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Everything posted by billy_79

  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.
  15. Earlier today I withdrew some cash from an ATM outside Asda. Except, being a complete numpty, I forgot to actually take the cash! Realised when I got home and phoned the supermarket. No one has handed in the cash to the supermarket. Security bloke was very helpful, I gave him a description of myself and he reviewed the CCTV. He confirmed that I only took my card from the machine, and not any cash, and also that no one else used the machine for a good few minutes. The next person that tried to use it appeared to have some trouble with said machine and then went to the neighbouring one instead. He burned the footage to dvd, so there is a permanent copy of it. I have heard that if you don't take the cash promptly, then the machine sucks it back in? Apparently Asda's ATMs are actually operated by Barclays (who I bank with),. Does anyone know how long Barclays' ATMs wait before sucking the cash back in? I'm praying that's what has happened to me, otherwise, someone else took it, in which case my only hope is to report it to the police. I've checked my online banking and the debit is showing already, but no sign of any credit. I guess that would be either be an on my request thing, or a manual process by the bank anyway? I plan to contact them tomorrow.
  16. There must be somewhere (online preferably), that I can find out the formula and criteria for the tax credits calculations - working, child, child care? We call the tax credits help line, give all our details, and they just seem to enter it into a computer which spits out the result. They can't (or won't?) give us any clue as to what effect a change in circumstances will have, just tell us to wait for a letter. It's obviously quite a complex calculation, but I can't seem to find any real detail on it, either it's a secret or I'm useless at searching! Does anyone have a link to the information?
  17. I did try to complain in writing (by email at least), but they don't publicise an email address. I ended up using a contact form on their web site, from which they phoned me. Went through all the usual nonsense of running a tap to try and clear it, explained that it's been like it for years. They have offered to flush the main through, and when I said that only cured it for a few days last time, they said they can schedule a regular flushing of the main weekly or monthly! Talk about wasting water! Later on I got a second phone call from them, not sure why, but it was a similar discussion. She said an engineer would come out next week to flush the main through. Also, noted that we haven't reported a problem since 2009. That's because we've just put up with the same issue for so long, we gave up calling them. Apparently we need to call up every time it happens now, so that'll be every other day then! One theory it is because we are near the end of the main, and not enough water goes through to keep it clear. But the biggest problem is that we have ancient iron water mains coming down the road - they are rusty and falling apart, we get a water leak in the road every couple of months. Whenever I speak to the water board men working on it they admit that the whole road needs re piping (not sure if they can sleeve it like they can with gas pipelines), but that would cost money.
  18. We've had trouble with discoloured tap water ever since we moved into this house, I think the neighbours get it too, not sure if it's as bad for them though. We've reported it to the water board several times, but they just say it's normal and acceptable to get slight discolouration from time to time - just a bit of sediment/rust in the pipes apparently. We asked them to fit a filter, but they said they wouldn't do that. Sometimes it's clearer than others, but today it's about as bad as it gets, so I took some pictures and filled a small bottle with a sample, intending to send it off to them. This is what a couple of inches of water in our (white) bath tub looks like: [ATTACH=CONFIG]53325[/ATTACH] Am I expecting too much, is it reasonable to get tap water this colour? My kids drink this stuff, and I'd like to be sure it isn't affecting their health!
  19. Mail sent to Lee, Ref no 7925480. Also, previous case numbers for this ongoing issue that might be useful to you: 7137935, 7314534, 7317195, 7512400.
  20. I have a business account (not sure if that affects things) with Vodafone, monthly rolling contract paid by monthly DD. In May I ordered some new PAYG handsets from via their web shop. I paid for the order by VISA business debit card, phones arrived, everything good (except that they hadn't provided a VAT receipt that I required, but I've since managed to extract that from them). However, my next monthly direct debit payment also included the cost of the handsets, and then I found it shown as an outstanding amount on my latest bill. I phoned them and explained the situation, they said they couldn't find a record of the debit card payment (but admitted it was not possible to order on the website without cleared payment), and that it must have gone into one of their 'other' bank accounts. I was advised to request a DD indemnity claim to recover the payment back into my bank account, which is what I did. Then I start getting letters from Vodafone about being in arrears, I have discussed this with them dozens of times by telephone and email (even emailing the CEO, fat lot of help that did). All they say is that they have no record of the payment and that I have to provide proof by sending them a copy of my bank statement. I've sent it to them 3 times, but they say that they haven't received it. They blocked my numbers from outgoing calls last month, and I kicked off at them, they agreed to unblock them while they investigated (it'll take 10 days to locate the payment apparently), but I never heard back from them. I got in touch to request an update and they just requested my bank statement again. Today I found that my numbers had been totally disconnected (number not in use). I phoned them (from another number), and it took them 30 minutes to even locate my account as it had been closed down! Their best suggestion was that I take my bank statement into a Vodafone shop and they could phone customer services to confirm that I had paid in the first place. My nearest Vodafone shop is a good hours drive away though. In the end I've had to pay them (over the phone) again to get my account reactivated, my business is totally dependent on these numbers. I have now contacted my bank to request a charge back on the original payment, and I'm waiting for their response (Vodafone recommended all along that I didn't do this, but to wait for them to locate the payment instead). Is a chargeback request likely to get me anywhere? Firstly, there appears to be 120 day limit, and the transaction is 126 days ago, but it's less time since I first found out about the problem. Do charge backs work the same with business debit cards as consumers? A charge back will require Vodafone's agreement, although since they say they can't find the transaction, I don't see how they can disagree! This has cost me hours (probably days) of my time chasing, I've been disconnected twice, and lost my primary business comms, no idea if I've missed/lost orders because of it, but potentially. Now they want me to spend half a day visiting one of their shops to resolve their cock up. I issued them a notice before action on 29th July, can I just start a small claim against them now? Not sure what that would mean for my account with them. I would switch to another provider, but O2 are the only other one with decent coverage round here. I used to be with them, but they kept having outages on their local cell tower (up to 10 days at a time), which they never admitted was a fault or resolved.
