Spoke to a like-minded individual regarding BES and their tactics yesterday, and during the conversation I noticed that the original blog post I wrote didn't contain anything relating to the saga that came after the initial mis-selling.
I managed to find the email complaint I sent to the Energy Ombudsman, so this should fill you in regarding the level of BS I've had to deal with thanks to BES Utilities AKA BES Commercial Electricity, BES Commercial Gas and BES Telecom;
"I have just been called by a guy called Craig in "Pre-disconnections" at BES Energy.
He has rung to inform me that our energy supply will be disconnected due to non payment of an overdue amount.
To summarise – I'm not paying an amount to BES that they seem to have fabricated from thin air. I have asked for proof in the form of a statement more than 3 times now but the people i have spoken to from BES have been unwilling to progress my call to customer services and simply want to steal my money from me. Let me go into more detail…..
I have spoken to;
Chelsea on 2/12/13 @ 10:00am and informed her a bill for £299.98 for ONE MONTHS usage was ridiculous, and that I had got my bank to return the money and cancel the direct debit until a bill with ACTUAL readings came through. I gave her actual readings at this point.
Then I spoke to Mia on 3/12/13 @ 11:30am as she was chasing non payment of this initial invoice despite my hour long conversation with Chelsea the day before – i ended up paying £70 off over the phone, and informed her i wouldn't pay more until our invoices were based on ACTUAL readings, not hugely over-ESTIMATED readings.
On 12/12/13 i received another invoice, this time the charge for "this period" was -£5.99 which to my understanding was due to the fact I'd already paid £70, and my usage since day dot until the 15/12/13 was overpaid by £5.99 hence the negative balance.
We received another invoice on 15/01/2014 with an amount owing of £44.92 which was based on an ACTUAL reading, and was one i was happy to (and did) pay.
Similarly with the invoice 21/01/2014 – the amount was (a big high, but) based on ACTUAL usage, so we cleared this one up (as far as I'm aware anyway)
I then spoke to Laura on the 24/01/2014 @ 13:47 as she was chasing non payment of an amount owing in the region of £200 – i explained to her, and subsequently THREE other people that called, that i wasn't prepared to send £200+ to BES energy, unless i could clearly see how this amount had been accrued on a statement based on actual usage (not estimated usage)
Both Laura and the other people that rang me were stubborn, unfriendly and would not transfer me to customer services so i could get them to issue me with a statement of actual usage and one showing where this amount had come from.
I have tried over 10 times to call BES but i can only come to the conclusion that their lack of customer service skills and disgusting sales tactics result in their phone lines being jammed all day every day.
I have raised this situation with the energy ombudsman because i feel that BES are bullying me into paying them an amount of money – of which they are not prepared to prove to me how and when this apparent debt was accrued.
I think i have been very accommodating and reasonable with this situation, and simply want to see a statement from the start of this farce until the present day showing actual usage of energy. If i receive this information, and based on the meter readings it states (and that i will cross reference with photographs i took of the meter every single Monday morning before any appliances were turned on) if this indicates to me that an amount is actually owed to BES i would be happy to get this resolved.
I am – in no way – prepared to send my hard earned money to BES without the aforementioned document."
"Just to let you know, i got the termination letter this morning and the amount it said we owed was £71.41, not the £229.98 they had previously suggested.
I rang early and actually got through to customer services to question why this amount had changed, she said it was still £229.98 owed and wasn't sure where the £71.41 had come from, so looked into it and when she came back to me i was informed that she had noticed an issue on the account and it appears that their "system" had not recalculated my bill properly when they got actual readings about 5 months ago.
I am now awaiting another letter or phone call from them to let me know what they find. I have also asked Sarah in customer services that if it does turn out to be an error on their end and i don't owe them the £229.98 (as i have been saying all along) then i want a full written letter of apology from their management.
I would still very much like to move away from them though, and move to a company that have better systems in place for dealing with issues like this if they are to arise in future."
After my complaint was lodged, they then fumbled about trying to silence me with pointless spreadsheets that claimed to be the information i seek. They also took £100's out of my bank account which i managed to get returned from my bank but that got more threats from BES Energy/Utilities including phone calls from pushy "Disconnection agents" and letters left right and center.
All I wanted was Energy bills with ACTUAL readings on – I wasn't asking for blood!
Another thing that has bothered me about the case, is the fact that every time I canceled the Direct Debit (to stop them taking chunks out my account) they would contact me and tell me that I was now on a higher rate due to my decision to pay manually. I'm pretty sure its up to me how I pay my bills and shouldn't be penalised for my choice?
I started taking my own readings each week and calculating how much I should be charged based on the rate I was given and the standing charge etc – after a few months of the Smart meter taking accurate readings and my bills coming through as expected, I backed off and allowed the process to be automated via D/D again and carried on with my life.
Last week I happened to open a energy bill that was £100+ which is much higher than normal – and so I shall once again attempt to get out of contract with BES to go with a more well-known transparent commercial energy company
If anyone would like help or assistance getting out of contract with BES Utilities or requires help on the matter, please read my other blog post about the subject too – and get in touch via the comments and I can put you in touch with people who feel as annoyed as you do about being ripped off and scammed by BES.