Times would appear to have changed, very much for the worse.
My Father worked, for what is now British Gas, for all his working life, he would have turned in his grave if he hadn’t been cremated, at the totally legal activities of his much revered old company.
In his day the customer was paramount and strangely they had a monopoly of supply, which they do not have now, but their methods now ensure that leaving them is not the most simple process for a layman, unless you have a company looking after your interests, which costs you nothing, this is not a commercial but a statement of fact.
You can do it, but you need every trick in the book legally and otherwise, these are the Pub Co’s of the Energy Business, backed by very expensive lawyers, barristers and anything else that they choose to use to keep you nailed to their supply tie, customer service is in the small print somewhere.
The latest lamb to the Energy Slaughter, received a gas bill from BG for March 2011 and queried why his rate had been increased by just a shade under 40%, also the standing charge by 1700%.
BG informed him that they sent a letter in October 2010 and again in November 2010 notifying him that his contract was due for renewal in February 2011 and because he failed to respond he was now committed to these increases for another 12 months and that there is nothing he can do, perfectly legal and cast iron water tight or gas tight anyway.
He has absolutely no record or recollection of any letter or notification from BG and if he had, he would have jumped through hoops to find out why and certainly would have changed his supplier in double quick time.
BG refused to negotiate or discuss any possibility that there correspondence may not have existed or been misdirected, there is no arbitration or mediation he is legally stuck with it.
Surely for these companies to be squeaky clean and above board, they should send a recorded delivery letter to commercial property advising them once a year.
Our learned Lamb has been a commercial customer of BG for 12 years, does that relationship count for nothing, BG’s record on customer relationship has enjoyed some very distinctive publicity over the past few years.
They can’t do this with domestic supplies but they have free reign on commercial supplies, the country is desperately trying to generate successful businesses in very tough times, it doesn’t need large Energy Companies leeching hard earned profits from small businesses to be fed to multi-national conglomerates who exploit loyalty, complacency or ignorance in their customers, in pursuit of greed.
Some companies are trying to work together, but there are far too many Energy Companies who consider customers ignorance or complacency as fair game to be exploited perfectly legally.
It would appear that one brave lady took on one of these Energy Giants on the legality of what they were and are enforcing, it cost her £10,000 in legal fees, the company involved said they would take the initial decision to appeal, far beyond the lady’s means and she was forced to withdraw, this is not justice, this is he who has most wins.
I like the lady took a substantial body to the small claims court for negligence, after good legal advice, the judge was about to award in our favour and the barrister representing the organization said they would take it to appeal because, because the body could not be seen to be failing or negligent. The judge advised us to withdraw because the High Court would cost at least £50K for a few thousand in the small claims claims court, which we did and were given a bill for £8,500 for withdrawing.
Sadly these energy companies like Pub Co’s know this and would appear to be exploiting the financial weakness of the small businessman.
My friendly legal eagle stated categorically that extending and changing a contract without the agreement of both parties is not valid, this abuse is not used on domestic property why should they get away with it if our information is correct on commercial property.
My brother in law has been told exactly the same story he has absolutely no record of any correspondence from his energy supplier advising him of any change, until the bills started arriving, he has always been concerned at the cost of his energy in a very small business premises, far in excess of some other premises that he has.
The views expressed are not necessarily the editors and www.buyingapub.com accepts no responsibility for them, we do try to avoid offensive or litigious statements being made. They are written by concerned professionals in the industry who feel that these issues should be raised to ensure that all licensees are made fully aware of many hidden pitfalls.