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Hi evry1, new to this; thought I would offer my experience of British Gas and ask for your thoughts etc.

 

Story :-

 

In September 05, I moved house. BG were my dual fuel suppliers for the old property. I therefore telepohoned them and advised that I was moving. I gave them my new address and also the meter readings. The previous bills had been estimated. After a few months when I had not heard anything from them, I thought that my accounts were straight. In other words the previous estimated bills were over estimated and I didnt opwe them anything. I almost threw away the previous bills but at the last moment decided to hanng onto them - JUST IN CASE. Good job I did. In February 06 I received a notice from BG central collections , stating that I owed themm £16.70p. The letter had been forwarded to my new address by the new occupant of the property. The letter stated that they were going to send a debt collector to my old address to collect the money , unless I contacted them on the phone and made arrangements to pay the bill. I duly rang on 22/2/06. I spoke to a lady, who would not give me her name. I explained what had gone on and she checked the drreaded computer. She came back to me and told me that there had been a mistake. There was a couple of pounds owing but as they had my new address and they had not sent me the bill at the new address, they would cancel the bill and nothing would be owing. I ensured that they had my new address. She told me that the electricity account had been updated but that the gas account had not, but she would do it and cancel both accounts. Before the end of the conversation, I advised the lady that if I heard anymore on this matter; that I would sue BG. She said she would make a note of the comment by me. Time passes without any further communication from BG. The thirteen months later, in March 07; a threatening letter lands on my doormat. From a company called Wescot Credit services. I am now informed by them, that I owe BG £419.38p. I received the letter on 19th March and the letter stated that unless I cleared the debt by 30th March, they would start court proceddings. On the evening of 19th March, I rang the company and expolained my side of the story. I spoke to a young lady called Louise. I asked her why I owed the money. She told me that she could not tell me. I then asked if she had the information or not and was it just a question that she would not tell me. She advised me that she did not have any information. I then pointed out that she was asking me as BG agents to pay money that she could not justify. She replied that was correct. I then told her that her comapny sgould check with BG why I owed the money and then get back to me. Her reply was that it was up to me to sort it out with BG. I pointed out that they were acting on BG behalf so it was up to them and not me to justify the bill. However, after finishing the telephone conversation with Louise I e-maild BG customer services. Explained everything to them and requested they sort this out. Once again, I advised them that if this continued I would start legal proceeding of my own aginst them. I received an automated e-mail reply stating my e-mail had been received and I would receive a reply in so many working days. I NEVER DID. On 10th April 07 I received a final notice from Wescot, stating legal proceedings would be commenced. However, on 14th April 07 I received a letter from Wescot telling me that the case had been put on hold and an investigation started. After anoither phone call to Wescot, I found out that BG had withdrawn their instructions to Wescot as the file had been forwarded in error and that I did not owe BG any money. Once again I advised Wescot as BG agents that if this matter continued; I would start legal proceedings of my own against BG. On 12th December 07 I received another threatening letter from a different debt collection agency - this time Buchanan Clark of Glasgow. On that day I phoned them and explained that I did not owe BG any mmoney. Again I was told that they did not have any details of the debt. So I ended the conversation by telling them I would see them in court. I then wrote them a letterexpalinging everything and also telling them I would sue BG after the court hearing regarding the "alleged" debt. I did not receive a reply. Today 9th January I have received yet another letter from Buchanan saying they are perparing to commence legal proceddings. Now to the crunch, I have just rreturned from my local County Court; where I have issued proceedings against BG and am seeking damages for the stress that all this has caused me. I will keep you all updated as to what happens. The basis of my case is that they are harassing me and also under Human Rights Law; I am entitled to live my life free from persecution. What they are doing to me is persecution and harassment.

I have tried to sort this out without reverting to the law, but even after a supposed investigation by BG and the withdrawal of the file, it has continued. As a cpmpany their customer care stinks. This matter will not end until it has been to court.

 

Has anyone else sued BG - what was your outcome.

 

Take care - Scousegeezer

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Hi evry1, new to this; thought I would offer my experience of British Gas and ask for your thoughts etc.

