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Nottingham Post
Nottingham Post
Laycie Beck

Mum putting kids to bed in 'endless layers' after being left with no heating or hot water

A Nottinghamshire mum is furious with British Gas after the family were left without heating or hot water for almost two weeks. Mum of two Sarah Harding, of Woodthorpe, contacted British Gas on Tuesday, January 10, after her boiler had broken leaving herself, her husband and their two and four year old daughters freezing.

The 38-year-old said: "I called British Gas and they said they would send somebody out on the Wednesday. My husband had to go and pick our daughter up from nursery at lunch time, so he said to them 'can you ring us before you come so we know when you are coming as we have to nip out', but the nursery is literally five minutes away.

"They came whilst he was out at nursery, they didn't wait, they didn't call us, and he saw the van driving off around the corner. When I rang them back they said the guy could not come back to do the job as he had gone to another job, so we said 'ok we would rebook to the following day?' All the time we have no hot water or heating in the house."

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An engineer returned the following day on Thursday, January 19, and Sarah claims he told the family he was not able to fix the boiler as he needed to order a part and that he would not be able to return until the following Tuesday. Sarah said: "Obviously that leaves me Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday with no hot water or heating with my two young kids in the house which is not ok.

"He agreed to put it forward by one day and come back on the Monday. I wasn't happy about it but was willing to wait as we needed it repaired.

"On the Monday I had an appointment between 12 and 6 but they rang me at 1pm to say that the engineer was off sick and he wasn't coming and they had to rebook the job. I was absolutely furious, as you know how cold it is and I have a two year old who is not sleeping because she is so cold at night.

"I have black mould growing in my youngest daughter's room now because the temperatures have been so consistently low in the house for so long. She wakes up in the night crying and it's just become so stressful for me as I'm having to spend hours on the phone with British Gas to try and resolve it and I get nowhere with them, and it's just the stress and frustration as well."

Sarah called British Gas to find out what they were going to do and claims she was told the earliest someone could be sent out would be Tuesday, January 24, which would have left the family without heating or hot water for two weeks. She said: "I said Tuesday 24th is not acceptable so we escalated the complaint to the executive team who said the engineer would be coming on Thursday 19th but that he was coming without one of the parts, so they can't guarantee that it will be fixed.

"They have offered me no help in the form of getting heaters or anything like that, they just completely left me with nothing. I have absolutely no solution from them, they want to come out without this part and see if they can fix it, but there is no guarantee so I am facing going into the weekend again with no hot water or heating."

Mould has been growing due to the cold temperatures (Sarah Harding)

Sarah says the family has been with British Gas for "a good couple of years" and pays their contract with them each month. She added: "We have called them out before and they have been ok, but I would just never have anything to do them again despite being a loyal customers for years."

When asked how the family is managing to keep warm, she explained: "Both of my children are going to bed in just endless layers of clothing because their rooms are so cold. A couple of friends have lent us some oil-filled radiators but because it is so cold they go nowhere near heating the property.

"My thermostat says my house is 9 degrees at the moment which obviously is not ok with two young kids, and we can't shower and we can't bath because we have no hot water." British Gas says despite not having the necessary part, they had hoped to create a temporary fix for the boiler whilst they wait for the part.

A spokesperson for British Gas said: "We prioritised Mrs Harding and attended within 24 hours of her initial call. However, multiple parts are needed for the boiler repair, one of which has needed to be ordered. In the meantime, we’ve offered an appointment (on Friday, January 20) to try to get a temporary fix for her as well as a contribution to fan heaters.

"We understand the wait is difficult and she may choose to have a new boiler fitted instead, but we’ll stay in touch until this is resolved." Sarah feels despite having two young children she has not been made a priority and although British Gas offered a £50 contribution towards fan heaters, this was not made until the family had already been without heating for a week.

Sarah said: "I have told them not to come today as I can’t deal with the uncertainty any longer and I need the hot water and heating for my daughter so am having to pay £1800 to have a new boiler fitted If they had been upfront with me last Thursday that they couldn’t source a part I could have sorted this out much sooner without the stress and discomfort."

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