British Gas to pay compensation for mis-selling | Get Financial Freedom Tips | Transform Your Financial Future


Friday, July 11, 2014

British Gas to pay compensation for mis-selling

British Gas have been forced to pay compensation to over 4,000 customers after it was revealed that they were mis-sold their energy products.

The issue took place over a two year period and involved over exaggerated savings claims by sales staff who were working in a number of supermarkets as well as a London shopping centre.

When did this take place?

Between February 2011 and March 2013, 4,300 customers agreed to sign up to British Gas after talking to representatives at a number of Sainsbury’s stores and at the Westfield centre in Shepherd’s Bush. They were told that by switching providers they would make large savings each month, but this was not the case.

What compensation is available?

British Gas has now paid out a total of £566,000 in compensation to those who were affected, which is an average of £130 per customer. There is still £434,000 set aside by the British Gas Energy Trust as there are still 1,300 customers yet to receive a refund – many of who are vulnerable customers and on a low income or receiving benefits.
British Gas to pay compensation for mis-selling

If you signed up to the energy giant between these dates through Sainsbury’s or at Westfield and have not yet received your compensation, contact the customers services team at British Gas to request the money you are due.

The issue was discovered following internal audit work by British Gas and they reported their findings to Ofgem who have said it will not open an enquiry as the matter is been quickly resolved and that refunds have started to be processed.

The failings discovered were:
  • Staff did not make it clear that British Gas were a supply partner for Sainsbury’s Energy and so customers were unaware of who they were actually dealing with
  • There were no like-for-like tariff comparisons carriedout
  • Saving estimates were incorrect
  • Customers were told they would save money by switching but they ended up paying more than if they had stayed with their original supplier.
Why it is important to take the time to compare

Deciding to switch directly with a supplier rarely works out to be the best way to make savings. It’s important to always carry out a full market comparison and use your postcode and current usage to get the full picture.

What does British Gas say?

Ian Peters, British Gas Residential, says: "We are very sorry and have ensured no customer will be out of pocket as a result…we pride ourselves on our high standards and it is extremely disappointing when even a relatively small number of customers don't receive the service they expect from us."

The mis-selling has left me without money I need to pay my bills, what can I do?

If you have been affected by the mis-selling and the overpayment you have been making each month has meant your budget has been over-stretched, look for information on payday loans online to find a company who can help with your emergency situation until your refund is in the bank.

Choosing the right tariff can feel confusing, but as long as you take the time to research the products available and don’t sign up directly with a provider before checking out their claims, you will be able to make the decision which is best for you, your family and your bank balance.

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