A MAN was left baffled after bungling British Gas sent him a shocking text while trying to charge him £150 he’d already paid.
Jason Ashtead, 53, said he thought it was “a joke written by a friend’s four-year-old” when he received the official message from online workers who were dealing with a complaint about his energy bill.
4Jason Ashtead slammed British Gas for the handling of his caseCredit: Jason Ashtead4He claims the energy firm sent him a bungling message after he had paid off his debtsCredit: TwitterStaff at the embattled energy firm told him they were “tying to get hold of you to discuss teh final bill” before signing it off “Britishgas”.
British Gas then told Jason, who was disputing being overcharged for around £150 for a month’s energy he claims he had already paid for, to call them to discuss the bill.
But he says that the number provided did not take any calls.
He told The Sun: “I have spent four months disputing this claim, six hours talking to online chatbots about the overcharging and even been threatened with debt collectors.
“Then I got this message from British Gas which was littered with mistakes.
“I thought it was sent from a mate who was winding me up. Either that or one of their four-year-olds.
“They couldn’t even be bothered to get the name of British Gas and missed out the space. I was shocked.”
He continued: “It just shows you how little they care about the brand or their own customers. If it wasn’t so annoying, it would be funny.
“On a serious note, I’ve been so worried about how incompetent they’ve been that I’ve shivered my way through the winter and barely had the gas on because I had no idea what they’d come up with next. It’s appalling.”
When approached for comment British Gas even spelt Jason’s surname wrong as they apologised for their treatment.
A spokesman said: “We are really sorry that we weren’t able to resolve Mr Adsead’s complaint sooner. We have spoken to him to apologise and will be following up with him to confirm the actions we have taken.”
It comes as British Gas’ owner announced startling year on year profits as millions of Brits face soaring energy bills.
On Wednesday, Centrica announced annual profits hit £3.3billion in 2022 – more than triple the £948million it made in 2021.
The firm’s profits have been boosted by soaring wholesale gas prices after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Purchaser Jason’s British Gas bills – up until last year – had been in the name of his ex-wife for about 20 years despite Jason paying for it.
But after their split, Jason assumed the gas and electric direct debit payments and told the firm to change them to his name.
In April last year, he took a meter reading which put him in credit but claims the cheque was sent to his ex-wife as they had not changed the address.
Jason, from Derbyshire, then found the company had cancelled his direct debit and moved him on to a new tariff.
He said: “I was stunned. I complained about both things. But I never got a straight answer to my complaints. Almost a year on they are still open now.
“People from the complaints did say they wanted to speak to me but I told them I could only speak outside the hours of 8am to 4.30pm. Despite this, they kept calling me within these hours.
“It went on for weeks. Eventually I took a call and was on the phone for 45 minutes to a call handler, who offered no resolution. They even hung up on me.”
In October, British Gas then told him he needed to do a meter reading and bring his accounts up to date, which he did by paying £24 on one account and £19 on another.
Yet days later he was told he owe £150 for that month.
Jason continued: “I tried to get in touch with them. I then spent four hours speaking to one of British Gas online advisor chatbots to explain the error. But they couldn’t understand I had paid it. The advisor then wiped all my readings off the system. I then raised another complaint.
“I then got a text message telling me I had to respond in 12 hours or they ‘would consider the matter closed unless I got back in contact’. But when I tried to ring the number back, it couldn’t receive calls.”
In December, Jason received the error-strewn message and said: “It is a shambles. You would not think this was one of the biggest companies in the world.”
Jason said he was happy to settle most of an outstanding £700 bill if British Gas acknowledged their mistake for September last year.
After we contacted British Gas, they said they had apologised for the misunderstanding.
But Jason said: “It’s not good enough. I have wasted so much time and been messed around so much. I’ve now left British Gas and joined another supplier Utility Warehouse.”
4Jason was involved in a long running dispute with British GasCredit: Getty4The dad has since switched energy supplier after the ordealCredit: Jason Ashtead
Story Credit: thesun.co.uk