Pyramid Comment

This journal takes an alternative view on current affairs and other subjects. The approach is likely to be contentious and is arguably speculative. The content of any article is also a reminder of the status of those affairs at that date. All comments have been disabled. Any and all unsolicited or unauthorised links are absolutely disavowed.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

British Gas - The Hiding

British Gas - The Attitude
British Gas - The Disaster
British Gas - The Owner (Centrica)
British Gas - The Round Up

British Gas Managing Director, Mr P. Bentley, was sent a Special Delivery letter (ZV620880821GB) at Centrica Head Office. This was written on 18.07.08, delivered 21.07.08 and still no acknowledgment from Centrica by 29.07.08. In view of the seriousness of the entire situation, even busy people with all their administrative support should be able to manage the minimal courtesy of an acknowledgment. It would seem this is

not atypical

The original challenge was back in mid-June. Mid-June to end July is only


STILL no response FROM British Gas.

18th July 2008

Mr P. Bentley
Centrica, plc
Maidenhead Road 
Windsor Berkshire 

Dear Mr. Bentley, Mr. Roger Gale MP has suggested I make a formal complaint and this has been directed to energywatch along with a copy of this letter and I will forward a copy of your reply onto Mr Gale. I am the father of one of your millions of customers and am contacting you directly to explicitly express my concern and disturbance regarding the unwarranted ‘severe consequences’ threats. Over recent weeks attempting to elicit any response from British Gas has resulted in absolute silence. There has never been any refusal to make payment and £250 was forwarded even though possibly unnecessary. There have been several attempts at email contact sent via the British Gas website:

  • email-1: 1392800
  • email-2: 1393941
  • email-3: 1400092
  • email-4: 1408100
  • email-5: 1408331
  • email-6: 1408593
  • email-7: 1417504

    Two recorded delivery letters have been completely ignored, both to Eastbourne: DV 1621 4112 5GB (17.06.08) and DV 1621 5728 9GB (04.07.08). This silence continues today and so it is reasonable to assume that policy is to ignore any fair and reasonable challenge. All previous attempts have generated minimally an electronic acknowledgment without any formal response within ‘3-days’. An initial telephone contact resulted in no action even after assurances had been given of a return call. This never happened after the alleged consultation with a supervisor. This was nearly 6-weeks ago (07.06.08).

    Subsequently, British Gas commenced sending further demands for payment totally ignoring my attempts at contacting British Gas. In my view, Mr Chris Jansen (Managing Director, Online) does not appear to be a real person. These have escalated into more strongly worded demands for payment with explicit threats to terminate supply and the overt mention of ‘severe consequences’ even down to explicitly specifying the cost of obtaining an access warrant (£361). The grounds for attempting to acquire such a warrant and its legality must be examined. British Gas has failed completely to contact me even though the email and home addresses and home telephone number have been known to British Gas for several weeks. These three pieces of information seem to be inadequate and it strongly suggests that coercion to forward complete payment of a disputed amount is the British Gas policy rather than actually attempting to resolve the situation, as has always been my intention.

    One of the questions asked is ‘Trouble paying?’ The answer is negative except that British Gas has failed to verify or justify in any way the amount demanded even though fiercely challenged. There is no evidence of any debt except the British Gas statement that there is one and it remains unsubstantiated and unverified. The letter states that to check receipt of any payment made to British Gas can be made via the website, but the flow of information is only one-way: into British Gas.

    Kevin Roxburgh, Head of Debt, communicates (25.06.08):
    • Not received payment for electricity use If not paid within the next 10 days the need to write again will incur a £14 charge
    • An instruction to contact British Gas and arrange payment for a non-verified demand
    • Continued non-payment will result in severe consequences
      • disconnection and an additional charge of £50
      • reconnection
      • a warrant may be issued to enter your property, for which you will incur fees of up to £361 in addition to the amount you currently owe
      • disclosure of an unproven debt to a credit reference agency and consequential problems as a result of this
    I have no plan to lower my standards by charging British Gas for my recorded delivery letters (2) and letters to my MP at the House of Commons, London. Part payment (£250) of the challenged demand had been forwarded, 3rd July 2008 (ref 043001324147) while the situation should have been investigated by British Gas to ascertain the accuracy of the disputed demand.

    I suggest you review the definition of extortion.

    Still silence (as at 18th July 2008). The last demand for payment was nearly £700 for a 2-month period (March -> May 2008) and for two full-time working occupants of a small flat this seemed excessive. Payments already made for the entire occupation since September 2007 are brought into doubt. This has consequently resulted in a fair and reasonable challenge to verify the accuracy of the demand dated May 2008. No attempt had been made by British Gas to verify the demand before the ‘severe consequences’ threats. The continued demands and accusations of failure to pay can only be interpreted as potentially actionable.

    Also the maligned character reference is explicitly implied. Grounds to even apply for an access warrant for whatever purpose must also be challenged. There is, and never has been, any resistance to any lawful entry. In fact, the meter is not located in the flat itself and the veracity of the non-witnessed ‘read meter’ description is also in doubt as is the purpose of the proposed entry. I had made it very clear from the outset (mid-June) that settlement would be immediately expedited if the amount alleged payable was verified. It never has been and British Gas has made no attempt to do so. Any grounds to obtain an access warrant could only be based on any wholly unsubstantiated accusation by British Gas.

    Yours faithfully,

    cc. RLYB – HJHH – THKS
    Percy House
    Percy Street
    Newcastle upon Tyne
    NE1 4PW

    Roger Gale MP House of Commons LONDON SW1 0AA

    The Centrica location is likely to anticipate attendance of administrative staff, if not Mr. Bentley. Even occasionally. This entry was posted 26th July 2008, but was written on the 18th July and delivered 21st July. Such is my expectation of the absolute zero response.

    British Gas has not let me down.

    It is possible that a response could materialise, but (so far) predictably: NOTHING. Several conclusions can be drawn, mainly that any challenge is ignored until it (eventually) goes away. British Gas has been given the opportunity to respond, but goes into hiding. Do NOTHING, say NOTHING and it will all go away. An acknowledgment requires a response, so don't even acknowledge the (Special Delivery) letter. All the problems caused by British Gas will just go away. All the misery and the serious problems as a result of skyrocketing energy prices. It all just goes away.

    The result of 'severe consequences' may force some of those millions of consumers to pay up the extortionate, and possibly WRONG, but dreadfully excessive demands. That seems to be the policy expectation. The impression is that there is NOTHING wrong. It seems that the attempt at gross overcharging by over 900% with direct, overt and explicit threats of 'severe consequences' if not paid is perfectly acceptable. After all, BIG British Gas can do as it likes with impunity, can it not?

    The lack of any response does support this presumption and the rather humorless and highly ironic joke is that further demands for (any) response from British Gas mirror exactly British Gas demands for payment.