A TV maker was left furious after being hit with a huge £80,000 UK gas bill, for which the energy supplier later apologized.
Gareth Wyn Jones, 56, known for his starring role in the BBC series The Family Farm, received the stunning bill from British Gas Business which said he was 22 times more in debt than usual.
The father-of-three, from Llanfairfechan in Conwy, North Wales, said he received a “mountain” of 50 envelopes at his farm and was told to pay by October 27.
Mr Jones spent two hours on the phone with call centers trying to clarify the error in the bill before being told an “error had been identified”.
He was told that fully paid-off contracts from 2020 were incorrectly included in the invoice, meaning the correct amount owed was actually £3,600 – a massive drop from the £80,000 originally recommended.
Gareth Wyn Jones, 56, known for his starring role in BBC series The Family Farm, received the eye-watering bill from British Gas Business
But that wasn’t the end of his troubles, as the next day Mr Jones received a further 40 or 50 envelopes from British Gas Business before receiving an apology from the energy giant.
Mr Jones said: “By the time I contacted the complaints department I was already fuming, I was literally foaming at the mouth.”
“I don’t think I’ve ever been so angry in my entire life.” Honestly, it was unbelievable. They couldn’t even find our account because as a farm we don’t have a house number.
“We have always paid by direct debit, but suddenly this huge bill arrives in the post with no explanation and a request for immediate payment.”
“We must do something to ensure these mistakes don’t happen again – otherwise these companies will be liable for damages.”
Mr Jones said he was appalled at what would have happened if his 87-year-old father, a partner in the company, had opened the bill.
He said: “He has just had knee surgery and has recently returned home from hospital. “I’m afraid to think about how some vulnerable people might have reacted.
“An £80,000 note.” “If someone was depressed or having a bad day, this might have pushed them over the edge.”
Mr Jones spent two hours on the phone with call centers trying to resolve the issue before being told a “fault had been identified”.
Mr Jones said he received a “mountain” of 50 envelopes at his farm and a request to pay by October 27
He was told that fully paid off contracts from 2020 were incorrectly included in the invoice, meaning the correct amount owed was actually £3,600
The farmer, from Llanfairfechan in Conwy, North Wales, said he was “practically foaming at the mouth” when he contacted the complaints department
Mr Jones said he was appalled at what would have happened if his 87-year-old father, a partner in the company, had opened the bill
British Gas said Mr Jones’ family had a group account with eight energy meters across different farms
Mr Jones said the energy company couldn’t even find his account because, as a farm, it doesn’t have a street number
Mr Jones contacted energy consultant TCD Energy for help as he acts as the company’s agricultural ambassador.
TCD Energy partners Stephen Carroll and John Devine urged him to cite “back billing rules” designed to prevent suppliers from billing for gas or electricity used more than 12 months ago when the Correct invoices were not issued to customers.
Stephen said: “It can be a minefield for business customers who don’t know how to navigate the energy sector.”
“If you don’t know what you’re doing, situations like this can drag on for weeks or months, with all the stress that that entails.”
British Gas said Mr Jones’ family had a group account with eight energy meters across different farms.
He receives an invoice for the energy consumption of all these meters.
A British Gas spokesman said: “We are truly sorry.” The large bill Mr Jones received was incorrect and created in error. We apologized and confirmed that his actual account balance was £3,672.37.