British Gas Reviews 2020: (dis)satisfied customers?
British Gas reviews reveal a lot about customer satisfaction across the board. Customer service standards are just one aspect of the British Gas experience. Prices, billing, account management and how they handle complaints all add up to make or break the customer experience. Find out what British Gas customers really think about this enduring energy giant.
British Gas Reviews: An Overview
Unfortunately for British Gas their reviews on the whole are pretty negative. On Trustpilot British Gas has an overall score of 2/5, based on over 6000 reviews. A full 45% of those reviews are 1 star ratings, the lowest rating possible on the site. It might seem incredibly negative. However, British Gas is actually hitting above its weight when compared to other UK energy giants. However, that hardly qualifies as praise when taking in the industry as a whole.
These negative reviews often visit the same topics of poor customer service, extremely long call waiting times and issues submitting meter readings. Customers also have problems with the installation and functions of British Gas smart meters.
Although Trustpilot is known as a forum for voicing complaints, British Gas also fared poorly on the Which? energy survey. Based on ratings by 7,429 individuals, British Gas received an overall score of 56% and ranked near the bottom of the pack at 26th out of 30 energy companies.
None of the Big Six energy providers can compete with many of the smaller, independent energy suppliers. Ovo Energy scores an impressive 8.5/10 and Tonik Energy an even higher 8.9/10.
British Gas Customer Service
British Gas is consistently one of the most expensive suppliers on the market, so why do they continue to have so many customers? The principal answer for the majority of cases here is that it is a trusted name nationwide, meaning people are often quite reluctant to switch away from ‘old faithful’. The reality is that there is no difference in your energy supply regardless of which supplier you have - the gas and electricity are exactly the same!
The only thing that you are switching is your customer service, an area where British Gas has proven to be consistently mediocre. While some customers speak highly of the customer service agents on the British Gas phone lines, others have not had the customer service experience that they would like.
“I've been a customer for 30 years. I over paid my gas bill by £900+ . I've been trying to get my money back for over a month now. What a joke after 3 hours on the phone over 4 phone calls still no joy . No one knows what they're doing and have no idea how to treat a customer.”
Time spent waiting to get through to a British Gas call centre is a source of frustration for many customers, who then find that, all too often, the customer service staff on the phone are grumpy, stressed and harrassed.
We know contacting British Gas can be a headache. To help you find the right phone number for your problem or query we’ve put together a full list of British Gas contact details. Whether your issue is about giving meter readings, installing a boiler or inaccurate bills, we’ve got the correct contact details for you.
It’s not all bad news though. Some British Gas customer service staff give impeccable service on the phone:
¨Keisha in customer services made a problem with my meter so easy to correct. I was pleasantly surprised and impressed with the efficient, polite, helpful, understanding and reassuring way she approached and solved my issue.¨ J, with British Gas
¨Great service! Friendly, helpful and happy customer service experience.¨ Vi, with British Gas
Customers often have high praise for British Gas engineers but still tend to voice frustration about the treatment they receive from customer service staff.
¨Great engineer - abysmal call centre¨ Joan, with British Gas
¨Engineers great but head office customer service not so good.¨ TiptreeJam, with British Gas
Overall, only 32% of British Gas customers would recommend British Gas, according to data gathered by Ofgem. Of all the Big Six energy companies, only npower has a lower score for customer recommendation.
Tariffs and Prices
Reviews from Which? tell us that in terms of value for money, British Gas is not doing as well as the other Big Six energy companies. Although the British Gas standard variable tariff has historically been the cheapest among the Big Six, there are far better deals to be had with smaller suppliers.
With a Which? score of 2/5 for value for money, compared to the three stars awarded to its Big Six competitors, British Gas evidently leaves a lot to be desired in terms of getting your money’s worth. It’s difficult to say who is definitely the most expensive supplier since energy tariffs change constantly. However, British Gas beyond a doubt has some of the highest tariffs around.
Customer reviews are highly critical of not getting a good deal from British Gas. It seems that long-standing customers, who have stuck loyally to British Gas for years, have begun to realise that the energy tariffs on offer from other providers are considerably cheaper.
¨“I have been a long standing customer of British Gas and as such there is no incentive to continue to be a British gas customer. A reduction to renew will help." Mohammad, with British Gas
¨Prices increase year on year normally you discuss and it reduces NOT THIS YEAR, so bye bye gas service.¨ John, with British Gas
¨Reliable but extremely expensive and no customer loyalty. When it comes to renewals you always have to go online to see if you can get a better price as a new customer - which you always can ! The renewal quote is always very high, shame on you BG.¨ Anna, with British Gas
When it comes to British Gas HomeCare cover customers are equally dissatisfied with what they pay for boiler services and central heating repairs. Reviews repeatedly come back to the same frustration: renewal quotes are sky-high compared to prices for new customers taking out exactly the same product.
