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Mother of My Peace

Scottish Power and SPM Collections

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Hi, new here so forgive any errors in etiquette please.


We moved house in September last year and continued to get our electricity and gas from Scottish Power.


We paid £96 by direct debit to cover both. In November they said they wanted to put it up to £128. Bit of a rise but fair enough. The direct debit was set up and first payment was supposed to be taken in Dec 2008. They never took from this direct debit and kept taking from the old one.


End of April we had a letter saying that our monthly payment had been revised to £256 (approx) per month. Then two days later we had one saying it was staying at £96, then another two days later one giving the £256 again.


I phoned them and they said this was correct. As there was no way that I could have that much money in the bank to pay this I canceled the direct debit. If I had not, then no-one else would have got paid and I would have had hundreds in bank charges!


I also took steps then to change my supplier to n-power.


I stopped communicating with them by phone and carried out the rest of the correspondence by email, keeping copies.


We then had a letter saying that we were not being allowed to change suppliers and wanting their cash at £256 per month.


We took this to the CAB who phoned them on our behalf. They offered to reduce the monthly payments from £256 to £240! Which was no good whatsoever. However the CAB did find out that the transfer to the new supplier was going ahead, which it did on the 19th of June for electricity and about ten days later for gas.


We had final bills for these accounts at the start of July, but due to personal circumstances, did not get the chance to deal with this then. Then on the 25th July we had a letter from SPM Collections with the usual threats etc, demanding immediate payment of the full amount for both accounts. This comes to roughly £1100.


I did not bother contacting them by phone but went down to CAB as soon as possible, which was the 28th - they are only part time in this area - and they phoned Scottish Power on our behalf. First phone call they got nowhere, but after several discussions they phoned again, spoke to someone who agreed to take monthly payments of £25 on each account, provided the CAB sent them a financial assessment.


This is being done and we are also having a check done to see if we are entitled to any more benefits as well.


However since then we are getting constant phone calls from SPM Collections.


The first couple of times we answered and told them what had been agreed with Scottish Power and asked them to make a note on their system. This has had no effect. Today they have called five times. We no longer answer the calls as it comes through with an international calling prefix and no-one else calls us from abroad!


Is there anything else we can do?


To fill in the background a little, my husband is 62 and had a stent put in his heart due to angina in May. I am disabled and in receipt of DLA at the higher rate for both mobility and the care component. We are self-employed working with computers which is great when your mobility is limited, but we make very little money. However it is better than doing nothing. I have pulmonary hypertension, scleroderma, Raynaud's disease, telangectesia, palindromic rheumatism, osteo-arthritis, glaucoma, a damaged cornea in my left eye which makes the vision in it quite limited, and I have suffered from severe depression since the early eighties. Apart from that I'm fine.


We get full housing and council tax benefit and have a motability car. We also get working tax credits.


In the past three weeks we have additionally had two of our cats ill, with one having to be put to sleep, and my father who is 88 being rushed to hospital with a blood clot in his leg, although this has been resolved now. So it has all been a bit stressful and Scottish Power was down my list of priorities a wee bit.


Any and all helpful suggestions gratefully recieved.


Thank you.


I should also add that I am to start chemotherapy later this month to help with the autoimmune illnesses and while I hope that it does not affect me too badly, I may not be too great for a while.

Edited by Mother of My Peace
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As you are no longer with ScottishPower, in reality there is little further they are likely to do in chasing the "debt" you have with them. They certainly can't cut you off! The debt agency you mention are probably in reality part of Scottish Power; they contact you win this way in order to scare you into paying. You have made an offer of £25.00 and they should have should put a hold on the account, whilst they await the financial info from CAB. Were proper meter readings used by Scottish Power at your curent address? If so (and the arrears is correct), I would advise starting to make the £25.00 payments as it demonstrates good faith on your part.

I'm sure you could take legal action of some sort against ScottishPower and/or their debt agents (if they are not in reality one and the same organisation), but I don't really know about this. I'm sure someone else will come along shortly to advise further.


Are you paying NPower by DirectDebit? I personally would advise paying by some other method. Electricity companies can easily increase Direct Debits without the customer's agreement (as you have discovered with Scottish Power). Additionally, they often lead to the customer being complacent and just assuming everything is in order on the account because the monthly payments are going through. The official line is that Direct Debits are cheaper than paying by other methods. In reality, only the price per unit is cheaper paying by that method and the electric company normally try and ensure your account is quite considerably in credit. Therefore meaning you pay more than you have to. Of course, many people do pay by DD, but it is something you may wish to consider.


And no mother of my peace. Nothing wrong with your first post. Ocasionally takes a while to people to reply to your thread but I'm sure someone more knowledgeable than me will come along soon!

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thank you mattlamb. CAB told Scottish Power that it would be about a fortnight so they knew nothing would happen immediately. Going to go back and see them on Tuesday though just to see how they are getting on. Got a letter this morning from some collection agency that have now added on just over £100 to the debt for each account.


Threatening must get in touch straight away etc etc. Not sent recorded or anything like that just in the post this morning. My hubby wanted to phone them but I said to just reply in writing. Am I right in this?


I'm not really worried about this but I am concerned. We were bankrupt in 1999 and although it was completely painless, I do not want to repeat the process. We have been trying hard since then to build up a good credit rating and I will be very annoyed if this carry-on undoes all our good work.


Any and all advice gratefully received.

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We are with SP t the moment, at first it all seemed fine, paying £70pcm, then we got stuck I wrote to them which they ignored and just put the payments up, they are now threatening us with thier DCA for £150 payment for one month, it seems they just put up prices when they feel like it.


At least you have moved now so really they have yo accept what you offer rather than what they demand. How are you finding Npower ? I heard so many bad things about them but weve tried British gas and they were dreadful.

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Only been with Npower for a month, so early days. Quite frankly they all seem to be bad as each other these days!


Going to make sure though that they know that I am a vulnerable customer. I have quite a few medications that need to be kept refrigerated and a stairlift which these days is an absolute essential!


All good fun...

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Well, have finally had financial statement from CAB formally accepted by these people and two direct debits arranged starting on the 2nd Sept, one for electricity and one for gas.


It's been a complete nightmare and we have done everything by the book, according to what the Scottish Power website says for people having difficulty. What is really annoying me now, and I mean REALLY, is that when I phoned these people this morning to make the arrangment for the direct debits, they wanted a minimum payment of about £250 per account, and haver informed me that because I can't pay that, that I will have a mark against me with Experian, EVEN THOUGH I HAVE MADE AN ARRANGEMENT WITH THEM, which has only just started and which therefore has had no chance to be in default or anything.


Is there anything that I can do about this? I am so p*ssed off about this. They have totally mismanaged everything and it is me that gets into bother for it.


Advice someone please?

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Well, I was told it would be taken off on the second of September and so far they haven't taken ANY payment although the direct debits are in place. PLEASE can anyone give me any idea what they are up to:confused:

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Still hoping for some help with the Experian carry on. Payments being taken now.


Any advice out there?

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