of my letters.
After reporting British Gas Services to Energywatch, I eventually got it to examine the damage that it had done to the roof and offered me two years' plumbing cover, Upon examining it, I was told that the damage hadn't been done by the scaffolding. In British Gas's defence, I found out a year or two later that I had subsidence, but the structural engineer confirmed that this would not have damaged the roof.
With just over a year to go before my 5 year boiler cover was due to expire, I took an afternoon off work, so that I could be at home for the annual boiler check. Bird had been complaining that the water wasn't as hot as it used to be, so I mentioned this to the bloke who called. He wasn't sure, but reckoned that the boiler needed a new thermostat. He didn't have one on the van, but said that he'd order one, and that somebody would then get in touch to make an appointment to fit it.
About a week or two later, nobody from British Gas had called me, so I called the "helpline". I was told that the fitter who did the annual service hadn't ordered the part, so I asked the bloke on the phone whether he could order it for me. I was told that he couldn't. I asked him whether he could contact the fitter who carried out the annual check, and ask him to order it. "Sorry sir", was the reply, "he's a service engineer [I think he meant fitter], not a repair engineer [I think he meant fitter]. You'll have to make an appointment for a repair engineer to visit before we can order the new thermostat.". I was not impressed. "Have you any idea how stupid what you have just told me sounds. You know what type of boiler I have, you know what part needs replacing, so I will not be taking another afternoon of work for another fitter to tell me what I already know.". The bloke on the phone thought for a bit, and then said, "I know what I can do. I'll call the engineer [I think he meant fitter] who visited you last week, and ask him to order the part". I couldn't believe my ears!
Anyway, a few weeks later, I called again, and arranged a time for a fitter to visit to fit the new thermometer. I took the morning off work, the bloke arrived, and said "I'm here to check out your boiler". I was not impressed "Surely you're here to fit a new thermostat. The part should have been ordered last week". He knew nothing about this, he was a repair fitter, who just expected to find out what the problem was, and then order whatever spare part was needed. I was fuming, but, fortunately, he had a spare thermostat on the van, and fitted it there and then.
A day or two later, I got a letter from British Gas saying that an appointment had been arranged for a fitter to fit a new thermostat. Knowing that neither Bird or I would be at home, I just ignored the letter, and let them figure things out for themselves. On the day of the appointment, I got home to find an "I missed you" card on my doormat. A few days later, I received a letter with another date and time! I also ignored this letter. Unfortunately, I was at home sick on the day of the second appointment, so was woken up by the doorbell, but I just ignored it.
After receiving another letter asking me to call to make an appointment, I called up, and told the person that I spoke to that a new thermostat had already been fitted. "No it hasn't", he said, "We've just ordered the part for you". I just replied "Yes, it has, it was fitted on ######, and is working fine. Please check your records, and stop bothering me with appointment letters".
I got a letter reminding me that my 5-year boiler cover was about to expire, and asking me to renew it. Obviously I had no intention of renewing the cover, but wanted an inspection before the cover expired. I called up, but the bloke on the phone said that they had no appointments free until after my cover had expired. "Won't you be renewing it, sir", he asked me. "Not a chance", I replied, "I have received a disgusting level of service from British Gas, and the least you can do is inspect my boiler before the agreement expires". He checked again, but there was nothing that he could do. I got home, to find a letter from British Gas Services offering me my annual check-up in about 2 weeks' time. Did the bloke on the phone not check my records to find out whether an appointment had already been made?
Anyway, I waited in between midday and 6pm for a fitter to turn up, and nobody arrived. You can imagine how unimpressed I was when I called up to complain the next day. The best that they could offer me was a two-hour time-slot, with the promise of it being monitored, to make sure that the fitter stuck to the timescale. Don't worry, I will be writing to British Gas Services, and invoicing it for my wasted time.
01/06/06: When I called British Gas to complain about nobody turning up, I was given an appointment between 8am and 10am on 1st June. It's now 09:09, and a fitter has just arrived. Let's see if there's anything else for me to complain about.
Needless to say, I will never be using British Gas again.
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Created on: 30 Aug 2003. Modified on: 01 Jun 2006.
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