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British Gas Homecare - Any alternative?

Last post Sun, Jul 11 2010, 4:10 PM by Elzo. 9 replies.
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  •  Sun, Jul 11 2010, 4:10 PM

    Re: British Gas Homecare - Any alternative? DONT USE THEM!!!

    IbkA:

    First, you need to send a copy to their CEO and to their entire Board, and copy Trading Standards and the FSA in on this - this never fails to get the right result.

    Plus, may I ask if they continued to take a direct debit for 5 appliances from your bank account after the washing machine failed? If so, they have either implicitly added the appliance on themselves, or they have been taking money for 5 appliances when you only had 4 left, illegally i.e. did they reduce the direct debit payments once the old washing machine went or not? If they did, then you didn't have the cover; if they didn't, I'd take it up with trading standards!

    Sorry for the belated reply, I was just searching for the customer relations email address for homecare when I came across this post!



    The cost of 5 appliances is the same as 4 so there would be no refund. You're basically getting a 5th appliance in a bundle of 5 appliances at no extra charge from just having 4.

    The washing machine would have been removed from the bundle of 5 at the time it was deemed BER (also leaving one space for any other appliance to be added in its place if required at no extra charge), placed in a single "guarantee" product for 1 year (British Gas look after the new appliance FOC for 1 year on top of the contribution towards the cost of the new appliance they issue), and at the end of the year a letter would automatically have been sent to inform it was coming to the end of its 1 year guarantee/free period with them, and giving you the information required to re-add this to the agreement. If you didnt respond it wouldnt have been re-added, so therefore there would have been no washing machine on the agreement to send an engineer to visit.

    I hope that makes sense.

    L.
    • Post Points: 5
  •  Sun, Jul 11 2010, 4:06 PM

    Re: British Gas Homecare - Any alternative?

    Twee:

    We had a bad experience with BG Homecare 3 years ago - we had paid about £35 per month for 5 years without a claim

    Our boiler basically exploded less than 6 hours after BG had supposedly serviced it - our new kitchen was flooded - electricity cut off etc etc

    I phoned BG helpline in a panic and was told "Sorry - nobody can come out until tomorrow evening"

    Needless to say - after some gentle pursuasion an engineer did come out within 30 minutes - and turned off the gas supply.

    This was in November at 9pm and we had no heating for a week

    Hence whenever I hear the phrase "British Gas Homecare" - I shudder.....



    If you were paying £35 per month I assume you were on a Homecare 400 agreement which would include plumbing&drains and home electrical wiring care. So over 5 years, if my calculations serve me correctly, you paid £2100. This would have included a service once a year on your boiler, and covered you for any breakdowns. You would probably have managed to get 1 good boiler fitted with that money, not 2 - or if so these would have been cheap boilers fitted by local tradesmen on the cheap, and again you would still need servicing of the boiler which would be an additional charge. So I fail to see how that would have been a better option?

    Also if someone attended within 30 minutes and switched your gas off, I suspect this would be Transco/National Grid, not BG, and Transco only attend if there is a gas emergency and switch the gas off, you still need a Gas Safe engineer to undertake any repairs.

    L.
    • Post Points: 5
  •  Wed, Jul 07 2010, 1:41 PM

    Re: British Gas Homecare - Any alternative? DONT USE THEM!!!

    First, you need to send a copy to their CEO and to their entire Board, and copy Trading Standards and the FSA in on this - this never fails to get the right result.

    Plus, may I ask if they continued to take a direct debit for 5 appliances from your bank account after the washing machine failed? If so, they have either implicitly added the appliance on themselves, or they have been taking money for 5 appliances when you only had 4 left, illegally i.e. did they reduce the direct debit payments once the old washing machine went or not? If they did, then you didn't have the cover; if they didn't, I'd take it up with trading standards!

    Sorry for the belated reply, I was just searching for the customer relations email address for homecare when I came across this post!

    • Post Points: 20
  •  Wed, Mar 10 2010, 9:26 AM

    Re: British Gas Homecare - Any alternative?

    Twee:

    Put your money into a savings account and pay for any repairs from that - for me (my £35 per month that I had wasted over 5 years would have paid for at least two replacement boilers to be fitted !!!)

    For you there would have been an alternative. To pay less. £35 is a lot and is probably whole house house emergency cover, so the whole of the premium is not really down to only boiler care, but you counted the entire premium cost in (theoretically) getting two "cheap boiler" replacements.

    I don't completely disagree with the point you make but I do disagree that the sinking fund will suit everybody and pay in every case. Typical boiler replacement costs are much higher than you quote, certain spares are very expensive and getting a good "yellow pages" repair under the duress of a winter breakdown is far from certain.

    • Post Points: 5
  •  Wed, Mar 10 2010, 7:56 AM

    Re: British Gas Homecare - Any alternative?

    Put your money into a savings account and pay for any repairs from that - for me (my £35 per month that I had wasted over 5 years would have paid for at least two replacement boilers to be fitted !!!)

    Don't forget to get the boiler services annually though - cost about £50

    • Post Points: 20
  •  Tue, Mar 09 2010, 6:16 PM

    Re: British Gas Homecare - Any alternative? DONT USE THEM!!!

    Hey = I think I spoke to the same CSO/Mgr - I didn't get cut off, but inflexible and surly are sadly appropriate descriptions. The answer to my question " Would your answer be the same if I were to tell you that I will take all of my business away from British Gas (Gas, Elec & Homecare)" was answered with a "yes".

    For the purposes of a rant, I am going to detail the situation. I have been a Homecare and British Gas customer for over 15 years, and have been happy witht he service - perhaps because I have never asked for anything out of the norm. With my Homecare agreement I also have the appliance cover (5 kitchen appliances - engineer call-out, new for old parts & labour). In March 2008 my washing machine was a right-off, and they gave me a lump sum towards a new machine, so I was able to buy a better model than I perhaps may otehrwise have been able to afford. I was very pleased.