 

Story :-

 

In September 05, I moved house. BG were my dual fuel suppliers for the old property. I therefore telepohoned them and advised that I was moving. I gave them my new address and also the meter readings. The previous bills had been estimated. After a few months when I had not heard anything from them, I thought that my accounts were straight. In other words the previous estimated bills were over estimated and I didnt opwe them anything. I almost threw away the previous bills but at the last moment decided to hanng onto them - JUST IN CASE. Good job I did. In February 06 I received a notice from BG central collections , stating that I owed themm £16.70p. The letter had been forwarded to my new address by the new occupant of the property. The letter stated that they were going to send a debt collector to my old address to collect the money , unless I contacted them on the phone and made arrangements to pay the bill. I duly rang on 22/2/06. I spoke to a lady, who would not give me her name. I explained what had gone on and she checked the drreaded computer. She came back to me and told me that there had been a mistake. There was a couple of pounds owing but as they had my new address and they had not sent me the bill at the new address, they would cancel the bill and nothing would be owing. I ensured that they had my new address. She told me that the electricity account had been updated but that the gas account had not, but she would do it and cancel both accounts. Before the end of the conversation, I advised the lady that if I heard anymore on this matter; that I would sue BG. She said she would make a note of the comment by me. Time passes without any further communication from BG. The thirteen months later, in March 07; a threatening letter lands on my doormat. From a company called Wescot Credit services. I am now informed by them, that I owe BG £419.38p. I received the letter on 19th March and the letter stated that unless I cleared the debt by 30th March, they would start court proceddings. On the evening of 19th March, I rang the company and expolained my side of the story. I spoke to a young lady called Louise. I asked her why I owed the money. She told me that she could not tell me. I then asked if she had the information or not and was it just a question that she would not tell me. She advised me that she did not have any information. I then pointed out that she was asking me as BG agents to pay money that she could not justify. She replied that was correct. I then told her that her comapny sgould check with BG why I owed the money and then get back to me. Her reply was that it was up to me to sort it out with BG. I pointed out that they were acting on BG behalf so it was up to them and not me to justify the bill. However, after finishing the telephone conversation with Louise I e-maild BG customer services. Explained everything to them and requested they sort this out. Once again, I advised them that if this continued I would start legal proceeding of my own aginst them. I received an automated e-mail reply stating my e-mail had been received and I would receive a reply in so many working days. I NEVER DID. On 10th April 07 I received a final notice from Wescot, stating legal proceedings would be commenced. However, on 14th April 07 I received a letter from Wescot telling me that the case had been put on hold and an investigation started. After anoither phone call to Wescot, I found out that BG had withdrawn their instructions to Wescot as the file had been forwarded in error and that I did not owe BG any money. Once again I advised Wescot as BG agents that if this matter continued; I would start legal proceedings of my own against BG. On 12th December 07 I received another threatening letter from a different debt collection agency - this time Buchanan Clark of Glasgow. On that day I phoned them and explained that I did not owe BG any mmoney. Again I was told that they did not have any details of the debt. So I ended the conversation by telling them I would see them in court. I then wrote them a letterexpalinging everything and also telling them I would sue BG after the court hearing regarding the "alleged" debt. I did not receive a reply. Today 9th January I have received yet another letter from Buchanan saying they are perparing to commence legal proceddings. Now to the crunch, I have just rreturned from my local County Court; where I have issued proceedings against BG and am seeking damages for the stress that all this has caused me. I will keep you all updated as to what happens. The basis of my case is that they are harassing me and also under Human Rights Law; I am entitled to live my life free from persecution. What they are doing to me is persecution and harassment.

I have tried to sort this out without reverting to the law, but even after a supposed investigation by BG and the withdrawal of the file, it has continued. As a cpmpany their customer care stinks. This matter will not end until it has been to court.

 

Has anyone else sued BG - what was your outcome.

 

Take care - Scousegeezer

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Wino,

Many thanks for your good luck wish.

 

My opinion is that it is a case of "res ipsa locutur" (excuse spelling) - in other words the facts speak for themselves. They have withdrawn the file twice - because of their mistakes - I dont owe any money - and then re-instated the file twice - I dont think they can have a defence - its pure negligence and I have suffered because of it. I cant see a district judge accepting any defence.

Chjeers - Scousegeezer.

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Hi

Have you requested a subject access request for all the information which British Gas has on you including transcripts of all telephone conversations. All bills statements correspondence the full monty?

