British Gas Intimidation and Disregard For Mental Health & Vulnerabilities.
Intimidation is intentional behavior that causes the victim emotional distress, panic, fear, anxiety, and depression. The instigator of intimidation tries to intimidate the victim by threatening a person into paying more than they can afford, not giving time to pay, and simply disregarding the person’s disabilities. Any entity that causes distress to another person should be made accountable, especially if they have no regard for the victims’ personal health and disabilities.
- Type of harm to vulnerable adult – Emotional /Psychological
- Meaning – Action or inaction by others that causes mental anguish.
- Example – Action or inaction by others that causes mental anguish. Inflexible regimes and lack of choice. Mocking, coercing, denying privacy, threatening behaviour, bullying, intimidation, harassment, deliberate isolation, deprivation.
If British Gas denied or try to defend that they did not cause emotional distress then why would they have called the Police (Duty of Care) if that was not the case? British Gas could have pushed me over the edge, and they did cause me anguish, despair, and emotional distress.
Update To Ongoing Saga!
I wrote not so long about ‘British Gas’ and the problems I am having with this company and have decided to write a separate update to the continuation of my saga.
- Failed to support me with mental health disabilities
- Failed to offer an affordable payment plan even though I told them that I had contacted their charity and asked them to give me more time.
- Tried to intimidate me to pay £190 per month even though all I owed at the time was £318.74 (according to the threatening letter date 16th July 2022) as seen below:
- Caused me emotional distress and as a consequence, they called the Police. (A riot van rocked up on my street and I could see the twitching of net curtains from my neighbours whilst I was publically humiliated because of ‘British Gas’).
- Sent out intimidating a threatening letter and email.
- Finally agreed today (27/07/22) to £70 per month which I have been saying from day dot after 3 months of arguing, but then retracted on 04/08/22.
Yet today 27/07/22 it has gone up to £328.38 (charging me an extra £9.64, not sure what for? they have overcharged twice) with average usage of £40 per month. I have been paying £70 per month as this is all I can afford and they are now trying to bully me by passing my debt to a debt collecting agency. I stated I would share this far and wide if they continue to use underhanded methods and I will be seeking compensation for the distress this has caused me. If you overcharge 1 million customers £10 you make a 10 million profit.
A quick recap:
- In January I was paying £65 per month
- In March it went up to £90 per month
- In April it went up to £135.00 per month
- In May it went up to £190 per month
As a consequence, I am now in arrears and have offered to pay £70 per month on the 6th of the month, including my own estimated Gas usage of £40 per month and my arrears spread over 12 months (I have reduced my usage purposely such as not cooking, washing up and am simply eating sandwiches and salads).
But British Gas are not having it, even going as far as to say “they do not support people with mental health or vulnerabilities“, (This was said on a recorded call). The customer rep I spoke with today 27/07/22 said that the previous customer rep was wrong in saying this and that British Gas does support people with mental health (but he would say).
Here are my meter readings which prove I use my own estimated usage of £40 worth of Gas on average a month.
“I Won’t Be Intimidated, I Know My Rights!”
I emailed them on 26/07/22 and have stated the above omitting the latest meter reading which I added on 27/07/22 that if they push my buttons I will contact mainstream media journalists and ask them to write about “British Gas”. This company like every other relies on business, customers, and investors for their charity. It won’t look good if I start singing like a canary. In fact, it won’t look good having the title of this article “British Gas Customer Intimidation”, or “British Gas Bullying Vulnerable People” on my other blog. I’m sure I am going to get some eyeballs.
It is not my fault that prices have gone up and if one does not have the money, to begin with, how are they supposed to find the money to pay for something that the 1% only benefit from?
I have also come across a website that an ex-police officer wrote about regarding harassment, the article is dated (old) but it only enforces how I have personally been treated by this company: https://www.peterloud.co.uk/britishgasfraud/harassment.html
There is obviously a fault with the billing system: “Accenture system could have performed at 101 percent efficiency. “British Gas uses bullying and is a threatening company whose call centre staff are among the most unpleasant and downright offensive, not to mention seemingly willfully ignorant and obtuse, in the market, and who wouldn’t know the meaning of customer management if you were to spell it out on their reply prompt screens“. Citation – https://www.mycustomer.com/marketing/technology/british-gas-what-difference-would-a-working-billing-system-have-made
Note From The Editor
Intimidation happens in all industries and workplaces. A person who has stated they have a disability for example at the time of their interview has their disability disregarded when they start work, especially if they look fine. Disabilities can be invisible and just because you look fine on the outside you may be in excruciating pain on the inside. I sit in front of a computer screen, you would not know I am disabled unless I told you and people like to make assumptions, so “if he/she can talk on the phone or turn up for work there must not be anything wrong with him/her“, …wrong to assume. An employee may not complain for fear of losing their job and this is where managers take advantage.
