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While we do not use the original Babylonian calendar today, our division of the day into 24 hours, or 24 x 60 = 1440 minutes, and 24 x 60 x 60 = 86,400 seconds, comes from Babylonia. The Babylonians employed a positional notation that is similar to the modern decimal system, but their notation was sexagesimal ie based on powers of 60 instead of 10. Remnants of this system are still in use to this day: the circle is divided into 360 degrees, a degree into 60 minutes, and a minute into 60 seconds.

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Written by Aaron Brigatti  
Thursday, 16 December 2010

Well I really had enough with the failed attempts by British Gas to repair my Boiler, that after they through in the towel, almost cost me over £3000 in a new boiler installation. So I decided to outline my grievances to see whether it resulted in something...maybe nothing, maybe something - but who knows! I just couldn't do anything for what amounted to 20 days in the freezing cold!

Dear Sir/Madam,

Further to my recent call to your Corporate Complaints department, I thought it worthwhile to put my grievances in writing to you, to consider how you intend to resolve them and formally support the closure of my complaint case.

  • I arranged for an annual inspection of my boiler system as part of the HomeCare maintenance agreement – where I also reported a “lock-out” issue with the CH supply. The visit was completed on 26th November 2010 and seemingly “passed” my boiler, however the next day the boiler stopped functioning completely.
  • Between 28th November through to 9th December, I had a total of 8 other Home Care engineer visits, which inspected and replaced numerous parts to the boiler. The Engineer’s have been supportive and professional, but unfortunately on the last visit could not find the cause of the fault, and declared the boiler non-repairable, and that he would arrange for a visit for the Sales teams. Although I appreciate that they tried in vain, the end conclusion is that the British Gas Home Care could not repair my boiler and make it operational again.
  • On 10th December, a Sales Representative visited and the provided two quotes of between £2,700+ and £3,200 for the boiler installation. I believe the £2,700 was a conservative quote on a “best-case” scenario.
  • After the visit on 10th December, I spoke with the Sales Team Manager to see whether this quote could be reduced further. I was told that it was the best quote available and no further reduction was possible.
  • Mid-afternoon on the 10th December I made a formal complaint to the Home Care Department advising of the above points and that the failure to repair the boiler had resulted in a potential boiler replacement cost of over £3,000 that I would have to pay.
  • The Corporate Complaints department contacted me and advised that the matter and case file would be passed across to the Regional Area Manager, who contacted me on 13th December. I explained that I did not feel it was justified that I had to expense over £3,000 and requested that British Gas cover the full cost of the replacement boiler. The Area Manager advised that a Senior Engineer would visit on 15th December for a final review of the boiler before a decision was made on the boiler replacement cost request.
  • On the 15th December, the Senior Engineer visited and located a fault with the replacement pump (which was replaced twice already over the previous 8 visits) and did a thorough check before finally making the boiler operational again.


I am quite astounded that after a total of 10 visits over a period of 20 days, which has resulted in this duration without HW/CH at all (which was very inconvenient and problematic), that a solution was eventually found, but only because I escalated this.

If I did not push this matter upwards and make a formal complaint against the sales visit and previous failed repairs, I would have signed-off a quote of £3,000 for the replacement boiler with no questions asked. Do you believe this is acceptable?

Therefore, I feel it is clearly justified that I request this £3,000 cost as compensation from British Gas for all of the inconvenience caused and the failure to meet your Home Care obligations to repair the boiler within the previous visits (this equates to £150 for each day without CH/HW). I feel it was not the Engineer’s fault in question here but potentially quality issues with the replacement parts used, which made it very difficult for the Engineer to root-cause the fault.

Ultimately all of these experiences I have outlined are representative of the British Gas / Centrica as a whole; therefore feel that this compensation request should be honoured in full. I remind you that it was only my persistence that prevented me in incurring this cost in the first place – in addition to the standard annual charge that I already incur for the Home Care maintenance contract with you. I would remind you that when I ask further support related to the new boiler quote, you offered none.

I look forward for your response into this matter and accepance of my compensation claim.

Note: I am at the moment monitoring the performance of the boiler after today’s engineer’s visit, so would say it remains operational for now.

Many thanks for your time and support.

We'll see what they say in response...

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