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Eon forced a pre-payment meter on me because I had a £300 outstanding bill. They came and fixed the new meter while I was out of the house and I was simply stuck with it. The debt was repaid over a year ago.

 

Unfortunately as I live alone, topping the meter up can be a problem - I really think they should have the facility to do this online for those of us who are not very mobile.

 

Anyway I have recently had a nasty bout of flu and on more than one occasion when I have been unable to crawl to top the key up I have been in the dark and cold, which has meant the condition lasted much longer than it should have done.

 

My question is, will another provider let me have a normal meter if I pay a deposit? I simply cannot go on like this, I have no friends or relatives nearby and no car, and the constant worry of running out of electricity is a nightmare. Bizzarely you can only top up by £49 - which sounds as if it should last forever but is only a few days at the high prices on pre-payment.

 

Quite frankly I would be happy to pay even more than I do already to be relieved of the worry of being left cold and in darkness when I cannot leave the house.

 

Thanks for any help!

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if you have repaid the debt i'm sure they can refit a normal meter

 

we have EON onboard here

and they are very pro active

 

i'll alert them for you.

 

ideally they shouldn't have fitted that meter without assessign your mobility problems or atleast be made aware of them.

 

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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Thanks for that.

 

Quite apart from my own situation I do think it is very unwise to fit a pre-payment meter for anyone who lives alone because of the problem of topping it up.

 

The weird thing is that they have told me that if you have no money they can put credit on the system for you at a local retailer to help out, but there is no safety net if you have the money but can't physically get to the shop to top it up. This would be solved if you could top up online but they were rather abrupt when I asked for that facility and said it would never happen - although I understand British Gas can do it.

 

Thanks again.

 

PS I would just add that the meter is outside, which means in bad weather I have to get through the snow to access it.

Edited by BornThisWay
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Hi BornThisWay

 

I'm sorry you were told an online facility to top up prepayment meters will never happen. This is something we're actually looking into at the moment.

 

No time frame yet but it's certainly on the agenda.

 

Usually, once we've installed a prepayment meter because of debt, it's highly unlikely we'll take it out even if the debt has been cleared.

 

I say usually, though, because there are circumstances where we'll re-consider. This tends to be where we become aware of vulnerability at the property.

 

As you have mobility difficulties and live alone then it's certainly worth asking the question. We've a team who deal exclusively with vulnerability issues like this and they're the best ones to talk to. They consider each situation on a case by case basis.

 

If we do change the meter, there's currently no charge for this.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Malc

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Usually, once we've installed a prepayment meter because of debt, it's highly unlikely we'll take it out even if the debt has been cleared.

 

Out of interest, why is this exactly? Once the debt has been paid there is absolutely no reason for a prepayment meter to be in place.

By refusing to change it, surely this is just encouraging customers to move to an alternative provider who will change the meter.

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Hi MaxxPower

 

Sorry if I wasn't clear earlier. Thought it might help if I give a general outline of our approach to these matters. Not suggesting any of the following applies to the OP though.

 

I didn't say we wouldn't change a prepayment meter once a debt has been cleared but that it's unlikely.

 

Each request is looked at individually and a credit check carried out. If all's well, the meter may well be replaced. Sometimes, we'll ask for a security deposit. Again, it depends on the individual circumstances.

 

However, if the prepayment meter was put in under a warrant, then I doubt we'll change it unless the circumstances are greatly altered. By this, I mean, responsibility for the property has changed or there's vulnerability we weren't previously aware of.

 

It takes a long time to reach the warrant stage involving various forms of follow up. These include letters, emails (where applicable), phone calls and house visits. In these circumstances, we tend to find a credit check fails.

 

As I say, not suggesting for a minute any of this applies to the OP. It's just a brief outline of our overall approach.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Malc

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Thank you for your reply Eon. The debt was only ever £300 so I think you will agree it was hardly a lifetime of failing to pay your bills! It was paid back quickly and the legacy is that I am putting about £150 a month onto the meter at the moment, which has got to be way above the cost I was paying before - or the £300 bill was for two months.

 

It is ridiculous to be paying at this level, even allowing for my mobility problems and the fact that I often cannot get out to top up the meter.

 

Your tone is quite nasty. As far as you are concerned I am a lost cause that you don't really want to wipe your feet on do you? I am a respectable middle class working person who had a problem with a bill. Your system seems to assume I am someone who cannot be trusted.

 

All I can do is ring round all the other suppliers and see if someone will trust me. I am happy to pay a deposit and quite frankly would be happy to pay more for my electricity just to get away from you. Although in fairness, at the prices you are charging for paying in advance, I doubt that I shall find one!

