Patricia Pearl - Small Claims Procedure - A Practical Guide


An excellent guide for the layperson in how to use the County Court - a must if you are intending to start a claim.

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  1. #1
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    Default Held to ransom by Utilities Warehouse

    Hopefully I can get the answer here as when I Google it, I cannot get near an answer.

    A few years ago we had all our services with different providers. Our gas and electric with Scottish power, Telephone with BT and broadband with orangeicon. All were paid at differing times and we found that as all the people in our house have mobiles, we never really used the home phone.

    We were given a demonstration by a friend about the wonders of Utilities Warehouse. On the face of it we could save some money by combining all our services and going on their gold membership.

    Our first problem came from the broadband, with orangeicon we paid £5.99 a month and never had a problem. We never had fast speeds as we are so far from the exchange. But once we had UTW this dropped from 1meg to our current 100K. Basis services that the kids used such as BBC Iplayer became impossible.

    We never used the landline either so there was no change, where their combined phone and broadband package saved money, the cost of what little calls compared to BT’s meant the bill went up.

    Our gas and electric no different apart from having to ring in the readings every month compared to the quarterly bills.

    We received over a couple of week silent phone callsicon and asked UTW to change our number. They did this but even changed the area code, which caused no end of confusion as people thought we were giving out the wrong number to them.

    Anyway. As the broadband was so poor (just speed checked and was getting 125kps up and 50kps down) we thought £25 per month was not worth it. Orange have offered us a deal because all our mobiles are with them of home phone and internet for £7.99 a month, as saving of around £288 a year it made sense to change over. We contacted Orange to take up their offer only to be told that UTW had untagged our phone number which stopped other companies from transferring it. Orange said the only way we can could get around it was to cancel with UTW, get a BT line installed (remember we were with BT before we changed over to UTW), wait for the contract period to expire and then move over to them. All in, a process that could take over a year.

    UTW said that they do not have to allow our transfer out to another service provider as they own the line. This is something I cannot understand at all. We were with BT to start with, when we moved to UTW our number stayed the same. UTW have also said that our broadband would be cancelled too.
    Does anyone know enough to help out.

    What can I do without having to have BT install a new line (technically flipping a switch). How can Utilities Warehouse do this to customers? It have got our backs up so much we want to move all our services away from them. I am also disabled and stuck in the house (I know this has nothing to do with UTW), but losing service for even a few days would have an effect on my ability to communicate with the outside world.

    Any help or advice given would be appreciated.

    Thanks
    Jon


  2. #2
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    Default Re: Held to ransom by Utilities Warehouse

    Are you referring to the Utility Warehouse (H.O. based in London?).

    If so, I am a little confused with a couple of things you have mentioned.

    If you had a BT line and simply transferred to UW then you should be able to leave without a problem and return to BT. I presume you are on the Broadcall package so if you wanted to cancel the "calls" side then the Broadband would also be cancelled because it is "a package" (Broadband can be taken seperately).

    UW would own the line if you had specifically had a "Broadcall line" installed which I doubt as this is a new thing.

    I can't see why your area code would change, and I am sure UW wouldn't do this, I believe the numbers are actually issued by BT.

    You say orangeicon have offered "calls + B/Band" for £7.99pm but I am sure this does not take into account your BT line rental of about £12pm so the savings are probably nothing like you mentioned.

    If you took and used the UW discount card you would save around £25 - 35 pm so overall you would save more money with UW.

    Broadband speeds are as you already know, governed by the distance from the exchange, however, UW Broadcall customers get "upto 24Mb" and I believe around 60% of the country can get close to that with this number going up all the time.

    Anyway,if you want to leave UW, I would suggest you call them and ask if you are still on a LLU enabled BT line.

    Hope this helps.


