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Help! Scottish Power making me repay a debt that is owed by someone else!

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Hi Cag community! I really hope you can help. I’m afraid I’ve never posted in a forum before so not too sure if I have posted in the right please so do let me know if I should post somewhere else!

 

On 30th June 2015, EDF (representing Scottish Power) entered the communal corridor for my flat, and removed all the electricity meters for the whole building. We own a flat in a block of 5, and we had a prepayment meter with Scottish Power.

 

In the few days following this we discovered (from the EDF officer who removed all the meters) that the meters to Flats 1, 2 and 5 (owned by the freeholder) were bypassed, and that my meter and the other leasehold flat were in credit. This proves that we were topping up our prepayment meters as we ought to, and that they theft of electricity was being done by our freeholders who were bypassing the other meters to the flats they owned.

 

Whilst this was all going on, my mum spoke to Scottish Power’s Revenue Protection department on 9th July 2015 and was asked to pay £300 for a replacement meter, as the freeholder had still not sorted it out, and was instead trying to reconnect the electricity supply illegally (for which we reported him every time). She paid this £300 in advance so that I could book the time for the meter to be installed once we had the necessary certificates.

 

The issues with the electricity have highlighted criminal acts by the freeholder, and these have been reported to the police (I have a crime reference number). Our freeholder illegally reconnected the electricity several times and we always reported him immediately to Scottish Power. We just wanted justice to be served and to get proper official meters installed as soon as possible so we could go on with our lives.

 

In the end, we did not book Scottish Power to install new meters for us as the freeholder finally organised British Gas to do it (Scottish Power had scuppered his attempts to reconnect illegally). Scottish Power are now refusing to refund us the money as they have told us they are keeping it to go towards repaying the debt owed by our freeholder. Our freeholder has also (without my knowledge or permission) transferred my account away from British Gas and back to Scottish Power by posing as me. Scottish Power will not let me move my account back, presumably because they are taking a portion of money from my prepayment meter when I top it up to repay the freeholders debt. I do not know what state the freeholders meters are in at the present time as he now keeps them in a separate padlocked cupboard with a CCTV camera pointed at it. Scottish Power have told us that they have no interest in finding out who the freeholder is. The police have not followed up on the case either.

 

Despite raising complaints with various departments I have been unable to resolve this issue. Scottish Power are still refusing to refund the £300 and are also holding me responsible for the rest of the freeholders debt. I really hope someone can help as I’m at the end of my rope with this one..

 

Here's to hoping.. thanks all for reading!

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Well it sounds really quite monstrous that they say that they are keeping your money to pay off the debt belonging to somebody else.

 

What evidence of you got this? Have they told you this in writing or simply on the telephone?


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Thanks for your quick response!

It is incredible really! I wouldn't have believed it possible a year ago.

 

Sadly I do not have evidence in writing. I wish I did!

 

We have lots of emails going out to Revenue Protection from us, but they seldom responded. The couple of responses we had were only with more questions. It was someone from Revenue Protection who said something to the effect of "I know it wasn't you, but unfortunately we cant seem to get hold of the freeholders and someone will need to pay it off". I have this guy's name, but it doesn't seem right to mention it online.

 

We have started up various complaints with Scottish Power, but they have never gone anywhere. It is always us who has to call up after several weeks and chase and chase - only to speak to people who cant really tell us anything. I suppose that even if we did have evidence in writing then they would just ignore it.

We have been told by different members of Scottish Power staff, however, that they have taken our £300 that we paid for the installation of the meter and are using it to repay debt instead. I cant imagine that this is legal, even if we were responsible for the debt...!?!

 

I dont know what everyone else thinks..?

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The first thing I would do would be to read our customer services guide and implement the advice there.

 

This is extremely important – if you're doing everything on the telephone, there will be lots of very interesting and useful things said which they will deny later on.

 

Please do this straightaway before you have a more telephone dealings with them.

 

Now to try and distil your story a little bit, apart from all the hassle and problems that they have caused you, it seems to me that the particular issue at the moment is that you have paid £300 for a particular purpose– In order to obtain a replacement meter and that they accepted the money on this basis.

 

Now, instead of getting a replacement meter they are using the money to defray debts which are owed by the freeholder who has nothing to do with you. Is this correct?

 

I'm still not quite clear as to who is supplying your electricity now and how it is being metered. You probably have explained this but I'm afraid I'm losing the plot a bit on this.

 

Also, you keep on saying "we". Who are you referring to all the time and what is their involvement?


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Hi Bankfodder,

 

I will absolutely look at the customer services guide, although at the moment I have given up trying to engage with Scottish Power on the phone as I never seem to get anywhere. I thought it was time to seek advice before speaking to them again.

 

Yes - my story is confusing sorry! I haven't written about it very well.

 

You are right about the key issue:

 

I have paid £300 for a particular purpose as you say - to obtain a replacement meter and they accepted the money on this basis.

Instead of getting a replacement meter they are using the money to defray debts which are owed by the freeholder, who has nothing to do with me.

