Tuesday, 23 August 2011


With the inexorable rise in fuel bills, I'd like to record a minor victory against one of the chief culprits, British Gas. I received a message yesterday telling me that my latest bill was ready, showing me in credit by a small amount. I was also advised that my monthly Direct Debit would increase by a whopping £14 a month, or £168 a year.

I immediately looked out my 'Disgusted of Oxfordshire' hat, set it at a suitably aggressive angle and typed a truculent message to the huge profit-making multinational to point out that I was in credit and that this hike was outlandish. They replied to advise me that my Direct Debit would now only increase by a considerable £8 a month.

I leapt off my seat like a scalded cat and put on my most officious trousers and replied to them with alacrity that this would not do as I was in credit to them, i.e. they owed me money. At such time as I actually owed them any money they had my permission to increase my Direct Debit. Until then, forget it - or some such formalese. The reply I received confirmed that my Direct Debit would remain unchanged and it would in future simply be laughable rather than stupendously absurd.

I am therefore able to advise that it does pay to make a fuss with large companies whose billing is dictated by computers, with no recourse to the 'Common Sense Czar' that all such companies - and the government - should be required to employ to point out occasions when they are just being daft.

I will now help myself to a celebratory biscuit and cuppa.

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