Monday, 17 September 2012
What compensation should I ask from British Gas about this incident?
What do you think, dear reader?
(Hint – it involves compensation for inconvenience following the processing of inaccurate personal data).
Briefly, here are circumstances that should be taken into account by a regulator when deciding how much I should get:
Early August 2012: Standard letter from British Gas inviting addressee to book the annual service appointment.
9 August 2012: British Gas on-line support advised that the earliest appointment is a 2 hour slot on 17 Sept. Slot booked and SMS is sent to confirm the appointment.
14 September 2012: SMS received from British Gas reminding addressee that a service appointment is scheduled for 17 Sept.
16 September 2012: Phone call received from British Gas call centre during the early evening. Too many customers have reported faults with their boilers recently, so the annual service appointment scheduled for the following day needs to be rearranged. The next mutually convenient date is 15 November. Appointment rearranged.
Several hours later: SMS received from British Gas reminding addressee that a service appointment is (still) scheduled for 17 Sept.
17 September 2012: Just before the service engineer is due to arrive, phone call received from British Gas call centre. Too many customers have reported faults with their boilers recently, so the annual service appointment scheduled for that day needs to be rearranged. A quick conversation with the call centre adviser confirmed that the customer's record on their systems had already been updated to note that the appointment had been rearranged, and the adviser agreed that she didn’t know why she needed to call the customer again.
Is this one of those cases where an administrative sanction of up to 1% of the annual worldwide turnover could be imposed, in accordance with Article 79(5)(b)? The group revenue is £22.8 billion, so 1% is a serious amount of dosh. But, let’s get real, here. Who in their right mind would impose a sanction of £22.8 million just for having some sloppy customer service standards?
To be fair to the call centre adviser, she cheerfully acknowledged the mistake and immediately apologised. I don’t need much more than that. Chocolate would help. (Actually, a service engineer turning up at the appointed time would really have done the trick.)
If the British Gas PR team has any useful freebies, though, I would be very grateful if they might be so kind as to send some in my direction.
Do any readers have a “goodie cupboard”, from which trinkets are dispensed to those who complain with sufficient humour (or vigour)? If you have, please let me know.