I CHANGED from a thee-year fixed price contract with Sainsbury’s, paying £75 per month on direct debit when it expired. I was quoted by British Gas £45 per month for gas/electricity on monthly direct debit. This seemed a fantastic saving and on reflection I decided to monitor it closely.

After three months and when I was in debt to £150 I had to insist on increasing it to £75 and again three months later on realising I was still in debt insisted on raising it to £90.

This may just cope as it seems to be a realistic figure when bills are examined, but makes no allowance for present or future increases.

During the same period my daughter changed to N-power and was quoted £75 per month for gas/electricity instead of the £125 she was previously paying. She did not watch it carefully and after eight months is over £800 in debt.

On telephoning N-power she was told they could not understand anybody quoting such a figure, as she should have been quoted £150 per month for gas/electricity for a four-bedroom house.

Neither of the above suppliers have suggested increasing the monthly direct debits! Why are these companies quoting start figures at such low reckless prices when they must know that this will put their customers into debt?

Maybe this is the plan for as long as they are in debt and unable to clear the debt they cannot change to another supplier.

I feel that all people who have changed suppliers at beneficial rates should be warned that they should check up on their balance regularly, and adjust payments to avoid heavy debts. There cannot be the dramatic differences between the suppliers such as they are quoting.

Fortunately my daughter and I can find the money if we have to, but there will be very many who cannot, just adding to the high level of debts and bankruptcies.

Robert Hawkins