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British Gas- letter received from solicitor


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Just a quick question: Can Biritsh Gas take us to court as the occupiers of a property even though we dont hold..or never have held an account with them. The demand and solictor letter are only addressed to 'The Occupier'.

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Well, I suppose it depends what for really.

 

Anyone can pretty much sue anyone else.

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its such a long story really but basically the previous owners of our house live next door (well they moved couple of weeks ago). We received a bill in their name to our address 8 months after we moved in. When we informed BG that they dont live at our address and gave theyr new adress we thought that was the end of it but then BG tried billing us (as The Occupiers) for some of that bill that we had seen. We now know that the previous occupiers only gave theyr final meter reading about a month or so ago (10 months after moving out) and BG dont seem to see anything suss about this. We are not BG customers but they are demanding payment of gas that we belive the previous occupiers used.

So as The Occupiers how can they take us to court if they dont have our details and we arent BG customers???

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When you moved into the property did you register with a gas company and have you been payin them. Have you got an actual bill from your supplier?

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When we moved in the very first thing i did was to take a gas meter reading and electric. I phoned the electric one through to the electric supplier (Swalec) but when it came to the gas reading I tried ringing BGas but was on the phone over 40 mins and not able to get through to someone to give it to. I wasnt very happy about this so decided i wanted to go with Swalec so i rang them back to explain and they took the reading and said that they would do the rest.. ie. they would pass the reading onto BG and i would then be with Swalec.

I have been paying SWALEC ever since for my gas and thought everything was fine until i received that bill addressed to the previous occupiers (that was in August).

I have heard that you can only switch suppliers if you dont owe any outstanding amount to a different supplier so if, as we are being accused of, we do owe money to BG then why did Swalec take us on.

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I am not an expert in these matters I am having my own problems with electric suppliers. :( The previous tennants are responsible for bills upto when they ended their contract with British Gas albeit 10 months after they have left. I would write to BG (recorded delivery is helpful, in case anything goes further) Explain that you are the new tennants from (date) your gas supplier is Swalec and give them copies of your gas bills to prove this and the meter reading when you moved in. I would also give the previous tennants forwarding address and request that any corrospondence about the unpaid bills be addressed to them. Also request that as you have proved you are not responsible for the outstanding amount that they do not bother you again causing you unnecessary stress. Don't forget to send a copy to the Solicitors aswell (recorded delivery) Keep all your records together letters, bills etc

 

I hope this helps it is just what I would do. It is not professional legal advice:)

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British Gas are acting very naughtly (possibly Criminally) by sending letters and threats to "The Occupier".

 

Have a look at http://www.oft.gov.uk/shared_oft/business_leaflets/consumer_credit/oft664.pdf

 

In particular;

 

Physical/psychological harassment

2.5 Putting pressure on debtors or third parties is considered to be oppressive.

2.6 Examples of unfair practices are as follows:

i. disclosing or threatening to disclose debt details to third parties unless

legally entitled to do so

 

AND

Deceptive and/or unfair methods

2.7 Dealings with debtors are not to be deceitful and/or unfair.

2.8 Examples of unfair practices are as follows:

a. sending demands for payment to an individual when it is uncertain that

they are the debtor in question, for example, threatening debt recovery

action to 'the occupier' or sending a payment demand to all people sharing

the same name/date of birth as a debtor in the hope that contact with the correct debtor will be made.

 

I would be contact trading standards/OFT and energywatch with a formal complaint.

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