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  1. Tried to make purchase through their website using a gift card last week. It said there was an error processing payment (no further explanation). So I tried a different gift card, and it did the same with that one. Now I've checked the balances on the gift cards, and argos have debited both of them by the value of the item I was trying to buy (one of). Nor order confirmation text or email, not showing on my account anywhere, so by their records it appears the order never went through despite them taking the money twice. And now it seems there is no way to contact Argos to try and resolve the matter - their online chat is just a bot that ends the converastion without being any use at all. And their customer services phone number hangs up if you don't have an order number to give it. Where the hell do you address complaints to this catastrophe of a company??
  2. I was registered as self employed between 2011 and 2017. This was a small sideline along side my main PAYE income (so my NI contributions are already made up for the years in question), and me SE profit was generally about £1500 per year (highest was about £2500). Now I've just had a letter from HMRC demanding Class 2 NIC for 2011 to 2015. Don't know why they've only just written to me about it, first I've heard from them on this subject since 2011. I was always under the impression that as my income was below the small earnings exception, I was exempt from having to pay class 2 NIC? I seem to recall dealing with this matter back in 2011, and I'm pretty sure I sent them a CF10 form back then (although I didn't keep a copy of that myself). Should I just write to them stating that I believe I was exempt due to earnings below the threshold? Obviously this is reflected in my SA tax returns. Are they likely to just accept that? It seems odd that if they think I should have been paying class 2 NICS for all these years, why haven't they chased it before now?
  3. I thought this was all sorted out months ago - in Feb I had a letter from Spark acknowledging the error, and saying that GB had accepted my account. Spoke to GB who agreed, and said it would show up on my account within a week. And it did, was all there showing as normal when I logged in. Then it disappeared again, and I was only getting bills from GB for the gas. Spoke to GB again and they said, 'no it isn't resolved yet (it bloody well was!), and it will take 12 weeks. Today I get a 'sorry you're leaving' letter from Spark, and them reminding me to provide a meter reading to my new supplier, apparently my switch took place 11 days ago! My GB account also shows an 'opening reading' for that date. I'm guessing I'll be getting a bill from Spark for the interim period. Spoke to GB again today, who said they are still sorting it out internally. To be fair to Spark, they appear to have done everything right to resolve the situation, it seems like GB have got themselves in a real mess over reversing the erroneous switch.
  4. I have 3 children (3,5, and 7 y/o) with my ex partner, and we share care for them (they stay with me about 3 days/nights per week). Until now, we'd agreed to split the child tax credit, so I claim for one child (the youngest), and she claims for the other two. Now she's saying that doesn't work for her any more, and she needs to claim the tax credits for all three. Does the new legislation allow her to add our third child onto her existing claim, or will she come up against the 2 child limit? From what I've read, it applies to children born after 6th April this year, or to any new claims for tax credits. But it isn't a completely new claim in her case, so not sure if that makes it ok?
  5. And now I have a council tax rebate, since they too think that I vacated on the 14th January. All this is happening two months after we completed and thus when my tenancy terminated.
  6. According to a couple of websites I've looked at, the switching process has been speeded up to now take 17 days (14 days cooling off period, and 3 days to actually perform the switch). I'm not sure of the mechanics of the process, but it's possible that the new supplier (Spark in this case), doesn't have to contact the old supplier to inform them of the switch until the 14 cooling off period has passed. with Countrywide requesting the switch on a vacated property, rather than an actual consumer, it could be that Spark just cut to the chase and the skip the cooling off period. I've spoken to GB by telephone several times in the last few weeks for other reasons regarding my account (fallout from them collapsing and being taken over by Co op), at no point did they mention an impending switch away showing on my account. During our conversations they were well aware that I wanted to stay with them, I should think they'd have mentioned it if the switch request was visible on their systems at that time? Even when I phoned up after receiving the Spark letter, their advisor was a bit miffed by what I was telling him, at first it appeared to him that my supplies were still live through them, he was quite shocked when he dug a little deeper into their system and found that my electricity supply had already gone. Maybe it's the normal way their internal computer systems work, or maybe the switch really did go through in 3 days, and it threw their systems somewhat? The other consideration is that I obviously didn't go through Countrywide's standard check out process (end of tenancy inspections etc), I certainly didn't provide any meter readings to them, which I believe is normally what happens with this Countrywide/Spark tie up. they have absolutely no excuse for what they've done. I wonder what's next - a council tax rebate, my telephone & broadband cut off? Anything else they could do?