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Hi BornThisWay

 

I'm really sorry you're unhappy with my tone. Please don't think any of the comments I made in my second post on this thread were aimed at you. On the contrary, I was answering a question asked by MaxxPower and gave an honest outline of our general policy regarding prepayment meters installed for debt.

 

As I said in my reply to you, with your mobility issues, we'll more than likely replace your prepayment meter with a credit meter. Even without these difficulties, we'll still consider replacing the meter if you pass a credit check.

 

Each case is looked at on an individual basis and that's why I pointed you in the direction of our Vulnerable Customer team. These are the best advisors to take your case forward.

 

Our prepayment unit rates aren't currently much different to our standard credit rates. However, you don't receive discount for paying with a Direct Debit or rewards for managing your account online.

 

You're certainly not a lost cause and I'd encourage you to go down the route suggested above.

 

Sorry again if I caused offence. As I say, none of my second post above was aimed at you.

 

Malc

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To be honest I'm still unclear on the reluctance to replace pre-payment meters once debt is paid off.

By not replacing the meters EON are basically saying that they fully expect people to go into debt again, and then EON themselves seem to be trying to ensure this happens by leaving the significantly more expensive pre-payment meters in place. If the customer doesn't go into debt with the meter, then in order to keep warm they'll likely have to go into debt elsewhere because their bills are being significantly increased because they don't meet EON's criteria.

 

To be quite honest, it's an absolute disgrace in my opinion. Energy companies are already stinging their customers for every penny they can and refusing to pass on the full decreases of any wholesale cost reductions to the consumer. To then force pre-payment meters on people and refuse to remove them even once debt is paid off is quite simply going too far. In the current economic climate, forcing somebody to pay significantly increased bills just because they've been in debt in the past is absolutely inexcusable and indefensible.

I fully intend to write to my MP regarding such a situation, suggesting that energy companies be forced by legislation to immediately replace pre-payment meters, at their own expense and with no cost to the customer, within 4 weeks of a request from any customer who has cleared their debt, and would strongly advise other Caggers to do the same.

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Once a debt is less than £200 with a prepayment meter, you can shop around and move to a cheaper energy provider, if they accept you. They may also arrange to change your meter to one that is on a credit arrangement and not prepay. If you unhappy with a company, walk away. There is nothing to stop you continuing any complaint afterwards about any bad service you perceive.

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FYI: its £500 now uncle

 

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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Share on other sites

True, I had forgotten about that piece of legislation in all honesty.

 

Would also agree with the advice to just walk away if unhappy with the supplier, and I did do that with EON a little while ago and will never ever go back to them, based on what I've read here and my own personal experience. When I left them they never sent me a final bill, I just assumed they took the outstanding balance from my bank as I never cancelled the direct debit.

2 months later the first notification of a final bill I get is a letter from EON demanding immediate payment within 7 days or I will be passed on to debt collection agencies and may have my credit file defaulted. This was over an outstanding balance of £7.35. Absolutely disgraceful behaviour.

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Thanks for all your responses. It seems odd to me that one pays more for something you are buying in advance - which is what you are with a prepayment meter - than someone who pays in arrears who has a direct debit!! Most things are cheaper if you pay for them before you use them!

 

And I agree with you Maxx that Eon seem to sit as judge and jury on customers in as much that if they once have a problem with bills they are forever condemned to pay over and above the current rate for electriticy - in advance - which are you rightly suggests, prevents quick recovery from the situation.

 

I am a hard working person who had problems with her mortgage which impacted on other issues. The mortgage is now sorted - everything is sorted - except for the fact that on more than one occasion I have had to sit in the darkness and cold because I simply could not get to top up the key. Eon could have an online top up system if they could be bothered, but they clearly don't care. If they had any interest in their customers they would have checked before they changed my meter to see if this would cause me problems - they couldn't have cared less.

 

Anyway, as you say, if that is their attitude then they will lose customers. Problems with bills is not unusual these days even for those with decent jobs and incomes. They are in danger of consigning a large proportion of the population to their debt scrap heap and losing a great many customers.

 

I stayed with them for 30 odd years, even though they kept changing their name, etc., but my loyalty has certainly not been reciprocated. Never mind, as long as their shareholders in France or Germany (can't remember where they are based but it is not UK) are raking in the huge profits, why should they care??

 

But I agree this needs to go further and I think a letter to the Ombudsman, by everyone treated with such distain, will at least highlight the matter.

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Thanks for all your responses. It seems odd to me that one pays more for something you are buying in advance - which is what you are with a prepayment meter - than someone who pays in arrears who has a direct debit!! Most things are cheaper if you pay for them before you use them!

