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Dyno Rod & British Gas Complaint Story

British Gas: A culture of up selling & appalling service.

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interests however, I know its often a better way of getting attention from them.

Its a long story but the salient points are:

  • I have HomeCare insurance from British Gas.
  • Following a leak to my bathroom sink, they sent a plumber (DynoRod division)
  • He wrongly diagnosed it as a problem with my bath, and SOLD me replacement plugs for it.
  • Those were fitted incorrectly.
  • This caused a large flood in my house.
  • They admitted liability as the problem was fully created by their engineer.
  • They have offered £36 in compensation to resolve the issue, I refused.
  • They have offered a “full and final settlement” of £250 – despite them causing THOUSANDS of pounds of damage.

 

If you want the full details, here is a facebook page: Dyno Rod British Gas

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So: British Gas & DynoRod – this is a public challenge to you:

Are you intending on fixing the damage caused to my property? Its been three months now of constant phone calls to get this sorted.

Im guessing if I were a vulnerable

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person – perhaps elderly or more easily swayed by your arguments I would have settled by now – does that make you proud of your service?

 

What about this culture of upselling things that are not needed?

Do you pay your staff bonuses based on what they can upsell people, even if its entirely made up and not needed?

 

 

About Martin Macdonald

Martin is Inbound Marketing Director at Expedia EAN. In his career he has strategised and executed campaigns for companies from global brands such as McDonald's, PepsiCo, Virgin and worked in the toughest niches online including gambling and entertainment. A specialist in technical SEO and Social Media, he is a regular keynote speaker at some of the worlds largest marketing conferences.

33 Responses to "Dyno Rod & British Gas Complaint Story"

  • Jim Seward
    August 8, 2013 - 11:48 am Reply

    I’m currently an Eon customer, I was thinking of switching to British Gas as soon as my current deal ends.

    Now I won’t be.

    • Martin Macdonald
      August 8, 2013 - 11:56 am Reply

      Id say thats a good call Jim – thanks for leaving the comment, appreciated.

      • Jim Seward
        August 8, 2013 - 11:59 am Reply

        Also given you some social love and I’ll drop a link to this post on a few sites I control…

      • Tony Rogers
        October 11, 2013 - 9:06 pm Reply

        Martin. I am currently in a 8 week dispute with dynorod. After 50 years of being a householder I have never experienced such appalling service. 7 no shows for appointments 5 ineffectual visits to mend a minor leak still not fixed. I am asking £600 compensation. Will let you know if I succeed. Tony Rogers

    • StalkerB
      August 8, 2013 - 12:47 pm Reply

      Not that this is really the point, but I’ve just moved into a new place and chose Eon as my new providers and am switching from British Gas.

      Why were you going to go the other way?

      • Jim Seward
        August 8, 2013 - 1:04 pm Reply

        They were meant to have good customer service…

        ….although having read that….that’s a ****ing joke

    • Sharon THOMAS
      November 29, 2013 - 10:12 am Reply

      I have had almost an identical story to Martin I was put through to Dyno Rod as part on my Swinton Home Emergency when I had a leak from my bath. Dyno rod diagnosed a faulty bath trap which they replaced and told me the water dripping through down into my kitchen was residual. The leak continued all night blowing my electricity, another engineer called the following morning didn’t know where the ‘uncontrollable’ leak was coming from so switched my water off. This was 10.30am Saturday morning I heard nothing more from them or the insurance company, the many phone calls I made were futile. It was only when my partner got involved and threatened legal action was another company sent in. The result, a wrong sized washer replaced and now fault hopefully cured ~ a follow up call an hour later to make sure everything was ok and even a visit from the engineer on his way home just to check up on things.

      Dyno Rod? I wouldn’t trust then to fix a leak in my grandsons paddling pool!!

  • Barrie
    August 8, 2013 - 11:49 am Reply

    Unreal mate.

    If you had been elderly or vulnerable and they left you in that position and you didn’t have the ability to challenge ? It’s diabolical and it’s a PR disaster.

    I have become increasingly dissatisfied with the customer service from brands in the UK in the last 12 months. We are simply treated like commodities and like you having worked with a large number I tend not to air comments.

