British Gas and npower both insist they supply us
My wife and I moved to our new home 18 months ago and there has been confusion over who supplies us with gas. Npower was supplying the property previously. We requested to switch to British Gas and were told there was a problem.
Both npower and British Gas claim they supply us and over the past year both have sent demands for payment and debt collectors’ letters. There appears to be a phantom meter and no one can agree which one is ours. During a telephone conference call last year both argued with each other over whose customer we are.
Ten months ago, npower eventually admitted it was not our supplier, refunded our payments and closed the account. We thought that was the end of it and set up a direct debit with British Gas.
Then npower once again began sending demands and a debt collection threat. It now claims it is our supplier – as does British Gas to whom we pay by direct debit each month. We have lived for more than a year under threat of bailiffs entering our property and are at our wits’ end.
The most depressing aspect of your ordeal is that, in the glare of the media spotlight, it took the companies mere hours to clear up the confusion. British Gas acknowledged that, although it has been pocketing your money for the past 10 months, it is not your supplier. And npower discovered that it made a mistake when it asserted that you were not its customer and closed your account.
The fact that both billed you using variations of your address, none of which officially exist, is a clue to the fiasco.
British Gas tells me two meters were registered to the property on the national database, one supplied by npower and the other by itself. It acknowledged this should have been established far sooner and, to show its remorse, is crediting you with a somewhat miserly £60 compensation for the stress and the threats, as well as a refund of all the bills you’ve paid them. Npower has deducted £200 from the amount you owe it during the period you were paying its rival.
It would be good to report that all was now sorted, except that on the letter informing you of the resolution, it still got your address wrong.
Double trouble as we pay for eDream error
My partner was to be best man at a wedding in Malaysia, so we booked tickets to Kuala Lumpur through eDreams. The outgoing flight was with Saudi Arabian Airlines and the home flight with Oman Air. The next day, we realised that my partner’s surname had been entered twice on the ticket. EDreams insisted it could not be changed so we had to cancel his flights and buy new tickets, receiving only a partial refund for the originals.
Then we were told our outbound flight had been cancelled and that alternatives were fully booked, and that our only option was to get a full refund from Saudi. Though we could see online there were still tickets at a higher price, we didn’t argue and requested the refund.
We were told we could not get a full refund for the return flights because they were not cancelled (even though we now had no way of getting there as we didn’t have the funds to rebook outbound flights at a rate now double the original).
Three months later, we have only received half of the £630 refund due for the outward-bound flight and half of the partial refund promised for the return flight.
We have contacted eDreams several times and it has just stopped replying. The airlines refuse to speak to us directly as it was booked through eDreams.
We have lost hundreds of pounds on a trip we were not able to go on and it sadly also meant there was no best man at the wedding.
AN, York Your experience is all the more shocking because the repeated surname that invalidated your original ticket was not of your doing. Last year I reported the cases of several customers of eDreams’ sister company Opodo who had experienced the same problem and been asked to pay for amended or new tickets.
Only when I tackled Opodo did it admit to a technical fault and agree to reissue tickets for free.
Opodo and eDreams are part of travel giant Odigeo, which seems to have learnt nothing. Once again, it was only after media intervention it admitted the mistake was its fault. “There was a technical error on our website earlier this year which meant that some customers’ names were incorrectly listed on their flight bookings,” it says.
Two days after I contacted the press office – and four months after you first complained – you were given a full refund for both flights. And what about compensation? Edreams has offered a £40 voucher to each of you, so you can enjoy the suspense of booking all over again.
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