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About Me


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  1. Hi - OK its quite a long story, but I will condense the best I can. This post is a combination of a warning to others and also a shout out for advice.... I had a house in the UK and four years ago I emigrated, but due to the housing market I decided to rent out my house until the housing market picked up. I had a tenant for two years and when they moved out, I changed agents (as the one I had was useless). The property was then empty for 7 months. As it was over the winter time I had the heating system drained to avoid a burst pipe, so no gas was being consumed. There was no other appliances on in the house (ie fridge freezer was switched off, lights etc). When I did get new tenants I was forwarded a bill, via the rental agents, from Utility Warehouse's debt collection agency (not the energy suppliers when I left the property) for about 700 pounds. I was gobsmacked to say the least and took immediate action to find out what was going on. I spent days trying to get to the bottom of the matter, which is summary is as follows:- Utility Warehouse (appointed by the tenants, without my knowledge or the rental agent's knowledge, apparently) had been estimating bills since the last tenants moved out and finally obtained a court warrant to seize the meter and install a prepayment meter. They only did this with the electricity meter as they eventually admitted there was no gas used at all. Apparently the electricity used was around 23.00 pounds, which I paid as soon as I found out (although I don't know how this can be have been used and had no way of having the meter checked). Utility Warehouse removed all the gas charges (all estimated) so the remaining bill was for 360.00 pounds, which consisted of legal fees. There were also late payment fees, which they later removed. I was still horrified and after pursuing the matter through their complaints procedure, referred the matter to the energy ombudsman. They eventually came back to me to say UW should send me a written apology and reduce the costs to half. I went back to them saying I couldn't accept their suggested remedy, as I didn't understand how they thought they should apologise to me, but the charges still stood! During my investigations I discovered that a UW representative attended the property several months before they seized the meter and failed to notice that the property was empty and there was a FOR RENT sign outside the property with the agent's details on it. UW continued to chase the legal fees (I cannot bring myself to call them a debt, as I don't see why I should be held responsible for their mistake, which is the same reason I couldn't agree with the Ombudsman decision). However, in the end I was just fed up with the whole thing and I offered to pay half (as suggested by the Ombudsman). However UW wouldn't hear of it and said it would be passed to a debt collection agent and although they couldn't accept my offer to pay half the debt collection agent may be able to. I received a letter, via the agent again as it was sent to the property in the UK, where I no longer live and I had told them on many occasions not to write to me there as there was no guarantee that I would receive any correspondence sent there. The letter was from Fredpay. I rang them as soon as I received it, explained the situation and that I was prepared to pay half. They said they would go back to UW and ask them if they would accept it. In the meantime I was sent another letter apparently from a solicitors saying they would take court action if I didn't respond within 7 days. I rang Fredpay again, who had told me the case was on hold, and they said the letters had crossed in the mail. No surprises that UW came back and said no, they wouldn't accept half and Fredpay suggested I set up a payment plan. I went back to them again to reiterate that I no longer live in the UK, the house is currently for sale and once it is sold I will have no assets in the UK (UW had previously threatened to apply for a court order against the house!) and I had, more than generously offered to pay half (180) and I could clear that in one go, otherwise I could set up a payment plan of ten pounds a month to start the payments, but would continue to fight the matter. Fredpay came back and said they couldn't accept half, but could accept 270 pounds (90 pounds more than I offered and 90 less than UW were insisting on). I have set up a payment plan for ten pounds a month from the end of this month, but Fredpay have warned that if I default then this will stay on my credit record for 6 years, they haven't said they would chase the matter future, if I do default and I am not sure what they could do, if I do default once the house sells, as they don't even know where I live. So that is where I am at currently. I feel really aggrieved about this and I written to the MP for the area where the house is situated, as I find the fact that a tenant can change energy supplier without advising the landlord appalling, and don't understand how this could be avoided. And feel this could easily happen again, if not to me (hopefully) then to someone else. I am also mortified that there was a court warrant issued to seize the meter and that a debt collection agency has been chasing me and all because UW didn't engage brain at any point throughout the whole thing. And that the Ombudsman, who are suppose to protect the consumer, basically sided with UW and even though they found their customer care lacking and suggested they apologise to me, still thought I should pay for their mistakes. So my questions are: Is there anything else I can do? Is it advisable to default once the house is sold and what would the consequences be? Any ideas, greatly received, and if nothing else I feel happy that I have been able to post this to the web, which might help others in a similar situation.
  2. Hi Wife has a debt with HSBC credit card in single name- paid since 1985 & never missed a beat. Due to change in circumstances cannot pay more than £5 monthly. Current debt is 10.5K @ £300 per month. Received Default notice. Have paid £5.00 per month for last 2 months, sent I&E asked for stop in interest/ charges - ignored - next step ?? Also ebay fees of about £100 - started at £10 - they screwed up email account so Paypal didn't work & she lost payments toalling £80.00. Now with DCO ? ignoring!! Cheers benjibutton
  3. Good morning all, I'm been doing some lurking off and on over the last 2 months or so as I go back and forth with "Fredpay" over a Vodaphone contract I've never owned. Well, technically. The story goes that my partner's friend required a good credit history to get a contract with Vodaphone and asked me if I'd help. I didn't see the issue as I'd been advised several times that 'Nicole' was a good working person and had met her mother who owned a local shop in the town center. I happily put my name forward after checking the paperwork and speaking with the Vodaphone assistant that this was safe. More fool me. 'Nicole' advised she'd move the contract over the very next week and I went about my daily life happily. I then noticed when doing some banking 3 months later that I seemed to be £30 less off each month than expected and followed this up via online banking to Vodaphone fee's. I proceeded to cancel the direct debit with my bank. I then received a letter from Vodaphone telling me I owed X amount and if I did not pay they'd cancel the account. I of course marched down to 'Nicole's' mothers shop and spoke to her. She took this letter off me and the photocopies of my online banking print outs to show her daughter and advised me she'd deal with it. I even said that the £90 did not matter to me and as long as this was resolved and my credit history was fine I'd go about my business. She paid Vodaphone the X amount and advised me the contract had been moved. 2 months later 'Nicole' defaulted on the account and her mother's shop closed down and then I started getting letters from Vodaphone advised I had to paid 349.89 for the end of contract cancellation fee. I again passed all this on and was advised it would be dealt with until 'Fredpay' got involved. I was then advised by 'Nicoles' mother that I'd have to speak to her daughter (Who magically cannot be got hold of anymore). Fredpay are advising because my credit history was used that it's my account and as of such I am liable. Do I stand any chance on this? Many thanks Septimus
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