I believe my email to general enquiries will get ignored hence I am turning it up a notch and sending a second one to customer complaints, I will give them a few days to reply.
I have come across British Gas complaints contacts; https://www.britishgas.co.uk/complaints/make-a-complaint-credit.html
You can do one of the following:
- Fill in an online form
- Online Chat
- Phone: 0333 202 9532
- Email Customer Complaints at: firstname.lastname@example.org (I sent an email to this email and never had a reply, just saying).
I will be forwarding the email I sent this morning to the above email address.
I won’t be intimidated and I will use my voice to be heard.
If I have any updates I will post them here, but as it stands they are trying to use bully tactics. I am also going to reach out to the mental health charity ‘MIND’ to tell them about this company.
The party is only just getting started…
After receiving the email today I decided to phone the complaints number. I guess people who phone the complaints number get treated differently. I did not go on my high horse ranting, I spoke calmly and I gave my latest meter reading and you will never guess the person with a South African accent said that my £190 prediction was totally wrong.
I had in fact since the 4th July 2022 only used £12 worth of gas including their standing charges, hence they would accept my £70 payment plan which was re-instated today 27/07/22.
“So all this stress and distress was for nothing”.
I honestly feel really unwell because of this company and as a consequence am finding it hard to contemplate my workload. I do feel very depressed because of them and feel they should compensate me for the emotional distress I have endured, I will wait and see how they respond to me in the next few days…
I did dispute the £9.64 and the customer representative said the £9.64 was from a bill generated on 22nd June yet I disputed this because my threatening letter dated 16th July 2022 would have reflected the bill on 22/06/22 and I received the inflated. (My threatening letter and my email does not marry up with my payments in the screenshot below). They are obviously pulling numbers out of a hat because I never gave them a meter reading on the 22/06/22 as shown in the meter readings above so where did the £9.64 come from? I was charged twice once when the bill was raised and again in my balance summary. Please refer to the screenshot of all my bills and payments. (If each customer has an extra £10 for argument’s sake added to their account for no reason and there are a million customers that would be £10M in profit that the company would make.
I have now been given two reference numbers the first for the £19.28 (I know it is a small amount but why should British Gas have extra money for the hell of it)?
Complaint number 1
7022412508 – £19.28 – Discrepancy
Complaint number 2 – 8013977142 – Treated Badly
I was told I have to wait 5 days to get a response… (which never happened – updated 04/08/22).
I have since logged into my account and screenshot my payment history and none of the balances reflect the amounts on my threatening letter or email that I received today, but they do reflect the £9.64 as mentioned by the person I spoke to today (although I never submitted a meter reading on the 22/06/22). The mind boggles.
OMG is all I can say. I decided to phone British Gas today in relation to the two complaints I made on 27/07/22 and was told that one complaint had been closed (the one where I was treated badly), oh really… who closed it and why?, and the woman I spoke to said that the complaint was about the £70 payment that had been set up but did not include my outstanding debt and that a debt collection would still come after me for the outstanding amount, which was now £344. She completely disregarded the fact that British Gas phoned the Police on me and the amount of anguish and emotional distress this company put me under. She kept asking what the Police had said when they arrived. The Police told me to let the CEO know and publish far and wide as they are getting a lot of calls with distressed people finding it hard to cope with utility providers and their bullying tactics.
My previous call on the 27th was a contradiction because:
- When I phoned the complaints number today and after talking about my complaint I was told I had phoned the ‘Homecare Department’ and not complaints. I have the previous complaint number published in this article and programmed into my phone. (What I believe happens if they do not want to deal with you is they come up with a BS excuse that you dialed the wrong number).
- The person I spoke with on the 27th said I would not have a debt collection agency chasing me but wait for it, today the woman I spoke to said the contrary, that a debt collection agency will continue to chase me and include debt collecting charges on top. I said that was a kick in the teeth considering I arranged a payment plan. (I think they move the goal posts as and when they please).
- I received an email yesterday that I could choose to be on a variable or fixed tariff. I am currently on a variable which means if the prices go up, so will my bill. With a fixed tariff, it stays the same for 12 months. I did not understand what that meant other than if I switched to a different tariff I might be signing a contract that I could not move to another provider, (according to the woman I spoke to on 04/08/22 that is untrue, yet I have since found out this is a contract and there is a £100 transfer fee if you move to another provider. It is just as well I am not on a fixed tariff after all and do not believe the BS this company tries to feed me). The woman I spoke to today 04/08/22 said I was not eligible for a fixed tariff, so why send me an email giving me the option to switch? (Not that I want to be in any contract with this nightmare company).
- I reiterated I wanted to pay manually online and the person I spoke to on the 27th understood that but sent out a magnetic card which according to the woman today meant I would NOT be able to pay online. She then continued to say I needed to set up a Direct Debit (not likely). Direct Debits allows British Gas or any organisation to help themselves to your bank account. She said as long as I made a payment today (which I did) no one would come chasing me. She also said she would text me with my complaint (I am still waiting).
