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Please PLEASE can someone offer me some advice.

 

I have had a small business account with British Gas for over 10 years.

 

In 2010 I received an invoice from BG for several thousand pounds saying that my bills had been estimated for several years and here was a bill for what I owed them.

 

Up until this point I always paid the bills they sent me and un be known (yes I agree this was my fault for not reading the bills properly)

I hadnt realised they were estimated

 

The recession had hit however and I was unable to pay this HUGE bill so I contacted BG. My turnover fell to £14k! It was really bad.

 

This took several months of backwards and forwards between us to sort out and their "Special Credit Solutions Team"

allocated me my own account manager and they agreed for monthly repayments.

 

This amount they agreed was the minimum amount they would accept and I was bullied into agreeing to repay at this amount.

 

I wasnt asked to produce or prove my zero income and my lack of work.

 

These payments started, but then I stumbled 6 months later due to lack of work and monies.

 

I contacted my account manager who said not to worry they would sort it and get back to me.

 

They asked me for an up to date meter reading which I gave and they explained they would sort it.

 

This didnt happen.

 

I then received a notice of disconnection and called BG again.

They repeatably said "Dont Worry" ignore the letter and they would sort it.

 

Next I find that they have a Warrant,

entered my premises at 5:00pm on a Friday evening,

changed the locks and left me with a note to contact for new keys and another bill.

 

This contact number went through to an telephone number that was unmanned.

 

As we had work to carry out over that weekend we called a locksmith who changed our locks so that we could then gain access.

 

I called BG on the Monday morning discussed this and the ongoing issue with their Warrant Dept who said that they would speak to "Special Credit Solutions Team" and get back to me.

 

I was asked if I would like to file a complaint and I said yes and was given a Reference number for the complaint.

I was told the complaint procedure could take up to 8 weeks for me to get a response but in the meantime they would get the Special Solutions Team to contact me and sort it out.

 

I outlined that I was told to ignore the letter to disconnect my gas and that my account manager said they would sort it and get back to me.

 

I also explain to the Warrant Dept that I have queeried if my meter was faulty because the offices were unmanned and had been for several years.

There were no staff present on site and I was not happy with why my meter readings were this amount when I had not been working there at all.

I asked if my meter could be looked at. I was told they would have to check to see where the meter was and that were not sure if they still had it.

Nothing happened and I heard nothing.

 

I called again at the beginning of May and the Warrant team said they would get my account manager to contact me and sort this out.

 

Again I heard nothing

 

A month later I email them and am told

"I will look into this for you and reply as soon as I can. It is in the hands of a manager, please be reassured that we are dealing with your account."

And again I still hear nothing.

 

Then I receive a letter and several answerphone messages from a debt collection agency threatening me

and then two weeks later I've received a formal demand for payment.

By now another £500 has been added as administration fees!

 

So, I'm writing to ask what I should do.

 

 

As far as I'm concerned I filed a complaint with BG. I've had no response.

I've had no letters, email, or telephone calls from them.

 

They then appear to have passed this over for collection, even though I am told that this was being sorted by their Special Credit Solutions Team.

 

Can I contact the Ombusman about this case, or do I file another complaint with BG?

 

I need to get this sorted as we have no gas on the premises.

 

(This happened back in April)

 

I would like my meter testing but they dont know if they still have it, and havent let me know when they said they would.

 

Look forward to some advice PLEASE

Edited by Orchid47
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I'm posting another thread because the one I posted last week titled "British Gas Nigtmare" has still had no advice and I really need some help to work out what to do next.

So PLEASE can any caggers help me on this one its urgent as I'm receiving nasty letters now from a debt recovery agent.

Thank you

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a dca can send nasty letters all they like they have no powers end off!

 

there are two things that smack me here

 

they CANNOT just decide to go back 10yrs and rebill

 

as for the meter

 

what makes you think it was faulty.

 

if not readings were taken how do you know?

 

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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I strongly urge you to do a full subject access request immediate.

You need to be asking for everything but it has to be specific.

I have some good exp with dealing with BGB.

First of all-can you answer these questions ;

 

Is the business sole trader/partnership or Ltd Co ?

 

Is your name on the account ?

 

Have you been keeping letters they sent and have copies of yours ?

Have a happy and prosperous 2013 by avoiiding Payday loans. If you are sent a private message directing you for advice or support with your issues to another website,this is your choice.Before you decide,consider the users here who have already offered help and support.

Advice offered by Martin3030 is not supported by any legal training or qualification.Members are advised to use the services of fully insured legal professionals when needed.

 

 

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Hiya

Ok, THANK YOU for replying.

Today I recieved a FINAL DEMAND in the post, from LCS debt Recovery Agents who they say are acting for BG

 

I seemed to have caused a bit of confusion in my post.

 

So, just to clarify this confusion.

 

I've had an account with BG for over 10 years,

BG have not just decided to go back and re-bill me for the whole 10 years,

they have gone back to 2008 when they say that my bills were estimated from.

 

The reason we think the meter is faulty is because the warehouse was empty.

