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    • I had exactly the same issues.   Grossly over estimated bills from January onwards.  Despite what they claim, they are effectively taking an interest free loan from their customer base to keep the company in business.   They can dress it up how they like.  It’s irrelevant if they reconcile the bills the following month because they just over bill again thus keeping a rolling interest free loan.   it took two months of constant badgering to be finally moved to a fixed DD.   Once that was done I didn’t care how much they over-estimated by.   I had raised a query with the ombudsman over the billing fiasco and they readied a complaint should I wish to proceed.   I thought everything was sorted until May/June whereby I was allegedly more in debt then I was expecting to the tune of an extra months DD.   On querying it, it transpired that even though I was on a fixed monthly DD, because the bill was generated less than 5 days before the DD was due to be taken they didn’t take the DD.   They offered £5 compensation by way of apology but wanted to take two months DD in June.  I told them where to get off.   With appalling customer service,  bills that you need a Maths degree to follow, and I do have one and still struggled, inability to follow through on any agreements, constant gross over-estimation, the missed DD was the final straw and I proceeded with complaint to ombudsman.   Prior to getting to that stage I had to quote Symbio’s own complaints procedure to them to get any sort of response.   Their final offer to me was £25 goodwill and to waive an exit fee. The offer was derisory given the time it had taken to get things sorted and the continuing ineptitude.  Also, the whole thing has dragged on so long (5 months) I was already in the final 49 days of my contract and therefore there were no exit fees to pay and therefore nothing to waive.   Anyway, upshot is, ombudsman found in my favour.  Ordered an apology and a goodwill payment. Symbio appealed but were told the decision stood.   This week I received the goodwill payment.   I promptly left an honest and truthful review on trustpilot.   The next morning I received an email from Symbio with an apology.   This was followed an hour later with an email from trustpilot saying Symbio had replied to the review.  On reading the response they have accused me of not following procedure and of cyber bullying.   The company is a complete joke.
    • why not simply tell you supplier they have the wrong meter number you been paying for usage , and ofcourse you can view this online too so its not as if you'll owe anything you might get a nice surprise and find you are owed a refund.
    • The world of ballroom dancing went online to cope with the pandemic restrictions, but what does the future hold? View the full article
    • I would add, many companies have done everything possible to manage and carry on in difficult Covid19 circumstances to supply customers with what they need.   Continually making excuses for delays is not what I'd want from an installer and maybe the £100 deposit is not so important.   Get this deposit back if you can but, more importantly, find a local installer recommended by family or friends to carry out the works.
    • Hello all,   I hope you can assist me, as I am quite lost and confused at the moment.   Two years ago I moved to my actual flat. Throughout this time I have been with EDF first and now EON. When I moved in, my landlord didn't quite know which one was my meter and I picked the one that I believed was mine (now reading you I know I should have done a burner test..). During this time, I have been paying my bills and submitting the numbers that I believed mine, which actually agreed with my consuming patterns.   Today, all the meters appeared with numbers, but the one next to the one that I was using, which appeared with a different flat number. As you might have guessed, none of them had my flat number. I have just made the test and it looks like that one may be mine.   Now, how should I proceed? I have been paying bills is not like I wanted to avoid paying, but clearly there has been an issue. Could you please advice me on how to proceed?   Lastly, in terms of meter serial number, the one that I was using matches my bill and I guess my neighbor bill. The additional doubt I have is, who is paying for my meter and why are they still providing me with gas if no one is paying the one that seems to be my real meter.   Many thanks!    
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    • I came across this discussion recently and just wanted to give my experience of A Shade Greener that may help others regarding their boiler finance agreement.
       
      We had a 10yr  finance contract for a boiler fitted July 2015.
       
      After a summer of discontent with ASG I discovered that if you have paid HALF the agreement or more you can legally return the boiler to them at no cost to yourself. I've just returned mine the feeling is liberating.
       
      It all started mid summer during lockdown when they refused to service our boiler because we didn't have a loft ladder or flooring installed despite the fact AS installed the boiler. and had previosuly serviced it without issue for 4yrs. After consulting with an independent installer I was informed that if this was the case then ASG had breached building regulations,  this was duly reported to Gas Safe to investigate and even then ASG refused to accept blame and repeatedly said it was my problem. Anyway Gas Safe found them in breach of building regs and a compromise was reached.
       
      A month later and ASG attended to service our boiler but in the process left the boiler unusuable as it kept losing pressure not to mention they had damaged the filling loop in the process which they said was my responsibilty not theres and would charge me to repair, so generous of them! Soon after reporting the fault I got a letter stating it was time we arranged a powerflush on our heating system which they make you do after 5 years even though there's nothing in the contract that states this. Coincidence?
       
