May I, through the medium of your website,
bring to light my experience of the lamentable lack of service
provided by British Gas Home Care Central Heating cover.
A chronology of (non-)events follows:
Friday 19 April leak spotted coming through kitchen
ceiling, suspected from water cylinder in airing cupboard immediately
above. Call out British Gas (BG) under Home Service Agreement
we pay them £12-something a month for eventualities such
Saturday 20 April - man comes, confirms leak is from tank
which he then disconnects and drains. He tells us that the tank
is one he has not come across before and it may take 'a little
while' to locate one. When asked what a little while is he says
'normally about five days, but as you have a little kid (daughter,
age 9), I'll get them to get onto it.'
Friday 26 April - BG ring to tell us that the part they have
ordered is now obsolete and give me the number of a senior engineer
to ring to arrange to come round to have another look at the cylinder.
I ring the engineer and ask if he can come round today. He says
the earliest he can come round is Monday at 10.30am. When I ask
if he can send someone else, he more or less tells me that it
has to be himself.
Monday 29 April - noon and no sign of the engineer. I ring
to ask where he is at and he apologises profusely about the misunderstanding
that has led to his non-appearance. The earliest he can come round
now is Wednesday at 3.30pm. When I tell him we can't wait that
long, he says he'll arrange for someone else to come round. Another
engineer turns up later that afternoon, measures up and tells
us it 'shouldn't be a problem' getting a replacement tank.
Tuesday 30 April - ring BG to ask if tank has been ordered.
They tell me it has, but that it's a special order and may take
'up to ten days' before their supplier can deliver it to them.
Wednesday 1 May - ring BG to ask them to chase order
and to ensure that when the part is delivered to them they can
organise for an engineer to come and fit it the next day. I explain
about the one week false start with the previous order and that
my wife is currently suffering from a frozen shoulder which is
showing no sign of responding to treatment. Hot baths obviously
help relieve the pain and that she hasn't been able to have too
many of those lately without either boiling up loads of kettles,
or arranging to go next door for a bath when the neighbours are
Thursday 2 May - BG ring to tell me that the part will be
delivered to them 'on Tuesday' and that they will ring to confirm
its coming into stock. This is when things start getting really
Tuesday 7 May - 4.30pm - no call from BG to tell me that the
part has come in. I ring and ask where it is. 'Its not come in'
they say. When I ask why, they tell me that the long Bank Holiday
weekend has messed up their suppliers delivery schedule
and that the part will be in on Thursday.
Thursday 9 May - no part in stock. 'What's happened to it?'
I ask. 'Oh, they aren't delivering again this week, it'll be early
next week' they say, blithely. I ask to speak to a manager and
am told first that they're all in meetings (Yeah, right, nobody
believed that one even when it wasn't a lie!) and then that a
manager will just tell me the same thing. Okay, I
say 'So let him tell me the same thing.' They say someone will
ring me back within 90 minutes.
Friday 10 May - no one has rung back from the previous day.
I ring again... and again... and again... and again. I have to
admit that in one of these calls, after going through the same
old routine of giving my postcode, my house number, my name, my
phone number, and then being told that they'd just put me on hold
while they found out what was happening I finally lost it. 'No,
I don't want to have to listen to (goshdarn) Enya again. Just
get someone with some authority to ring me and tell me what's
happening with my (freaking) water tank.' An alleged supervisor
eventually rings, but with the same excuses.
Tuesday 14 May - it is now 25 days since the leak, 23 days
since BG first attempted to order a cylinder, 15 days since their
second engineer came round, and allowing for the bank holiday,
ten working days since the cylinder was ordered, and we are no
nearer to seeing this part replaced in the near future. I ring
BG again. The lady has no estimated date of delivery on her screen,
but tells me 'we are chasing it for you.' They always say that.
I tell them, and also their Customer Relations department, that
the only thing that will satisfy me now is nothing less than a
firm fixed date of delivery, and an explanation of, and apology
for, being fobbed off with lies and bovine excrement regarding
mythical delivery dates the previous week. If not, I will take
my complaint further. No one rings back. Late afternoon I ring
again. They say Transportation problems; it should (should,
mark you, not will) be in on Friday. I write
Now, I can appreciate that if a part is uncommon, it make take
a while to obtain, but what I particularly object to is the consistent
lying and fobbing off, and the failure to ring back when promised.
I also find it wholly inappropriate that when you ring to chase
something up, and are about to ring off, having had a totally
unsatisfactory response, the person at the end of the line says
'While you're on, can I interest you in our new household appliance
cover scheme', or 'our new electric wiring scheme cover' which
has happened more than once during the above calls.
Finally, if I may be allowed one more indulgence. Lovers of
irony may appreciate this... it's from Centrica (BG's parent
company)'s complaints policy which is posted on their website
at www.centrica.com/textsite/customers/complaints.htm for anyone
who cares to look.
"We are committed to ensuring all our customers receive
the best possible service... Through regular dialogue with our
customers we understand what the important factors are when dealing
with organisations. These are:
* We will listen to, understand and care about why you are dissatisfied.
* We will endeavour to resolve your problem at the first point
of contact that you make with us.
* We will take ownership of your complaint to ensure resolution.
* We will offer fair solutions quickly."
All of which they have singularly failed to achieve.
The saga continues!: Clik
here to read
Link to Other British Gas Complaints
came across this website after similar problems with B Gas. It
might at least provide some amusement - scratched an itch with me!
uk.geocities.com/british_gas_complaints Ally Hillman...28 May
we too have had the identical problem of our
'special tank, needing to be ordered. We also have had
the same run around..... we have been guaranteed Friday but the
faith we have in this company has diminished rapidly. When we change
our heating system in the future, we certainly will not be choosing
gas! The engineer said a cylinder tank was the biggest claim......I
wonder why they don't hold a minimal stock level?
Mr & Mrs Ann Fletcher... 18 March 2003