MD Forman & Son Lance Forman is angry about utility bills stealth charges


- Credit: Archant

If you received a letter from your utility supplier which stated as follows “Your contract will renew automatically, your prices will be protected and your supply will not be affected” what would you think?

Any normal person would read this as (a) the current contract that you have will automatically renew and there won’t be changes to it as it is the same contract renewing; (b) that your current prices will be protected and will not therefore be changing; and (c) that there is no reason to believe that your supply will be cut off.

If this same letter stated “You don’t need to lift a finger for continued peace of mind” and in the section marked Key Points highlighted “You don’t need to do anything your renewal is automatic” you could be forgiven for misconstruing that things would not change from the status quo.

But oh no, not with British Gas. When they write “your prices will be protected”, they don’t mean that you will continue to receive the same price when the contract renews, what they mean is that when it does renew, (at a higher fixed price), this higher price will be protected and will not change. What baloney!

It is hardly surprising that consumers resent utility companies and have total distrust of their behaviour.

Why can’t they be straightforward and transparent rather than acting like third rate, second hand car salesmen, telling consumers they don’t need to lift a finger when they are sneakily passing through a cost increase?

This example comes from personal experience as it was a letter sent to my company and it appears my own company may have paid tens of thousands of pounds too much in the last few years by British Gas’ stealthy approach.

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Although in our case we never received the letter at the time because British Gas had addressed it incorrectly and so it never found us. Now that we have become aware of the problem they tell us that we should have complained earlier... Unbelievable!

Can I suggest that next time you read your utility bills, practise with a few cryptic crosswords first. British Gas’ motto should be “Stealth means Wealth”, their wealth that is, not yours. More from Lance

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