TEARS streaming down her face, Julie Williams is devastated – she can't afford a gravestone for her mum after a British Gas blunder.
The 55-year-old from Wolverhampton is relying on the money owed by the supplier – but it has never materialised.
Julie was in line for a £461 refund after her mum, Jillian Williams, passed away last year with her energy account hundreds of pounds in credit.
But the support worker has been chasing British Gas for weeks for the money.
"I’m living on £140 on Universal Credit after I've paid rent, and I’m struggling," she told The Sun.
"I’ve been to look for gravestones but they need a deposit – I don’t have enough for it at the moment.
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"It's been frustrating and I've been so upset. I can’t move on because of what’s happening."
When a family member dies, their bills and accounts must be settled and closed.
If they leave a will, someone will be named as an "executor", which means they handle this admin.
As Julie's mum did not leave a will, it was down to her as next of kin to sort this out.
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You are responsible for paying any debts a family member owes – and are entitled to any money owed.
Julie discovered she was owed money by British Gas, after she discovered her mum's account was £461 in credit after the supplier sent her a final bill.
She asked British Gas for the refund to be sent to her, and sent over a copy of her mum's death certificate as proof.
But Julie has struggled to get the refund ever since.
Weeks later in mid-December, she was sent a cheque in the post.
But it was for £321, lower than she was told she was due.
The cheque was also made out to her mum, who had passed away – so she couldn't cash it in.
Since then, Julie and her daughter, Nicole Farr, 29, who is an underwriter at a bank, have been spent hours on the phone and on social media trying to sort out the issue with British Gas – but have got nowhere.
It means that Julie hasn't been able to afford a gravestone yet for her mum.
Nicole said: "I helped my mum sort out the issue because she was struggling to deal with it all.
"I messaged them on Twitter because I couldn’t get through on the phone.
"They said they couldn’t send the cheque because it was Nan's money. They told us to go to Citizens Advice."
The Sun stepped in and asked British Gas to investigate why Julie has been waiting for her money.
British Gas blamed an "administration error" for the wrong name appearing on the cheque.
It also said the initial bill was incorrect, and Jillian's account was only £321 in credit.
A cheque in Julie's name will be sent out, and an extra £50 has been sent as a gesture of goodwill.
A British Gas spokesperson said: "We’ve been in regular contact with Julie during this difficult time and have said sorry for the delays and for sending the credit refund in the wrong name.
"We’ve assured her that the credit has been resent by cheque and will remain in touch until this is received."
What to do if you can't get your money back
If you're trying to close a dead family member's energy bill account, then there are a number of steps to take.
Contact the supplier with details like the name, address, and contact number, as well as an up-to-date meter reading.
Many suppliers have forms online on their website to fill out specifically to help you do this.
If the account is in debt, it must be settled by you – if it is in credit, then it must be refunded.
Suppliers will usually need a copy of the death certificate in order to refund money back to you.
If you're having trouble getting your refund, then contact the supplier.
If you're struggling to get anywhere, then you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman.
For example, if the account is in credit by more than £250, British Gas will need you to send a death certificate in in order to process the payment.
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