I’m really hoping you can give me some good advice regarding some issues I’ve had with eon.
It’s a bit of a long story so I shall start from the beginning so you can fully understand the issues and advise if possible.
I have for many years now paid eon via DD then back last year I received a bill to say I owed a few £ (not much just over £100) at this point I realised my DD payments were not enough to cover my usage (I put this down to price rises and maybe a small increase in consumption) so I contacted e on to request they up my DD so it does cover my usage.
Now this is where my problems started, they refused to increase the direct debit at the amount I could pay (I offered to double the payments so I could pay off the debt of just over £100 and ensure I cover usage) they said they would only accept £500 which was downright ridiculous as I am a single parent on benefits and do not even receive that much money per month and I made them aware of this (besides why did they want all that when I didn’t owe that much). Anyway after many many weeks of making phone calls (poor mums phone bill) to get the DD increased (but not to £500) I gave up, (I know I shouldn’t have ) basically I was told it can be left as it is or changed to no less than £500 and as that was impossible for me to pay I could not agree to it. Now please don’t think I tried half heartedly I really did try my best but it was like banging my head against the wall. They also told me as soon as I provided another meter reading they were going to up the DD to £500 and that I could not prevent it, said that they controlled the DD rate and ‘there is nothing I can do about it’. So I felt I could not provide them with a reading as I knew there was no way I could pay £500 pm.
Then a few months ago a debt collector from eon called at the house about the debt I owed (via estimated readings) saying I owed over £2000. I refused to let him in (as I think I waver some rights with regard to future entry if I had done) I told him of the situation and he didn’t believe me so I made him call the manager while here so I could speak to them (made him use his phone too lol ) after over 3 hours on the phone to various managers etc with the debt collector at my door they admitted I offered to increase my DD and also admitted they should not have refused my offer (manager said it seems more than reasonable at the time) and neither should they have asked for £500 as this was clearly too much for the debt owed and usage and was unreasonable. The debt collector left apologising and trying to excuse his aggressive behaviour (to which I told him was ott and not excusable).
I then had to battle to get a decent payment plan set up. They threatened court action and I said bring it on I am happy to take my case to the courts (had date and time logs of many of the original calls etc) so then they said they would force me to have pre payment meters (I truly loath those things and everything they stand for) and I told them I would fight them in this instance to and if necessary go to the press with my story. Anyway very long story cut short, eventually they agreed a payment plan that would allow the debt to be repaid over 2 years instead of one at a rate that is very difficult for me to pay but It can be done (lord if this belt gets any tighter im gonna turn blue). My argument for that was this debt would never be there now if the DD had been increased at my request the first time I asked (in fact if they had taken it, it works out my account would be in credit now!!!) and therefore they hold a certain amount of responsibility for me being in this situation. The true debt was worked out and was well over £1000 less than their estimates. This was all agreed at the end of oct and the first payment was taken at the new amount mid nov. They offered £150 and grovelling apologies as compensation due to the issues above which I accepted. Moneys have been taken off my debt. At this point I agreed to let them into the property to take meter readings (had to provide readings to get the payment plan set up but this was for them to read the meter themselves and check for safety) an appointment was made for the meter reader to call towards the end of nov but unfortunately my father (long term disabled, has heart problems and suffers bronchitis a lot in winter) needed to go to the hospital on the day the appointment was made so I phoned eon to re arrange for the 15th of dec which they agreed to (bear in mind they had readings end of oct).
Monday morning I get a knock at the door from 3 big men from eon (one of which was the debt collector that had called previously) I didn’t answer the door at first (my first thought was ohh no what have they gone and messed up now?) ran to pc and checked to ensure payment at new agreed rate had been paid and it had. The next thing I know they are taking a drill to my door to force entry at which point I confronted them. They produced a warrant for entry to obtain meter readings and a safety check. I took the warrant and asked for a few mins to phone my solicitor, he told me I had 5 mins and they were calling the police (quite aggressive manner yet again). My solicitor advised me to let one of them in to carry out the warrant so I did. I asked why I had not been informed they were seeking a warrant from the court as I would have attended to put my case to the judge and they laughed (the bailiff “we’ve heard that all before” iyswim) and said I had been notified.
Then 2 days later another representative called at the house to get meter readings and had no clue that 2 days before they had taken readings and had no idea about the warrant. I assumed this is because the meter readers do this for various companies and are not told an awful lot but could not be sure this was just an innocent mistake considering the problems ive had.
At this point I phoned eon to see what on earth was going on!! (I had planned to see my solicitor first but things seemed to be getting out of hand again and I felt the need to nip it in the bud) After being on hold and passed to various depts. For what seemed like an age I finally got some answers. Basically they say they have no record of the appointment rearrangement and when I asked why I was not notified that they were seeking to obtain a warrant and reminded them of the law in these situations, they first said they could not find the letter on my records then clammed up (quick as a flash) and asked to phone me back. A Manager phoned late last night and admitted no notification was sent and they don’t know why. Apologised and grovelled again and have offered £50 as compensation, also while I was on the phone they asked me where the meter is located in the property. I have since read when they seek a warrant their representative has to swear an oath that notification had been sent and the location of the meter had been confirmed. So it seems they lied under oath that I had been informed and they may have also lied under oath saying they had confirmed meter location.
What action I have taken so far?
I have not accepted the £50 offer as yet and said I will speak to my solicitor next week when she returns from holiday (my solicitor is not on holiday this was said to buy me for some time to consider my options plus I can’t get to see her until early next week as she is sooo busy) plus I kind of feel £50 is a bit insulting to be honest.
I have contacted ofgem and they have said they cannot look into it as the problems started over 9 months ago but this doesn’t seem right to me surely this is exactly what they are here for.
Consumer direct can offer no help and have advised me to seek legal advice.
I will be going to the cab tomorrow in the hope they have some useful advice.
I have made an official complaint via telephone and obtained a ref number and have requested their company policies be changed to ensure no-one is ever confronted by 3 big guys with a warrant without expecting it. Like I said to them if you know a warrant has been issued you know why there are 3 burly guys trying to break down your door, whereas if you have done nothing wrong in your eyes and no notifications has been sent you have no idea why these men are trying to get in and It can therefore be very scary.
I have written a letter to request all my data under the date protection act (want to go through it all thoroughly plus feel the evidence i need is in there) although im not sure which dept to send it to (will research this today and get the letter sent special delivery today with £10 maximum fee enclosed)
I know I can put in a complaint to the court and I could possibly write a ‘private and confidential’ letter to the judge who rubber stamped the warrant but can I appeal the warrant in some way?
I may also see my mp about all the problems ive had as to be frank if they are treating me like this (paying customer who is reasonable and co operative as far as possible) then how the heck are they treating people who are really struggling to meet payments or have been unable to make regular payments due to job loss etc.
All advice and suggestions is very welcome and appreciated.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.