British Gas has recently sought to rescue its diminishing consumer profile by pre-empting competitors' gas price cuts, but new research from onepoll.com revealing that its customer service phone line is considered to be the worst in the country suggests its efforts could be stymied by negative perceptions.
Almost a third of people surveyed said they had received a final notice or final warning on their gas bill after being prevented from speaking to a customer service representative by poor service.
Meanwhile, waiting on the end of the line for over 45 minutes was all too common.
The company's reputation is being corroded by "a constant drip, drip, drip" of criticism, warned Geoff Slaughter, energy product manager at uSwitch.com.
In a recent uSwitch poll, it emerged that British Gas receives three times more complaints than any other gas and electricity supplier.
It is currently losing one customer every 19 seconds.
But the company's corporate affairs manager Rhys Jones stressed it had "appointed 800 new agents in its call centres".
Only last month British Gas was fined £5,000 for keeping Click Energy customers waiting to speak to a representative on a premium rate line by premium rate services regulator Icstis.To compare gas prices, click here.
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