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Wescot - looking for advice.


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Hello! Oh it seems to be that time again. I'll cut this super super short (or try to).

 

4-5 years ago I was living as student with 2 other students in a shared property. We were paying all the bills, yada yada. We move out and pay a months water rates about two weeks before we leave. We post off a letter saying "we are leaving here is a forwarding address, if we owe you a couple of pounds bill us here, if not, please send a cheque!"

 

2 years later I start to get phonecalls from Capquest asking for £460ish for unpaid water rates for the previous 18 odd months. I say.. "lol. what?!" and call Severn Trent Water. They say:

 

"We never received that letter. We never received anything from the next lot of tenants. We never recieved a reply to the post we sent. We eventually took you to court and had a CCJ issued against all 3 of you."

 

I check this out with the court, it is true though they have mangled all our names into one name and gotten the details incorrect.

 

I send off to Severn Trent a copy of our tenancy agreement, showing when we left the property. I send off a copy of the bank statement showing when we last paid an amount and that we'd been paying.

 

Severn Trent say "we understand that if this is correct you would have left the property owing us £10.45. As you left without giving a forwarding address we feel justified in charging you our full legal expenses plus court costs".

 

This would be around £120-140. I ask for this is writing. Nothing shows up. I take legal advice. I hear a mixed bag raging from "PAY IT ALL! OMG!" through to "send them a cheque for £10.45 and apply to have the CCJ set aside based on the grounds you were unable to offer a defence and you dispute the full amount as you have paid the debt".

 

Severn Trent then say "we have not had any of your documents arrive." When asked about their previous offer they say "I cannot discuss that without first talking to our legal department". I talk to the two other people involved who say.

 

"This CCJ is worthless as it hasn't effected my credit rating at all. They have gotten all of our names wrong and have no real details at all, I say we ignore this until it starts to stink."

 

I post off yet another copy of our documents (tenancy from that property showing end date. New property showing start date. Bank statement showing the date and amount of the final payment) I hear nothing back. We move house.

 

Another year passes without any action. Silly I know but neither of us can afford to actually take this to court and applying for fee exemption requires payment up front and it all seems just all a bit too much with a cancer scare and a death in the family.

 

They have our phone number as it stayed the same. Capquest rang several times and eventually stopped calling after being told "This debt is in dispute, if you contact Severn Trent you will be told the same thing. I am telling you now to NOT call again."

 

Today a letter from Wescot credit services Ltd has arrived asking for £458.42. It is asking me to contact them by the 6th of Feb in order to arrange payment terms or they'll resort to legal proceedings. Don't know how it happened but they have our new address. To their credit it is actually quite polite when compared to the old Capquest letters. It even says if I have a genuine reason why I do not have to pay I should contact them and sort it out. It even says if I wish to complain as to the way they are handling it I should contact them too.

 

Problem is I'm scared of contacting them. The couple of times I had to speak to Capquest were practically shouting matches with irate Scottish people. I know if I contact them then they know that I'm at this address as I've received this letter. I don't want to pay £458. I could I suppose as long as it was £50 a month or something as I am no quite such a poor student and I don't want to lose any sleep over this, but really that would take away the 'wife learning to drive' or the 'paying off that bloody overdraft' fund.

 

Anyway. What should I be doing here? Contacting Wescot? Contacting Severn Trent? Posting off a cheque and contacting the county court for a motion to set aside? If Severn Trent will settle for £120 and I'll get that in writing I guess I wouldn't mind paying that, but they kind of clammed up on that offer as soon as I said I wanted in in writing.

 

Any advice? I've enjoyed just writing about this really. It is nice to unburden yourself.

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Is the debt in your name?

Is it in the name of one of your former flatmates?

 

if the answer to the above is no!, then they haven't got a leg to stand on, I would suggest asking them to prove the debt is yours, since it's for a telephone, then it is unlikely to be covered by a CCA request, but certainly a request for the original agreement, or the details of the CCJ, should be enought o verify that the debt is not yours.

 

if the name on the CCJ is Mr John Smith and Mrs Mary Jones, then they cannot contact Mr John Jones, or Mrs Maru Smith for the debt, regardless of what the creditor, or any of the DCAs may say

Hope this helps

 

 

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The large print giveth, but the small print taketh away. ~Tom Waits, Small Change

 

 

Please note: i am not a qualified lawyer, any advice is offered in good faith and is based on my own and others experiences and a penchant for research and a desire to help others to empower themselves

 

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Oh the debt is for water rates from Severn Trent water. On the bill were three names.

