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When the worm turns

6 August 2010

It has been reported that a consumer has been paid more than £2,000 by British Gas, after he threatened them with court action over the time he wasted dealing with their erroneous demands for payment.

As a self-employed photographer, he logged every phone call and letter sent, then claimed for his loss of earnings. British Gas say they haven’t accepted liability, and the payment was made purely as a gesture of goodwill. However, consumers are being encouraged to record the time spent dealing with utility companies, and consider charging them for any loss of earnings.

Although courts do not award damages for mere inconvenience, Ombudsmen may recommend such a payment. Multitudinous consumer claims for wasted time would be difficult to cope with administratively (and economically, if the consumers are determined to go to court).

Does this case just give consumers another encouragement to complain or underline the importance of getting your customer service right first time?

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