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Letting agent trying to change utility provider

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Hi, I was looking for some advice, I think this might be quite a unique question but any help you can give would be gratefully appreciated.

 

My husband and I moved into a rented house in September, the utilities were with British Gas but I did a quick comparison and changed us to EDF. We've made the first DD payment to EDF and I'm happy with them (so far!)

We received a letter this morning from the letting agent "proposing" to transfer all their properties over to Southern Electric, it goes on to list all the discounts in comparison to E.on and British Gas and encloses a form to fill in and return to get the supplier changed over. This is apparently for ease of utility management for them particularly when tenants leave a property.

 

My tenancy agreement is only between my husband and I, and our landlady who owns the property.

 

I would have thought that as a utility is a service which is bound by contractual obligations, the letting agents have no right to change our supplier, ultimately we're the ones using is, paying for it and responsible for it (as laid out in the tenancy agreement) so we should be able to choose what we like. I can't imagine they can tell us what phone company to use or who to get broadband from.

 

The fact that the letter doesn't make any mention of this being compulsory (although it doesn't say it's optional) makes me think I can take it or leave it?

 

I haven't tied into a fixed price with the utility company or paid in advance but with these options both readily available now, the letting agent can't possibly tell all it's tenants it wants them all to use this one utility supplier. Aren't there some kind of competition rules preventing this situation?

 

I've gone on a bit, but it's wound me up a little that they might take advantage of people who think this is compulsory, I wouldn't mind betting the letting agent is getting a cut somewhere along the line too.

 

I'd like to report the letting agent/utility company but I'd have no idea who to.

 

Thanks for your help :-)

 

Sharon

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The letting agent will be getting commission if you change hence their reason for trying to get you to change. Stay well away from BGAS & Npower.

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You are in your rights to ignore the letting agent.

 

I guess that OFGEM would be the people to check with if you wanted to see whether Southern Electric are up to no good.

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Thanks, I thought OFGEM might be my first port of call, but as it's the letting agent as well I wasn't sure. Thought OFT might also be worth a try? Just think it's unfair of them to not make it clear on the letter that it's optional, it doesn't say the change is compulsory but it doesn't make it clear at all. I'm reasonably aware of my rights but someone who isn't, particularly someone vulnerable, might feel obliged to go along with it and may not necessarily end up better off. I know from looking at utility companies that just because maybe one of a company's rates are cheaper, doesn't necessarily make it the cheaper option for everyone as it depends on your personal usage.

 

Also, as it's only a few weeks until Christmas, people might be more inclined just to fill the form in and return it without really checking. It also strikes me as odd that even though the form enclosed is a Southern Electric form, they're asking you to return it to the letting agent and to go through the letting agent to deal with them. The form asks for bank details, I personally don't want to just send my bank details off where some untrained office admin person might lose them or worse.

 

I noticed something else on the letter which makes me agree that they're probably on comission - it says even if you're with Southern Electric, can you please still notify the letting agent with your account details, so they don't contact you again about it, also implying they are likely to keep writing to people who don't take the offer on.

 

Really getting quite mad about this! :mad:

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Is the utilioty bill in your names? If so it is none of the agents business who you get your power from. As said above, they get commission.

 

Strange that. I always thought all estate agents were honest, trustworthy, hardworking, caring and impartial professionals. I never ever thought they were caniving, slimy, underhand, theiving, dispicable, lowlife scumbucket crooks who don't desreve the oxygen they steal.

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as a by the by, have had a look at both Ofgen and OFT website, both of which now say they won't take complaints or enquiries from individual consumers, you now need to go through a new government website called consumerdirect.gov.uk

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