British gas hikes boiler cover prices by as much as 83% after scores of customers complained they were left freezing or abandoned by engineers
- British Gas hikes HomeCare premiums despite complaints of shoddy service
- One long-time customer’s renewal is nearly doubling from £278 to £510
- Parent company Centrica reported profits last year tripled to £3.3 billion
British Gas HomeCare is hiking its premiums by as much as 83 per cent for existing customers.
HomeCare is British Gas cover for boilers and heating going wrong.
Many of those hit with price hikes have already been let down by the company’s poor service.
Customers have complained to This is Money’s sister title, Money Mail, of long call wait times and delays with booking call-outs.
Others reported that engineers have either caused damage to their property or failed to show up.
But one reader, a British Gas customer for 35 years, says his renewal is nearly doubling from £278 to £510 — despite him receiving only one call-out last year.
The pensioner asked for an explanation for the dramatic cost increase but says he was ‘fobbed off’.
Boiling over: British Gas customers have complained of long call wait times and engineers who either cause damage to their property or fail to show up
It comes after parent company Centrica’s reported profits last year tripled to £3.3 billion.
Centrica chief executive Chris O’Shea had been handed a £4.5 million pay package — as families struggle with soaring bills.
Around three million policyholders pay for insurance with British Gas to cover boiler repairs and annual services.
The policies can also protect home electrics, drains and plumbing. The company was inundated with complaints about delayed visits in 2022.
Last summer, it paid out £28.7 million in refunds for repeatedly cancelling boiler services. That came after 400,000 policyholders cancelled their cover in 2021.
One customer, Eev Rhodes, was horrified when engineers sent out last December not only left her with a faulty boiler in freezing temperatures but also caused a flood in her home, forcing her to call out an emergency plumber, costing £250.
She then struggled to get through to the firm on the phone for months. She has since been told her premium is going up by nearly 22 per cent, from £904 to more than £1,089 this year.
Eev, 62, who has been a loyal British Gas customer for more than 20 years, says: ‘Not only have the engineers flooded my house and not got my boiler working properly, and the firm has ignored all my communications, now it wants to charge me an extortionate amount for a service it doesn’t give.’
Eev was offered a measly £20 compensation from HomeCare for the poor service she received.
After Money Mail intervened, British Gas apologised and agreed to cover the cost of the work done by the third-party plumber. It also refunded the plumbing and drains element of Eev’s bill for 2022, totalling £169.21.
Last year, Money Mail presented British Gas HomeCare with our Wooden Spoon Award for poor customer service.
A British Gas spokesman says: ‘We’ve invested in our capabilities, including an additional 350 engineers to manage spikes in demand, and are improving appointment availability as we know customers need us as quickly as possible.’