 

Did you give British Gas your permission to pass your details to third parties and if so can they provide a document or transcript which shows that you agreed that they could.

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Illuminati,

Many thanks for the advice. No, I havent done that yet. I am waiting to see what BG do when they get the county court papers. If they decide to defend, then I will take that course of action ( advance info etc). I suppose at the moment it is a case of suck it and see. Some how I think they will settle, given that they have withdrawn their instructions twice from previous collectioin agencies and have admitted to those agencies that the debt is not mine and the instructions were forwarded in error.

 

Cheers - scousegeezer.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just a quick update - I have now issued to British Gas. I have also written to the company that are handling the so called debt for British Gas- surprise , surprise - they say that have not received my letter. I have received a letter from them stating that they are sending a personal caller to collect the debt. Why do these companies act on the utilities behalf when they do not have ny evidence of the debt. I have asked the debt collection agency what its for , but they cannot tell me. They dont have the info, not just that they wont tell me. WORDS FAIL ME. - BLIND FAITH.

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Which agency is trying to obtain money from you ?

Have you had a letter from BG which states that this company have there permission to collect the alleged debt from you.

This could be a fraud obtaining money under false pretense.

Could be a police matter.

If this company is registered as a debt collecting agy then they will have a consumer credit license which they could lose by acting unlawfully.

If I sent you an invoice for £5 would you pay me without question.

I am hounded by BG and they have put my debt with 4 different agencies to date. I am absolutely terrified by them and have had many sleepless nights (LOL)

 

Love a day in court so that they can prove to a judge where the debt came from and how the figures were arrived at. Anyone can pluck numbers out of the air to balance the books but proving beond all reasonable doubt that the figures are true the meter is correct and was correct 3yrs ago is another matter. Also passing personnel information with out permission and with out agreement is unlawful

Where is that bit of paper which I must have signed to allow this they must have it if so send me a copy. (SAR£10)

 

Keep up the good work

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I am not surprised at your experience -it is par for BG's customer service.

 

I moved into a new apartmant 13 months ago.This is only a summary of the problems I have had.

 

Knowing that British Gas supplied the premises I took the meter reading and phoned them on the day I moved in to be told that they could not be supplying gas to me as my address did not exist. I was the first occupant of my flat. Nevertheless red bills started to arive at my flat ( an address that did not exist!) addressed to a person who nobody knew in the block. I sent them back 'Not known' but this was completely ignored. After six weeks a letter arrived addressed in exacly the same way which I opened as it looked more ominous than previously. It was indeed to inform a person unknown to me that they were applying for a warrant of disconnection at my flat (number 10) for unpaid gas supplied at number 12 the flat above. I phoned explained the problem gave them the account number, meter number, the meter point reference number, the meter reading, my correct postal address, my full name,phone number and date of birth. I was told that a new account was now set up and was given the account number. All solved - you are joking.

 

I then received a bill at my flat addressed to the 'occupier' with the new account number but still for supply of gas to number 12 the flat above with my correct start meter reading but the present meter reading from No 12's meter. A further phone call resulted in yet another account number and 'cancellation' of the previous two. Three account numbers now! Two similar bills then arrived over the next six weeks all for the 'cancelled' account numbers,wrong meter number and for number 12's supply. I phoned emailed (mostly ignored) and wrote to the head of customer services who did not reply.The result of two of the phone calls was 2 further new accounts and numbers. Each time all the correct details were given. To the routine customer services question ' what is your account reference number' it became quite amusing to ask 'which number would you like - I have five'. I was told on one occasion that my flat still did not exist even though I was receiving their bills (for number 12) at my almost correct address. My suggestion that their address database was incorrect invoked disbelief and they refused to look at the Royal Mail database which I knew contained my address correctly.

 

After yet another incorrect bill I received a call from a person who asked for security details. He would not identify himself and I refused details. He said he would have to send someone round which I encouraged if it were anything to do with British Gas. I used 1471 and found that the number was used by a debt colletion agency presumably doing a trace?

