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Buchanan, Clark and Wells - Spark Energy


wjfox2007
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Hi all

 

I moved into my current flat in January this year. My gas provider is Spark Energy and I'm completely up-to-date with my bills. I don't have any debts or anything from my previous flat.

 

Just recently, however, I've been getting phone calls and letters from a debt collection agency - Buchanan, Clark and Wells. At first, I thought they were phishing. They wouldn't even tell me what the call was about, how much I owed, or anything - unless I confirmed my personal details (which I didn't give them). They tried to phone a few more times after that, but I refused to even answer the phone.

 

They then followed up with a letter, on 8th November, which you can see below:

 

http://i620.photobucket.com/albums/tt283/skyscrapercitypics/personal/1-1.jpg?t=1291156727

 

This claims I owe £152 to Spark Energy, which I know is completely untrue. It even has a "supply period" of April 2009 ... which is before I even moved into the flat (!). This is clearly somebody else's debt.

 

Yesterday I received another letter from them, threatening legal proceedings, unless I pay up immediately -

 

http://i620.photobucket.com/albums/tt283/skyscrapercitypics/personal/2.jpg?t=1291157230

 

I have absolutely no intention of paying for somebody else's debt. However, I'm afraid to ignore this letter, as they seem pretty serious about taking me to court.

 

Anyway, I'd appreciate any help/advice about what to do next. Is there a letter template or something I could use?

 

Many thanks!

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Morning wjf

This is more than likely a phishing trip

As you know your payments are up to date and the dates are wrong take no notice of BCW go straight to Spark and ask wtf is going on

Make it absolutely clear that this is harassment from the DCA and you want Spark to sort it out immediately and confirm their actions in writing for future ref

Good luck

R

[sIGPIC][/sIGPIC] I asked them to wait whilst I got my Bank card :violin:

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Information that may help if a CCA request is refused due to the lack of a signature . . http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?248863-Signature-demands-fight-back-possible-!&highlight=

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Hi wjfox,

You could send them the PROVE IT LETTER (see my debt blog for links) but in your circumstances it would be pretty easy to demonstrate that it's not your debt.

I would just write to them and say:

I am concerned that you write threatening Legal Action re a debt with Spark Energy dated 2009 which is clearly not mine as I was not living in this property and did not have an account with Spark Energy at that time.

 

I am aware of the Office of Fair Trading Debt Collection Guidelines which state it is unfair to pursue a debt when you are unsure of the identity of the debtor. I would also refer you to CPUTR 2008 in respect of your threat of legal action.

 

It is your responsibility to prove any alleged debt and ascertain that you are pursuing the correct person, both for legal and data protection issues.

I therefore suggest that you refer back to Sparks Energy and address your collection activities on this debt to the rightful owner.

I require that you write within seven days to confirm that you will cease collection activity against me, otherwise I will have no alternative but to report your actions to the relevant authorities, including a complaint to Sparks Energy.

 

Yours faithfully etc

 

Just off the top of my head...see what others think.

 

kind regards,

Elsa x

PLEASE NOTE... I AM MOST SORRY BUT I HAVE VERY LIMITED AVAILABILITY AT THE MOMENT DUE TO EXTREME PRESSURE OF WORK - IF YOU REQUIRE URGENT HELP ON YOUR THREAD AND ARE GETTING NO RESPONSE PLEASE HIT THE TRIANGLE FOR SITE TEAM ASSISTANCE. ELSA XXX

 

Please check out my BLOG for the quick guide to debt threats - it has all the info & letter template links you need to get started on your journey of TAKING CONTROL. :roll:

 

All opinions are my own based on research. I am not legally qualified, if in doubt please consult a legal expert.

Hope this has helped or made you smile. Keep your chin up, you're among friends now! Elsa xxx

Please click the *star* of any CAG member who has helped you .

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BCW ought to be in a circus.

 

 

Dear Sirs

 

I refer to your letter dated (date), the content of which is noted.

