/Mum and newborn baby left without heating for six days after meter mix-up

Mum and newborn baby left without heating for six days after meter mix-up

A young mum and her newborn baby have been without heating for seven days after British Gas changed pre-payment meter top-up systems on New Years Day. 

The energy giant ditched Paypoint for Payzone terminals on January 1, with hundreds of unprepared customers claiming they did not know about the change. 

Complaints online saw vulnerable families tell how they had been left without heating or power. 

Multiple customers also claimed they had visited numerous Payzone terminals but the systems were not set up yet. 

Stephanie Trainor, 25, from Springburn, returned home from hospital with her newborn baby to find she had no heating.

The first-time mum was rushed to the Princess Royal Hospital in Glasgow for an emergency C-section on December 29th.

A British Gas meter
(Image: PA)

She and partner Thomas Pritchard, 32, had spent a few days in hospital before returning home with their son Austin, on New Years Day. 

Thomas had visited his local PayPoint location to top up the heating and realised their card wasn’t working. 

Stephanie said: “When we got home we realised straight away we had no heating. 

“We went to the shop to top-up and the card didn’t work. We weren’t any the wiser and spent ages going round various shops panicking.”

The couple told the Daily Record the shop keeper at their new Payzone terminal was not yet set up to handle British Gas payments, leaving them without heating. 

Stephanie said: “I had just brought my baby boy home and it was really the last thing I needed. 

“I called customer services on January 2 and was told a manager would contact me but no one called. 

“The first night we came home and put a couple of layers on Austin and over ourselves to make do. 

“The next day I was taken into hospital again and we couldn’t chase up British Gas.”

Stephanie, who works as a care assistant, claims the couple have called British Gas customer services several times and have either been told a manager will call back or not been able to get through at all. 

She said: “My sister brought over two electric heaters to keep us going but it’s costing a fortune.

“It’s expensive enough having a newborn baby without being charged extra for running heaters. 

“We feel completely helpless and stuck in limbo. The stress and worry has ruined our first week of becoming parents.” 

Stephanie is not alone, as many customers took to social media to vent their frustrations at the changes.

Several people tweeted British Gas over issues with the changes

On Twitter Pippa Conroy said: “Well done British Gas you’ve stopped customers from being able to top up their gas cards at local shops without telling us. New year and my severely disabled son who is on priority register, my 1 year old and myself have no gas and customer services is shut.”

The couple tweeted British Gas

Customer Dan Williams wrote on Twitter: “I have a five week old baby and just ran our of gas. No PayPoint shops top up British Gas anymore, been to three PayZone shops and none are set up to top up British Gas yet. Your website is down, your call centre is closed. Literally no way for me to get gas. Disgusting.”

Julie Staff said: “The Payzone shops machines are not working and my daughter has three babies aged three. She was out all night, with no lights, and her freezer food has all defrosted.”

Several people tweeted British Gas over issues with the changes

Another Twitter user Denise said: “Hey British Gas, I saw an elderly disabled woman break down in tears as she could no longer top up her gas account. It seems you have changed to ‘Payzone’ far away. I took her to the nearest place & ensured she had enough for the next two weeks. Happy New Year.”

But British Gas insisted it wrote to customers to tell them about the changes.

A British Gas spokesperson said: “British Gas announced it will be ending its contract with PayPoint on 31st December and signed a new contract with the Post Office and PayZone, which took effect on January 1, 2020. 

“We contacted all our pre-payment meter customers about this change in December either by post or email.”

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