Monday, 20 May 2013

I can't be bothered with all this.

If I can't moan here, where can I moan? What's got my back up, what's bugging me, and what's stopped me from going about my daily business until I get this off my chest? There's steam coming out of my fingers as I give the keyboard a bashing.

Chuffin British Gas, what a chuffin pain! I've been plodding along with them for years now, everything running tickety boo. Meters are read, bills are accurate and get paid when they arrive, no need to upset the applecart by changing suppliers, if it aint broke then don't fix it.

Now they want to change my electricity meter for a new all bells and whistles, smart meter, apparently they can read it remotely. They try and make out that it will benefit me because I will have more control over how I use my electricity, it will help me monitor how much I use. They don't know that I am not thick. I know that when you flick more switches the little wheel whizzes round faster and faster, and before you know it you can wrack up hundreds of pounds on the next bill. I know all that, that's why I am careful not to leave things switched on. I don't really need a new meter, the old one works perfectly fine.

They sent me a letter asking me to ring and make an appointment for the exchange. I did, and was put in a queue by an automated voice. I got fed up of waiting and hung up. I tried again a couple of days later, another queue. I have got better things to do than to hang around here, another aborted call. Then another letter arrived reminding me I needed to contact them. Another try and another 'give it up as a bad job'.

At the fourth attempt I got through to a human voice, albeit a foreign chappie who I could not fully understand. Not his fault he is in another continent, he needs a job as much as anyone, I just wish they could bring all these call centres back to Britain. I struggled on with him, gave my details to confirm who I am, and managed to pick a few words out and get the gist of what he was saying.

Then it transpired that he was not the one who could make the appointment so I was put on hold, while he contacted the department dealing with meter exchanges. He got back to me in a couple of minutes and gave me another number which I should call, and said that department would be ready to take calls in a couple of hours because they were not ready yet. So I washed the pots while I was waiting.

Then I had a phone call from British Gas Customer Service, an automated call, asking if I would give my opinions on the previous interaction with them. Wanting to give them a piece of my mind, my chance to say what I think, I agreed to take part in their survey. What a waste of time that was. Another machine asking the questions, I am supposed to press the buttons on my keypad on a scale of 1 to 10, the first question I pressed 5, and then the robot asked why I had chosen that response. From then on I was flumoxed, I hesitated and it spewed forth a load of letters, I didn't know what to press after that. I gave up. Are there any humans working for British Gas???

I have just been onto the Brit Gas web site to register a complaint there, and guess what,

Oh, chuffin heck, what a palarver. Will my meter be changed, or not. At this point in time, I don't give a stuff. I might try ringing the new number that the foreign chappie gave me, or then again, I might not. Depends if I've got time. Toodle pip.


  1. That's awful! I was with British Gas at my old house, but since I have moved in with the man who is now my husband we've been with Scottish Power.

    I think your experience is worthy of a letter to Watchdog. I mean, it's not like you are trying to get away with something for nothing, or are in debt to them. You're a customer and shouldn't have to be running about speaking to robots. And the profits they make... well, they should be employing enough people to handle those customers and paying them properly!

    Not having a working means of sending in a complaint is a big fail too.

  2. I feel your frustration. I try not to let situation or people upst mebut in the face of no power (no pun intended) you are left with little but emotion. They want you to do something but they don't let you do it. What a bugger!!!

  3. Glad to give you a listening ear... Hope you feel better ;o) It's the same here in the states, since customer service has gone the way of automation, it seems to be gone for good.

  4. That's the trouble with these big corporations - they just don't think things through plus they have absolutely no regard for the end user. If I were in your position send Watchdog a link to this blog post, then print off this post and attach it to the BG letter and send it back to them.

    After that get on with your life, you have better and more interesting things to do and for me to read about!!!

    Linda xx

  5. My advice, for what it's worth is "just ignore it". They want you to do something for their benefit so let them contact you. I hate big business!!

  6. Sack the robots, bring call centres back to Britain, lets get this economy up and running again somehow.

    I feel your frustration and I this is the only reason I dread our next house moves because we will have to go through all this again. I usually leave it to my Lovely Hubby to deal with all that now, I have thrown too many phones across the room in anger when I try to do it, he has the patience of a saint.

  7. I think if they want to hear from you so badly, I would wait until they call you! Then you can tell them why YOU didn't call....I agree with you about the call centers...I had problems booking airline tickets and was told that Virgin-atlantic was moving their call centers back to Britain...

  8. Ilona, ditto, ditto ditto.
    Pat Brambley here.
    We had the very same experience you are having. We now have the smart meter fitted, and all it does is make you neurotic, as it comes with minnie computer, that plugs in and it tells you how much you are using, at what cost.After gazing at the darned thing, getting paranoid, we decided we wouldn`t plug it in. We never wasted gas before, why should this gadget now run our life.I hasten to add, when the fitters left, they forgot to light the pilot light on the boiler, and I was sat in the freezing cold until husband arrived to get it fixed. Stall as long as you can is my recommendation. Dont get me going on the foreign voice, totally not understandable. You complain, I wish I had. Good Luck
    Patricia Brambley

  9. I empathize completely, Ilona. Won't recite any of my particulars, because the elements are all the same...only the name of the company changes! I wonder if there is anyone who has NOT had one or more of these jaw-tightening time-wasting experiences? Grrrrrrrr!