    Think this is one for BBC Watchdog to be honest!

    Hope you get it sorted.

  • Carl Wright
    August 8, 2013 - 11:57 am Reply

    All too common approach from big companies these days. They do as they please and don’t care for customers any more.

  • Jason Brown
    August 8, 2013 - 12:03 pm Reply

    At least your company should feel the pressure and make amends. Unlike Casey Movers and Acteva whom do not learn from bad press and sites dedicated to them. Acteva owes countless NPO’s, schools, Universities and groups thousands upon thousands of dollars. If you make a mistake, own up to it, address it and FIX it. Why on Earth would a company want to feel the wrath of Social Media in this day and age. There are certain people you never want to upset and anger; lawyers, seo/sm/ and reporters or their friends. Best of luck Martin. I will be interest to see what happens next, will they get it or will British Gas learn the Streisand Effect?

  • ugo smith
    August 8, 2013 - 12:04 pm Reply

    Im afraid Martin you have experienced British Gas “homecare” insurance at its best.

    You are lucky though, we had one week of no heating once during the coldest December ever recorded in London.

    All I can say is that it’s a battle of patience and determination to get things sorted and done properly (you are on 3 months? I recon it will take 6!).

    PS: we still have the same crap boiler that breaks every year and they refuse to fix even though financially [to replace] it would be better for them than sending an engineer (at least) twice a year.

    Look forward to their more elaborate response than talktous@ approach.

    Give them hell Martin!

  • Edd
    August 8, 2013 - 12:14 pm Reply

    That full and final settlement and selling you wrong parts is a joke. It’s unreal to think about people who would have accepted that and how British Gas can think they can get away with it. This case is clear that all their eyes are on the £££.

    I hope this gets their attention, even though it should have never got to this point. I’ll be staying away from them

  • Gordon Campbell
    August 8, 2013 - 12:15 pm Reply

    How can they offer your £250 when the damage was worth thousands? Shocking service, you’d think you could trust a company like British Gas with this kind of thing..

  • Jonathan
    August 8, 2013 - 12:33 pm Reply

    Utility companies are a joke. All about pleasing their share holders, no care for the customer so this doesn’t surprise me.

    What options do you have? You either go with British Gas who will profiteer off their customers all day long, or you choose one of the other big players who will also profiteer off you and are owned foreign owned. Yay to the UK!

  • Gus Ferguson
    August 8, 2013 - 12:46 pm Reply

    That’s despicable behaviour from British Gas… and I agree with Jonathan above that utility companies are one of the most anti-consumer types of business out there right now.

    There’s a polyopoly of profiteering swindlers, British Gas, EON, NPower, etc that care not one hoot for their customers, happy in the knowledge that all the competition is equally as bad, and that should any challenger brand come into the market they have the huge influence and resource to squash them.

    It’s a terrible example of capitalism gone wrong… companies shouldn’t be allowed to get so big that they can control a market. The consumer should control the market through choice… and in the case of the utility companies we’ve arrived at a situation where real choice is an impossibility.

    I wholeheartedly agree with your crusade here Martin and hope that this makes someone at BG sit up and think “shit, hope more people don’t start doing this!”… I also hope that it makes your readers sit up and think “I’m not going to stand for being taken advantage quietly anymore” and join the quest, or start their own!

    • Gordon Campbell
      August 8, 2013 - 1:32 pm Reply

      Agreed. The government need to open up the market and allow for more competition.

  • Steve Ollington
    August 8, 2013 - 1:18 pm Reply

    This doesn’t surprise me in the slightest. They have no ethics, much like a number of other large corporations (and government departments for that matter). Several times I’ve had situations where a company has screwed up and I’m expected to pay for it – in time and effort, as well as money… they mess something up then you have to spend hours on hold, write letters, etc… get back statements to prove you’re right, and so on. I’m not surprised that most people just give up and pay it.

    Mostly it seems due to their hiring standards. They outsource customer services and provide ‘policies’ to the staff. The staff do not understand how to make judgement calls for themselves and stick to their script (the script that says always tell the caller that the managers are all in a meeting, or that it can’t be put through without you explaining it to them first for the millionth time that week).