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    Default Re: Held to ransom by Utilities Warehouse

    Seems this company is extremely dubious....would not touch them with 'your' barge pole, least of all mine!
    Did a few searches and it seems that they are fully aware that people know their fleecing the public and are a [problem], so much so they have even taken to fabricating websites telling everyone how Good they are! Pull the other one, morons..
    Utility Warehouse [problem] Telecom Plus UK

    And how they have been perceived in the press.
    Utility Warehouse under the spotlight | Money | The Guardian


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Held to ransom by Utilities Warehouse

    Theres LLU again.

    We need a thread on telecom techy speak I think xxx


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    Default Re: Held to ransom by Utilities Warehouse

    Local Loop Unbundling (LLU)
    The “Local Loop” is the fancy name for the copper wires that go from the exchange to your premises. These providers “unbundle” the copper and take them off BT and into their own network. The local loop is sometimes called the “last mile”.


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    Default Re: Held to ransom by Utilities Warehouse

    Quote Originally Posted by Bazooka Boo View Post
    Local Loop Unbundling (LLU)
    The “Local Loop” is the fancy name for the copper wires that go from the exchange to your premises. These providers “unbundle” the copper and take them off BT and into their own network. The local loop is sometimes called the “last mile”.
    Oh, thanks and said so clearly, I actually understand that


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Held to ransom by Utilities Warehouse

    "fleecing the public and are a [problem]"

    Hmm, lets see:

    A growing customers base.

    PLC of the year last year

    Top rated by various 3rd parties many times.


    Funny thing, I was talking to a friend of mine a few weeks back who has been a customer for about 5 yrs now, and he said his average monthly bill is around £68....that's for Broadband, Line rental, calls to UK landlines + 0845/0870 + 10 international destinations + gas & electricity, and he has a detached property, now he is a very "happy bunny."

    Th great thing is we all have the freedom of choice to go with whoever we want.



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    Default Re: Held to ransom by Utilities Warehouse

    Shing light, I cant understand how 68.00 would pay for all that and gas and electric especially in detached property. Are you sure your friend is giving readings every month?

    I am considered a low user with eon adn only pay them about 60.00 a month for gas and electric with meter readings every quater apart from the last one, so know my DDicon will increase next bill due to not for once sending reading in.

    I cant personally believe all of the above quote is included for 68.00 I am sorry I see your freind getting a suprising bill at some stage inline with what others have experienced. When I called them and gave readings of last years use it was no where near that ammount for the complete package. I again am a low user for utilites, see what I am getting at.

    Maybe your freind does not turn the gas on and likes candles?

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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Held to ransom by Utilities Warehouse

    I agree that £68 does not even cover the cost price of consumption. Probably their own way of misleading and [problem]ming customers into thinking they are the cheapest. As for Plc of the year, a fre companies liek Barclaysicon were probably up there also before people realised they were being taken for a ride.
    IMHO never ever bundle your utilities with any one supplier as you lose any argument before you have started.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Held to ransom by Utilities Warehouse

    Are you sure your friend is giving readings every month?
    Yep. I advise all my customers to do so and most do, he is one of them.

    His average bill is generally about £93 pm for everything except his mobile which is a payg with someone else, meaning his energy bill would be about £71 pm (it is a 2 bed bungalow not a large house which you may have assumed). On average, he gets a discount of £25pm using the discount card, sometimes a little less and sometimes a little more, hence an average bill of £68 pm.

    Probably their own way of misleading and [problem]ming customers into thinking they are the cheapest.
    Of course, as a customer he would do that wouldn't he??


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Held to ransom by Utilities Warehouse

    Quote Originally Posted by Surfer01 View Post
    I agree that £68 does not even cover the cost price of consumption. Probably their own way of misleading and [problem]ming customers into thinking they are the cheapest. As for Plc of the year, a fre companies liek Barclaysicon were probably up there also before people realised they were being taken for a ride.
    IMHO never ever bundle your utilities with any one supplier as you lose any argument before you have started.
    I agree to not bundling your utilities, if you fall out your stuck. I say again I do not believe the quote can be accurate and would laugh in the face of any rep selling such products, sorry. Remember the saying if its sounds too good to be true, it probably is.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Held to ransom by Utilities Warehouse

    I say again I do not believe the quote can be accurate and would laugh in the face of any rep selling such products,

    I say again, it is accurate and if you choose not to believe it then so be it, it isn't going to change the facts.