Bills and Account Management
British Gas does not do well in customer reviews with regard to how easy or difficult customers find it to understand their energy bills. Which? reviews give British Gas a score of 2/5 for bill clarity.
Common complaints about bills and account management include:
- Final bills not being issued when customers move house
- Unreliable advice about estimating usage on prepayment meters
- Problems submitting meter readings
- Credit not being transferred accurately when switching from standard to smart meters
Here are a couple of examples of the problems British Gas customers have experiences with bills and account management:
¨Paid my bill, but they still kept sending me reminders and threats of debt collector. I emailed them and explained I’d already paid twice but they ignored my emails and charged my account anyway.¨ Natalie, with British Gas
¨Appalling customer service where I was billed incorrectly and it took 7 very long phone calls with British Gas and my new provider to finally get it sorted - nearly 5 months after we moved into the property!¨ Sarah, with British Gas
However, contrary to British Gas reviews posted online, an Ofgem survey found that 72% of their customers are satisfied with how easy it is to understand their energy bills. Of the Big Six energy providers, only E.on gets a higher score for understandable bills (76%).
This discrepancy between the British Gas customer reviews and the Ofgem survey results is down to the question being asked. Customers may well find their bills clear and simple to understand, but if there are issues with accuracy in those bills, for example being consistently overcharged for energy, then this will cause no end of annoyance and frustration. Those difficulties are not reflected in the Ofgem survey data.
Customer reviews also reveal a host of problems about system failures that make it difficult to use the British Gas app or the online account service to manage bills, submit meter readings or book boiler services.
¨BG are letting themselves down with their apps and website as I’ve tried 4 times to submit meter readings only to get an email the next day requesting those readings again as the website and mobile failed to submit the readings properly.¨ Alex, with British Gas
¨The issues I had with British Gas revolved around their account page online. It was frequently down for maintenance and often times, pages would just not load.¨ Campbell, with British Gas
Surprisingly, given the negative reviews of its customer service, British Gas receives the lowest number of complaints of all the Big Six companies. In the first quarter of 2019 roughly 1.5% of all British Gas customers complained about the service they received; while E.on’s record was considerably worse, with 3% of all their customers taking the trouble to make formal complaints.
You may think that after serving so many customers for so many years, British Gas would know how to deal efficiently with the complaints they receive. However, this doesn’t seem to be the case, especially in terms of speedy complaint resolution. In the first three months of 2019, British Gas only managed to resolve 55% of complaints within one working day, lagging far behind SSE’s records of 81%.
Perhaps fully resolving customer complaints within a single day is a lot to ask. British Gas does manage to resolve 91% of customer complaints within eight weeks but, again, there’s a bit of work to do to catch up with the 96% of complaints resolved by SSE by the eight week mark.
The most common complaints about British Gas are about making bill payments and being on the right tariff. There is a lot of unhappiness amongst long-standing, loyal British Gas customers about paying expensive tariffs while new customers are offered far cheaper deals.
“Would have been good if they contacted us every so often just to ensure we were on the right tariff. However i logged a complaint and this was quickly resolved and they apologised.” James, with British Gas
As well as finding fault with tariffs and inaccurate billing, British Gas customers also complain about customer service, on the phone as well as on the live web chat service. This is not surprising given the level of dissatisfaction we’ve seen in customers’ comments on Trustpilot. Nevertheless, representatives of British Gas are quick to respond to many of these negative reviews to try to resolve customers’ issues. Achieving a score of 3/5 for complaint handling in the Which? customer survey suggests that British Gas could do better but is on the right track.
British Gas Reviews: The Verdict
Taking into account the reviews from Trustpilot and Which?, as well as data from Ofgem surveys, we’ve awarded British Gas an overall score of 3/5. This reflects customer service standards, pricing, complaint handling and account management.
Overall, as the largest energy supplier in the country, British Gas isn’t a complete disaster when it comes to customer service and general satisfaction as a whole. British Gas prices are certainly more expensive than the majority of providers out there, but their household name status means they can get away with nudging up their prices without seeing huge drops in customer numbers.
We know that when it comes to energy bills, loyalty doesn’t pay. Switching away from British Gas will likely mean a cheaper energy tariff for your household as well as a healthier, less stressful relationship with your supplier. Do a comparison today and see how much you could save.