UK utilities giant British Gas has taken the radical decision to overhaul its billing system by announcing that it has finally decided to stop completely making up what customers owe and will instead charge them for what they have actually used.
The company said that made up or ‘estimated’ bills have been one of the biggest sources of frustration among customers because they are “hard to predict and budget for” and that long, hard experience of being shouted at, threatened and abused by customers on the telephone has revealed that these bills often lack “any basis in reality or fact whatsoever.”
Instead, British Gas are encouraging customers to use special meters, which allow customers to submit readings themselves online or by text, and pay monthly for the exact amount they use.
“I think it is an outrage that I am being asked to check my own meter and check my own bill,” said Mrs. Gladys. Kendrick-Smythe from Peterborough. “I’m a housewife and I’ve got enough to do every day without this. Unless, of course, they fancy sending me a British Gas uniform and ID badge. Oh yes, Mr. Kendrick-Smythe would like that.”
Asked how ‘estimated’ bills were calculated, a British Gas spokesperson offered: “Well, it’s simple, really. We take the first number of our customer’s post code, multiply it by their age, divide it by whatever our favourite number is, and then add £300. Unless it’s a Tuesday, of course, which it often is. Then we double it. As I say, simple.”
The move away from made-up bills is part of a campaign from British Gas to encourage less shouty customer feedback. A spokesperson said: “The days of people filling in anonymous surveys about us are over. We want customers to come into our business, eat our best chocolate digestives, meet our people and ask anything they like – and report back to us on what they’ve found.
“If we find that they still don’t like what we are doing, we’ll imprison them, and ask them even more questions only this time we’ll only give them Rich Tea biscuits. Before you know it, they’ll be begging for mercy, and telling us whatever we want to hear.”
The British Gas senior management were too busy playing sinister organ music, wringing their hands, and throwing their heads back and laughing in a macabre fashion to comment.