DAVID Davies MP has called on British Gas to be “far more transparent” about what customers get if they take out an annual servicing contract.

Mr Davies was contacted by a Monmouth resident who had been paying more than £400 a year for a British Gas HomeCare plan, only to discover, when her boiler kept breaking down, that it had not been cleaned internally for several years.

Retired nurse Mollie Champion, 78, was surprised to learn the annual service she was paying for didn't include any internal inspection of her boiler.

Mrs Champion said: “I was appalled and become even angrier when I contacted the British Gas area service manager to complain.

“I thought I had been paying for a full and proper service but he told me it was not British Gas policy to remove the cover of boilers and clean inside, which completely shocked me.”

After Mr Davies took up Mrs Champion's case, British Gas told him the firm's annual services used specialist equipment to test the safety of a boiler's emissions, allowing engineers to inspect a boiler "without completing a more intrusive check".

But Mr Davies said this external inspection fell short of the thoroughness customers would expect when they pay for their boiler to be serviced.

“Many people are naturally under the impression that for several hundred pounds a year a service means that some basic level of maintenance is being carried out," Mr Davies said.

“In fact it is little more than a quick glance to ensure the boiler is not emitting anything.

“Charging large sums of money for what is essentially an emissions check is outrageous."

When Mr Davies' office contacted consumer advice firm Which?, a spokesman said: "We would absolutely expect that during a service the boiler case should be removed and any obvious dirt and debris inside would be cleaned."

Mr Davies said he had referred the matter to Ofgem.

“Customers should look at the small print of any maintenance contract,” Mr Davies said. “British Gas need to be far more transparent about what you actually get for your money if you have an annual serving contract."

A spokeswoman for Centrica, British Gas' parent firm, said: “British Gas offers a range of HomeCare products which offer customers peace of mind and help to avoid the unexpected costs of breakdowns. We’re sorry that Ms Champion’s experience was not what she expected on her first visit. We are in contact with the customer’s local MP to discuss a goodwill gesture in recognition of the fact that she did not expect to have two visits so close together.”