    Then they either hang up on you, transfer you into another queue which hangs up on you, or pass you back to the department you originally called that sent you to them.

    They don’t want to pay for competent staff who can make informed decisions so their customers suffer as a result.

    Anyway, that’s the experience I’ve been having with British Gas lately along with BT, Barclays, Orange, the DVLA, Inland Revenue, the Council Offices, EE, and countless other companies in the past. Granted not all are outsourced customer services, but they all outsource giving a fuck about their customers and their own ethics.

    /Rant

  • Tony Dimmock
    August 8, 2013 - 1:31 pm Reply

    Unbelievably poor service from yet another national “service” provider – and are they having a laugh with their paltry offer??

    In the UK, true customer service from large conglomerates is at an all-time low. Their number one concern is profit and as their market-share is so high, they frankly don’t give a shit.

    I think they know that those vulnerable or easily swayed will not fight (like you are) and will accept whatever is offered.

    And it’s wrong that you and others have to go to the lengths you are to defend your rights. Appalling..

    Agree with Gus, hopefully readers will sit up and take a stand to this crap.

    I hope they pull their heads out of their back-sides on this one Martin and compensate you for both the damage done AND their mis-selling.

    This OFGEM guide might help: http://www.ofgem.gov.uk/Media/FactSheets/Documents1/409%20Domestic%20customer%20complaints%20factsheet_WEB%2018_2_13.pdf

    Extract from above guide: “If the complaint is not resolved to your satisfaction and either eight weeks have passed since the complaint was made or it reaches a point of deadlock (where the energy company says it can do no more to resolve the complaint,
    whichever is sooner), you can ask Ombudsman Services:
    Energy to investigate”

    Good luck!

  • Mark Sesum
    August 8, 2013 - 7:25 pm Reply

    As the owner of an electrical and plumbing company, this kind of thing really frustrates me. I would be very interested to know the genuine reasons why people sign up to Homecare or indeed have any work carried out by BG or any of the other huge firms? With all due respect, how anyone doesn’t foresee this kind of scenario, I just don’t know. Every time I see their advert on TV it grates on me, knowing how many hardworking, honest sole traders are losing business because people are so short sighted.

    This is not a case of myself knowing better because I’m in the trade. When my van needs a service or MOT, I go to my local, established, independent garage. The guy gets my repeat business because I know he does a good job, which he needs to, as he relies on reputation, not market domination and a multi-million pound marketing budget.

    Now its the AA sticking there fingers in the pie, the AA. In the home service market. Where does it end? I do full bathroom installations, I’m now competing with Tesco for this work. Tesco. My local town centre is decimated as no-one uses the independent, butchers, bakers etc. Everyone goes to the supermarket for mass produced rubbish. What can you do?

    As far as service goes, again, what do you expect? Ask yourself a simple question; what is the mentality of someone who chooses to work in a BG call centre?

    I understand that people are scared of the cowboy scenario but they easy to spot by their lack of professionalism. If they turn up in a banger, looking like a tramp and give you an ‘estimate’ on the back of a fag packet (or free Vistaprint ‘business card’) then don’t touch them. If they are polite, offer advice, fixed quotes and a contract of works then I’d say give them a chance. I’m also amazed at how many times people tell me they didn’t get a landline or address. This should be standard info on quotes and van signage.

    • Martin Macdonald
      August 8, 2013 - 7:55 pm Reply

      Hi Mark,

      thanks for stopping by and leaving the comment – I absolutely hear what you’re saying and take your points on board.

      I guess its perhaps a bit of local knowledge naivety on my part, having moved back to the UK from abroad a couple of years ago, and to a new part of the country that I’d never been to before I lacked any local knowledge of such firms, so since moving back Ive tended to go to larger firms that advertise as you point out above.

      Its almost amusing, that in my industry (marketing) we have exactly the same type of issues, the huge multinationals on the whole offer a far worse customer experience than the local or regional specialist firms that are happy taking the time to understand your business rather than just seeing you as another number on a spreadsheet.

      Thanks again for the comment, appreciated!