    In February 2010, the motor on the new machine went, so I called BGH to get an engineer out. I was told my machine was not covered. I said 'of course it is, I bought it through you' but the reply was that I should have formally re-added it to my 5 appliances after the free 1 years manufacturers guarantee ran out. 'we sent you a letter' . As I had been so chuffed to get this machine, paying for these appliances for 15 years etc etc, I either didnt get or discarded the letter - I am ready to admit I just cant remember. I asked if they could make an exception - got it through them, always had it as one of the 5 appliances, good will etc. FLAT NO was the answer, and they told me that legally they have to have my permission to put it on. They were quite happy to put my plumbling and drainage on without my asking a couple of years ago - which I paid for for months before I noticed (and didnt even ask for a refund for), but NO. I asked to speak to a manager, and re-stated my case. NO, and NO again even when I stated my disgust, and threatened to take all the business elsewhere. I am amazingly uncaring as to whether they do have to legally get my permission to add the appliance on - I got nothing from them - I would have been molified by a "sorry that we cant help you"

    OK - Doing that tonight, in fact - Gas and Electricity going to alternate suppliers, and as soon as I can find a comparable alternative to the Homecare agreement, that will go as well. BG has lost £1740 of my business due to red tape!!

    So please do let me know if you find a decent alternative - and cheers if you had the patience to listen to my story.

    • Post Points: 20
  •  Wed, Dec 09 2009, 7:44 PM

    Re: British Gas Homecare - Any alternative?

    WHICH? online have done a survey including HomeCare - I go to my local library and they sign me on. EON are trying to compete - see their website. HomeCare have changed to risk based if you hadn't seen it so if you get new boiler during the year tell them and reassessment.

    I am accept insulting CSO is not the way to go but having recently had to speak with a wide range the huge variation in quality means the worst... Unhelpful, don't get the point and surly and my "favourite" "cutting you off now sir" can be very trying. The really good ones find me thanking profusely and on occasions going to some trouble to report excellence. Sadly it's rare.

    • Post Points: 20
  •  Wed, Dec 09 2009, 2:51 PM

    Re: British Gas Homecare - Any alternative?

    We had a bad experience with BG Homecare 3 years ago - we had paid about £35 per month for 5 years without a claim

    Our boiler basically exploded less than 6 hours after BG had supposedly serviced it - our new kitchen was flooded - electricity cut off etc etc

    I phoned BG helpline in a panic and was told "Sorry - nobody can come out until tomorrow evening"

    Needless to say - after some gentle pursuasion an engineer did come out within 30 minutes - and turned off the gas supply.

    This was in November at 9pm and we had no heating for a week

    Hence whenever I hear the phrase "British Gas Homecare" - I shudder.....

    • Post Points: 35
  •  Wed, Dec 09 2009, 2:27 PM

    Re: British Gas Homecare - Any alternative?

    riad135:Does anyone know of an alternative to British Gas Homecare?

    I received a call from a really stupid sounding lady who said that the part wasn't in so they wouldn't be coming. They would have it for tomorrow.....

    And the relevance of that remark?

    I'm not going to defend the service you have received, but its no worse than the service some people receive from the NHS.

    At the end of the day a fix requires a number of things. First to get an organisation to respond. Secondly the competence of the "repair man" or service engineer. Thirdly the complexity of the fault and forthly availability and access to spares.

    Whether another company's "repair man" or a local service engineer will do better in every case is impossible to predict. Up to you I'm afraid, although I have to point out that some spares are *very* expensive.

    Where I do agree with you is that British Gas Homecare have lost the plot by advertising that you can afford to have a boiler fault every month but that is hugely inconvenient and potentially expensive to working people.

    Sorry I don't have the answer because I don't know what the particular fault was, the competence of the "repair man" and the particular spare which was required to be ordered.

    Get out your service agreement Terms & Conditions and make sure you have been treated 100% in accordance with the agreement.

    • Post Points: 20
  •  Wed, Dec 09 2009, 12:46 PM

    British Gas Homecare - Any alternative?

    Does anyone know of an alternative to British Gas Homecare?

    Here's why I ask:

    We had a boiler problem and 2 days later the 'man' came and fixed the problem by spraying some WD40 in the fan cowling. Took 3 minutes to do this but he didn't put the cupboard back together once finished, that he'd taken apart.

    4 days later same problem. Same man, same cupboard scenario. Same spray of WD40 but booked to come in with a new part and fix it 4 days later (a wednesday)

    After taking the day off work to accomodate them coming out I rang to confirm my booking with them and that the engineer was due to come out.
    They confirmed that was the case.

    At the end of the time slot for the engineer and after hearing nothing from them I rang again.

    The customer service agent told me they would call engineering and call me back. He did and told me that the engineer had been delayed and someone would contact me soon to tell me when they would arrive.

    I received a call from a really stupid sounding lady who said that the part wasn't in so they wouldn't be coming. They would have it for tomorrow. As I started to say that was really atrocious behaviour on their part she told me that the part was arriving tomorrow.

    I said that there was no need for her to repeat herself and that I understood that the part was available tomorrow. I asked her if that meant that she would recompense me for my lost work and she started to tell me to call a customer service department. I asked if she thought that would get me anywhere or if honestly I would just be passed from pillar to post for 30 mins all to no avail.

    The way you get treated by these companies is despicable. They are now coming some time on a Saturday and that will mean we have been without hot water and heating for 9 days - what fantastic customer service!!!

    My advice - pay for someone to come and fix your stuff when you need it. I'm certainly cancelling our contract.
    • Post Points: 35