 

The DCA's have tried contacting various names and combinations based around Mr/Mrs/Miss and mixed up versions of our first and second names.

 

The CCJ has only two names (this is apparently the limit). My name (correct though they may only have my initial) and the name of one of the other flatmates. They get her first initial wrong all the time and have spelt her first name both ways though without checking again I'm not 100% sure what they have on the CCJ. She has since obtained credit and her credit report is clear though.

 

Again it is for a utility. These are covered under separate rules than credit agreements. I don't actually know how they would prove the debt is mine other than to tell me that.

 

'During these dates you and the following people were residing at this address and rates were due which were not paid. We contacted you and you ignored us.'

 

Typing that it actually seems rather similar to what the county court said was on the record.

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Just reading back through your post.

 

It appears that it has been approx 7 years since the CCJ was awarded but there has been no acknowledgement or payment made against the debt in all of that time?

 

Although a CCJ never truly becomes spent, or written off until it is settled, there are circumstances where the creditor would need to take the debt before a court before being able to enforce it.

 

A period of 7 years inactivity would IMO be such an occasion.

 

I would say let them get on with it and treat the debt as statute barred.

 

They would have to prove that the debt is legitimate (ie they would have to have all of the original paperwork) and then prove that you are liable to settle the account.

 

If they can't do both of these things, they might as well learn how to whistle, because they're going to be doing a lot of it :)

Hope this helps

 

 

If you feel that this site has helped you in any way please leave a donation if you can afford to do so.

 

If you feel that have been helpful please feel free to tip the scales.

 

 

The large print giveth, but the small print taketh away. ~Tom Waits, Small Change

 

 

Please note: i am not a qualified lawyer, any advice is offered in good faith and is based on my own and others experiences and a penchant for research and a desire to help others to empower themselves

 

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Oh no, let me get my shoebox filing system out and I can clear this up a bit. I wrote it all out after the last time I spoke to severn trent.

 

Right. We were in the property from September04. We left the property on the 14th May 05. At this point we were £10.62 in arrears with our water bill.

 

We made our usual monthly payment of £22 on the 12th of May05. We moved out 2 days later on the 14th and this is why we sent a letter saying "we may owe you a little, you may owe us, please square up and here is a forwarding address".

 

They say that for the period of 1st April05 - 14th Feb06 there was a bill produced for £192. (We were not living there except for April which I guess we had already paid a portion of).

 

From 14thFeb06-1stApril06 there was £27.68 due. From 1stApril06-2ndOct06 there was another bill of £119.48. From 2ndOct06-16thOct06 there was a further bill of £9.08. We were not living at the address during this time and I suppose the current tenants were destroying the bills.

 

On the 16th of October06 17 months after we left the address, new tenants let them know they'd moved in. It is almost funny really because new term starts middle of September so they must have sat there for a month debating on what to do with all this threatening letters arriving addressed to us.

 

But anyway. Once that happened Severn Trent charged £50 solicitors fee. £20 court costs and £4.95 interest. They then charged £22 for a CCJ and another £2.58 interest. This all happened in Oct/Nov06. So the CCJ isn't that old.

 

So then.

 

I should write to the DCA stating that I dispute the debt. That I request proof that I am accountable for the debt? I'm still wondering where they got my address from. Kind of worried that if I do not deal with them they will take it to court to get a bailiff to enforce the CCJ with a warrant of execution.

 

Think I'd get anywhere with Severn Trent Water? When I went through all this with them the first time they said that going from the actual dates we'd been in the property we'd left owning them £10 something.

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Oh the most stupid thing about all of this is they've always had our phone number. Legally they are allowed to do things by post but really. You would think that once they'd noticed that a group of students, paying their bill each month, suddenly stop near the end of term. They'd maybe give us a ring instead of waiting 17 months. Taking us to court. Applying for a CCJ, and then passing the phone number onto a DCA to actually make the first attempt at calling?

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No update? Seems to be a bit like last time I had trouble with Capquest. I could really use advice on who I should be contacting. I should.

 

Ask the DCA to prove the debt.

Dispute the obviously inaccurate amounts and give my evidence.

Ask them to come up with a settlement figure.

Agree to pay once it gets to their charges + £10ish?

 

OR should I

 

Contact Severn Trent. Ask them to provide proof of the debt in writing.

Dispute the amount and provide evidence. Post this off with a cheque for £10ish?

 

OR!

 

Send Severn Trent a cheque for the £10ish.

Apply at the county court to have the judgement set aside.