    You say you pay £60pm, so you could effectively be paying £35 - £40 pm...........but then you are presumably happy with who you are with which is just fine. Keep smiling.


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    Default Re: Held to ransom by Utilities Warehouse

    Quote Originally Posted by shining Light View Post
    I say again, it is accurate and if you choose not to believe it then so be it, it isn't going to change the facts.

    You say you pay £60pm, so you could effectively be paying £35 - £40 pm...........but then you are presumably happy with who you are with which is just fine. Keep smiling.
    If you think a three bedroom terraced house, with no insulation, council property, flat roof could get by on less than what I pay you really are worrying me about this company. I dont use hot water as shower heats cold, during summer the gas is hardly used. Neighbours near me who have their hot water on pay nearer one hundred a month or even more. This year was colder than last year and I have mega large fish tank with pump etc....so I suspect my costs will increase by ten or twenty quid, but 35-40 paying a month practically impossible.


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    Default Re: Held to ransom by Utilities Warehouse

    UW do NOT and have NEVER had an electric supplier's licence and act as a middleman or in other words they add theri bit on before selling it onto the customer. They try to give you the impression that they buy direct on the wholesale market, but they don't they buy from another supplier.


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Held to ransom by Utilities Warehouse

    If you think a three bedroom terraced house, with no insulation, council property, flat roof could get by on less than what I pay you really are worrying me about this company. I dont use hot water as shower heats cold, during summer the gas is hardly used. Neighbours near me who have their hot water on pay nearer one hundred a month or even more. This year was colder than last year and I have mega large fish tank with pump etc....so I suspect my costs will increase by ten or twenty quid, but 35-40 paying a month practically impossible.
    I didn't say you could get by on less, I don't know your circumstances and whether you are in debit or credit?? The point I was making is that whatever you are paying you could be reducing it by £20 -30pm.

    My friend/customer does this and reduces his £71pm bill by an average of £25pm, but like I said, he has a 2 bedroom bungalow and he does have insulation etc and he doesn't have a flat roof.


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    Default Re: Held to ransom by Utilities Warehouse

    Quote Originally Posted by shining Light View Post
    "fleecing the public and are a [problem]"
    Hmm, lets see:
    A growing customers base.
    PLC of the year last year
    Top rated by various 3rd parties many times.
    Yes that is what I said SL, thank you for highlighting it, and in red of all colours too! How original...


  17. #17
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    Default Re: Held to ransom by Utilities Warehouse

    Yes that is what I said SL, thank you for highlighting it, and in red of all colours too! How original...
    If you have nothing interesting to say, just throw in some sarcasm


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Held to ransom by Utilities Warehouse

    Hi Jon - I sympathise with your dilemma. We had some challenges when first signing over to UTW (like a £2000+ gas bill) but they did sort it by phone - fast. I suggest getting in touch via phone and going right to the top to resolve your query, as they like to keep their customer reputation.

    We only use UTW for gas and elec simply because of their price promise/guarantee. We all know that no matter who your current supplier, there will always be a cheaper deal out there - often short-lived. For that reason I swapped around 4 times in one year and not once did any of my 'new' utilities providers keep to their initial 'competitive' rates for longer than a few weeks.

    I know UTW are not the cheapest for utilities but at least they're competitive and I don't get letters every 6 weeks notifying me of an 'unexpected' price rise as we only have our bill amended up or down once a year. One less thing to worry about.

    As for phone, I have a separate mobile and home phone broadband package like you. Our home phone package is with orangeicon and includes line rental, a free Livebox with second line and number (still with our local area code), unlimited daytime, evening, weekend and international calls (which includes 2 overseas countries not covered by BT or euphony or Talk Talk, vodafoneicon etc.) plus free evening and weekend calls to our regular land line and all this for £15 a month including VAT. Plus you can make outgoing/incoming calls at the same time on both phones without issue - great if a family member has a touch of the verbals!