      Martin

    • Tony
      November 6, 2013 - 4:46 pm Reply

      Most people I know in business started out with battered van and quotes on fag-packet – what is more relevant is the invoice and receipt (and many many plumbers have problems there).
      The real problem is the ‘marketing’ hype (of which Martin McD is very familiar with and earns his shilling) and the incredible gullibility of people who believe it.
      ps the AA have every right to enter the market – the local plumber should have a distinct advantage with virtually no marketing costs
      A little bit of work before buying hyped contracts saves £sss

  • Martin Macdonald
    August 8, 2013 - 8:18 pm Reply

    INTERESTING REPLY FROM REDDIT:

    I’ve worked for British Gas, so I can answer one of your questions in the original post. British Gas certainly do give their staff serious sales incentives and very heavy sales targets. They would probably tell you that they don’t “pay bonuses” because they give vouchers and the like as rewards.
    However, your homecare contract almost certainly makes it clear that the engineers are not required to “make good”. That means that the floor they lifted to do the original work is your responsibility. Subsequent damage due to incorrect fitting etc. is a different matter.

    (original comment left on the reddit thread about this post, you can see it and others here: http://www.reddit.com/r/unitedkingdom/comments/1jy8gq/british_gas_are_scamming_bastards_offer_36/ )

  • Lynne
    August 15, 2013 - 11:01 am Reply

    I have this week experienced the ‘delights’ of a Dyno plumbing visit under my British Gas Homecare 400 arrangement. I will be cancelling that forthwith. They took a week to finally come. Did a botched repair and left. I found the WC still leaked the first time I used it so called them up..when challenged they said because my WC was a “sub-standard” installation if I wanted them to come back they would charge as a full price job ie not under the insurance I pay BG £57 a month for! I told them to forget it.

    I got my own plumber out who came on same day, diagnosed the problem straight away, did a proper repair and had the whole problem sorted in less than 90 minutes (including time it took him to go back to his yard for part).

    The only decent thing in Homecare is the basic boiler care – the engineers I have had out for that I must say are always good. Everything else is a rip off. As for Dyno…I’m too polite to post what I think of them. Ps I hope you get all your money back as you are due.

  • Tonia Jones
    August 29, 2013 - 10:27 am Reply

    I am sorry to hear about bad service experienced from British Gas Homecare service. I had the same service for 3 years and paid £50 a month for the comprehensive service which covered everything from washing machine breaking down to boiler, plumbing etc. We had a leak nearly every three months from the overhead tank in the loft which meant we woke up with no hot water the next morning as it would have leaked out while we were sleeping. BG sent over 10 engineers over a period of 2 years ad the problem was never resolved. In the 3rd year we discovered a plumber who figured out the problem was with a disused shower which was wrongly/badly connected to the pumps and was causing the leak. The moment the shower was disconnected the leaks stopped! This had gone on for 3 years and the genius so called engineers had not figured it out.

    To the gentleman who asked why people sign up with the likes of British gas is because most work men we call out in this area would simply not turn up or when they do, they diagnose the problem and still do not turn up! I would happily take the number of a good plumber who can also deal with boiler issues, flushing out the radiators etc

  • Asjad Nazir
    August 29, 2013 - 11:24 am Reply

    I have had a terrible time with Dyno Rod & British Gas Homecare. A simple problem that could have been fixed in hours has taken weeks to repair and they still haven’t done it yet. I would absolutely not recommend Dyno Rod plumbing to anyone and am thinking about how I can let wider public know about their unprofessionalism.

    I have never experienced this level of unprofessionalism in my life and will be taking things further, whether its media or legally. They have wasted too much of my time and caused me no end of stress.

  • shorni
    September 20, 2013 - 6:55 pm Reply

    martin
    what part of the country do you live just so I know if I have a problem like that I don’t get the same engineer.
    but with that in mind we had a serious problem in our last house with our drains and called out dyno rod through our BG homecare product. The engineer from dyno rod was very good and put the camera up the drain and found that it had collapsed and was leaking under our house. He told us that the drive would have to be dug up …we had just had a new drive laid !!.. they returned the following day which was a Saturday and worked really hard and fixed the drain and re-laid the drive, which my wife was very happy with,. So don’t let one bad apple spoil them all as these guys had a very very smelly nasty job fixing my drains and they got a pat on the back from me.

