You know I am a fan of illogical, irrational business practices in that they give me something to rant about. United Utilities have been providing that for the last month. I got a letter today to say they owe me £1122.28. Yes. Over a grand.
I thought it was just £322.28 they owed me until my phone call to them on Tuesday, which was answered by a pensioner-sounding lady. A tad bizarre in itself.
Me: Hello. I’m £322.28 in credit. Can you pay it back, please
*British Gas owed me a bit of cash, and they paid up. I was expecting a similar service.
BW: Well, it’s not that simple.
BW: well, the meter reading was wrong.
Me: was it?
BW: yes. It says 630. And that can’t be right. You used up to 930 last year.
Me: oh, I’ll go and check.
Having ferreted about under the sink for 10 minutes, I return. It says 631.
Me: it says 631.
Me: So when can you refund me?
BW: we can’t. We have to verify that your meter isn’t faulty.
Me: ok. When can you do that?
BW: how about 2nd August?
Me: NOT A CHANCE! As soon as possible please. I need the money (Steve is trapped in France til I find £70.00 to get him home)
BW: Well, we’ve got the 14th July in the morning.
Me: Have you nothing sooner? Plus, that’s unhelpful. I can’t be here from 8 to 12 – I have to take a child to school.
BW: We do two hour slots.
Me: OK. When?
BW: 2nd August.
Me: Yeah, that’s not going to work, is it??
BW: how about an afternoon?
Me: well, fine.
BW: it could be between 12 and 6.
Me: that’s ridiculous, but if it means I’ll get my money back, I’ll get a sitter and make sure I’m in. Will you be able to refund it straight away.
BW: well, no. Any amount over £100 has to be refunded by cheque, which takes 2 weeks to print and then a week to clear.
What I should have said next:
THAT IS UTTERLY RIDICULOUS. MANY PLACES DON’T TAKE CHEQUES THESE DAYS. I DON’T BELIEVE YOU HAVE GOOD CREDIT. HOW DO I TRUST IT WON’T BOUNCE? YOU TAKE IT OUT OF MY BANK ACCOUNT, SO YOU CAN DAMN WELL PUT IT STRAIGHT BACK IN THERE.
What I actually said.
Me: That’s ridiculous. I need that money. It’s my money. I can’t pay my bills and you’re sitting on £300. It’s mine. Why can’t you put it back into my account?
BW: it’s not how we operate.
Me: I want to make a complaint.
BW: oh, you can’t do that. I have to notify my supervisor and they’ll call you back within 24 hours.
Me: really? Well, do that then. You have my numbers right?
BW: checks them Yes, they’re right.
Three days later, I’m still waiting for the call. I cancelled my direct debit (which was also the reason British Gas owed me £200) and I will pay over the counter. Rip off merchants! Direct Debits give them a licence to do whatever they please.
Subsequently, I got a letter to say they actually owe me £1122.28. Not the original figure. Disgraceful!!!
I reckon I’ve been paying so much for my water I might as well have been bathing in Evian, cooking in Volvic and showering in Buxton water.
I wonder how many days it will take for them to give me my money back?
I’m guessing because they’re a one-man operator, they can do what they like.