A SHOPKEEPER was charged £50 by British Gas for not paying a bill of £0.00.
William Lister was surprised to receive a bill asking him to pay an outstanding balance of zero for his town centre shop.
But the demand letter went on to say that because the balance was overdue, he was being charged £50.
Several calls to British Gas failed to resolve the problem.
And months later William, owner of the Tamed Meadow Cards, at Byram Arcade, received a further bill ordering him to pay-up £1,128.15 – which still included the £50 charge.
Mr Lister, of Cleckheaton, said: “It’s just unbelievable.
“You can imagine my disappointment in British Gas when I was charged a late payment of £50 for being £0.00 in arrears.
“But to receive two letters of a threatening nature accusing me of not responding to correspondence I never received and not contacting them is unbelievable.
“My shop covers an area just under 60sqm so to be charged £1,128.15 for eight months is exorbitant and constitutes what I consider to be unfair and excessive charging by British Gas.”
In June last year Mr Lister took over as a tenant at the Byram Street unit but did not know who the electricity supplier was.
In January – around six months after moving into the shop – Mr Lister received the first demand letter.
He spoke to several British Gas workers in a bid to resolve the problem but continued to receive letters.
In fact, Mr Lister has times, dates and names of all the people at British Gas he has spoken to since he received the bill.
During his last call to British Gas on Monday, March 30, he was told that the call handler could not resolve the dispute and that a line manager would contact him – he is still waiting for a call back.
Sian Callaghan of British Gas said that his final bill was estimated and added: “I am very sorry that Mr Lister has been concerned about his outstanding bill, but it covers a longer than average period as we did not know he had moved into the property.
“When running any business it’s always important to find out who your energy supplier is and to budget for essential utilities.
“As a gesture of goodwill we are removing the standing charges from Mr Lister’s bill.”
British Gas advise new tenants to contact National Grid Transco who can provide supplier details for all properties if the tenant does not know who the supplier is.
They also say they can advise on the best rates and payment options but only if they know who the customer is.