British Gas branded 'callous' over change to energy bills – and customers call it a 'disgrace' | The Sun
BRITISH Gas has made a big change to energy bills and customers are furious.
The supplier has quietly ditched giro slips from thousands of customer bills, The Sun can reveal.
The move means that tens of thousands will no longer be able to pay their bill at their local Post Office, Payzone kiosk or bank branch.
It comes at a time when all the evidence suggests that people are turning back to cash and face-to-face services as a way to stay on top of their budget, according to consumer expert Martyn James.
Up until now, these customers, often older and more vulnerable, could settle their electricity and gas accounts by exchanging the giro slip in their local branch.
They could then pay it with cash, a cheque, credit or debit card and it would usually be processed within three working days.
Read more in money
Warning for 250,000 households as banks REFUSE mortgages – are you affected?
I'm an energy expert – 4 small changes in each room to reduce your bills by £700
But the supplier told The Sun that it has ditched these cheques from thousands of customer bills who weren't paying in this way already.
A British Gas spokesperson said: "We've not made any changes for customers who currently pay by giro as we understand it's important for them to be able to pay in their preferred way."
But one furious British Gas customer who's always used his payment slip contacted Sun Money to highlight that it had still been removed from his bill.
Ian Edmondson, 61 from Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancs said: "It's a disgrace that British Gas has done this without informing their customers.
Most read in Money
Everything to know about energy bill changes TODAY including free cash grant
Nestle makes big change to iconic chocolate bar recipe for the second time
Argos axes payment option before Christmas leaving shoppers unable to buy gifts
High street shoe shop closes more locations as shoppers spot huge sale signs
"It happened out of the blue and means that I can't pay my bill at my local Post Office until I request that it's reissued.
"But I've learnt that after having done this I'll now need to wait until I receive my next bill in December."
The recently retired environment agency officer chooses to pay at his local Post Office with the giro slip "it's an easier way to budget".
"I also like to believe that I'm less likely to fall victim to fraud as I don't need to use my credit or debit card," he added.
Other customers have posted on social media in recent months complaining that the same slip of paper has disappeared from their bills.
One said on X, formerly Twitter: "Why does British Gas send bills out bills without a payment slip attached? Happens every time.
"Why make it difficult for us to pay you via the Post Office?"
Another customer said on a Facebook group asking: "I've just received my latest bill but with no payment slip. How do I pay it now?"
However, British Gas has said that affected customers can still request a giro slip if they want to change their payment method.
A spokesperson said: "Should a customer want to change their payment method, they can get in touch and we can help them with this."
James Daley, managing director at Fairer Finance, said: "Utility companies offer essential services, and so it's vital they make it as easy as possible for people to pay their bills.
"Many people still rely on paying via the Post Office and Payzone – and it's callous of British Gas to suddenly make these methods harder for most of their customers to use.
"Changes like this need to be carefully managed and communicated – and it would seem British Gas has managed to do neither of those."
Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK: "It's almost inconceivable that a business would make it harder for its struggling customers to pay their bills during the cost-of-living crisis."
British Gas customers can still pay by cheque by mailing it directly to the company's address on their latest bill.
Customers must make sure they note down their account number on the back.
However, this lacks the reassurance of paying in a Post Office or bank branch with a giro slip as mailed cheques aren't tracked and can take up to five working days to process.
Customers wanting to add a giro slip back onto their paper bill should call British Gas on 0333 202 9804 or get in touch via the live chat on the supplier's website.
The change comes only months after EDF Energy scrapped quarterly bills in another move which left some of its own customers furious.
Households argued that they preferred to pay this way because it gave them time to check over their bill before they paid it.
How else can I pay my energy bills?
British Gas customers who set up an account on the supplier's website can quickly pay their bill using their debit or credit card.
Or phone British Gas' automated payment line on 0333 202 9524.
But if you've set up an online account, you'll also have the option to pay via direct debit.
READ MORE SUN STORIES
Downton Abbey star Hugh Bonneville splits from wife of 25 years
My Mum, Your Dad's Natalie shows off sideboob in swimming pool after split
Switching to direct debit payments is one of the easiest ways to slash your energy bills as gas and electricity rates are charged at the cheapest rate with this payment method.
Those without an online account can still pay their bill by using a BACS or Faster Payments bank transfer using the payee details on their latest bill.
Source: Read Full Article