British Gas leak reveals customers are being charged different prices for the same package

07:49 by Editor · 0 Post a comment on AAWR

British Gas has been charging customers different amounts for the same 'fixed-price' package. 

An internal memo reveals that some families on the company's Fixed Price August 2010 offer have unknowingly been paying four per cent more a year. 

Fixed-price deals ensure customers are not affected by the rise and fall of energy prices over a set period. Consumers normally pay a small premium on their existing rate.

Some British Gas customers were offered a zero per cent premium - a free switch - but others were charged four per cent. For an average household, the difference in bills would be around £53 a year.

Many customers were not even told the zero per cent rate was available and the leaked document tells sales staff to switch customers from the four per cent rate only if they specifically ask for it.

British Gas claims the different rates are a market test and says the zero per cent deal is a discount for high energy users.

But a second memo to staff states: 'The testing of premium rates is market sensitive information, please do not share this with customers. If [a] customer is adamant and wants to know why they were not offered the zero per cent premium, escalate your call to Team Management.'

Labour MP Kate Hoey said: 'This is outrageous. It's just another underhand way for British Gas to make money off families who are struggling with their bills. This is the kind of tactic that the Government must clamp down on to help households across Britain.'

A report by the Business and Enterprise Committee last week estimated up to 5.5million households are living in fuel poverty.

This means they spend more than 10 per cent of their income on power bills, with many forced to choose between heating and eating.

Many of these are pensioners, with 20,000 expected to die this winter because they cannot afford to heat their homes.

British Gas's 15.9million users were hit with a massive 35 per cent price hike last summer with bosses blaming global rising energy prices.

Parent company Centrica is expected to make record profits of almost £1.9billion this year. continues here

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