 

This was no longer amusing and I wrote a detailed account to the British Gas complaints department with suggestions as to how a very simple problem could be sorted. This was acknowledged and I was instructed to do nothihg further. Nothing happened for two months except another two incorrect bills which I ignored. Eventually a pleasant young man phoned. He was determined to sort the problem. He took all the details, gave me a 6th account number and agreed that I could not be charged for number 12's gas nor for the first six months of their supply to me. A week later a bill arrived for about £4 with the wrong district and postcode but otherwise correct. I phoned to correct the address details and sat back -all sorted.

 

But no! I shortly began to receive ' we are sorry you are leaving us' letters with dates for change of supply. I wrote -no reply. I emailed - no reply. I rang. Somebody was indeed taking over my supply -she would not tell me who. I would not accept this and a supervisor informed me that my supply was to taken over by (would you believe it) British Gas Commercial and that I must have requested this! After my denials she said it was not possible to stop the transfer but it would be marked as 'erroneous' The transfer would take about a month and then the account would be tranferred back again taking a further 4-6 weeks. This did indeed happen but of course each transfer generated another account number 'sorry you are leaving us' and 'welcome' letters and I now had 8 account numbers in 10 months.

 

I have now received a bill correct in every detail except it ommitted the period when the supply was with British Gas Commercial. I am not going to argue. I can even view my accounts now reduced to only two on their website and finally I paid a bill last week.

 

So inefficient and we are paying for this and a profit of £700 million. If they would only spend some of this profit on decent customer service and systems they could still make the same profit and charge us less in future years.

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Hello Pelham9,

I would be after a large slice of compensation to cover time worry and distress which they have caused you.

Six months of free gas is not a bad gesture however I would be looking for more even an apology and a further six months free gas.

Have you checked the credit reference agencies(expiring). If you were contacted by a debt collector a reference could have be entered against your name thus reducing your credit rating.

As you gather I am not a fan of BG

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OK Evry1, an update.

 

This morning I have received a letter from British Gas complaints department at Eastbourne. They thank me for my recent letter. Let me think what letter would that be. OH SILLY me, that was the one in March 07. Their "early" reply would not have anything to do with them receiving the county court papers and my request for an SAR would it. There I go being silly again. Anyway they have put their foot in it as the letter quite clearly states that the gas for which the debt is "owed", was supplied betweem Nov05 and Nov 06. I moved out in Sept 05. They then go on to advise me that I must provide evidence that I moved out in Sept 05. Funny that, the electricity account was cancelled in Sept 05 , so you would think they would put 2 and 2 together, seeing that I called them on one ocassion to cancel both accounts. There I go again, being silly expecting people to do their job. I must stop being so optimistic. In my opinion they have shot themselves in the foot on that one. The letter gpoes on to say and I quote " We do not offer compensatioin for distress and inconvenience as this is extremely difficult to quantify". In other words we can do what we want and theres nothing you can do about it. OH ISN'T THERE - LETS JUST WAIT AND SEE. No reply to the SAR as yet , but thats eraly days. Only made the request on Monday. Last night I e-mailed Wescot Credit Services, making an SAR request. Pointing out that the letter from BG to them is really important. Had a reply from a named person at Wescot this morning - stating " I can confirm our records have been amendedand the account returned to British Gas". I have since replied pointing out that I was making an SAR request and if I didnt receive the information fairly soon, that I would be making a complaint to the Information Commissioner about her company. In view of what BG have said in the letter this morning, I feel vindicated in taking legal action against them. They just do NOTcare what stress and anxiety they cause people. Will keep you all posted.

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Illuminati,

 

Thank you for your comments. I have in fact had 8 months free gas unless of course BG commercial send a bill. For the first six months I was more amused than anything and I felt the free 6 months was adequate recompense.

 

When the DCA became involved I did get my credit reort from experian but there was nothing there. I will check again shortly.

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Hmm it all sounds so familiar - same problems with BG as a result of moving house. :rolleyes:

 

Has anyone thought of contacting Energywatch? They seem very helpful and efficient, but can't have too much authority as BG have completely ignored them in my case!