 

And I agree with you Maxx that Eon seem to sit as judge and jury on customers in as much that if they once have a problem with bills they are forever condemned to pay over and above the current rate for electriticy - in advance - which are you rightly suggests, prevents quick recovery from the situation.

 

I am a hard working person who had problems with her mortgage which impacted on other issues. The mortgage is now sorted - everything is sorted - except for the fact that on more than one occasion I have had to sit in the darkness and cold because I simply could not get to top up the key. Eon could have an online top up system if they could be bothered, but they clearly don't care. If they had any interest in their customers they would have checked before they changed my meter to see if this would cause me problems - they couldn't have cared less.

 

Anyway, as you say, if that is their attitude then they will lose customers. Problems with bills is not unusual these days even for those with decent jobs and incomes. They are in danger of consigning a large proportion of the population to their debt scrap heap and losing a great many customers.

 

I stayed with them for 30 odd years, even though they kept changing their name, etc., but my loyalty has certainly not been reciprocated. Never mind, as long as their shareholders in France or Germany (can't remember where they are based but it is not UK) are raking in the huge profits, why should they care??

 

But I agree this needs to go further and I think a letter to the Ombudsman, by everyone treated with such distain, will at least highlight the matter.

 

Agree with above but the EON rep made a fair point : where they are unlikely to refit a credit meter is if a pre-payment meter was fitted ON WARRANT / (or if the customer failed a credit check).

 

Where is this different to declining a new application due to a credit check fail?.

 

Yes, it is not unheard of for people to have financial difficulties, but even if they get a prepayment meter fitted, if it is by consent, it doesn't fit into the " by warrant" group discussed where getting a credit meter fitted later is problematic.

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Bazza I have no idea if they had a warrant. They would not need one, the meter is outside. All I know is that they turned up one day when I was at work and changed the meter.

 

No-one checked if I was disabled, lived alone, had a sick child, etc., etc. - presumably you are supposed to plead your case with them after the event, not before.

 

I had an outstanding bill of £300 and had a payment plan with them. I am not sure how we got to the stage of them replacing the meter but I was trying to hold onto the house and dealing with that in court at the time, so may have been distracted. First I knew was when I got home and there was a note saying they had changed the meter.

 

It is a dreadful system. I have one tiny key. If that was lost I presume I would have to go without electricity until they could send a new one? It is not unlike having to go to a standpipe to get fresh water. In a civilised country I cannot believe it is acceptable to leave people without power because they are unable to get to a shop - and my nearest shop offering the facility is some walk away.

 

How can I find out if they had a warrant? Presumably judges just nod them through do they? I would hardly think £300 was the worst debt they have ever had, but clearly there are no second chances with them.

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Did you not get any letters, explaining that your payments weren't keeping up with your usage? Did you not get any correspondence at all then? Did you tell them in replying to them that you had needs?

 

To be fair, it must cost eon to keep swapping the meter, and if the customer let the account go into arrears and not keep up with payments, it would cost them more to keep swapping it over. What if they swapped it and customer fell behind again? Where will the line be drawn?

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Hi

 

You should have recieved paperwork notifiying you that a warrent was to be executed on XX/XX/XXXX.

 

Did you recieve any paperwork notifiying you of of this change of meter/warrent?

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I am absolutely certain that I did not receive paperwork saying that they had a warrant and that they were going to execute it on a certain day, because obviously I would then have been prepared.

 

As I say the meter is outside, so surely they would not need a warrant to change their own meter?

 

I did complain subsequently but their attitude was pretty much 'tough'.

 

I appreciate what you say Porky about the cost of switching meters back and forth but in fairness I would not have thought a £300 bill was that dreadful? Have you seen the Billions of Pounds of profits these companies make???

 

I think the most relevant point was made earlier by the poster who remarked that there seem to be no second chances with Eon. Their Rep effectively said that once they have fitted a pre-payment meter they will not change it. And really, why would they? You become a customer paying in advance at a higher rate than those with normal bills. The problem being that they are in danger of pushing those people further into debt.

 

My original question was whether any other company would let me have a normal meter. My suspicion, which has sadly been confirmed by this thread, was that Eon would have no interest in fitting another meter, since this deal works out so well for them. But I am sorry that they put profits above basic decency when it comes to showing a tiny bit of interest in how their actions will affect people who cannot just jump in a car and top the key up and who have no local support when they are unable to walk to the nearest shop which offers the facility.

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Oh and BTW there is a further aspect which I pointed out to Eon and which they dismissed as 'tough' also, and that is that I do find topping the key up quite embarrassing.

