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*Urgent Advice* - CCJ registerd


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I'm hoping that I've posted this in the correct place on the forum.

 

 

My niece and two of her housemates were at uni and approached an electrical company called Glide Utilities which consolidated all bills (TV licence, electric, internet, water, etc) for their 3 bed apartment in Nottingham.

Their contract was from Sept 2009 - June 2010. Everything was fine for the first year. Just before that contract ended, the girls decided to renew the contract for their final year at uni (2010-2011.) They were paying approximately £57 each per month.

Towards the end of the second contract, Glide contacted the girls and said they owed approximately £3600. This is in addition to the £171 they were receiving each month. Glide stated that they girls had incurred these fee's from Nov 2009....but failed to inform the girls at the end of their first contract in June 2010.

The girls informed Glide that they lived above a shop and another apartment. There were 4 meters downstairs in the communal area and had informed Glide from the beginning of their contract that they didn't know which meter was theirs as they were not labelled. (they have emails to support this).

The girls continued to pay the £171 each month but when uni ended, as Glide were unable to provide evidence to prove they owed over £3,000, the girls refused to pay and left the property

Due to a family dispute, my niece came to say with me from July 2012 until January 2013. During this time, Glide sent someone to my nieces mothers (my sister) property to hand deliver a letter to my niece. My sister refused to take the letter and informed the representative that she was not accepting any letters for my niece as she was not residing at the property.

In August 2012, they proceeded to register a CCJ against my niece. Not the two other girls.

Initially my niece didn’t do anything but on Feb 5th 2013 she contacted Glide. The law rep at Glide said it didn't sound right and that she'll look into it further and get another meter reading.

Glide did not respond until Oct 2013. Their response was “as Glide couldn’t get a meter reading, but the CCJ has been issued so there's nothing more that could be done".

The question is can Glide do this? They have said they are unable to access the property so where is their evidence? Is it possible for Glide to just register a CCJ against my niece? We have a court date for the 2 January where we hope to resolve this.

 

Glide have since tried to "settle out of court" but this involved reducing the amount but the CCJ would have remained. Would really appreciate some advice on this as it has only just been brought to my attention. In addition, my sister and I are a little worried as my niece recently purchased a property so can Glide put a charge against the property?

Edited by citizenB
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I think it should be straightforward, that Glide have never provided any evidence of the amount outstanding, despite numerous requests to them. Your neice will need to evidence these requests to the court. The court claim was not received, as your neice was living elsewhere and therefore did not have the opportunity to defend. Your neice requests that Glide provide full evidence to support the amount of the claim.

 

The claim was against your neice, as she presumably agreed to original contract with Glide.

 

Yes I think that Glide could place a charge against property in your neices name, if the CCJ is left to stand and she did not enter into a repayment arrangment.

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Hi,

Sorry to say this but how can you take out a contract with a utility company without reading your meter first and without knowing which is your meter out of the four.

If Glide could not gain access to read the meter, then they must have worked on estimates.

Applying to have the order set aside is a good idea. I got a CCJ against me for rent arrears and my ex-landlord got my bank account frozen- lucky it was only £12 in my account, that's all he got.

The claimant will get the amount that is in the bank account at the moment when the court faxes the bank the order. Add a couple of grand, the claimant lawyer's fee on top of the amount owed, and you get a figure that allows Glide the put a charge on the property or empty your niece's bank account.

I will let other [wiser] people to advise you. Just wanted to warn you that her money is safer under the mattress than in the bank. Citizens Advice Bureau will give you legal advice upon seeing all the paperwork. Good luck and it looks like she / they were paying the right money but got billed for extra usage [other meters].

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Thank you for your advice. The issue here is if Glide is unable to confirm what amount is owing, how can they place a CCJ for an estimated amount?

 

Anyone can claim for anything, it's then for the Defendant to dispute the part or parts of the claim that are not accepted. If the judgment was entered following no response from the Defendant it wouldn't have been considered by a judge, the court staff would have just entered a judgment for the amount claims because without a response there's nothing to say the figures are wrong.

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That makes sense. As far as I'm aware my niece has correspondence going back evidencing that from the very beginning they did not know which meter belonged to their flat and Glide were asked to gain access by contacting the letting agents - which they never did.

 

Just one final question. If the contract was in more than one name should Glide be registering CCJs against all names or can they just chose one name on the basis that by signing the contract, all parties accept the terms & conditions of the contract, so Glide could go after one person as opposed to all three?

 

As always thank you for the advice.

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Your neice was presumably the first named or signee to the contract with Glide.

 

I would just suggest that you hold Glide to strict proof that a debt exists and if so, what the correct amount is. Your neice will have evidence of what they were paying and of querying with Glide when they sent the bill for this extra amount.

 

I don't think it would be advisable to defend on the basis of not knowing which was the correct meter for the flat. I am not sure a Judge would accept that someone living in a property for 2 years would not know which meter was theirs. It would probably be better to state that as far as your neice was concerned, she was paying for the correct amount of usage for the flat and has seen no evidence to state otherwise.

We could do with some help from you.

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Thank you to all those that responded to this query and mjt2013 I suspected this might be the case so thank you for confirming. Just wanted to update everyone that the Magistrate granted that the Order be "set aside" on the basis that my niece had not been served and in addition that the amount was in dispute. Having reviewed the paperwork, it looks like shes has evidence that proves that the question of the meters were in question from the start. I've since found out that when they took the contract out with Glide that they informed Glide there were approximately 4 meters and the girls took readings from all of them. Glide then agreed that "meter 2" sounds like its the most appropriate one so went with that figure - hence why they were initially able to agree the level of payments. It was when the girls submitted a reading a few months later that the confusion arose and Glide informed them that "meter 2" could not be the right one so the email exchanges commenced from there. Quite interestingly, Glide acknowledge this and this is outlined in their internal notes which - quite interestingly (I'm being polite here) they sent to my niece!

 

 

Glide did not attend the hearing but the Magistrate informed us that a date will be set whereby all parties should be present. I've asked my niece to contact the letting agents as they should have a record of the meter readings and if they don't then they'll need to explain why.

 

 

Thank you once again for your prompt advice.

 

 

Best wishes.

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You meant Judge, as Mags deal with criminal issues.

 

In regard to the meters, I don't think the letting agents have any responsibility. Perhaps they should tell the tenants which meter is for the flat, but that is about it. They won't have meter readings, unless it is part of the letting process for readings to be given to them.

 

I would suggest that your neice gets to the bottom of which meter is for the flat. Perhaps the freeholder or managing agent has details of which meter is for which part of their property.

 

I would also suggest that your neice starts making a few enquiries with Citizens Advice, Energy Ombudsman, about any relevant rules that the utility companies have to follow. e.g billing to the correct meter for a property and taking accurate meter readings on a regular basis. There is also a rule about back billing, which I think only allows the utility company to go back 12 months, if they have not billed for the correct amount.

 

If you neice can obtain as much information as possible which helps her case, then she could well be able to win when it next goes back to court.

 

http://www.energy-uk.org.uk/customers/energy-industry-codes/code-of-practice-for-accurate-bills.html

We could do with some help from you.

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Thanks 'unclebulgaria67' - that's why you're the one giving the advice. I stand corrected - I meant the Judge. I have to say, I am surprised that the letter agents don't have to make sure that they or the landlords take a meter reading when tenants go into the property. As a landlord myself, this is something I ensure happens. In any event, you're right in that my niece does need to find out which meter is the correct one.

 

 

In the past I have never found the CA to be helpful (that's from my own personal experience) but I didn't know there was an Energy Ombudsman so I'll definitely tell her to contact them.

 

 

Thank you.

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