      After a few heated exchanges with ASG (pardon the pun) I decided to pull the plug and cancel our agreement.
       
      The boiler was removed and replaced by a reputable installer,  and the old boiler was returned to ASG thus ending our contract with them. What's mad is I saved in excess of £1000 in the long run and got a new boiler with a brand new 12yr warranty. 
       
      You only have to look at TrustPilot to get an idea of what this company is like.
       
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    • Dazza a few months ago I discovered a good friend of mine who had ten debts with cards and catalogues which he was slavishly paying off at detriment to his own family quality of life, and I mean hardship, not just absence of second holidays or flat screen TV's.
       
      I wrote to all his creditors asking for supporting documents and not one could provide any material that would allow them to enforce the debt.
       
      As a result he stopped paying and they have been unable to do anything, one even admitted it was unenforceable.
       
      If circumstances have got to the point where you are finding it unmanageable you must ask yourself why you feel the need to pay.  I guarantee you that these companies have built bad debt into their business model and no one over there is losing any sleep over your debt to them!  They will see you as a victim and cash cow and they will be reluctant to discuss final offers, only ways to keep you paying with threats of court action or seizing your assets if you have any.
       
      They are not your friends and you owe them no loyalty or moral duty, that must remain only for yourself and your family.
       
      If it was me I would send them all a CCA request.   I would bet that not one will provide the correct response and you can quite legally stop paying them until such time as they do provide a response.   Even when they do you should check back here as they mostly send dodgy photo copies or generic rubbish that has no connection with your supposed debt.
       
      The money you are paying them should, as far as you are able, be put to a savings account for yourself and as a means of paying of one of these fleecers should they ever manage to get to to the point of a successful court judgement.  After six years they will not be able to start court action and that money will then become yours.
       
      They will of course pursue you for the funds and pass your file around various departments of their business and out to third parties.
       
      Your response is that you should treat it as a hobby.  I have numerous files of correspondence each faithfully organised showing the various letters from different DCA;s , solicitors etc with a mix of threats, inducements and offers.   It is like my stamp collection and I show it to anyone who is interested!
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I was going through my bank statement on-line to day and spotted Direct Debit (DD) had been taken a few days ago for the amount of £20.00! Now this was my company account and I only have 3 DD on this and I know them well and none should have been for £20.00.

 

The info shown was LV LIFE with a reference number next to it. I called the bank to find out what it was! I was told that it was a DD that had been set up with out the need for a signature and had been set up to take £20.00 every month for Life Insurance. I asked how this was possible as I had not instructed this DD. I was told that as the set up had been made by the Insurance company using a method that did not require a signature the bank could do nothing to stop it being set up!

 

I told my bank that we had no dealings with LV LIFE ( Liverpool Victoria Insurance) and had never instructed them or provided them with our account details and instructed them to cancel the DD and reclaim the payment. I'm happy to report that the bank did this immediately.

 

However what is concerning is that this was ever allowed in the first place! Also the bank stated that other than cancelling the DD they could not investigate any further. They said I would need to contact the company to find out why the DD had been set up.

I explained that we had no dealings with LV LIFE and would not know who to contact but the bank was insistent that we would need to contact them!

 

I was not happy with this and asked for the complaint to be raised with the banks fraud section which they said they would and I'm waiting to be contacted by them.

 

Just thought that this might be useful as a warning to others to check there bank statements as apparently any company can set up a direct debit on your account without having to tell you and the banks just accept this and payout! If you don't spot it and cancel it you lose your money so be careful.

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This has been the case for the last 10 years. No signature is required, and the merchant simply asserts they have a valid request from their customer and will indemnify the bank (under the DD scheme) if there is an error. As you discovered, the money was taken by a 'reputable' company, but just as it is possible to enter into binding contracts without signing them, this situation should not surprise you.

 

The way round it is to tell your bank that the account CANNOT be used for DDs, and a block put in place that prevents this happening, however your 3 existing DDs would have to be cancelled and an alternative payment method found. It is also not commonly known, but even after 'cancellation' the originating merchant can reestablish the mandate automatically up to 367 days from the last debit taken - therefore you need to ensure that the electronic mandate is not simply cancelled but removed from your account profile.

 

Of course, they could set it up again (or a new company could simply provide your trading name, sort code and account number and the money leeches from your account once more. And all perfectly legal under the Banking Codes, so it is vitally important the you check each and EVERY statement for these mandates. You will not get far with the fraud section, as this will be classed as (a) an error or (b) incompetence. As there was no intention to defraud, there's nothing for them to investigate.

 

If money is taken in this way, the best you can hope for is a refund (only) no consequential loss. If it takes you more than 6 months to spot it, be prepared for only the last 6 months to be credited, as the banks will hold you jointly liable to check the statements they send.