 

No-one of sane mind would opt for prepayment because of the cost and hassle. So it is perfectly obvious to the shopkeeper and people in the queue, that you are a bad payer.

 

I actually find this quite humiliating and upsetting. This is why Eon have a duty of care in my opinion to spend some of their massive profits in getting an online top up facility operational. Not just for reasons of helping people with mobility issues, but also because it is shaming to have your local community be aware that one is effectively a debtor. I don't know if this infringes one's civil rights in any way, but I absolutely hate the process and if I am ever able to get a lift out of the local area try and top it up where no-one knows me.

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Try changing to Npower or another provider, there has been new legislation coming in where you can change provider and have a key meter taken out.

 

I would write to the ombudsman about this and ask for their intervention - remember it will cost Eon money for this - so more power to your elbow!

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They didn't say that they never change it back, though I can see why they would economically not change unless there was good reason.

 

How do you get your bills? Did you not see that your payments weren't covering your usage charges? That way you might have avoided the high debt.

 

If you switch now and ask for a credit meter, the new company will charge about £50 to swap it for a credit meter and that's after a credit check. Energy companies share info as do central networks who have all the meter info for the last three years.

 

Your best bet is to follow eon reps advice and contact the vulnerable team and explain your circumstances and see if it can be swapped back for free.

 

Personally I don't find people who pre pay second class, some people actually prefer it and do it by choice. It does bug me when they hold the queue up though in the shop topping up, lol

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Thanks for that SillyGirl, Npower do seem like a good choice.

 

Porky I am not sensing a great deal of sympathy from you, which is fair enough. I don't deny that I owed them £300. I was going through a very bad financial situation at that time a couple of years ago and was in danger of losing my house because of mortgage arrears. So naturally I applied all my available funds to prevent that happening.

 

I had other debts at the time, larger than their £300. where creditors were understanding and gradually that has all been resolved. What I am unhappy about is that even though I paid back what I owe to Eon over a year ago, their rep has more or less said 'once a sinner, always a sinner' which I think is grossly unfair.

 

Additionally, as I have said, they made no enquiries in advance of taking the old meter away as to any vulnerability in the household. I could have been a 90 year old on my deathbed for all they knew..

 

My credit record is much improved and I suppose if I went grovelling to their 'Vulnerability Department' I might beg them to reinstate the old meter. However I have pointed out my mobility issues to them since the pre-payment meter was installed and they seemed less than interested. They seem to think everyone has family and friends nearby who will top up the key at the drop of a hat!

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Have you contacted said department? Have you asked the question? I feel you are beng unfair to the eon rep when he said no such thing. He said they don't generally switch the meters back, for obvious cost reasons. He didn't say once a sinner always a sinner, they will change it back if there's a need to (as yours sounds like it is).

 

If I'm honest with you, I don't believe they took your meter away from you with no notice. My wife used to work for eon and I know how much contact they HAD to make with customers before making the change. They have to jump through so many hoops to defend themselves in case the ombudsmen gets contacted.

 

Also, I will never hold against anyone for getting into debt and having issues. I myself have had similar circumstances. But I stand by that and will take the consequences of that and if it means in things like this happen to me, so be it. It's not eons fault after all that you didn't clear your balance and its not their fault you can't top up easily.

 

You need to take responsibly for this and take action to help yourself before others can help you, rather than come on here and blame eon for it all. Follow the reps advice and contact the vulnerable department and see if they can help. If you are as badly affected as you say, I'm sure they will be able to help you.

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Porky, since this is supposed to a forum to support people with problems I actually find your tone very offensive.

 

So, the truth of the matter is that your Wife worked for Eon, so obviously you like this company and for some reason feel compelled to come on here and defend them. God forbid I should upset the Eon Rep!

 

I have no reason to explain myself to you but I can assure you that I received no warrant from that company. You can, as you have done, choose to believe a huge company over me as an individual, but that does not make you right.

 

I have in fact corresponded with them on more than one occasion and their attitude has been totally dismissive, which is why I asked my original question about switching. You may consider that they are deeply caring but I can assure you they are not. Maybe they have changed since your Wife was there, but all my efforts have been met with curt responses, even when they can be bothered to respond.

 

I agree with you that it is not their fault I cannot top up my meter, but it affects me badly and I am looking for a solution.

 

However, you have reminded me that I must contact the Ombudsman on this matter. As they say, evil prevails when good men do nothing, and if I can stop just one person going through the rudeness, indifference, and total lack of basic decency that these people seem to think is reasonable, then some good will have come from the upset.

 

Next time I want lecturing on how it is all my fault and that multi national energy suppliers are really decent folk, I will be sure and look you up!

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