The gas debt that never was is cleared – The Crusader | The Crusader | Finance newsbhunt


No more threats from a debt collector about money they never owed and their energy account right for the first time in months – this festive season is looking much more merry now for one couple.

Julie and Alan Watkins valiantly weathered the storm after matters went seriously awry following the capping of their supply and the removal of their gas meter when they went all electric a year ago.

Customers of British Gas for 18 years and paying by direct debit, both their electric and their gas accounts were in credit.

But then another statement arrived in November last year with their correct name and address, but a different account number and stating the couple owed £110 for gas.

“But this made no sense as we no longer had any gas then, and had a new account number for our electricity,” says Julie.

Having an old type of smart meter hadn’t helped either they discovered as previous readings failed to go through as they thought.

Debt collector demands followed. “I replied, sending photocopies of our British Gas paperwork by recorded delivery,” adds Julie.

After numerous calls it was their understanding the gas charges had been stopped, but last month yet another debt demand surfaced for £138 based on estimated use.

“We have no intention of paying this unless it can be proved. We want to keep our electricity account and remain customers, but without this terrible hassle,” was Julie’s reasonable reaction when she saw the order to contact the collector.

Having talked to the Watkins and seen all the meticulously detailed correspondence that they had compiled defending themselves, Crusader’s respect for them soared even higher.

Courteous, mild-mannered folk in their 80s, Alan’s memory loss condition caused him even greater anxiety when a couple of weeks ago the debt spook rose again and they were given an ultimatum to provide proof within days about their gas situation.

Once alerted, British Gas responded very quickly getting matters sorted and with a £100 goodwill gesture for them. It confirmed: “We’re very sorry for the payment reminders that [they] received. These were sent in error. We’ve since spoken with them to apologise for any upset that our communications may have caused and have reassured them that no further reminders will be received.”

Hugely relieved Julie thanked Crusader saying: “A weight has been lifted from our shoulders, keep the good work going.”

Names have been changed

If you’ve been affected by this issue or feel you’ve been a victim of injustice, please contact consumer champion Maisha Frost on


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