 

The other issue is that Scottish Power will not let me move my account away from them, although they have not been able to clearly explain why. I suspect it may be because they think there is debt on my account.

 

At the present time, we are on a prepayment meter and my account is with Scottish Power.

 

The timeline goes as follows:

Up until 30th June 2015 we had a prepayment meter with Scottish Power

On that day (30th June 2015) Scottish Power removed our meter along with all the others in the building

On 9th July we paid Scottish Power £300 for the install of a new meter, which was never installed

On the 14th July a new prepayment meter was installed by British Gas, and I set up an account with British Gas

We sought a refund from Scottish Power but they refused. We set up a complaint. That is unresolved.

Around September time, my freeholder pretended to be me and changed my account back to Scottish Power

I discovered this in November and requested my account to be transferred back using their "erroneous transfer" procedure. I also made a complaint

I discovered in December that the erroneous transfer had been cancelled, but no one at Scottish Power has been able to tell me why, although some have suggested that it might happen when there is debt on the account, although they are unable to tell me whether there is debt on the account or not.

 

I hope this makes some more sense..?

 

 

 

And sorry - when I say "we" I mean my mum and I. It is my flat, but she helped me buy it and has been helping me out with the electricity debacle.

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I suggest that you start off doing the following:

 

Send them an SAR accompanied by a cheque – not a postal order because it will help you monitor the progress of your statutory request.

 

It is important to get as much information as you can here and also, when you finally receive the statutory disclosure you can reference it against information which you already have an workout if there is anything that has been withheld from you – and if you do find that there are missing documents, this will give you extra purchase when you start to take action.

 

Secondly, implement our customer services guide advice immediately and start having phone calls with them. Have a number of different phone calls with different people. Record it all. Without trying to be too provocative, try to encourage them to tell you their stories and you will be find that depending on who you speak to you will get different versions and also people may commit themselves to saying things which they would not be prepared to put in writing.

 

This is part of your information gathering exercise.

 

When the statutory disclosure arrives in 40 days, you can start to understand exactly what is happening, who is saying what et cetera and then you can begin to take action – which I will suggest will probably be the issue of court papers.

 

In the meantime, while you're waiting for the statutory disclosure I suggest that you start researching their website, looking at all their promotion blurb and also the terms and conditions. Also research the website of the energy regulator and start finding out all the various codes of practice and industry guidelines and so forth which they are meant to follow.

 

Start understanding exactly what their obligations are meant to be and also start understanding exactly where they have fallen down on these obligations.

 

I'm quite sure that you will find that they have ridden roughshod.

 

I find it extraordinary that they come in and remove the meter – quite frankly, unlawfully – and then require £300 from you to pay for a replacement meter. I don't really understand why you went along with that.

 

Also, I think that you should start making a note of all of the problems that this is cause you, the inconvenience, the time that he is taken you to deal with, and costing up any losses that you might be suffering.

 

Without electricity, how you keeping warm and how you lighting your home – et cetera?


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Thank you, this is amazing advice.

 

I dont know what a SAR is, however - and what is the cheque for?

 

As far as the removal of the meter is concerned - they did have a warrant. I didnt know anything about it (of course) until after the fact. I think they are allowed to do it when they think someone is stealing electricity (which the freeholder was doing I think). Or perhaps I am wrong that this is lawful?

 

We paid the £300 to Scottish Power as we just wanted it sorted you see. We thought we had no option. We planned to bill the freeholder for the £300.. as it obviously falls under their remit to pay for it, but they were not communicating and were just trying to illegally reconnect the supply, so rather than wait forever for them to reconnect it through the proper channels we decided to take it into our own hands and then get the freeholder to pay us back.

 

I will indeed make a note of all the inconvenience and time etc. I cannot tell you how many hours and days it already adds up to!!

 

During the time that we had no electricity (between the removal of the meters on 30th June and the install by British gas on the 14th July) I had to move out of the house...

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Well follow the SAR link and start reading up about it. If you want to make headway on this I'm afraid that you will have to take trouble to research and to understand what you're doing.

 

I think that you need to get sight of the warrant as well. Presumably you were given a copy.

 

Which court issued the warrant? I think that you need to contact them and see how you can get hold of a copy of the warrant. It will be interesting to see exactly what it says and whether it was lawfully executed. Who is addressed to? Was addressed to you, the freeholder, the occupier? I imagine that these are questions that you don't know. Get hold of a copy of the warrant.

 

Start talking to ScottishPower on the phone. Start probing for information. Get it all recorded.


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Thanks Bankfodder

 

I have just seen that it made the word "sar" into a link when I sent it back to you! I will absolutely follow the link and take all your advice. Fingers crossed it all gets me somewhere this time

 

:-)

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I see that you haven't read our customer services guide yet


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I haven't had a chance yet as I had to go out, but will be looking as soon as I have a mo! I have just got home and it's dinner then bed, but I will look tomorrow morning! Your advice is absolutely appreciated and you can believe me when I say that I will be taking it! I will also be sure to post back

 

:-)

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With apologies to BankFodder for jumping in on this.

