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!

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