Nanny Knows Best

Nanny Knows Best
Dedicated to exposing, and resisting, the all pervasive nanny state that is corroding the way of life and the freedom of the people of Britain.

Monday, March 08, 2010

British Gas - Taking The Piss

Good morning my loyal readers, please allow me to regale you with a tale concerning my dear old mum, her boiler and British Gas.

Its a tale and half!

Last week mum's boiler went on the blink. British Gas were duly summoned to fix said boiler, and they did what they could but advised a new one was needed.

Sure enough, as eggs were eggs, the boiler breathed its last on Friday. By happy happenstance British Gas were on hand to provide a quote for a new boiler.

At this stage allow me to inform you that mum lives in a two bedroom apartment, on the 3rd floor of a modern well kept apartment block.

Can you guess how much British gas quoted?







British gas quoted £4700 (gross of their £400 discount), ie net price of £4300.

Does that figure not seem a tad high to you?

The British Gas employee who provided the quote suggested that it was, and that I would be unlikely to take it.

No sh*t!

I duly acquired another quote from a recommended, reputable gas fitter/plumber.

Can you guess what he quoted?


Yes, £3K less than the British Gas gross quote.

How can there be such a price differential?

Ah, British Gas explain it and safety!

You see my loyal readers, British Gas are of the view that in order to install the boiler (and adjust the flu) they will need to erect (there's that word again!) scaffolding.

Health and safety, don't you know!

Quite how attempting to fleece an elderly widowed lady of £4700 makes her feel any more healthy or safer is beyond me.

However, as we know, Nanny Knows Best!

Can you guess which boiler installer we are going to use?

Suffice to say, my advice to all of you out there is to avoid British Gas like the plague.

Visit The Orifice of Government Commerce and buy a collector's item.

Visit The Joy of Lard and indulge your lard fantasies.

Show your contempt for Nanny by buying a T shirt or thong from Nanny's Store. is brought to you by "The Living Brand"

Celebrate the joy of living with booze. Click and drink!

Why not really indulge yourself, by doing all the things that Nanny really hates? Click on the relevant link to indulge yourselves; Food, Bonking, Toys, Gifts and Flowers, Groceries


  1. Ken,

    'Twas always thus. And from memory the prices quoted seem not to have changed much in the last 20 years.

    I suspect that BG only offer the fitting service so that they can promote special deals once in a while at, say, 50% discount (fitted through a third party). This would retain their credibility, sort of, for being a valid and 'standards defining' supplier leading the market and allow them to pontificate on matters of product quality, fitting regulations, longevity and so on.

    Also if they can sign people up on long terms maintenance plans they get steady revenue that, in most cases, will have little incurred cost (compared to the revenue) until such time as they can condemn the boiler and quote for a new one. Often that will be in times of pressure for the consumer - things only go wrong when you need to use them.

    Boiler life expectancy used to be 30 years or more with parts availability to match. Now it is more like 9 years or less with parts becoming ludicrously expensive about 5 years after the product was manufactured. Constant engineering changes (to make the new technology work as intended) mean that the actual manufacturing life span of each configuration is short (potentially only months for the internals) so large stock holdings of spares are unadvisable.

    And then we have the persistent changes in regulations from the H&SE and the various nanny departments with excuses related to Climate Change and, most likely, all topped off by the EU dabbling too.

    You can get boilers quite inexpensively. Price is no guarantee of quality but my 'tame installer' recommends very few manufacturers.

    There is, for me next time I need to take action, a temptation to buy two units since the units are relatively low cost compared to the installation work required for fitting flues, re-piping, doing any revised electrics and so on.

    A straight swap in time of failure would be advantageous to both cost and downtime or just use the second unit as a source of parts when required - major components if changed cost almost as much as an entire boiler. I don't think that is unintentional.

    I wish you and your mum luck with the new installation.

  2. Anonymous12:06 PM

    There is a member of my family, who if I was feeling uncharitable, would describe them as "less than canny".

    They've been paying British Gases extortionate monthly fee for boiler breakdown cover, only to find that when their boiler did fail (during the very cold spell we had), that as well as paying £25 a month, they were also expected to pay a call out fee on top!! This was after waiting 3 days for BG engineers to arrive, in daytime temperatures that struggling to breach 0 degrees C.

    This was especially galling for them as the problem turned out to be caused by a simple frozen condenser outlet pipe. It was cured by the application of a boiled kettle of water. A highly technical fix, as you can see.

    Since I've moved into my house 9 years ago I've spent a grand total of £2.50 on fixing my (now) 25 year old boiler - it needed a new thermocouple about 7 years ago.

