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SALLY SORTS IT: Currys left my aunt with gas leak and no heating for a week

Cut: Curry left a reader waiting a week after he botched the installation of his new cooker and caused a dangerous gas leak

My aunt is 81 and lives alone in a three-bed house. In November, she bought a new gas stove from Currys. She paid to have the old removed and the new installed.

The stove was installed on November 23. But, at 5:30 a.m. the next morning, my aunt was awakened by a strong smell of gas. She phoned me and I told her not to turn on any more lights because I was worried it might set off an explosion.

She phoned the National Gas Emergency Service, who quickly dispatched an engineer who said the cause was the connection to the new stove.

Cut: Curry left a reader waiting a week after he botched the installation of his new cooker and caused a dangerous gas leak

Cut: Curry left a reader waiting a week after he botched the installation of his new cooker and caused a dangerous gas leak

The emergency team cut the mains power and left my aunt a single plate electric food warmer and fan heater, which we are grateful for.

Currys promised to investigate the matter urgently – but my aunt made numerous unsuccessful calls in the days that followed.

The stove was finally reinstalled a week later without any offer of compensation, despite the dangerous situation it found itself in and the lack of adequate central heating.

RK, Walsall, W. Mids.

Sally Hamilton replies: You say your aunt made many calls to Currys trying to get an emergency call, but no one got back to her.

After several days, your cousin got fed up and visited the Currys shop in Castle Vale demanding action. Your cousin claims Currys said he was busy with other calls – but surely your aunt deserved priority treatment given the danger and the fact that she didn’t have her proper heater?

The fitter arrived a week later to fix the problem. However, months later there has been no offer of compensation.

It’s unbelievable that Currys’ response was so frosty following such an incident that could have gone horribly wrong if your aunt hadn’t smelled the gas and, on your advice, called the emergency services.

You’d think her installer’s embarrassment by doing a poor job would have prompted the retailer to act quickly to make sure your aunt was not only safe but comfortable.

Fortunately, the connection was finally repaired just before the severe cold snap that hit the country in December.

I contacted Currys on your behalf to express my own shock at the poor service your aunt had received and the lack of redress.

After investigating her case, Currys came back with a response that I would say is as lukewarm as your aunt’s house during the week without her heating.

A spokesman said: ‘After reviewing the matter, we have not met our usual expectations for service here.

“We made an appointment with his nephew to apologize for the experience provided and we fully refunded the installation costs, as well as a gesture of goodwill.”

You confirmed that his reward was equivalent to a refund of the £150 setup fee and £50 as an apology. Although you said this in no way reflects what your aunt went through, since you agreed to it directly with Currys before I knew the sums offered, you would not go back on your word.

Although I think the compensation is grossly insufficient, I felt it was more important to check whether the retailer had learned any lessons from the whole harrowing incident.

A spokesperson told me the company could not speak to the individual steps involved, but confirmed that “appropriate steps” had been taken to ensure such an incident did not happen again.

The installation of gas appliances is serious business and should be carried out by a qualified installer, listed in the Gas Safe register. The National Gas Emergency Service says that if there is a smell of gas in a property, act quickly by opening windows and using the emergency shut-off valve on the meter – unless it is at under- floor.

Meters are often located in the garage, kitchen, under the stairs or outside the front of a property. If it’s in a meter box, you’ll need a special key to open it.

Do not turn lights on or off as this may ignite the escaping gas. Call the National Gas Emergency Service number for your area or the national number on 0800 111 999. Leave the power turned off until it has been checked by a qualified technician listed in the Gas Safe register.

To the point

I transferred my broadband, landline and TV contract from Virgin to Sky in August because it was too expensive. However, Virgin still accepts direct debit payments.

JJF, Bath.

Virgin has apologized for the issues you experienced canceling your direct debit and refunded you £359.

He also offered you £100 as a token of goodwill, cleared your balance of £170 and closed the account.


I had a life changing car accident in December which left me disabled and I am still in hospital.

Santander has frozen my account since the accident and won’t let me access my money to pay my bills. I need help because the company does not listen to me.

L .AH, by telephone.

Santander has removed the temporary hold on your account and apologized for the inconvenience, paying £500 as a goodwill gesture.

A spokesperson said these blocks are placed on accounts when they need to verify that payment requests are genuine.


Utility Warehouse has been billing me for the wrong property’s gas supply for six months.

In the last two months he also charged me for my own property additionally. I live in a small village where there are houses with a variant of the same name.

HW, North Yorks.

Utility Warehouse apologizes and has refunded the overpayments. A spokesperson said: ‘We discovered that numerous addresses were registered in the national gas industry database which resulted in incorrect customer billing. We have requested that the database be modified.

Charged £120 to fill up my little Citroen

On 10th January I visited my local Tesco petrol station and used the pay at the pump option, inserting my debit card.

I reached for the unleaded fuel nozzle, but realized it was out of stock, with only diesel available. I went to another pump and re-entered my card details, which were accepted, and filled my little Citroen with fuel costing £30.89.

The next day I checked my Santander bank account and saw that I had been charged £120. I immediately phoned the bank, who saw that two more transactions were about to be made from the gas station.

The first was cancelled. The second was £30.89 which was ok but the third was £120 diesel which I was charged for.

Tesco sent me a dispute form, which I found difficult to complete, so I went to my bank on January 25, and the staff kindly helped me complete the form.

A week later Tesco said they had not received the form, so with the help of my granddaughter I filled in a new one online. But I was informed that it could take up to 90 days to resolve.

ET, Chorley, Lancs.

Sally Hamilton responds: The pay-at-the-pump option at gas stations is convenient, saving drivers queuing at the counter. But, frustratingly, you have spent many hours trying to resolve an obvious error.

There was no way you were buying £120 worth of fuel for your little Citroen – and certainly not diesel when driving a petrol car.

Waiting potentially three months for a refund would test anyone’s patience, so I contacted Tesco to sort it out.

A mystery was quickly solved – why £120 was the sum involved in the phantom payment taken from your account.

The Mastercard and Visa payment networks recently changed their rules, which means that all fuel retailers must temporarily set aside a certain level of funds in a customer’s account for purchases made via pay-at-the-pump.

The quantity frozen may vary. But with Tesco, customers can have up to £120 blocked while they fill up and authorization checks are carried out, with the unused amount returned to their account shortly after the pump is replaced.

For example, if a customer purchases £70 worth of fuel, the remaining £50 will be returned almost immediately.

It aims to prevent customers from buying more fuel than they can afford.

Tesco says errors are rare and believe the pump was working fine in your case.

No one knows exactly what went wrong with your purchase and why you didn’t get your £89.11 back – the balance between the reserved sum of £120 and your fuel cost of £30.89. The likely explanation is that the first pump was still on when you switched to another and then it was used without your knowledge by another customer, resulting in a charge on your card.

Whatever the reason Tesco were sorry to hear of your experience and after my intervention promptly refunded the £120, adding £50 as a goodwill gesture.

  • Write to Sally Hamilton at Sally Sorts It, Money Mail, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT or email – include phone number, address and a note addressed to the offending organization giving him permission to speak to Sally Hamilton. Please do not send original documents as we cannot take responsibility for them. No legal responsibility can be accepted by the Daily Mail for the answers given.

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