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Billing blunders annoy centre

PUBLISHED: 20:59 06 May 2003 | UPDATED: 13:49 03 March 2010

AN Ipswich shopping centre received an apology from British Gas today after being plagued by billing blunders for more than two years.

The catalogue of errors even included being charged for a third meter it did not have.

AN Ipswich shopping centre received an apology from British Gas today after being plagued by billing blunders for more than two years.

The catalogue of errors even included being charged for a third meter it did not have.

Since 2001 Buttermarket Shopping Centre has been battling with the energy giant in a bid to resolve the farce and claims it is now facing difficulty in disposing of British Gas' services.

Rob Bradley, operations manager at the centre, said: "We are so fed up with the catalogue of errors that we want to change our supplier. However a new company will find problems with our British Gas account and may not want to take us on."

Trouble started at the end of October 2000 when Transco – the company that maintains the distribution network – discovered an extra gas meter in the Buttermarket centre that they did not know about previously. When the next bill from British Gas came in January 2001 the shopping centre was expecting it to be larger, but was in for a surprise.

Mr Bradley said: "We found out that we were being billed for three meters when we only had two. I telephoned them to sort it out but we were still sent several disconnection notices."

Confusion continued in September when Transco called to say they had the wrong details for one of the meters. The following May, Mr Bradley received an email from British Gas asking for details of the third meter which he had already told them didn't exist.

He said: "By this point I was really fed up so I set up a new account based upon the usage information they gave us."

However he still had problems. After months of more reminders and more disconnection notices, Mr Bradley finally received the bill to settle the account that he closed nearly seven months earlier.

Things looked to be back on track until British Gas dropped another bombshell. The new account had been set up using an incorrect meter reading. Mr Bradley received two huge bills that were nothing like normal. The account was then frozen and Mr Bradley was told he would not get any more bills until the account had been sorted out.

But for the whole of the following two months he was still bugged by reminders and disconnection notices. Every time he complained he was told it would not happen again, but it did.

Simon Bennett, spokesman for British Gas, said: "We apologise to Mr Bradley for the service he has received from us, this is certainly not representative of the standard of service we set ourselves.

"We were also let down by third parties, which did not help. We are working with Mr Bradley to resolve a current billing issue and one of our staff will be visiting shortly. We have received a request to switch supplier and we have initiated the transfer process."

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