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Hi, sorry can't really be of much help, but I can bump this for you! Maybe you could try posting in the Utilities forum too - as it all seems to stem from a huge error on Severn Trent's part!

 

I had a similar problem relating to Severn Trent, although it didn't get as out of hand as yours seems to have! I paid my bill in full before moving out of a property, then rang them to let them know I was moving.

 

I didn't think any more of it - until the letting agents from the previous property forwarded me a court summons from Severn Trent - for an amount owing from the period AFTER I'd moved out (and been paying water rates at my new place!).

 

I rang Severn Trent, and also entered a defence to the court claim - faxed off all documents proving where I was living when and when I moved - next thing I knew I had a letter from Severn Trent telling me the court action had been dropped.

 

Personally, I'd start by contacting Severn Trent again - I don't understand why this is still being passed round the DCA's when you've proven to them you only owed them a tenner!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey everyone. I did get contacted again by wescot over the phone (the wife is not as trained in not giving out information when on the phone so I kind of had to have a conversation with them once she'd confirmed everything and handed it to me!).

 

Did the "well, make sure you are comfortable because this is what happened". They said. "Please send us what you sent STW and we'll report back to them that we cannot recover this debt."

 

I've been holding off doing that a couple of days until someone on here has something to say. Should I just try STW again and cut out the DCC? I figure if I do this for the DCC then STW may just send another one?

 

Today though another letter from Wescot and this time the threatening one. Says they'll charge me another £95 legal expenses on the 22nd of Feb if I have not paid the full amount though they don't actually say what the legal expenses are for or what they are planning on doing.

 

They also just called now. "Can I speak to Mr .. can you confirm your address?"

 

"How about instead you tell me what you have there and I'll say yes or no."

 

"No, sorry, you can't do that." *HANGUP*

 

Wah? They did it before! Ok. So, worth sending details to DCC? Worth letting them take me to court so I can actually defend myself and sort this on their time and money? Isn't it illegal to continue to add charges on an account in dispute or is that just credit agreements? Go back through STW? God. I'd rather not have to send them anything to be honest, why can't they just contact the actual landlord of the property and try and chase the people who were actually living there?

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send everything to Wescot and severn trent water. Send both by recorded delivery at least so you can prove they got it.

OFT debt collection guidance

 

Please remember the only stupid question is the one you dont ask so dont worry about asking the stupid questions.

 

Essex girl in pc world looking 4 curtains 4 her pc,the assistant says u dont need curtains 4 a computer!!Essex girl says,''HELLOOO!! i,ve got WINDOWS!!'.

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  • 2 months later...

Ok they got everything. A day or two after sending it I got a letter saying they were basically giving up "Taking the account back to STW as unrecoverable or passing it to a 3rd party".

 

After that I got a letter saying please wait while we look into this. Today I get a letter from Wescot saying.

 

"As your name was on the bill it is your responsibility to pay for this. You need to contact any 3rd party and recover any money from them yourself. Please return payment."

 

This is apparently the official response from STW!

 

Lol, what?!

 

So now what? I can't believe that is their reply. Off to Ofwat or whatever the thing is called to see if they'll help me wrangle with them?!

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it is not just your name on the bill so they cant make just u pay.

 

I would write to them saying u are going to ofwat and any other agency you feel necessary to report this to to get this matter sorted out.

OFT debt collection guidance

 

Please remember the only stupid question is the one you dont ask so dont worry about asking the stupid questions.

 

Essex girl in pc world looking 4 curtains 4 her pc,the assistant says u dont need curtains 4 a computer!!Essex girl says,''HELLOOO!! i,ve got WINDOWS!!'.

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"it is not just your name on the bill so they cant make just u pay."

 

Is that irrespective of the fact that I wasn't living at the address, nor a legal tenant during this period and I've proved this to them?

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no.

 

If you were not living there you cant be charged but if u were then yes u can.

 

I am havingthis argument with a water company for a property i moved out of in 2005 they want tocharge me up till the new residents moved in 3 moths later.

 

How can a empty house be using water.

OFT debt collection guidance

 

Please remember the only stupid question is the one you dont ask so dont worry about asking the stupid questions.

 

Essex girl in pc world looking 4 curtains 4 her pc,the assistant says u dont need curtains 4 a computer!!Essex girl says,''HELLOOO!! i,ve got WINDOWS!!'.