It has been unmanned for the last 7 years when I stopped working there and moved my office back home.

 

The Warehouse has just been a storage since then,

so the reason we think its faulty is that i havent had the radiators on,

or have I been using the hot water

- which is on a condensed boiler (heats the hot water as you draw it)

 

So I've been queering why my bills have been what they are and how they can have been rising when I havent been there.

 

I'm a LTD company

 

Yes I have all the bills kept and any correspondance

- although when they gave me my own dedicated business manager from the Credit Solutions Dept

they only spoke on the telephone and never followed up or sent me clarification by letter/ or email.

 

In fact everytime I was harrassed by BG for non payment

I would call BG and say but I have a special payment schedule set up, and it would atke them ages to try and sort this.

 

I even threatened once to report them for harrassment as BG kept sending me threatening letters saying

I should pay all the monies NOW and I called them to say STOP these letters,

 

I've been speaking to Special Credit Solutions and I've an arrangement set up, so stop harassing me.

 

Its as if one dept doesnt know what the others are doing.

 

Two weeks after THEY removed my meter I received a letter from BG asking for a meter reading?????????

 

The letters / bills have my company name on them, not mine.

 

Ok, so next step then,

 

I write to BG and ask for an SAR of my account????

 

What do I do about this 7 days Final Demand Letter from LCS??

 

My company has NO assets by the way.

 

I lease my warehouse.

 

What assets I had have been written off as they were purchased a long time ago.

 

Look forward to receving a response.

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ignore LCS they are a dca and can do nothing to you.

 

as for BG

 

they can only 're-bill'

interms of THEIR mistake for ONE year.

not till 2008.

unless

have you had regular billatleast every12mts fom 2008

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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If you look at the letter from LCS it'll say things like 'we MAY do this and that' and 'we COULD do whatever' and it'll all add huge costs to the bill. It's the MAY and the COULD that are the operative words here.

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LCS is a trading style of 1st.Locate (UK) Ltd who also trade as Leeds Consultancy Services,Levi Black & Associates and Rapid Forwarding.

As holders of A Consumer Credit Licence,they should be dealing fairly and if there is a legitimate dispute,should refer the account back to their client.

LCS are also debt buyers of defaulted accounts.

 

You need to contact these and make it clear that there is a dipute over the amount owed

and that you have made BGB aware of this.

Ask them for a copy of their complaints procedure,and a response in writing.

Send recorded delivery to their registered office quoting any ref they have on their letters.

 

Registered office is ;

 

TOWN CENTRE HOUSE, 1ST FLOOR WEST WING, THE MERRION CENTRE, WOODHOUSE LANE, LEEDS, LS2 8LY

 

I think you should also put something in writing (email will do) to Rachael Vincent.

Bullet point your concerns,and remind them they have a duty of care to their customers.

You can also cite the case between Ferguson -v-British Gas Trading in which they have previously been taken to task over unfair practices and Harassment.I would give her a contact number also.

 

Rachel Vincent, Director of Customer Services

Rachel.Vincent@britishgasbusiness.co.uk

0800 294 0015

British Gas Business, Spinneyside, Penman Way, Grove Park, Leicester, LE19 1SZ

 

Keep us informed.

Have a happy and prosperous 2013 by avoiiding Payday loans. If you are sent a private message directing you for advice or support with your issues to another website,this is your choice.Before you decide,consider the users here who have already offered help and support.

Advice offered by Martin3030 is not supported by any legal training or qualification.Members are advised to use the services of fully insured legal professionals when needed.

 

 

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It may be needed,but as they would have 40 days to respond,I think the immediate action should be in putting the concerns about the dealings and handling of things.

You could inform Rachael Vincent that you are considering doing a full DSAR which will surely assist you in taking your complaint furthern with supporting evidence,but that you will give her a last chance to resolve this beforehand.

In view of the length of time they have already had,there is no way that you will be allowing a further 8 weeks or even 4 weeks for response.I think 14 days should be more than adequate.

Have a happy and prosperous 2013 by avoiiding Payday loans. If you are sent a private message directing you for advice or support with your issues to another website,this is your choice.Before you decide,consider the users here who have already offered help and support.

Advice offered by Martin3030 is not supported by any legal training or qualification.Members are advised to use the services of fully insured legal professionals when needed.

 

 

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I am fairly clued up on domestic issues and Billing code, but not very savvy on business as that has a different code. Nottslad was the one who could assist but they have not been around for awhile. As suggested SAR, however get down to ware house and check meter serial number to make sure that are billing you on the correct meter. At the same time, take a reading and then return a week later and take another reading. This will confirm if there is any consumption. In none, the most they can charge you for is a daily standing charge.

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Hiya

Thanks but I cant get a reading.

When they got the Warrant they removed the meter. I've been asking for it back so we could get the meter checked but they are saying that the company that removes the meter destroys it so they now dont have it, which I think is completely WRONG!

 

I'm going to put all the bills onto a spreadsheet to see exactly how many letters I've been receiving as its been loads, and also quite a few Duplicate ones that I havent requested.

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Hiya

Thanks but I cant get a reading.

