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Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh told off by Shell Energy for swearing in ‘f****** joke’ Twitter row over fuel bill

The Scots writer was ordered to ‘refrain from swearing’ by Shell energy when he complained about their service as he struggled to settle an outstanding bill online.

By Stuart Macdonald: 09:47, 21 JAN 2020

Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh has blasted his energy company after they warned him about swearing online in a dispute over a bill.

The writer had complained on Twitter that he was struggling to settle the debt because provider Shell Energy had not sent him the correct details.

He said he had been waiting five hours for the necessary information and described the situation as a “f***ing joke”.

A staff member from the firm then got in touch with him on the social media platform to try to resolve the matter and asked him to “refrain from swearing”.

The Edinburgh-born author insisted he would use what language he liked and said it was nothing to do with the company.

In his original tweet, Welsh, 61, said: “I have to say that @ShellEnergyHome are utterly useless. I’m trying to pay a bill and they haven’t sent me the details they said they would within half an hour, five hours ago. What a f***ing joke.”

A customer service adviser from Shell called Sara replied: “Hi Irvine. I’m sorry to hear this! I know you’re frustrated but please refrain from swearing on here. You can make a payment online using your online account or by phone using a credit or debit card.

“We also accept payment via a bank transfer or cheque – please make sure you use your Shell Energy Account number as the reference so we can quickly apply the payment to your account.”

The incensed writer replied: “No I can’t. Because while I have an account number your system won’t let me put my details onto it despite me forwarding them to your (human) assistant and them assuring me that I would receive a password within 30 mins.

“And I’ll use the language I f***ing well see fit on Twitter -which is not the business of Shell or any of its employees. Thank you Sara.”

Followers of Welsh on Twitter told of their amusement at the exchange.

Northern Boy tweeted: “She’s obviously not read Trainspotting or any of your books.”

Lydia Hardy posted: “U tell em! Freedom of speech! Swear if u like… when u like and how u like!”

One other follower added: “Like asking Monet not to use a paintbrush, that.”

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