Friday 8 May 2009

Big business banking on poor memory

Half way through February after the cold and snowy winter weather I considered the possibility of the house central heating breaking down and the high cost of getting an engineer out to fix it. That being the case I phoned British Gas and 'notionally' signed up to their HomeCare 200 deal. It guaranteed a call out within four hours and cover for all parts and labour. I didn't need the more expensive options covering things like water pipes.

In the first week of March the documentation arrived telling me with authority on their preprinted paper :

Your British Gas
HomeCare agreement
Here's what you've chosen - Homecare 400

It was £116 more per year than the deal I'd agreed to over the phone.

Do big corporations like British Gas make mistakes like this. I think not.

I phoned the company to make my displeasure known and cancel the agreement asking the question : " how many old people would look at that document and say to themselves: Did I really sign up for that ? Oh well if it says so in print, I must have done." Then go ahead and send the direct debit to their bank.

The advisor on the phone was apologetic and said that, as a mark of good faith, if I stayed with the original agreement, a £10 Marks and Spencer voucher would be with me in two weeks. I stayed with the agreement.

That was nine weeks ago. Needless to say, I'm still waiting for the voucher.

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