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Following fraud on my account, my bank was instructed to accept only one of two types of DD - signed and authorised (the other being electronic and requiring no signature) - but I think this might vary from bank to bank - considering this bank refunded the fraudulant debits around 2 hours after discovering them. I know I was extremely lucky, but it might be worth speaking to the bank to ask how to prevent this from happening - they may have a process.

Lived through bankruptcy to tell the tale! Worked in various industries and studied law at university. All advice is given in good faith only :)

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make them refund it under the dd guarantee....

you received NO written notice of the amount, therefore it breaks the dd guarantee.

 

totally unlawful.

 

done this 3 times in the last 5 or so years.

 

dx

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

 

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

 

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

 

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

 

 

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Your bank is fooling you. There is NO mechanism to permit one type of DD over another. You cannot have overlooked that the DD sysatem originally required a specified date and amount for all debits, until in the mid 90's this changed to 'unspecified amounts on unspecified dates'. This major change meant the death of customer control, and there was no publicity as the changeover happened at the same time as the switch to electronic authorisation. Everyone is now on the latter type, irrespective of what was originally agreed.

 

You either have DD's active on your account, or you do not. There is no mid-way.

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make them refund it under the dd guarantee....

you received NO written notice of the amount, therefore it breaks the dd guarantee.

 

totally unlawful.

 

done this 3 times in the last 5 or so years.

 

dx

 

You'll find this has been watered down - there is bo requirement for 'written notice' in the conventional sense - You can be told you'll pay a variable amount on or after X date each month, and that complies. If you are expecting a letter each time a debit is taken. this is not insisted on. Telcos that offer paper-free billing, that require the user to log in and view their bill is a case in point, as was the reduction in the notice period of 10-12 days to just 7.

 

They really do make this up as they go along.

 

PS: Did you stick that advert in?

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Your bank is fooling you. There is NO mechanism to permit one type of DD over another. You cannot have overlooked that the DD sysatem originally required a specified date and amount for all debits, until in the mid 90's this changed to 'unspecified amounts on unspecified dates'. This major change meant the death of customer control, and there was no publicity as the changeover happened at the same time as the switch to electronic authorisation. Everyone is now on the latter type, irrespective of what was originally agreed.

 

You either have DD's active on your account, or you do not. There is no mid-way.

 

There are two - paper and paperless, my bank were instructed not to receive paperless direct debits and only paper ones which require my signature which can be verified....to this day, they will not accept any direct debit instruction which does not carry my signature - which is a pain. For example, I cannot use a "verified" method of payment through DD on Paypal - my bank rejected the DD setup. Each organisation is obliged to use paper DD if requested by the customer, which is what I have to do otherwise I pay by either standing order or manual payments. This is only one of my account, which I do not use for my mainstream bits, but as a deposit account so it's not a huge inconvenience.

 

But I was simply pointing out that by enquiring with the bank how to prevent fraudulant activity, this was an option given to me and I took it. And it has worked.

Lived through bankruptcy to tell the tale! Worked in various industries and studied law at university. All advice is given in good faith only :)

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I'm told that no paper DD's are being accepted by banks (still awaiting for the date this happened), but they confirm it may be a certain bank 'initiative' but it is not possible to block electronic DD's whilst allowing 'paper' ones to process normally. They also added that the ability to set price limits and transfer dates has also been lost (irrespective of the set up used), meanig SOs are the only way to do this.

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Buzby is correct. If you receive a paper dd from a company and you fill it in and sign it and send it back to the company - A few years ago they used to send a copy to the bank to confirm the dd - this has not happened in the last few years. Whoever told you this is wrong and you need to go back and make a complaint. They only have an electronic service now.

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I'm not saying anyone is right or wrong, I am saying that I have two bank accounts due to the fact that my original bank account (Citi) will NOT accept DD instructions without my signature, therefore I cannot have a DD on the vast majority of bills and payments etc - and whilst a pain, it has protected me from fraud for the past 5 years. This is not to say this is how each bank operate, so I only use my Citi account as a savings account and have a debit card for easy access. I wanted to show an example of what happened when I asked the bank how to prevent fraud from occuring on my account again, and this is what they did - my account is enhanced so that me and only me can set up payments with a signature. The amount of letters I received from companies saying my DD instruction had been refused by my bank, purely because I had not filled in an auth form showed that this was one way they were combatting fraud. As I said, I was refunded in a matter of hours and not days, which pays credit to the way some banks will treat their customers and deal with things such as fraud.

 

I'm not saying that other banks do this, and most will not, but it was highlighting an example.

Lived through bankruptcy to tell the tale! Worked in various industries and studied law at university. All advice is given in good faith only :)

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