British Gas debt collectors broke into a couple’s home – despite the fact that they were not customers and had not used gas in over 30 years.
The traumatic event is part of a rise in the number of utility companies turning to debt collectors after energy bills more than doubled in the past year.
Dox Doherty, 38, said he and his wife Emma, 44, did not have accounts with British Gas. However, three men – two third-party debt collectors and a British Gas representative – picked the lock on the house and attempted to change the meter.
The trio had actually been dispatched to the next apartment. A spokesman said they had mistakenly entered Mr Doherty’s property.
British Gas said it sent frequent reminders to settle a bill at a nearby flat. On May 30, the supplier obtained a warrant to enter the apartment to change the meter, which was incorrectly registered at the couple’s address.
Mr Doherty said the incident made them anxious – and they were put on anti-anxiety medication to help them sleep. “We still don’t sleep well,” he added. “British Gas is not helping much in the situation. One would expect such a big company to be better. He didn’t do any wellness checks beforehand to see if we were elderly or vulnerable,” he said.
“We just want security now. We want new doors and this should pay for it – he’s the one who put us in this position.
Energy companies have increased the number of debt collectors sent to harass struggling families as rising bills push growing numbers into arrears.