  21. You don't have to use/sign Erudio's form, there's nothing to stop people replying with their own letter. As long as you give enough evidence they can't really decline your deferral request (although reports are that they are writing back saying you must use the form). You definitely don't have to agree to any changes of t&c, like the CRA reporting they are trying to sneak in. I've sent a letter with evidence (sufficent as far as I can tell), but am expecting them to ask for their form and more evidence. All their responses so far seem to suggest that they are being very stringent and want every angle covered to prove deferral eligibility. This obviously suits them, as in the meantime they will start taking payments - brace yourselves for that if you have a DD in place. I've also read elsewhere that they have a 46 week backlog! If accurate (it could have been '4 to 6 weeks', misheard), then it'll be months before most of us get any sort of reply. At present it's taking them several weeks just to reply to emails, so the signs aren't good.
  22. Brig is spot on with this. Further, advising people to treat it as just another DCA scenario is wrong and irresponsible. There is a clause in the original SLC T&C that states: "We shall have the right to assign or transfer all or any of our rights and duties under this agreement to any person without your consent". Also, if you took out your first loan in 1997 or earlier, all further loans (assuming you stayed on the same course), are the old mortgage style ones. My last loan was in 2001, and it is definitely still the old type. From 98 onwards tuition fees came in for new students, and the new loan scheme was altered to take this into consideration (mainly you could borrow a lot more, but also that repayments are made by your employers, like tax and NI deductions). The other difference is with the t&c of mortgage style loans before/after 97. Early ones don't specifically say they can inform CRAs, 98 and onwards they do state that they can if you break the t&c: "if you have broken this agreement, to licensed credit reference agencies".
  23. Something I'm trying to work out here - is it totally accurate that Erudio are operating as 'just another DCA'? They are not chasing debts on behalf of the original creditor, they have bought the entire loan account, so does that not mean they take on the role of the original creditor? For example, if I took out a loan with Barclays, and later on they sold their personal loans division to HSBC - do I become an HSBC customer with the original t&c passing on, or is HSBC now a DCA as they are taking the repayments on the loan? Is there no way in law that one company cannot sell a loan book to another company without it being the same as handing a debt over to a 3rd party (DCA) to pursue? I'm still not sure the best approach is to treat this as a regular DCA scenario (even though that's clearly what Erudio's background is).
  24. I've done a bit (quite a lot) more reading on here and other sites, and my original loan agreements and terms. Now I see what people are saying about them trying to sneak in a change of t&c - by notifying CRAs about loans that are in deferment. Not happy about that. It seems that I can either go all in or all out with this - either I play totally by the rules and continue to try and defer (I'm fully eligible to). Otherwise any minor infraction - cancelling DD, or even getting even slightly behind with (their perceived) repayments, could allow them to ask for full, immediate repayment of the loan, and jeopardise it being written off (which would happen in 12 years from now). My intention at the moment is to play safe (ish), and send my request to defer as a letter, and include the evidence that is actually required (at this stage - they can always come back and ask for more, if they are specific in what they want). I will also make it clear that I specifically do not agree to the t&c changes set out on their standard deferment form. The only risk I can see is that they try and throw it back at me, and insist that I complete their form, which they have no legal basis to do. Or that while they are waiting for the extra 'evidence' the reinstate my repayments, which would be a major pain. I suppose I could use their form and cross out any changes to t&c that I am not accepting. Then they have no argument to say that the deferment was delayed due to not using the right form. another thing that seems to be missing (and I might have overlooked it), is a deadline for replying with a deferment application. They state that my current deferment expires on xx/05-2014, but not when they need the paperwork by in order to continue deferment. I don't have any copies of the loan agreements signed by me (there isn't even a place where the signatures should be on my copies), and I'm pretty religious with paperwork, so I doubt that I've discarded them. Is this where I need to do a SAR (to SLC, being the original lender), to get copies of this kind of stuff?
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