  10. It's the same thing here in the US. Those automated calls get on my nerves so bad. Even when you make an appointment, it's automated!
    All of those types of jobs are being replaced by the automated system. I've even had to order prescriptions that way from a large chain pharmacy here. I never really trust that the information will be received correctly or that anyone actually listens to it. I guess I'm being paranoid about it but I'd much rather speak to someone than talk to a computer. Good luck with all that. And yes, if they want to change the meter, then let them contact YOU!

  11. Glad to hear they outsource all the call center jobs in Britain too. I only call companies during the week in hopes of getting an english speaking Canadian on the line. That too can be an exercise in futility. I think companies do stuff like this in the hopes we will give up and go with the flow. They don't count on the stubborn folk like us :)

  12. Oh Ilona, I feel your pain...really I do.
    I did a post on my similar experience when dealing with our local phone company. The call centre is located on another island, and it's hard to communicate properly with the reps.
    I HATE those automated phone systems with a this, press that....what annoyance.
    Don't worry too much about the meter, they will contact you and then come by eventually to change it.

  13. Hi ILona
    Aren't we all just about fed up with the way things are run now? I dread making any calls, including my own Doctor, its all press this number and then when you finally get through you're in a queue. No wonder everyone is miserable and cheesed off with life, its all made so difficult.
    Good for you letting of steam online, hope it all gets sorted out soon for you.

  14. Ruth here.
    Personally, i would stick with the existing meter. Smart meters are a bit of a con in my opinion and i believe its about putting control into the hands of British Gas (or whatever utility company)
    If its not going to save you money (and i don't believe it will) why change?
    Good luck with whatever decision you make!

  15. Its the same with combi boilers. I cant believe how much it costs me each month for dual fuel. The Electric to run the darn thing nearly drive me to distraction.
    I think if I could find a home with out gas and electric I would be sorely tempted. Oh for a warmer climate so I could stick 2 fingers up to these bleep bleep. Plus don't get me started on automated phones and foreign call centre staff. We had the misfortune to receive a wrong order from a well known TV company. What we received had far greater value that our original order. We wish we had not bothered to inform them as the farcical way it was dealt with makes me cringe to think about it. Hours on the phone trying to make them understand what had happened. I had lost the will to live by the end of it.
    Don't call them make them come to you. Or email them.


  16. England seems to be a step behind the USA, where I have lived for a while. (I am a native of England) We have now had the smart meter for a year or so in the USA. We also have the automated telephone system for getting in touch with banks, big business' etc. The meters are great because the meter reader does not have
    deal with dogs. There were so many complaints about the automated telephone and not getting a real person, that now business' advertize that you can speak with a real person, and it is mostly true. So hang in there.

  17. You had me on the floor! I sometimes try and strangle the phone, but the machines don't care. I don't answer my home phone at all any more unless I personally know the person on the other end. Anyone else can send me a letter. The post office needs the business.

  18. Hello Ilona.From House Fairy.
    Just think! By having a Smart meter installed you will be doing the meter reader out of a job. The Smart meters are read electronically.
    You will be paying for the new meter through your bill :(

    They say we will be better off? how? a meter with one number across the middle? Oh, and they will throw in a monitor like my "OWL".

    No I have not had the email yet! online customer. I have been in several debates about them.

    Take care...

  19. Like everyone else has said, just ignore it, if they're that desperate to change your meter they'll come banging on the door eventually. And we all know it's not 'for your benefit' that they want to fit this new meter anyway - as always it's just about them wanting your money. Nobody's out to 'help' you these days, and fortunately you're wise enough to know this.

  20. That's what I would do ignore it! Like others have said if they are that desperate to change your meter they will come a knocking! Yesterday when I went to pay the visa bill in the bank the lady said if You had internet would be able to do this at home its safe, much safer than doing this at the bank mistakes are made you know! and on and on she went..... She talked to me as if I should expect mistakes to be made from going to the bank but not if I changed to internet banking all would be ok! She wanted me to make an appointment with an advisor to organise it all. Is made me feel worried. I said no to the adviser and I would think about internet banking just to get out of the bank! Been with this bank for over 25 years...oh well will just have to toughen up...sorry to go on. Take care Ginny

  21. B.G are so cheeky. THEY should be ringing YOU to make the appointment surely! It is their meter,it just lives in your house.

  22. Strange world, it's their meter on your property for which they charge you rent to allow it to be there so they can sell you their product and demand access to your property to read that meter.
    Then they charge you even more to pay their bill if you don't want a direct debit which allows them to dictate how much they take from your bank account.

    Like somebody else said, I wish I could do without their gas or electric like we used to not that many years ago.

  23. Hello from Norway. I am very glad to have found your blog, love to read about people who have found ways of cutting back and discovered that life is about more than money and posessions. Can fully understand your frustration in this post. Hope everything goes your way, and quick! Best wishes from yoir newest follower, Pam


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