When they got the Warrant they removed the meter. I've been asking for it back so we could get the meter checked but they are saying that the company that removes the meter destroys it so they now don't have it, which I think is completely WRONG!

 

I'm going to put all the bills onto a spreadsheet to see exactly how many letters I've been receiving as its been loads, and also quite a few Duplicate ones that I havent requested.

 

If they have destroyed the meter, how can they prove in court the readings? I think they may have shot themselves in the foot. I was under the impression that meters were only destroyed if they exceeded their life expectancy, but if there was a dispute the meter would be required until the dispute was resolved. The onus is now on them to prove the readings!

Send them a SAR as it only costs £10, but make sure the cheque or postal order is from the company name unless the you personally are responsible.

Tell them you want everything associated with the account including copies of phone calls, notes and a copy of the original contract. You also want transcripts of the phone conversations plus the audio file of all the conversations you have had with them over the years.

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When they got the Warrant they removed the meter. I've been asking for it back so we could get the meter checked but they are saying that the company that removes the meter destroys it so they now don't have it, which I think is completely WRONG!

 

So your SAR should include information in respect of all third parties involved.

Have a happy and prosperous 2013 by avoiiding Payday loans. If you are sent a private message directing you for advice or support with your issues to another website,this is your choice.Before you decide,consider the users here who have already offered help and support.

Advice offered by Martin3030 is not supported by any legal training or qualification.Members are advised to use the services of fully insured legal professionals when needed.

 

 

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Hi

 

Since this is to do with your meter this link may be useful its the Association of Meter Operators: www.meteroperators.org.uk/

How to Upload Documents/Images on CAG - **INSTRUCTIONS CLICK HERE**

FORUM RULES - Please ensure to read these before posting **FORUM RULES CLICK HERE**

I cannot give any advice by PM - If you provide a link to your Thread then I will be happy to offer advice there.

I advise to the best of my ability, but I am not a qualified professional, benefits lawyer nor Welfare Rights Adviser.

Please Donate button to the Consumer Action Group

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  • 2 weeks later...

Send the email I have given you immediate.

Send a copy by mail recorded delivery.

I think the SAR to BG is a must,but needs to be specific (That is to say if you are looking to get these Telephone transcripts then giving specific info will help)

Have a happy and prosperous 2013 by avoiiding Payday loans. If you are sent a private message directing you for advice or support with your issues to another website,this is your choice.Before you decide,consider the users here who have already offered help and support.

Advice offered by Martin3030 is not supported by any legal training or qualification.Members are advised to use the services of fully insured legal professionals when needed.

 

 

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Did you look into the meter issues from the link posted previously ?

Have a happy and prosperous 2013 by avoiiding Payday loans. If you are sent a private message directing you for advice or support with your issues to another website,this is your choice.Before you decide,consider the users here who have already offered help and support.

Advice offered by Martin3030 is not supported by any legal training or qualification.Members are advised to use the services of fully insured legal professionals when needed.

 

 

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Martin, Just been to Warehouse where there was yet another letter waiting for me sent after the one I copied you this morning asking me to let LCS know what the dispute is about and they will look into it with BG and come back to me.

I have no intention of discussing this with them - why should I?

Do you agree?

By the way they have failed to send me their Complaints Proceedure as the letter I sent them requested and its been more than 7 days?????

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No you have no obligation to go into details about the dispute,save to say that the amounts being requested are inaccurate,and the way that the dispute has been handled is also contrary to what is expected.

They should have sent the complaints procedure,its a requirement that is laid down by the FOS and FSA.

In addition I would say this was also a breach of codes of practice they are affiliated to, as a member of the CSA.

Have a happy and prosperous 2013 by avoiiding Payday loans. If you are sent a private message directing you for advice or support with your issues to another website,this is your choice.Before you decide,consider the users here who have already offered help and support.

Advice offered by Martin3030 is not supported by any legal training or qualification.Members are advised to use the services of fully insured legal professionals when needed.

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Couple of things, L.C.S have sent me a letter which I've received in the post today asking me to send confirmation of the dispute to them ( which I see no reason why I should??) and also still NO complaints proceedure enclosed?

 

Secondly, British Gas called and left a message on my mobile in connection to the letter I sent them last week (as above - outlining the dispute) and wanting to speak to me about it.

I have no desire to ring them and chat to them about this as I'd prefer to have it in writing. Do I need to write and tell them this?

Thank you

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It is usual for BG to try and sort things out on the phone yes and to be honest I have had 2 results this way.

You dont have to agree to anything.

LCS should already be aware of the dispute...and have a duty to send you the complaints procedure.

 

I would suggest emailing reminding them of this.

darrenguest@1stlocateleeds.co.uk

Edited by MARTIN3030

Have a happy and prosperous 2013 by avoiiding Payday loans. If you are sent a private message directing you for advice or support with your issues to another website,this is your choice.Before you decide,consider the users here who have already offered help and support.

Advice offered by Martin3030 is not supported by any legal training or qualification.Members are advised to use the services of fully insured legal professionals when needed.

 

 

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