 

A few things confuse me (not that hard :oops: )

 

You are on a pre payment meter therefore you will have proof that you have paid.

SP have stated that the freeholder has bypassed the meter?

What reason does the freeholder have for doing so? Does he live in the same block and gets free power?

 

As I see it, you paid SP an amount to get a new meter fitted, no other purpose and as such, they must refund you as the debt is not yours.

 

I will try and find an email address for the boss


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Everything I say is opinion only. If you are unsure on any comment made, you should see a qualified solicitor

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Chief Corporate Office

keith.anderson@scottishpower.com

 

CEO Retail & Generation

neil.clitheroe@scottishpower.com

 

These two seem to be the topmost people to contact directly although it is likely they will be fielded by their underlings.

Also, be aware that CAG sometimes adds spaces to email addresses. Make sure there is none when you use them


If you are asked to deal with any matter via private message, PLEASE report it.

Everything I say is opinion only. If you are unsure on any comment made, you should see a qualified solicitor

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Hey Silverfox!

 

Thanks for the support!

 

You are pretty much correct, but let me just be clearer.

 

I am indeed on the prepayment meter, however I have precious little proof that I have been topping it up because I am a wally! The shop that I top up with charges to use a card so I have only used cash there. It seems I used to be far too foolish to get receipts. (Since this whole fiasco, I do now - of course- always make sure I get a receipt!). The shop are willing to provide a statement that I top up my prepayment key there frequently (at least once a week).

 

The EDF officer who actually removed the meters on behalf of Scottish Power is the only person who has been able to tell us what state the meters were in when he removed them. He told us that the freeholder's meters were all bypassed (so they were stealing the electricity), but that mine was not bypassed and was showing in credit (proving I have been topping it up and using as normal). He says that he wrote this in the report he made for Scottish Power so they should have this info, but no one I have spoken to seems to be able to access this report.

 

The reason the freeholder has bypassed the meters I do not know exactly. I know that he has tenants in his flats, and he rents them out as bills included. By bypassing the meter I suppose he has not had to pay for any electricity at all so is saving himself money.

 

Thanks for the email addresses!!!! :-D

I will email these people! (although I have already written several times recorded post to the head of legal at Scottish Power with no response at all!)

 

cheers!

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Send your SAR first. This should reveal most the information you need.

 

Don't be held up while you are waiting for a reply to any emails


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It does feel like the most important thing is to get information, I agree. Then I will really know for sure what they are accusing me of, and will hopefully reveal how i can argue that they should give me my £300 back.

 

Perhaps I could do the SAR and emails at the same time..? tackle the thing from many directions? that way no time is wasted..?

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Send the SAR - now. It takes 40 days to produce the result.


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you will also need to contact BG and tell them that your account has been migrated fraudulently and they should take it back. They will then produce the paperwork they have form the other parties as part of a dispute. SP will have voice recordings etc so they know that this will not go well for them but you must allow then the time to at least look into things and then make a complaint to the ombudsman. Again, this will drag on but you will eventually get a response and this may well allow you to go after SP in court if they dont behave.

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Thanks Ericsbrother!

 

I have already spoken to British Gas, but they say that they cant do anything. It is up to Scottish Power to cooporate they say. Is that true do you know? Or should I challenge BG on that?

 

I did wonder about the Ombudsmen. I just have never heard good things about them! (but then that's just from a couple of friends who may well be the anomalies!)

 

It's just bonkers things can get this far dont you think? It's been about 8 months of fighting so far and it seems I have a long way to go! :violin:

 

Ah well. It's great to have all this advice :-)

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if you had already switched then they should have sent you a letter saying that an approach had been made by another utility co to say you were joining them and to contact BG if this wasnt true. Did you get such a letter?

As for the ombudsman, they are a bit slow and I have found that in the first instance they will believe anything the util;ity company tells them so you have to be resolute and keep demanding they make a formal determination rather than ths wishy washy bits they usually do. This makes them pass the matter upwards to someone who is actually capable and authorised to make a decision that carries weight legally speaking so they dont have too many cases going to stage 2 and it all takes time. You need to formally come to a deadlock with SP first though, or the matter must ahve been running without resolution for at least 6 months so you are OK there. i would be writing to the CEO of SP and let him know that your letter/email is the last stage before legal action is considered as the only method of reaching a conclusion.

SP are far and away the worst company in the country for their customer service actions so leave them asap.

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also have a look at your CRA files and see if the debt has been entered on them as yours. Let SP know that they are going to get sued unless they correct their entries. There are a couple of bits of case law to support this.

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Hey Ericsbrother,

 

Cheers for this. It sounds like you have a fair bit of experience with the Ombudsman?

 

I didn't receive the letter! Didn't realise I should have. However our post just comes in through a communal letter box so onto the mat for 5 flats so it's quite possible I missed it..

 

Ach!

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You probably didn't miss an letters, if its a communal letterbox, then the freeholder cold have intercepted the letter quite easily, don't assume you missed it

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