  • Tommy
    October 24, 2013 - 12:44 am Reply

    We also have British Gas homecare and seriously want to change to another cover elsewhere BUT where? If other companies are the same service what other choices do we have? Anyone can recommend other better companies?
    In any case, we have not experienced any problems although the problems were small issues but the reason we want to change is because they charge us too much, and the feeling of their engineers are more sales person than engineers.
    Anyone any thoughts, any advice of other companies?

  • James
    October 29, 2013 - 10:52 am Reply

    Hi Martin,
    Whilst on the surface this case looks clear cut, one thing to remember with Dyno Rod is that it is a network made of small business’ who franchise off British Gas. If you complain to BG and kick hard they will find a true and fair settlement. Like many services unfortunately where you live has a big effect on the service received from Dyno. Most of the local business’ are great, some aren’t. I have had BG Homecare for many years and never had an issue and found Dyno very good. But each to their own. Having worked in the market I know that BG Homecare covers more than the competition (actually at a cheaper rate on most options).
    Just thought I’d add my pennies worth.

  • Limon
    January 8, 2014 - 2:17 am Reply

    It seems the big companies doesn’t care about their customers now a days. The big companies is now all about pleasing their shareholders, no care for the customer so this doesn’t surprise me.

    I hope this gets their attention, even though it should have never got to this point.

    Cheers
    Limon

  • David
    January 14, 2014 - 3:34 pm Reply

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    I am contacting you with complaint towards work carried out on
    my property between 6/1/14 and 7/1/14.

    I called Dyno rod for ‘specialist’ drainage services as my
    external drain was blocked. After 2 days of Jetting my drain the
    workmen decided they couldn’t do anymore as they suspected
    a damaged drain somewhere under my garden. I was told that
    nothing more could be done but unfortunately I would still be
    charged the £145 which i paid via card. I was advised to contact
    my insurance company where i may be able to claim back the
    money and get further work done. I was also given the option
    of paying over £1000 to have my garden dug up to find the
    problem.

    I took his advice on board and contacted my insurance who
    were very quick in advising me to contact the water board prior
    to making a claim.

    I have since had the water board out who have told me that it
    would be an easy fix if the trap connected to the main drain was
    found and plunged unfortunately as it is my drain it is not the
    water boards problem.

    My complaint has a few points that I would like an answer for:

    Firstly, why was I not advised to contact the water board prior to
    workmen being sent out?

    If a job is ‘attempted’ and not finished why was I charged the
    full £145?

    Why were the ‘specialists’ unable to identify the correct trap which
    needed unblocked?

    Why did I pay £145 to have my back garden destroyed by
    Dyno Rod? I have pictures of the during and aftermath of the
    ‘Job’ carried out and I am utterly appalled and sickened by the
    state of my garden after the ‘work’ that had been carried out.
    No attempt was made to clear up the mess caused, my grass
    has been turned into a mud pit, my paving has been broken,
    my driveway is covered in sewerage and the smell is
    overpowering!

    I am bringing this complaint to you to help me understand what
    I have paid for and to give you a chance to explain before I go
    to a governing body with this.

    I have attached a few pictures for you to look at to give you an
    idea of the complaint I am filing.

    Regards,

    David Rowan

    • Pawan Prasad
      February 21, 2014 - 8:36 pm Reply

      Dear David,

      Did you lodge your compliant with BG or any other company with whom who have the cover.

      I think that it may work well if BBC or someone takes a note of this to get attention from the senior management team or the Financial Conduct authority.