  7. It gets better - today I've received a letter from the water board telling me that I've got a £50 credit. Looks like Countrywide have told them I've moved out as well. But curiously, they have my vacating date as 15th January (two months after my tenancy has ended). I wonder if they told Spark to take over my gas and electric on the 15th January as well? Would explain why the first letter I received from them was dated 16th Jan, but not sure how they could have commenced my electricity supply from that date - I thought the switching process was supposed to take weeks? I'm going to make Countrywide sort out the water, I'm guessing that's less critical, as there's no change of supplier or tariff involved.
  8. I received a letter from Spark Energy yesterday, addressed to 'The Occupier', welcoming me to them as my new supplier. Goes on to say that "As instructed by your letting agent on your behalf, we've been appointed as the gas and electricity supplier to your property". But I don't have a letting agent/landlord, I own the property! I was the tenant, but I bought it from the landlord two months ago. My landlord used a local letting agency, and during our tenancy they've been taken over by Countrywide. It's obvious what has happened - Countrywide have an agreement with Spark to refer as many tenanted properties to them as possible, they are clearly getting kickbacks/commission from doing so. When they processed my tenancy agreement they have done the (allegedy automated) process of requesting Spark to take over the gas and electricity supplies. But they should never have done this, they had no right to. My tenancy ended on the day my purchase of the property completed. They were no longer acting for the landlord, since there was no longer a landlord. This is the first I've heard about any change to my supplier, and the electricity changed over to them 4 days ago, gas due to next week! If they'd contacted my (or 'the occupier') beforehand, I could have told them to do one and stopped this from happening. Obviously it's Countrywide that's initiated this mess, but I find it shocking that Spark are just blindly taking instructions from Countrywide to acquire supplies without bothering to attempt to make contact with the occupier until after the switch has been completed. Is this allowed, seems like sharp practise to me? I phoned Spark first of all, who confirmed that it was Countrywide behind it. I told them they had no right to perform a switch without my consent, and Countrywide had no authority to request it. I asked them to reverse the switch immediately and put me back with my previous supplier. Initially I was told they couldn't do that, and I should go through the normal switching process again to change back! Told them that wasn't good enough - I've not entered contract with Spark, it'll take weeks to switch back, I'll be on an uncompetitive tariff with Spark in the meantime. And the (exceptionally good) tariff I was on with my previous supplier is no longer available to new customers. After a bit or denial and erring, they finally accepted that they could attempt to reverse the switch under the erroneous transfer correction procedure, which I instructed them to do asap. Although they said that it was conditional on my previous supplier agreeing to reinstate my contract with them. I then spoke to my existing supplier (GB Energy), who were very helpful. They immediately understood the problem and said that they could also initiate the erroneous switch reversal from their side, and it would probably be quicker. So hopefully it will get resolved and I'll be put back to where I was with GB Energy before this fiasco. But it sounds like it could take a while to resolve. I then called my old letting agent to bring the problem to their attention and get them to escalate it within Countrywide (in the hope of them improving their procedures if nothing else). Letting agent was very blase about it, "just standard practice, nothing we can do, no point in me even raising it". They used to be a really good local letting agent, always had a good relationship with them in the past. Then Countrywide took them over, the staff are the same, but the service has turned to rubbish. So, who has done this, is it just Countrywide, or are Spark partly to blame accepting an unauthorised switch? I guess the regulator can't touch Countrywide? Even if I get put back to where I was, I'm not happy that this mess has ever been allowed to occur, and I intend to kick up as much stink as possible.
  9. Not heard a thing about this, I chased Spark today. The have the final meter readings that were provided electronically from my new supplier. But the gas reading is wrong. Not a bit wrong, but by about 5 years worth of gas usage! Spark are adamant that is the reading that came across through the system from GB Energy. I've also spoken to GB Energy and they are insistent that the reading I provided is the one they sent to Spark (it's also the one they've used on my first bill as the initial reading). Spark agree that the reading they've got can't possibly be right (it's a 3 digit number, so it doesn't even look like a proper reading, and would mean my meter would have had to have rolled all the way over). But they both say the only way to resolve it is through the dispute process, where I give one reading now, and another in a weeks time, then the two of them get together and decide whether to agree on it. But that takes up to 30 days from getting the second reading. Meanwhile, Spark are sitting on hundreds of pounds of overpayments.
