Gas and electricity Updated:
The energy regulator Ofgem has hit British Gas with a fine of £2.5 million for its failure to properly deal with customer complaints.
Ofgem said that the penalty should act as a warning to all energy firms that they must take complaint handling seriously and treat their customers fairly.
The investigation found that British Gas had:
Ofgem has said that since the investigation into the firm's procedures in June 2010, British Gas has improved its complaint handling systems.
It is the second time that British Gas has been fined this month, having been hit with a £1 million penalty for misreporting how much energy it supplied.
"Today's finding highlights basic failures in British Gas' customer service, particularly in dealing with some of its small business customers, and shows Ofgem's commitment to use its powers to ensure suppliers treat customers fairly and transparency.
"We warned the industry in March that we would be backing up our plans to reform the retail market with a tough approach to enforcement.
"This £2.5 million fine against British Gas, and the other £10 million of fines imposed on the energy industry so far this year, sends a clear message to energy companies that they must abide by the rules."
The fine comes during a period when the UK 's largest energy firms have been placed under intense scrutiny.
Npower and EDF Energy are also being probed by the regulator for complaint handling, while Scottish Power, Scottish and Southern Energy, EDF Energy and Npower are all being investigated over mis-selling.
Last week, a group of MPs heaped pressure on energy firms to pay compensation to customers that were mis-sold gas and electricity deals by doorstep sellers.
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