      Cheers

      PKP

  • Pawan Prasad
    February 21, 2014 - 8:29 pm Reply

    Dear All,

    I would agree that BG has a large network of sub contractors for their work. Their intentions may be good but I am going through a problem with them at the moment. Well, I went to BG for their professional and genuine attempt to resolve. Never had any issues with them for last 10 years. But this is with their own engineers and not the contracted out work.
    Three engineers from Dyno Rod came to visit from the plumbing side starting 08/02/2014 . Though the problem was an obvious one of a burst / leaking pipe some where above the wall over my cooker in the kitchen – the way the Dyno person from the plumbing section went about diagnosing was quite unprofessional. The first engineer came and suspected it to be a leak from the next door neighbour and went away giving a report that we will follow it up if the problem exists further and recommended that we ask the neighbour to call his insurance company.
    Complained again to Dyno – as call was with them – and they advised that they do any repair work on Weekdays only and their office is closed till Monday.
    Waited till Monday and an engineer came and well within 5 minutes went away saying that the electrician needs to come to isolate the power cables – as he felt the wire is live.
    I explained that when we close the main water supply the leak stops and after opening it starts again.
    Even he did not bother to check and observe what happens if we close the main water line.
    Second engineers behaviour was also very rude and unprofessional.

    Anyways, based on his recommendation they sent an electrician at about 09:00 PM and he was the only engineer who was well behaved and did all his best and isolated the supply in the power plugs and made it safe for engineers to work.

    The third engineers came on Wednesday and was very very grumbled and was in a hurry and made sweeping statement that there is no leak being seen and despite wife explained and said that my husband can send the clips taken showing the leak – he can also refer to the observation from the earlier engineers. He also went to the extent that after he breaks the wall the repair is not covered in the package of cover taken.

    At this time my wife connected me over phone with him and after I spoke I mentioned to him that he needs to do till the wall repair and only the décor work is not covered. I asked him to wait and I will BG to confirm. Knowingly that I was conferencing him with BG – he went away saying that he has to go for lunch and sat in his van outside my driveway.

    However, he came back and said that they would check and repair the wall but will not do any décor. He investigated and made a sweeping statement after checking the pipes and removing tiles and a wooden box. My wife wanted to take photo of the pipe which was concealed in the box and behind the tiles – while he had removed the panels – the idea was that we can show this to engineers and keep a record of the work.

    At that time he told my wife – not to take photo , my wife told him that she is taking the photo of the pipe and he said that you are taking my photo and I will sue you.
    On my wife saying why would take your photo – he had the audacity to say that may be for the internet. Then I spoke to him and he said he will into the problem and later on made a small hole in the wall – put some cement and got the report signed saying – No Leak, No Pipe and No repair.

    I called BG and complained about the whole episode and said that they seriously need to look into their agreements with Dyno and also listen to my concerns about the engineers and lack of professional conduct and their basic ability to approach a problem.

    My friends – on hearing this said God Bless you with Dyno and unless BG does not listen to you you are stuck. Amyways, My leak appeared again and I called Barclays – with whom also I had the cover as a package with my account. They sent over their engineer – through Homeserve- and they located the problem, fixed it in 30 minutes. They expressed their shock about the Dyno engineers leaving the whole thing in that state .

    I narrated this to BG and they took it up as a follow up to my previous call and assured that they will do an internal enquiry on the engineers and they are sorry for the same.

    I told them that problems will happen and it may get resolved or not is a secondary question – but why should we go through engineers who are not even making any attempt to solve the problem and their approach is so wrong and naïve.

    I was assured by BG that someone will come and make an independent assessment and an engineer from Dyno came on Thursady ( 20/02/2014) and admitted that based on what was done by Homeserve – Dyno engineers have definitely not done a good job of diagnosing and fixing the problem and the statement made to wife was not professional and was objectionable.

    Based on his report to his team – I did got a call from Dyno / BG offering compensation. I told them that they are missing the whole point – it is about their conduct and to assure themselves that something is wrong with particulars engineers and asked them to at least take it professionally from this point onwards.

    They have agreed to get the wall repaired and have initiated the process of getting the wall fixed at their cost.

    Let us hope that BG and Dyno’s management take this remark seriously and fix their internal problems. It is an on-going case and will keep people posted on this.

    My idea is not to crib – but to let BG and Dyno take a serious note of this and manage their engineers for a professional approach to any complaints by their customers.

    I have faith in BG and Dyno – but such irritants must be removed to have the confidence of the customers intact.

    Cheers

    PKP

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