 

I was not a customer of Sparks Energy at the time the debt was incurred, and am therefore not responsible for this debt. I am aware of the Office of Fair Trading's view that pursuing someone for a debt when you have been made aware that they are not the debtor is an unfair practice, and I will not hesitate to complain if you send any further spurious demands.

 

For the avoidance of any doubt, no money will be forthcoming, and no further correspondence will be entered into.

 

Yours etc.

 

As you are a current customer of Sparks Energy you may like to take them to task for disclosing your data inappropriately to BCW - a formal complaint and a request for their proposals to compensate you.

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Ooh even better! Complain to all of these:

OFT&TS via http://www.consumerdirect.gov.uk/contact

 

ICO via http://www.ico.gov.uk/complaints.aspx

 

OfGem http://www.ofgem.gov.uk/Pages/OfgemHome.aspx

 

And start a formal complaint with themselves..

http://sparkenergy.co.uk/files/Complaints.pdf

 

Send an email back quoting the following!!!!!

 

40 Punishment for unlawful harassment of debtors. E+W

 

(1)A person commits an offence if, with the object of coercing another person to pay money claimed from the other as a debt due under a contract, he—

 

(a)harasses the other with demands for payment which, in respect of their frequency or the manner or occasion of making any such demand, or of any threat or publicity by which any demand is accompanied, are calculated to subject him or members of his family or household to alarm, distress or humiliation;

 

(b)falsely represents, in relation to the money claimed, that criminal proceedings lie for failure to pay it;

 

©falsely represents himself to be authorised in some official capacity to claim or enforce payment; or

 

(d)utters a document falsely represented by him to have some official character or purporting to have some official character which he knows it has not.

 

(2)A person may be guilty of an offence by virtue of subsection (1)(a) above if he concerts with others in the taking of such action as is described in that paragraph, notwithstanding that his own course of conduct does not by itself amount to harassment.

 

(3)Subsection (1)(a) above does not apply to anything done by a person which is reasonable (and otherwise permissible in law) for the purpose—

 

(a)of securing the discharge of an obligation due, or believed by him to be due, to himself or to persons for whom he acts, or protecting himself or them from future loss; or

 

(b)of the enforcement of any liability by legal process.

 

(4)A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine of not more than £100, and on a second or subsequent conviction to a fine of not more than £400.

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1970/31/section/40

 

1 Prohibition of harassment. E+W

 

(1)A person must not pursue a course of conduct—

 

(a)which amounts to harassment of another, and

 

(b)which he knows or ought to know amounts to harassment of the other.

 

(2)For the purposes of this section, the person whose course of conduct is in question ought to know that it amounts to harassment of another if a reasonable person in possession of the same information would think the course of conduct amounted to harassment of the other.

 

(3)Subsection (1) does not apply to a course of conduct if the person who pursued it shows—

 

(a)that it was pursued for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime,

 

(b)that it was pursued under any enactment or rule of law or to comply with any condition or requirement imposed by any person under any enactment, or

 

©that in the particular circumstances the pursuit of the course of conduct was reasonable.

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1997/40/section/1

 

And my Favourite:

Offence of sending letters etc. with intent to cause distress or anxiety. E+W

 

(1)Any person who sends to another person—

 

(a)a [F1letter, electronic communication or article of any description] which conveys—

 

(i)a message which is indecent or grossly offensive;

 

(ii)a threat; or

 

(iii)information which is false and known or believed to be false by the sender; or

 

(b)any [F2article or electronic communication] which is, in whole or part, of an indecent or grossly offensive nature,

 

is guilty of an offence if his purpose, or one of his purposes, in sending it is that it should, so far as falling within paragraph (a) or (b) above, cause distress or anxiety to the recipient or to any other person to whom he intends that it or its contents or nature should be communicated.

 

(2)A person is not guilty of an offence by virtue of subsection (1)(a)(ii) above if he shows—

 

(a)that the threat was used to reinforce a demand [F3made by him on reasonable grounds]; and

 

(b)that he believed [F4, and had reasonable grounds for believing,] that the use of the threat was a proper means of reinforcing the demand.