    Whereas if I paid BG £25 a month, I would now be down £2700 on a boiler that seems to still have years left in it...touch wood!

    British Gas loves FUD and makes shed-loads of cash from it.

  3. microdave12:17 PM

    Can't see why they need scaffolding to install the boiler? But even if it does require outside access to "adjust the flue" haven't they heard of tool hire companies? A quick search shows a nationwide company offering a full range of lifts & hoists, etc. There are even special narrow width models for use in confined spaces. It looks as if the very most this would cost is £500 per day.

    You have to wonder if such ludicrous over charging is really cost effective - do they actually get enough business this way?

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  5. British Gas do indeed take the piss. I got a letter on friday addressed to "The Occupier" demanding I contact them about an outstanding bill otherwise I will be taken to court, reported to credit reference agencies ect.
    I have never been with british gas. Here is the text of my reply:

    Dear Mr Edwards

    Thank you for your letter addressed to “The Occupier”.

    When a person takes on an account with British Gas they are required to supply their details. Please address your future correspondence to the person who took on the account.
    “The Occupier” owes no money to British Gas and has never used their products or services. “The Occupier” has an account with EDF energy and has been with them since they took possession of the property 2 years ago.
    Please do not threaten us with any further action until you are able to address your letters to the person to whom your threats are intended.
    The only further communication you should send to “The Occupier” will be a letter of apology for our inconvenience and a promise to hassle us no further on this matter.
    Should that not be the case then I will of course, be taking this matter to the O.F.T.

    Yours sincerely

    The Occupier

  6. Tonk.1:11 PM

    It all seems about job creation to me....BG can and will condem any gas appliances or installations they can....Rather like someone throwing a brick through your window with a not attached advertising the fact that they repair broken windows.....I think it is all part on Nanny's con, take the warm front policy for example.....Ever so expensive suppliers so they make the same profit even once the discount has been taken off.....Same as the new boiler scrappage scheme and, I suspect, the car scrappage scheme....However, I do agree, BG do indeed take the piss....What worries me more is that they want to go over to smart meters, in the name of the new religion of climate change of course, this will allow BG to read your meter without entering your home but, it will also allow the supplier to cut you off with neither a court order nor the need to enter your home....So in Bucko's example above, I doubt a letter would have been sent, just a straight cut off of supply as one company owns all the meters......Its a crap world thanks to Nanny and her co-conspiritors in private companies....I say, boycott them all!!!....Customer service is a concept alien to so many businesses these days....They feel they are doing you a favour to serve you whereas, it used to be the customer doing them a favour by trading with them.....I would buy a boiler from Wicks and get a local tradesman to install it....Incidently Ken, ask the approved installer to show you the form he has to fill in after he does the job....It is one of Nanny's classic, nosey form designed to get maximum information for a database.

  7. Lord of Atlantis1:22 PM

    Some years ago I left British gas for another supplier and, in light of your Mum's experiences, Ken, and yours, Anonymous, It would appear I have been wise. However, most of the energy companies appear to be making large profits at our expense, whilst the
    'watchdog' appears to be toothless. It does beg the question whether public services like these should have been privatised in the first place.

  8. Lord of Atlantis1:25 PM

    Unfortunately, Tonk, we all need the 'services' of the energy companies, so boycotting is not a viable option: they have the consumer over a barrel so to speak (no pun intended!).

  9. Frankie Knuckles5:20 PM

    It wouldn’t have cost 3 grand to buy the scaffolding for that job.

    I would have given the geezer a slap in the chops for trying to stitch up my mum that way.

    The shifty bastard.

  10. Anon (second post) up there pretty much covered my point. A friend's parents had their boiler fail over the snowy period and they live out in the sticks. They pay the additional "extra top notch, we'll give you chocolates with your bill and walk the dog for you" fee and are also listed as pensioners and therefore high priority.

    10 days they were quoted to have someone out to look at the boiler.


    So they spent xmas in the front room where they thankfully have an open fire. Hot water was still limited to kettle and pan-fuls though. Needless to say they're off to someone else as well.

  11. Ken,
    I'm afraid your mother was screwed. A new condensing boiler should cost around £600 incl. VAT. A tradesman shouldn't be more than £150 on top.

    We have BG look after our boiler. Sure enough ours was pronounced dead by them one day and I was quoted £3000 for a replacement. I told them not to take the piss and fix it. They spent £700 in parts and it still didn't work. It turned out to be a loose connection! apply thumb and fore-finger, problem solved...