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Bloomdean wins legal battle over gas price increases

03 December 2009
Bloomdean wins legal battle over gas price increases

A Harrogate-based hotel and restaurant business has won a lengthy legal battle with national gas supplier Business Energy Solutions (BES), after a row over gas price increases.

Bloomdean, which owns The Orchid Restaurant and The Studley Hotel in Harrogate successfully settled against BES, winning 100% of its claim against the gas company and 100% of its costs, totalling more than £17,000.

Bloomdean sued BES for breaking the terms of a fixed rate contract by significantly increasing the rate.

The hotel and restaurant business claimed that BES and an ‘independent broker' Commercial Power, (which is registered to the same address) lured it into buying gas at a rate that was significantly cheaper than its competitors. But the company failed to state that the terms of the contract were variable. It also asked Bloomdean to agree to the rates before it saw the terms and conditions of the contract. Bloomdean manager Bokum Chan claimed that he did not receive any terms and conditions in the post.

Chan said the two companies involved in the case used tactics to pull wool over the consumers' eyes.

"They exercised these sharp tactics and expected customers to accept them," he said.

"In my view I felt they were using bully boy tactics, which I could not accept. It seems that energy suppliers are regulated however brokers are not, this is a huge loophole which some are exploiting."

Chris Newton of Newton's solicitors in Harrogate, who represented Bloomdean, added: "What touched me about this case what that all of the witnesses were such a nice bunch of people, but all felt very strongly about how they were being treated by their gas supplier, a supply which was critical for their businesses. It is a good thing that they had the courage to take their case all the way to court to achieve what they believed was right."

British Energy Solutions was unavailable for comment.

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By Neil Gerrard

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