- I said I wanted British Gas to explain themselves how they have caused me ‘Emotional Distress’ and ‘how it has affected me’ and what they are going to do about it. I am now preparing to publish this article across all the social media platforms including LinkedIn where I have nearly 11K followers. Let’s see how much British Gas will lose in revenue and donations to their charity when my followers learn that British Gas has nearly pushed me to breaking point, with a header title I plan to use: ‘British Gas Phoned the Police On Me’, I wonder how many connections will take notice?. I also have Chris O’Shea’s email. To think I am advertising their charity as per the request of British Gas, yet they do not pay me for the backlinks.
- Because of British Gas, my OCD has got worse, I have anxiety and panic attacks, I stress over everything, and have spiraled into a deep state of depression. I cannot face my neighbours because of the humiliation I endured. I struggle with work (I am self-employed and the Editor of this site, if I do not work, bills do not get paid). I am procrastinating and simply lack energy. This is affecting my health and my business.
- Low and behold I phoned the second time today to double-check what the first agent had said and she basically told me (NO) payment plan has been set and the only way I can have a set price I can pay on a monthly basis is if I set up a Direct Debit (they are intimidating people to set up Direct Debits because what is wrong with setting up a standing order or paying manually, there is no difference other that they do not have access to your bank account) and that providing I pay in September I will not have anyone chasing me. I was told to phone back on 22/09/22. When I said how British Gas has been treating me because of the miscommunication she did not escalate a complaint and just said sorry and it won’t happen again (I DO NOT ACCEPT THE APOLOGY and I am going to take this further).
Trust No One. Even after speaking to two people yesterday both saying they have done a payment plan and checked up with a follow-up call no payment plans were set up. (What happened was on the 27th I had a magnetic card set up but the first agent I spoke to yesterday said I could not pay online and canceled the payment plan but then reinstated a cash plan. So the second agent I spoke to yesterday said the same, yet today I have a totally different explanation and eventually have a magnetic card re-instated with a fixed payment plan).
Lies after lies after lies. So today I phone up checking up on yesterday’s phone call and the guy says no payment plan was set up. (He went on to say with a magnetic payment card I do not have to use it and that I can also pay online which was a contradiction to what the agent said yesterday).
I am getting tired of the💩 because they keep insisting I need to set up a direct debit which would mean they could help themselves to my bank account when the prices get increased rather than stick to a set payment plan.
I then discussed both complaints I made on the 27th and basically I was offered £10.00 compensation for the two over charges of £9.64 each totaling £19.28 (they obviously cannot count), which I refused as this is all part of the one complaint and I am not accepting anything less than £xxxxx for the complaint about my ill-treatment and emotion distress and the scamming.
I told the guy I am finding it hard to work, I just about can make updates let alone anything else. If I cannot work I cannot pay my bills.
Not only am I an Editor of several publications, but I am also a website designer, content writer, and digital marketer www.irenata.com So if I cannot work because of ill health, how am I supposed to run my business (www.ukwebsitedesigners.co.uk)?
So regarding my complaint about the ill-treatment by this company the agent I spoke to today who had advice from his supervisor said that ‘British Gas’ do not offer compensation for emotional distress. So they can treat you like 💩 and get away with it. Absolutely disgusting company.
So after speaking to two agents today assuring me that my debt is included in my payment plan, you won’t believe what I have just received by email, only an email chasing me for the outstanding balance.
I have phoned this wretched company yet again (this is my 3rd call today) to sort this out. I am sick to the back teeth with the antics that are taking place. God forbid someone who is more vulnerable, like an elderly person or someone with worse mental health disabilities to me or anyone with cognitive impairment and cannot argue their case.
Despite two agents assuring me yesterday, that I would not be chased for my debt I get the email today chasing me for the debt, (you cannot make this up) screenshot below:
In the third and final call, I made today the woman told me to ignore the email I received today. But this is causing unnecessary stress which I could do without. I have contacted the charity for an update and they are just saying it may take another couple of weeks. If after all this my grievance goes on deaf ears I will share this on social media and make sure that investors think twice before donating to this company. This is a company that does not care about its customers and its workers. This is a company that can treat their customers badly and thinks they can get away with it, this is a company that is causing people to have mental health issues.
What about my ‘HEALTH’ and other vulnerable people’s health, who have been treated just like me?
British Gas should not be able to treat people like something they stepped in and should be held accountable for their actions. British Gas nearly pushed me to breaking point as per the Police callout and they claim they will not compensate for the emotional distress I have endured, we will see about that…
I am sick and tired of this company. I have now reported them to OFGEM.
Energy Ombudsman complaints form or call 0330 440 1624.