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You see the problem I am having is that they are basically saying that. I've shown them my tenancy agreement and still they are saying "well. As it was your responsibility to make sure we knew you'd left the address and it is our word against yours and it is your name on this bill and services were rendered to that address then you should pay it"

 

What I really need is something concrete that I can throw back at them other than logic because that doesn't seem to go very far these days!

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you were one of 4 ppl living at the house. You are only responsible until u moved out so only pay what you owe and contact ofwat the water regulator.

OFT debt collection guidance

 

Please remember the only stupid question is the one you dont ask so dont worry about asking the stupid questions.

 

Essex girl in pc world looking 4 curtains 4 her pc,the assistant says u dont need curtains 4 a computer!!Essex girl says,''HELLOOO!! i,ve got WINDOWS!!'.

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Another letter from Wescot this morning. Said.

 

"So we can look into this properly you need to supply clear evidence of when you left the property, please reply within 10 days."

 

Doh I've already done that! Looks like come monday I'll be posting another letter. Another copy of the tenancy agreement for the address and contacting the consumer council group for Severn Trent. Tried contacting OFWAT and they referred me to them anyway.

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ok then maybe you should prepare a few cases.

 

One for trading standards

one for the concumer council group

one for ofwat.

 

everytime u have to rite a letter puta copy in each folder and everytime one comes to you put a copy in each folder.

 

That way you have one for each company.

 

Alsoi would put on the bottom of the letter for wescot.

 

CC Trading satandards. ofwat, consumer group for severn trent water

OFT debt collection guidance

 

Please remember the only stupid question is the one you dont ask so dont worry about asking the stupid questions.

 

Essex girl in pc world looking 4 curtains 4 her pc,the assistant says u dont need curtains 4 a computer!!Essex girl says,''HELLOOO!! i,ve got WINDOWS!!'.

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Oh I spoke to Wescot again. They are being quite nice about it. They said "STW say that you need to provide further evidence, in this case we believe they are splitting hairs and we hope you have luck with Ofwat and the CC".

 

The CC got back in touch with me saying "STW say they cannot find your account information, please can you supply us with EVERYTHING relating to the account so they can try and find your records"

 

Still waiting on that. First off they said I have a cause to dispute. Second they said that they'll most likely be unable to get it reduced down to the £10ish I actually owe. A figure closer to the £130ish they originally offered me is more likely but they'll do their best.

 

At this point I am losing interest in this. If the debt collection company said "hey you can pay this standing order £1 a week and we'll never contact you again" I'd just say sure whatever. I guess that is what STW is hoping though so we'll see how it goes.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well. Now I've been able to supply account information CC are dealing with this. STW haven't got back in touch with either me or them yet and give it another few days and they'll actually owe me £20 for not following up my complaint!

 

So yes.

 

Wescot have said "we'll postpone this until you've sorted it out. We've told STW that we cannot collect this debt, seems strange they won't take your evidence!"

 

STW have said "We don't have the account information. Please send more evidence, please send everything you can. We would like to stall."

 

CC say "we will most likely get somewhere with this. Give it some time, they'll owe you £20 by next week if they don't get in touch and even if they do reply with a stock response we'll investigate further."

 

OFWAT say "leave us alone, speak to CC."

 

Ok?

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  • 3 weeks later...

Ok. I know nobody really cares but this is likely resolved today. After a month or two with the consumer council on the case and threatening to resort to legal action I received a personalised letter from the pen of whoever it was dealing with the matter and STW have decided to.

 

- Issue a statement of satisfaction regarding the CCJ.

- Wave the costs incurred so far.

- Accept my paperwork and issue a final bill.

 

They also apologise and hope I am happy with the decision (I am!)

 

Also, Wescot have not been too bad. They believed me over STW. They told me how to manipulate the situation to get them to go away. They referred back to STW many many times to avoid having to collect. Generally ok, even if they did need a letter, and a couple of faxes, and a phone call once every couple of weeks.

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thats brill starz.

 

Sorry i have not kept up with the thread but i have been a bit busy with the last of the stuff for baby etc.

OFT debt collection guidance

 

Please remember the only stupid question is the one you dont ask so dont worry about asking the stupid questions.

 

Essex girl in pc world looking 4 curtains 4 her pc,the assistant says u dont need curtains 4 a computer!!Essex girl says,''HELLOOO!! i,ve got WINDOWS!!'.

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Oh I forgot to mention the best part. At one point STW had all the paperwork and evidence and said.

 

"we don't believe you!"

 

when it came through the consumer council they changed that to.

 

"we are sorry!"

 

It was fairly relaxed, but this did take around two years. Can't believe it but got the result!

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