 

[F5(2A)In this section “electronic communication” includes—

 

(a)any oral or other communication by means of a telecommunication system (within the meaning of the Telecommunications Act 1984 (c. 12)); and

 

(b)any communication (however sent) that is in electronic form.]

 

(3)In this section references to sending include references to delivering [F6or transmitting] and to causing to be sent [F7, delivered or transmitted] and “sender” shall be construed accordingly.

 

(4)A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable on summary conviction to [F8imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale, or to both].

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1988/27/section/1

 

For the above you offence, you'll need to forward your complaint onto OfCom.

Who ever heard of someone getting a job at the Jobcentre? The unemployed are sent there as penance for their sins, not to help them find work!

 

 

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Thanks for the replies everyone! :) I will send a letter first thing tomorrow.

 

It gets worse, btw - they've now managed to acquire my email address! I had a message earlier, demanding that I contact them! :mmph:

 

 

This is not a major problem as all you do is add their address to your blocked list

 

R

[sIGPIC][/sIGPIC] I asked them to wait whilst I got my Bank card :violin:

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Information that may help if a CCA request is refused due to the lack of a signature . . http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?248863-Signature-demands-fight-back-possible-!&highlight=

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  • 3 weeks later...

This was the letter I sent them.

 

---

 

7th December 2010

Dear Sir or Madam

Ref: *********

I am concerned that you write threatening legal action re: a debt with Spark Energy.

 

This is dated April 2009 and is clearly not mine, as I was not living in the property and did not have an account with Spark Energy at that time.

 

I am aware of the Office of Fair Trading debt collection guidelines, which state that it is unfair to pursue a debt when you are unsure of the identity of the debtor. I would also refer you to the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations (CPUTR) 2008, in respect of your threat of legal action.

 

It is your responsibility to prove any alleged debt and ascertain that you are pursuing the correct person, both for legal and data protection issues. I therefore suggest that you refer back to Spark and address your collection activities on this debt to the rightful owner.

 

I require that you write within seven days to confirm that you will cease collection activity against me, otherwise I will have no alternative but to report your actions to the relevant authorities, including a complaint to Spark Energy.

 

Yours faithfully

 

****** ****

 

 

This was sent by registered post. Their only "reply" has been to send me another text message, asking me to urgently call them! - this time with a different reference number, which suggests it's another imaginary debt they're trying to lump on me! Sigh.

http://www.futuretimeline.net - a timeline of future history

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Hi,

Have you checked the Royal Mail website to see if its been delivered?

 

might take a while to filter through to anyone in their office with a brain cell...

Elsa x

PLEASE NOTE... I AM MOST SORRY BUT I HAVE VERY LIMITED AVAILABILITY AT THE MOMENT DUE TO EXTREME PRESSURE OF WORK - IF YOU REQUIRE URGENT HELP ON YOUR THREAD AND ARE GETTING NO RESPONSE PLEASE HIT THE TRIANGLE FOR SITE TEAM ASSISTANCE. ELSA XXX

 

Please check out my BLOG for the quick guide to debt threats - it has all the info & letter template links you need to get started on your journey of TAKING CONTROL. :roll:

 

All opinions are my own based on research. I am not legally qualified, if in doubt please consult a legal expert.

Hope this has helped or made you smile. Keep your chin up, you're among friends now! Elsa xxx

Please click the *star* of any CAG member who has helped you .

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Ignore the fools, it is pointless playing letter tennis with them, they don't employ anyone old enough to read any how, besides as Sp said, they're probably busy moving round the country with their circus act.

You've told them that it's not yours, if they choose to ignore the advice, then more fool them, complain to the OFT&TS via http://www.consumerdirect.gov.uk/contact

There is more chance of Her Majesty knocking on your door asking to use the loo than these fools taking any action against you, besides, you will be able to counter sue for damages so you'd be quids in. Ignore them, don't get drawn into any further 'he said she said' nonsense, I am sure you have much more interesting and important things to be doing......like watching paint dry?

Who ever heard of someone getting a job at the Jobcentre? The unemployed are sent there as penance for their sins, not to help them find work!

