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Distraught pensioner owed £800 by British Gas in tears after they 'mistakenly' sent threatening bailiff letter

By Sophie Halle-Richards

An elderly woman is struggling to pay for food after British Gas "mistakenly" sent a threatening bailiff letter - then owed her £800.

Sandra, who is 71, says she has contacted the energy firm every day for the past few weeks in an attempt to get her money back, after claims she was wrongly told she hadn't paid her gas and electricity bills.

She claims she is £800 in credit having paid more than she owed after receiving two letters from bailiff companies - threatening to take her possessions from her Oldham home. Sandra, who is also disabled, said the payment had "emptied" her bank account, and she has been left struggling to afford basic necessities since March.

READ MORE: Man, 79, who spent five nights sleeping rough told he's 'not eligible for housing'

After being contacted by the M.E.N, British Gas have since confirmed the refund is on its way and said the mix-up was because the firm hadn't received accurate meter readings and there wasn't a wasn’t a live direct debit on the gas account.

The pensioner said British Gas previously offered to pay her a cheque for the amount owed, but Sandra said it wasn't practical for her to get to the bank and cash the cheque due to her disabilities. She has always paid for her bills via direct debit and said she is confused about why the firm couldn't repay her straight to her bank account.

Sandra broke down in tears as she told the Manchester Evening News how stressful the situation has been for her, and says it has been affecting her mental and physical health.

"I have been messaging them constantly every day. They are not paying me back my money. I am a pensioner and disabled and I really don’t need the added stress. It’s affecting my health.

The woman claims British Gas still haven't repaid the money (PA)

"They told me on Tuesday they were going to send me a cheque but I am disabled and it would mean I would need to get all the way into my bank in town to cash it. I have always paid by direct debit. I don't see why they can't just pay it straight into my account."

Sandra said she contacted British Gas in March after receiving a letter threatening to instruct bailiffs if she didn't pay what she owed - despite keeping up with her regular monthly direct debit. She claims she's paid over £800 extra on top of what she would normally pay.

"I phoned them back in March to ask why they were still telling me I owed money when I had paid it. I had to pay another sum and someone rang me back and told me I was in £800 credit. I still haven't received a formal apology from British Gas about it and they still haven't paid me," she said.

"I just don’t know what else to do. The last payment I sent them emptied my bank account until the end of April. I had no money for food but they just weren't interested."

A spokesperson for British Gas said: "We’re sorry the customer has been struggling to sort this, we’ve let her know her refund is on its way and she’ll receive this in her bank account in the next few days. The issue here was we hadn’t received accurate meter readings for a while and there wasn’t a live direct debit on the gas account, which is why we initially issued the refund by cheque."

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Dive Deeper:
New energy scam warning as cold-callers set out to rob hundreds pretending to be council
The scammers are seizing the opportunity to take advantage of the cost of living crisis
Former Glasgow MP Natalie McGarry embezzled cash and complained of being 'skint' on £64k salary
A jury found McGarry, who represented Glasgow East between 2015 and 2017, guilty by majority of embezzling money while treasurer…
Homeless man who found hidden savings account urges everyone to take 5-min test
James Smith was 22-years-old and had fallen on hard times when he came across a social media post about forgotten…
Everyone urged to check for 'hidden' savings account after man finds £300
A homeless man's life was transformed after he found £300 in a 'lost' bank account and is urging everyone to…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Boost your income before summer by claiming benefits, discounts or reductions
To combat the cost of living crisis make sure you are maximising your income and not missing out.
Everyone urged to check if they have a 'hidden' savings account after man finds £300 in his
He's encouraging everyone to check if they have money in an account they know nothing about.
Get all your news in one place