WOOLWICH -S.A.R - (Subject Access Request) sent 03/03/07 :cool:

LBA sent for non-compliance with Data Protection Act 28/04/07 :mad:

 

ABBEY - S.A.R - (Subject Access Request) sent 03/03/07 8)

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Majorclanger100,

Energywatch etc seem to be toothless tigers. As I quoted above - BG wont compensate people for stress and anxiety - because they now energywatch etc can only order them to pay compensation for financial loss - included waiting in for unkept appointments. Therefore BG seem to think they can act in whatever manner they wish. I have a feeling I know what is behind my case - and that is that the people who moved into my flat after I left did not register with BG and left 12 mths later. BG dont know who they are and cant recoup their money - so I am the easy target- they know who I am and where I am, because I told them. Their attitude seems to be - If we hassle him long enough he will pay to make us go away. WRONG. Thats why I have taken the action I have done. Its funny that they accepted my word that I had moved out and closed the electricity account but not the gas account. Which they are now telling me I have to prove that I moved out before they will drop the charge against me. I would like to see what explanation they come up with in court for that one. If we get there.

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Hi Evry1,

Just a quick update - I have just arrived home from work to find yet another letter from Buchanan Clark and Wells. They have offered me a deal. That state that if I pay the outstanding amount in one hit they will make me a "without prejudice" offer to reduce the amount by ovet £100. Sounds like a good deal, if I actually owed the money. So anyone who does owe any money and these monkeys are after you tp pay up , bare this in mind. I have had four previous letters from them. Anyway, itsounds to me like thay have bought the alleged debt off British Gas and dont want to spend anymore money trying to get it out of me. Does anyone know if this might be the case.

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I was offered a the same amount of robinson way (£100)

before they(robinson way) handed the debt on to wescot.

The issue of my info being pass to all and sundry with out my permission is the next question.

Wescot sent me a letter demanding payment which I have ignored as I have no confirmation that they have any right to my details will keep you informed.

Ps. I would take the £100 as a credit and keep it just in case you ever returned to bgas.

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  • 4 weeks later...

OK Evry1 - The latest update,

The papers were served on BG and surprise, surprise they did not respond. I left it more than the twenty eight days that they are allowed - think it was 35, then went to the court to have judgement entered against them due to the lack of response. Judgement has duly been enetered and further papers to BG stating that they have to pay me forthwith. I have to wait until the end of March before I can take the next step - which is sending in the Biliffs if they have not paid me. However they can make application to have the judgement set aside. Will they or wont they. This is debateable, as if they ask to have the judgment set aside, a full hearing has to take place. If they lose the full hearing then the case is on the books and people can use the case as a stated case and sue BG. However, if they leave it and wait for the bailiffs to attend, because there has not been a full hearing, the case cant be used as a precedent. They will probably just pay up, but they have made me wait for the payment of damages. Now , why would they not contest the case. Answer - if they did contest and lose, then they would be inundated with claims, as this site shows how inept they are and that they chase people for debts which arent theirs. They dont want another "bank charges" type run on their profits. - As promised will keep you all up-to-date with the final outcome.

 

Cheers - Scousegeezer

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Hi been reading through your situation with much interest, I have eventually got BG to get rid of BCW, but am going to solictor tomorrow anyway, free half hour. I am totally appalled by way this whole situation has been dealt with, I have started a new thread if you want to read. Am watching your outcome re court case. Had stinking conversation with BCW this morning. Imagine if I was 80 year old woman on own, would have had heart attack by now. Please read my thread and see what you think about Watch dog!

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  • 1 month later...

I too had an 'unmissable' offer from BCW to reduce my £34 debt to £20 if I paid it within 14 days. I had to regretfully decline the offer as I didn't owe £34 .

 

I think they work on a comission - eg. They will only every pass on 50% of the debt to BGas and keep the rest for their trouble.

 

Warning though - I think I read somewhere on here - that if you take advantage of this settlement - you STILL have a default on your credit file. You may as well not bother paying anything at all unless they guarantee to keep if off you credit file.

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I am in the middle of my own BG debacle and applaud you, will be watching with v amused interest. Not sure whether the ombudsman or court is my best option but we'll see. Best of luck!

Dipply75

 

I am in no way a legal advisor and only speak from my own experiences and the helpful advice of those in the same boat! :p

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UPDATE.