 

 

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Hopefully you are now in the process fo changing suppliers. If your account is up to date and they refuse to allow you to change they will be leaving themselves wide open to a compensation claim from you. I have noticed a few people on this forum complaining about Spark and their tactics.

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My nephew a student had exactly same thing happen he never had Spark energy but sent Buchanan after a £200 odd debt his student digs could not have spark as he had a prepayment meter which they said they didn`t deal with but the landlady had Spark.

 

Nephew moved areas 2 year later letter from Buchanan about this debt arrived I sent a letter to Buchanan the response was so weird they said they had closed the files and thanks for letting them know that my nephew was now bankrupt weird or what

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Have you checked your Credit Files lately, just to be on the safe side.

Every journey begins with a single step :):)

 

Please note: I have no qualifications in this area - my advice is learned from the wonderful members of this Forum. Thanks to you all for your help.

 

If you have found my post helpful please leave a short message by clicking the star to the left of my profile - Thank You

 

The only person entitled to your Personal Finance details is a Judge not a DCA

 

Move all banking activity to another banking group if you have a dispute - your funds can be used to offset debts within the same group.

Be careful with Banking details (card/account numbers) as these can be used to take unauthorised payments.

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Thanks for the comments and help so far.

 

Latest update -

 

Following my letter to BCW, they replied back. In fact, I received 2 letters. This first one on Saturday...

 

http://i620.photobucket.com/albums/tt283/skyscrapercitypics/personal/3.jpg

 

 

... and this one yesterday:

 

http://i620.photobucket.com/albums/tt283/skyscrapercitypics/personal/4.jpg

 

 

Today I phoned Spark Energy, and finally managed to get through to their Customer Services department. The guy I spoke to drafted a letter, based on the explanation I gave him - which he promised to pass on to the billing department (they were unavailable today). Apparently, they will then contact Buchanan and stop them from pestering me. The Spark billing department will also phone and/or email me to confirm this.

 

Even if they sort it, I'm still tempted to make a complaint, for the timewasting and nuisance they've caused.

http://www.futuretimeline.net - a timeline of future history

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Yes you must make a complaint, regardless whether or not they rectify the situation, it should never have come about in the first place!

For BCW complain to the OFT&TS via http://www.consumerdirect.gov.uk/contact

 

As for Sparkless, use their own internal complaints procedure first.

http://www.sparkenergy.co.uk/files/Complaints%20Process%285%29.pdf

Who ever heard of someone getting a job at the Jobcentre? The unemployed are sent there as penance for their sins, not to help them find work!

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

An update - I received yet another letter from BCW. :-x

 

This time they mentioned a "Debt Investigation Officer" (!)...

 

http://i620.photobucket.com/albums/tt283/skyscrapercitypics/personal/5-1.jpg?t=1294765568

 

I phoned Consumer Direct and they recommended I send a complaint letter to Spark, which I'm doing. Here it is:

 

 

10th January 2010

Dear Sir or Madam

 

Account number: **********

 

I am writing with regard to a series of letters I have been receiving from a debt collection agency – Buchanan Clark and Wells. They claim that I owe £152.60 to you, on a dual fuel tariff, for a period beginning in April 2009.

 

Their first letter was dated 8th November 2010 and arrived completely out of the blue. I have since received a total of five letters, along with numerous text messages, telephone calls and e-mails. All have been extremely threatening in nature. This has occurred during my Christmas break, causing me considerable stress.

 

In my opinion, this is simply outrageous.

 

For a start, I am completely up to date with my bills – you yourselves have confirmed this to me, through two separate phone calls and an email, using my latest meter reading.

 

Secondly, I only moved into the property in January 2010 and furthermore, I only became an actual customer of Spark from June 2010 onwards. Why on earth am I being pursued for a debt beginning 14 months before I even had an account with Spark? You should also note that I have only gas, not a dual tariff as claimed by Buchanan.

 

I have explained all this in writing to Buchanan, but they continue to harass me with letters and phone calls, threatening court action and even personal visits by a “Debt Investigation Officer”.