  10. I recently switched gas and electricity (together, dual fuel) suppliers. The switch completed a couple of weeks ago, on 13th May. I was on a fixed monthly DD tariff with my previous supplier, and my account had built up to be significantly in credit (should be over £400 after my final bill, going by my calculations). I provided meter readings to the new supplier on the switch over day, and I was told (by at least one of the suppliers) that the new supplier would forward these on to the old one, in order for the final bill to be raised. My online account with my previous supplier isn't showing any updates yet, I contacted them to be told that it takes up to 28 days from the switch to produce the final bill, and I'll be refunded sometime after that. Is this normal? Sounds like there's nothing I can do to speed it up. I did raise the issue of the relatively large credit on my account with the supplier some time ago, but they gave some waffle about how it could be wiped out by my next bill, even though my usage history didn't suggest that at all.
  11. Post number 10 above is the latest - they've issued my a Notice of Default. I tried to defer just over two years ago, and haven't been in contact with them since then. I realise I should have done, but couldn't face dealing with another sequence of being ignored and resent their forms. Is it too late to try an recommence deferment now they've issued the default notice? Do I need to handle it some other way? I can provide evidence of my income over the last two years if they'd consider a retrospective deferment, but I'm sure that's wishful thinking!
  12. I have old style student loans from the late 90's. I've always been under the income threshold and deferred every year without issue. Then Erudio came along. At first (about two years ago) they kept sending me their deferment forms, and I kept writing back refusing to complete and sign their form, but provided all the information they should have needed (payslips, P60, tax credits notifications, even part of my tax return). I got the occasional stroppy letter from them, but as far as I was concerned, I had deferred. I don't think I've been sent any further requests to defer, and I've ignored all their correspondence since (probably a mistake). I've always asked them to keep everything in writing and not to call, but they keep phoning my parent's landline (the only phone number they have on record for me) and hassling them. Now I've been sent a Notice of Default, and they are asking me to pay £4000 immediately. I've not kept myself up to date with what's been going on with Erudio for some time, so I don't know what the current state of play is? I'm perfectly entitled to defer, my income is nowhere close to the threshold, so it should be a clear cut case to defer. What should I do now? I t's obviously years away from becoming statue barred, so continuing to ignore is not an option. I have a perfectly clean credit file, and I'm about to apply for a mortgage, so I really need to keep it that way. I notice they have an online deferment application system now, should I sign up and go through that? Or should I write another letter? Contest their Notice of Default? Request to defer again? Dare I speak to them on the phone, or is that a waste of time?
  13. I run a small limited company, and in the past we've referred our clients onto another (much larger, huge international) company who supply products and services that accompany our own. Way back in 2011 we requested some loan/demo equipment from them to exhibit at a trade show. The other day I got a letter from them saying that the loan was for a period of 1 month, and they are going to charge me a daily penalty rate for the period since (over 5 years!), unless I can prove that it was returned. The letter states (potentially misleadingly) that the value of the equipment is £1000, but it doesn't mention their 'penalty' charge rates . I don't even know exactly what their standard hire charge for the equipment is, but at a guess even that could work out at £4000 over 5 years. Looking back at my records, I did sign their loan agreement, and it does mention the duration was one month (although I don't recall this being stipulated during our telephone conversations prior). It also mentions that late return may incur penalty charges at their daily rate. I also wrote to them a couple of days later to cancel, before any equipment was delivered to us. Now, I've looked around and I can't find the equipment here, so I don't know if we ever received it, or if we did and then returned it. And if we did return it, I'm not going to be able to prove it - whatever delivery service we used (probably Royal Mail) isn't going to be able to supply proof of delivery for such a long time ago. Does it seem acceptable/reasonable that they haven't mentioned anything about this for 5 years (after supposedly lending the equipment for just one month)? No requests for it's return, or advising that we are incurring 'penalty' charges. Even now, they still aren't saying how much they think we owe. It just seems like a fishing trip to get me to offer to return it now, which would presumably give them a case to charge us £1000's. Where could they go with this next? If they go the legal route (small claims?), would they have a realistic prospect, given that they've sat on it in silence for 5 years? Presumably statute of limitations would stop them after 6 years?
  14. That article (from 2013) says that the banks don't know who the retracted cash belongs to, so they can't automatically refund it. But that directly contradicts this one (2012): http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/news/banking/2012/12/hundreds-of-thousands-in-line-for-atm-refund, and others, that state that most banks (inlcuding Barclays)automatically credit customers for retracted cash. It also says that RBS were going back to 2005 to reimburse people who left cash at the machine , so they must have historical records of who's cash it was. From what I've now read, it seems most ATMs retract the cash after about 30 seconds, certainly within a minute. So there's a good chance that mine went back into the machine.
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