 

After having judgement enetered by default (BG did not respond to the summone), I applied to the court for the damages to be paid. Once BG received the court order , they then applied for the judgement to be set aside. I opposed it - we were in court yesterday for the hearing, whether it should be pout aside or not. HERE IS THE CRUNCH - there are two stated cases that prevent damages from being paid for stress - mental inury. The cases are WATTS v MORROW and coupled with that RUXLEY ELECTRONICS v FORSYTH. These two cases absolutely perevent any damages from being paid. The district judge therefore decided to put the judgement aside. However, he was very fair about this and would make no order for costs against me for not agreeing to the judgement being put aside, therefore requiring a hearing for the decision to be made. I got the feeling that he was on my side - especially when he was made aware by the solicitor for BG - that I had a dual fuel account and they cancelled the electricity but not the gas, the judge was totally baffled by that. He further directed the solicitor for BG that BG should settle this matter - ie cancel gas account and the alleged "debt" - and come to some arangement, as he agreed with me that the matter would not have concluded without my taking the action that I have. Outside court I had a conversation with the BG solicitor. I wont identify the person. They agreed with me that companies such as BG are aware that damages cannot be paid for stress and that they act in the way that they do with inpunity. The soloicitor had had problems with a utility company and sympathised with me. The solicitor even stated that they thiught BG knew I was not responsible for the charges but did not know the name of the person who moved into the flat after I left , so therefoe just went after me. Because money is their god and want to get it from whomever they can and dont care that they pursue the wrong person knowingly. The solictor also agreed with me that utility companies have to be brought to book and conduct themselves correctly and professionally, but had no suggestion as to how to do it. I suggested that the only was would be to go after these companies under the data protection act. My case is now over apart from the shouting so I cant do this. It will need someone who has definite proof that they dont owe a utility company a debt , bvut who is oursued nevertheless. They can then sue the company for contravening the data protection act by passing on their informastion without lawful reason and without permission and pass it to a third party. This would appear to be the only way to go. Perhaps the invigilators of this web site can organise for members of the site to make contributions to a fund in order to fund a member to istruct a solicitor to go for one of these companies under the date protection act. Probably the damages would be minimal because there would be no physical injury , but hey that does not matter- WE JUST WANT THIS BEHAVIOUR STOPPED.

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I've been reading a lot in preparation for my own situation which has a lot of similarities to yours. I had come to the same conclusion - although it looks as though people getting credit related defaults removed by using the data protection have gone for compensation. Can't find any clear info on anyone winning - although there appears to have been a few settlements before a final hearing which reading between the lines (as there were confidentiality agreements) were for the full amount or more than the claim. I take that to mean that the banks/finance companies do not want to allow a judgement for damages for wrongful credit info under data protection that would then open a massive floodgate. I'm still struggling with exactly how to start my case off though - again any help appreciated. I can't sent a CCA for utilities bill but I could send a SAR. Ideally I just want to make a claim for damages and removal of defaults to the small claims court.

 

I think my first step now is a letter before action giving clear warning that I will use the data protection act to claim compensation for my bad credit and to ask for an order to remove the defaults.

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  • 4 weeks later...

O.K evry1,

Given that the registrar on 2nd May this year advised the solicitor for BG, to advise BG to drop their claim against me for the alleged o/s debt; I have received further paperwork from BG solicitors stating that BG are to pursue the case ( their counter claim to mine). BG's answer for me providing paperwork to show that I bought my house in September 2005 is to say that it does not mean that I moved out of the flat I previously lived in. They want the tenancy agreement to show when I moved out. This despite the fact that they did not want proof to cancel the electricity account. AMAZING. Even their solicitor at the hearing on 2nd May accepted that it was reasonable that I no longer have the tennancy agreement , almost thre years later. I have never been put to proof prior to January this year. Furthermore, I submitted an S.A.R. on 28th January this year; surprise, surprise; I have never received a reply to it. Despite e-mailing Mr Ian T White of the privacy unit. However, BG solicitors have sent me part of the computerr printouts for my account, but they relate to a period way after the date of the move. From June 2006 in fact. It states in the printouts that they spoke to a female at my old flat who stated that she was the new occupier. They would not accept her word because she would not show them her tennancy agreement. But here we have , me saying I have moved out - the lady stating that she is the new tennant - but they pursue me for the debt.??? Looks like they are going to go all the way to a full hearing. That will take place after 1st July 2008. I dont think they will win, but this just shows that they are determined to pursue anyone to get money- even if they are not the real debtor. Will keep you all in touch.

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