 

I phoned Spark on 22nd December 2010 and you promised to contact Buchanan to make them drop their demands, but this clearly hasn’t happened.

 

What concerns me even more is the fact that you passed my personal details - name, address, telephone and email - to Buchanan. This is a blatant violation of the Data Protection Act.

 

Be aware that I am already in the process of reporting your actions and those of your agent BCW to all of the relevant authorities, as I made clear that I would in my earlier letter to BCW.

Yours faithfully,

 

 

***** ****

http://www.futuretimeline.net - a timeline of future history

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Heres there complaints procedure, exhaust it;

http://www.sparkenergy.co.uk/files/Complaints%20Process%285%29.pdf

 

You should vote with your feet also, take your money elsewhere, these clowns are clearly unable to run a company.

Who ever heard of someone getting a job at the Jobcentre? The unemployed are sent there as penance for their sins, not to help them find work!

 

 

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...An update - I received yet another letter from BCW.

 

This time they mentioned a "Debt Investigation Officer" (!)...

 

 

 

Hey wjfox2007 Have a closer look at the sentence in the last letter they sent you:

 

'...we must advise you that we are left with no option other than to proceed with a Personal Visitation by a Debt Investigation Officer..blah blah.."

 

DAMN RIGHT THEY ARE! Thats IS the ONLY option left for them, especially if thats the only thing they CAN do following their previous letter which stated they were preparing for the issue of a claim in court!

 

Seriously, how ridiculously transparent and stupid are these people now that we've all learned (through CAG forum) to see right through their bull**** letters and idle and empty threats!

 

Such entertainment! Beats X-Factor on a Saturday night..

 

 

 

 

oh, and what is it with using capital letters in words like 'Personal Visitation'..is that their official title to the action of 'personally visiting'??? LOL LOL

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Personal visitation!

 

I think they mean a visit.

 

However, if it really is a visitation they’re promising, you could expect at your front door any of the following:

 

– The Virgin Mary

– Someone coming to visit their children

– Someone coming to see a corpse

– A Catholic priest

– A ghost

 

Given that debt collectors cannot possibly go to Heaven, my money is on the last two.

“The industry is rotten to the core, whether it is in-house recovery and collection, or where agents are used, or where the debt has been sold.” Andrew Mackinley MP, House of Commons, 22 April 2009

 

If a Cagger helps you, click their star. Better still, make a donation however small, so that CAG can continue to help others.

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Thanks for all the comments and advice - much appreciated. :)

 

I wrote to the complaints department of Spark, and am now awaiting their response. Meanwhile, I've received yet another letter from BCW...

 

http://i620.photobucket.com/albums/tt283/skyscrapercitypics/personal/6-1.jpg

 

I spoke to my Dad, and he suggests I send them the following letter:

 

 

Dear Sirs

 

My ref.: BCW/Spark: 005

 

I refer to my letter of xxxxx, which was sent by registered post and your subsequent demand dated xxxx, your ref. xxxxx.

 

I will charge you a service fee of £250.00 per letter for dealing with any more letters demanding, whether erroneously or intentionally, payment of this fallacious amount, received by me from you after January 25th, 2011.

 

Your sending of any such demand will signify your agreement to this charge.

 

Yours faithfully,

http://www.futuretimeline.net - a timeline of future history

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You've got to laugh at their puerile persistence! Fools. Save yourself the time and money and ignore them, they can't do anything, they are deluding themselves if they seriously think people in this day and age are going to be at all threatened by their childish threats, none of which they carry out.

This is why the CSA/DBSG and the OFT are in talks at standardising these ridiculous letter templates, in the hope that they may add some sort of credence to them.

Who ever heard of someone getting a job at the Jobcentre? The unemployed are sent there as penance for their sins, not to help them find work!

 

 

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I wouldn’t waste a stamp.

“The industry is rotten to the core, whether it is in-house recovery and collection, or where agents are used, or where the debt has been sold.” Andrew Mackinley MP, House of Commons, 22 April 2009

 

If a Cagger helps you, click their star. Better still, make a donation however small, so that CAG can continue to help others.

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