You are here: Home - Household Bills - News -

British Gas Business to pay £9.5m for customer service failings

0
Written by: Paloma Kubiak
24/01/2017
The business arm of British Gas is to pay £9.5m in redress over billing issues and complaints handling following its bungled IT system upgrade in 2014.

In March 2014, British Gas Business implemented a new IT billing system which led to tens of thousands of business customers receiving late and inaccurate bills. More than 6,000 new customers also experienced delays registering with the supplier.

As a result, the number of complaints soared and the supplier wasn’t able to handle them properly or on time.

British Gas Business, which supplies around 400,000 customers, voluntarily approached the energy regulator to report the problems in December 2014 and Ofgem launched an investigation in October 2015.

Ofgem found that British Gas Business had failed to treat business customers fairly and that it didn’t do enough to protect affected customers from issues that arose from the new IT billing system.

However, Ofgem noted that British Gas Business did compensate some affected customers and acted to reduce the level of delayed bills. It also allowed some customers who were in debt to switch, only if the debt was related to its failure to produce a bill.

Since then, the supplier has hired additional agents to help handle the increased call volumes and to reduce the backlog of complaints and Ofgem said it has also “significantly improved its performance on billing and customer registrations”.

British Gas Business has agreed to pay £9.5m in redress, including direct payments to affected business customers and it has also made payments to the charity, Money Advice Trust.

‘British Gas Business didn’t act quickly enough’

Ofgem’s chief executive, Dermot Nolan, said: “British Gas Business has done the right thing by coming forward to Ofgem to report problems with its new IT billing system, and has since worked hard to improve its customer service. However, British Gas Business’ implementation did go wrong and it didn’t act quickly enough to put things right.

“Many existing businesses customers were left without accurate bills, causing significant concern. New customers were delayed from switching to the supplier, potentially costing them money by leaving them on a more expensive deal with another supplier. The £9.5m payment sends a strong reminder to all energy companies that they must treat consumers fairly at all times, including while new systems are put in place.”

‘I’d like to apologise for any inconvenience caused’

Gab Barbaro, managing director of British Gas Business, said: “We invested in a new billing system so we could improve the service we provide to our business customers. At the time, this was a major undertaking – merging nearly 100 different systems into one. It didn’t go as smoothly as we would have liked so we reported this to Ofgem as a priority.

“We’ve worked hard to put this right since and Ofgem has acknowledged this today. We’ve restored a very good quality of customer service, and more and more of our customers are going online to use the new billing system. I’d like to apologise to our business customers for any inconvenience caused when we were implementing the system.”

There are 0 Comment(s)

If you wish to comment without signing in, click your cursor in the top box and tick the 'Sign in as a guest' box at the bottom.

Are you a first-time buyer looking for a mortgage?

Look no further, get the help you need by searching for your perfect mortgage

Which ISA is right for you? A round up of the six products available in 2017

From cash to innovative finance to lifetime, here's our guide to the ISA products available to savers this yea...

Guide to buy-to-let tax changes

In late 2015, former Chancellor George Osborne announced a range of  tax measures aimed at landlords, which t...

A guide to switching energy provider

All you need to know about switching from one energy supplier to another.

What will happen if rates change

How your finances will be impacted by a rise in interest rates.

Regular Savings Calculator

Small regular contributions can build up nicely over time.

Online Savings Calculator

Work out how your online savings can build over time.

Five fund tips for a 0.25% interest rate environment

With interest rates stuck at a record low 0.25% and expectations rates could fall to close to zero, here are ...

Protecting family wealth: 10 tips for cutting inheritance tax

Inheritance tax - sometimes known as 'death tax' - can cause even more heartache for bereaved families. But th...

Travel insurance: Five tips to ensure a successful claim

Ahead of your summer holiday, it’s important to make sure you have the right level of travel cover or you co...

Investing your money

Alliance Trust Plc gives you smart insight into how to invest your money

Money Tips of the Week

Read previous post:
2362218-advicejpg
Get free financial advice worth £800

Do you need help getting your finances in order? If so, enter this competition to be in with a chance...

Close