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British Gas fined over phone line delays

Customers kept waiting on a premium-rate number

 

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Energy giant British Gas has been hit with a £5,000 fine after it kept customers hanging on a premium-rate number for an  ‘unreasonable amount of time’.

Premium rate regulator Icstis said customers ringing up about an increase in their Click Energy tariffs had to wait on the line for an advisor with no warning of the 75p-a-minute cost.

Its own investigations found that callers were being put on hold for more than seven minutes with no relevant introductory message explaining the costs.

Icstis also criticised Cable & Wireless, who provided the premium-rate number, for failing to make British Gas aware of the code of practice on such telephone services.

Customer refunds

British Gas was ordered to refund all consumers who were kept waiting.

A company spokesman said: ‘We acknowledged our mistake and immediately changed the contact number.

‘Our Click Energy customers continue to enjoy some of the most competitive rates available and will soon, like other British Gas customers, be enjoying a price cut.’

British Gas is the most expensive energy supplier in the UK after raising bills twice last year, including a 22 per cent hike in March, although it has since promised to cut the cost of energy in the spring.

Which? runs its own impartial energy price comparison site – Switch with Which? – where you can check which supplier offers the best deal for your gas and electricity.

People can save, on average, £250 by switching suppliers – with the biggest savings likely to be made by those who haven’t switched before.