In case you didn't know, Centrica is the company that owns British Gas, and for a while now also has owned The AA and One.Tel.
Centrica : What we stand for : Our heritage : Index
Of course, British Gas is still under fire for being severely over-priced compared to other Gas Suppliers. I stopped using British Gas years ago. So blame Centrica. So blame Centrica's Chief Executive and Directors.
Well, after years as a customer, I can no longer recommend OneTel. They just double-charged me on my bill. To tell them, I phoned several numbers and got only machines with stupid options and no Customer Service. Finally, I found a sub-menu option that got me through to a "human being". I mean, this was a brainwashed de-humanised person in Scotland who is struggling to compete with rival callcentres in India.
After admitting their error to me on the phone, the best OneTel could do was to apply the correction to the bill after this one.
I said, but the direct debit doesn't go on for another 2 weeks??
No, can't change the current bill.
Well what about applying a separate credit to go on at the same time as the overbilled direct debit that will be happening in 2 weeks?
No, I have to wait a month beyond that to get my refund.
Well who can I complain to?
"Sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry....Mr, Mr, Mr, Mr..."
So give me an address and the name of the person I can write to.
So I wrote a letter to Fional Chamberlain, Head of Customer Services at OneTel:
I have just had to try to contact OneTel over a billing error, and for the first time since becoming a customer over 3 years ago, I am considering leaving OneTel.
Your agents admitted that I have been double-charged for a service. They advised me that I would receive a credit on my next bill.
On my bill it says that my account will be debited on the 14 October. Today is the 28th September. Your agents advise me that the Overbilled amount of £13.99 will still be debited on the 14th October. They told me that the correcting credit will be applied on the next bill, namely one month later.
What use is this? How can I trust OneTel to apply Direct Debits to my bank account, if even when I have advised you of an error, you are UNABLE to make a correction to a direct debit which is not yet to happen until the 14th October?
I suggested that perhaps the correcting credit could be applied on the same date, but your agent said that this was not possible.
I expect a reply to this before the 7th October 2004.
I should point out that the entire experience of a customer trying to deal with OneTel, is that of dealing with Machines. The calls are answered by machines, with options which make it impossible to find what you are looking for. Even your call centre agents are trained to be perfunctory, impotent machines.
It didn’t used to be like this, and I will not be recommending OneTel to anybody until it changes. I won’t be recommending Centrica to anybody either.
And so, beware, but I think Centrica PLC might be getting sucked dry by FatCats.