    I hasten to add I am not associated in any way with orangeicon or UTW but have found both to offer good value and are one less thing to worry about with all those deals being thrown at us endlessly. Hope this helps. Good luck.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Held to ransom by Utilities Warehouse

    I am not in debit or credit to my supplier, I usually email the reading in or use the site, get the bill and the ammount I pay divided by the next three months. If spend more another quater the same again but slightly higher DDicon ammount. My bills are still low but I know utility warehouse could not do me any cheaper, I rang them and got a quote.

    I still feel it a risky process to link all utilities for fear of falling fowl of the one company as in dispute of some kind as people seem to find it hard to get resolution.

    The only discounts I see are if you link all utilities and its not worth the risk I feel.


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    Default Re: Held to ransom by Utilities Warehouse

    Quote Originally Posted by shining Light View Post

    Funny thing, I was talking to a friend of mine a few weeks back who has been a customer for about 5 yrs now, and he said his average monthly bill is around £68....that's for Broadband, Line rental, calls to UK landlines + 0845/0870 + 10 international destinations + gas & electricity, and he has a detached property, now he is a very "happy bunny."

    Th great thing is we all have the freedom of choice to go with whoever we want.
    I've seen and read some [naughty word] in my time but that's the biggest load of them all.

    Robert and Kella Pitts from Llanharry, Rhondda Cynon Taff, switched to the Utility Warehouse in the summer of 2008.

    "Our friends had recommended them and claimed they would be cheaper, we just thought it's worth looking at," explained Kella Pitts.

    Everything went smoothly to begin with, but in October last year the Pitts received a gas bill for almost £3,000.
    'Massive shock'
    The Pitts say they didn't read their paper bills closely, but they regularly checked their account online. They assumed that 'telephone' and 'energy' charges covered gas, electricity and phone callsicon.
    "It was a massive shock," said Kella.
    "A bill for £3,000 was four times what we'd ever used since we've lived in the house," explained Robert. "And what compounded the matter as well, during the previous 18 months we'd had double glazing and loft insulation fitted."
    Convinced that their bill was too high, the Pitts rang Utility Warehouse, who admitted that there had been a mistake.
    First the firm told Robert they hadn't charged for gas up to that point because their records showed the property had a prepayment meter. But then they discovered their records were wrong - that meter had been removed five years earlier.

    The company also said that the Pitts' bill had been calculated using imperial units - when in fact their gas old meter had been replaced with a metric one.
    Utility Warehouse sent out a new gas bill for the year - this time for £1,500. But the Pitts felt this also was too high.
    "We just didn't believe that we could have used that amount purely on gas when our bill's always £700 a year," said Kella.
    After their experiences the Pitts tried to leave the Utility Warehouse but say they were told they must stay put until their bill is resolved.
    'The last thing I needed'
    Meanwhile in Port Talbot, Nicola Leyshon and her husband Daniel switched to the
    Utility Warehouse after being tempted by the company's promises of one simple monthly bill. But they, too, ran into problems.
    Despite sending off regular meter readings, Nicola's bills showed that she was hardly using any gas at all. She queried it with Utility Warehouse, who reassured her and even gave her a £508 refund.
    Then in November she received a gas bill for over £1,000.
    "I was very shocked," said Nicola. "I really didn't expect it just before Christmas. It was the last thing I needed."
    Unable to pay the bill, Nicola phoned Utility Warehouse to try to arrange a repayment planicon - but then received another invoice to say that the £1,000 debt would come out of her bank account by direct debiticon on the agreed date.
    As she struggled to find the extra money over the Christmas period, Nicola's landline and broadband were disconnected.
    "I've actually had to have time off work because of the stress that it's caused," she said.
    Nicola's gas and electricity bills have now risen to more than £1,500 - and Utility Warehouse has applied for a court order to enter the property to install a prepayment meter.
    And there are 2 million more like that if you look on google.

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