Friday 31 March 2006

British Gas: Incompetent or liars?

Try a Google search using the search phrase British Gas Incompetent and you will find quite a few results.

My experience with British Gas over the past two weeks suggests that both of these desciptions could be applied to BG.

Now I've already posted about BG, but the situation has been (mostly) resolved so I think it's time to re-cap.

Firstly, credit for the title for this entry goes here to someone I have already linked to and who had a similar experience to me. I comparison to this guy's experience I had a walk in the park...

Anyway the events in short were:

Week past Sunday (19th March) the boiler starts leaking while I'm away. Wendy is in and call BG Home Care who sent an engineer to stop the leak. Good start. They say that they will send someone on Tuesday to fix it properly.

Tuesday 21st - I take the afternoon off work to wait for the engineer. No show. They apologise and say the engineer will be sent on Friday.

Wednesday 22nd - The hot water stops working.

Friday 24th - I take the afternoon off work. No show at specified time. I phone. They say the engineer will come between 5 and 10pm. I get a call at 8.30pm. "Has the engineer been yet sir?". No! Oh, well he finished work at 5pm, so he won't be there tonight. I'm sorry. I promise he will come between 10am and 12 tomorrow morning.

Saturday 25th - Eventually after many phone calls an engineer comes at 7pm. Unfortunately, he says that he can't repair it as he is only out on an emergency call. He diagnoses what is wrong with the hot water and orders the required part.

An engineer is scheduled to come on Tuesday, so Wendy takes the day off to wait for them.

Tuesday 28th - no show.

Wednesday 29th - I take the morning off to wait. The engineer enetually turns up, but knows nothing about the lack of hot water so doesn't have the part to fix it. He tinkers with the leak.

Thursday 30th - I take another morning off - he comes and now fixes the hot water! Hoorah!

What I can't be bothered mentioning is the dozens of phone calls we made to BG. Everytime I would have to recount the whole story and I would get wildly different stories off different people, including, what I can only describe as blatant lies.

I got fairly angry, and it reminded me of a Michael Douglas film, 'Falling Down' (see pic). You feel like some kind of hostage - absolutely powerless to control the situation, just waiting for the flood of incompetence from BG to subside so that someone might actually turn up and do something.

Im just lucky that my manager was so understanding and allowed me to take so much time off. As it is, I have to work the hours back, so for the next week or two I have a lot of late nights ahead! What would have happened if I was a school teacher or a factory worker? Would a BG call centre monkey be allowed to take six half days off to let an engineer in? I doubt it.

From speaking to the engineer when he was here, I felt quite sorry for him. From his stories it is clear that British Gas is in complete chaos, and, at the moment, doesn't know its arse from its elbow. And the poor engineers are on the front line taking the flak.

Time for a strongly worded letter. I bet I get another 'I can only apologise' brush-off. I have heard so many 'I can only apologise' statements from BG. Not sure if I could handle one written down...

Oh... the boiler is still leaking, but I think we'll make do with a pan underneath it for now!

Saturday 25 March 2006

How to eat Weetabix

The subject of an office conversation, I felt the need to take some photos with my camera phone to explain exactly what the procedure is:

Step 1: Place two Weetabix in a bowl.

Step 2: Take Weetabix in bowl to dining table and prepare secondary bowl.

Step 3: Transfer one Weetabix to the secondary bowl.

Step 4: Add optimum amount of milk - just enough to soak right through, but not enough to make the Weetabix soggy.

Step 5: Add second Weetabix to bowl.

Step 6: Add milk as before and eat.

Step 7: Congratulations! You have finished your Weetabix. There is no need to clean out the secondary bowl as no self-respecting harmful germ would eat a Weetabix. Do remember to clean out the primary bowl asap as Weetabix is like glue when it dries.

First post - British Gas Home Care is rubbish!

Well, I've been meaning to do something to my website for ages and I've taken the easy option and turned it into a blog, using Blogger.

So my first post will be to moan about British Gas...

Our boiler has been dodgy for a while. It was leaking, so we called out British Gas (BG) as our landlord has BG Home Care cover. They came out and fixed the leak. Fair enough.

Last weekend while I was away it started leaking again and we now have no hot water. Wendy phoned BG who said they would send an engineer on Tuesday pm. I arranged with my work to go home early that afternoon. The engineer is supposed to come between 2 and 4pm. I wait. At 4.30pm I phone BG. "Oh sorry he's been delayed and will be with you between 5 and 10pm." Hmmm... okay I'll just stay in and wait.

8.30pm I get a phone call from BG. "Sorry but the engineer won't be coming tonight - he finished work at 5pm." That's quite annoying.

I rearrange for the engineer to come on Friday after 4pm. So I have to take some more time off work. I phone up on Friday to confirm he is coming. "Oh, your slot is 12-6pm, but there is a note to call after 3pm." So, I have to get home for 3pm. Another afternoon at work lost.

I go home. I wait. I phone. It seems he's been called to an emergency and won't be coming tonight. I'm promised he will come tomorrow (Saturday - today) between 11 and 12.

So today, I wait till 12 then phone. Blah, blah, our appointment is 'all day' and he will be here before 6pm. It's 4.47pm and he's still not here.

Some Googling suggests that I am not alone in finding BG to be completely incompetent. There was a Guardian article about it recently and this personal account of BG's imcompetence maked interesting, if depressing, reading.

So, I am currently in the middle of a BG nightmare and don't know ho wit will end. :(