Just days after it announced plans to charge customers for being slow in paying their bills, British Gas has itself been fined for leaving customers waiting on the phone.

British Gas has been fined GBP5,000 by ICSTIS, the premium rate services regulator, for keeping customers who call up regarding its Click Energy tariff on hold for long periods on a premium telephone line.

The fine has been handed out after a customer complained about being put on hold on a phone line that charged 75p per minute. In addition to the financial reprimand, British Gas has been ordered to reimburse customers who where kept on hold when using the service.

Phone line provider Cable and Wireless has also been criticized for failing to make British Gas aware of its responsibilities around the code of practice on premium rate telephone services. The energy firm failed to inform customers of the cost of the phone service they were using.