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mrimac94

First Utility - CRS Debt Collectors - £400.00

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Hi All,

 

In October 2013, I moved into a shared property in Norwich as a student sharing with 3 other guys.

I organised/paid the bills and they all paid me.

In August 2014, we moved out of the property.

 

We had paid monthly to First Utility and had overpaid on our final bill.

I had to chase First Utility and eventually they refunded me £350

(not sure to the penny as was a few years ago and I don't have the bank account anymore).

 

However, during this chasing, I was told that I also had a £400 (ish) credit on my account

and would refund this as a cheque.

 

I did think this was strange, however, didn't keep a close tab on the bills

and presumed this was right as they had taken the previous refund into account.

Both refunds eventually processed and in my bank account.

 

Move forward 16 months,

in December 2015 I started receiving texts from First Utility telling me my bill was 400 days overdue.

I ignored these texts, but tweeted them asking for them to stop texting me

seeing as the account had been closed and finalised.

 

I then got a call from a Complaints handler who told me that the second refund was in error

and that I now owe them this money back.

 

After repeating to her that I will not be paying this back, as it's been over 12 months and this is their fault,

I was then told it would be passed onto a debt collection agency.

 

Yesterday I received a text from CRS Debt Collectors telling me that they had been instructed by First Utility to resolve an outstanding matter, and to contact them with the reference number.

Obviously I have not contacted them, but now am not sure where to go to...

 

Luckily, First Utility do not have my current address and therefore I believe the chance of CRS turning up on my doorstep is minimal. And I know that they have no legal powers and to send them away.

 

So in summary...

 

- First Utility refunded me 2 different amounts (why they were different we won't know), one after the other.

- First Utility are now trying to claw back the second refund even though it was their fault.

- First Utility have my phone number and e-mail address,

however, have not tried to contact me between August 2014 and November 2015 about this overpayment.

- I am refusing to pay this back.

- CRS have now been instructed to collect this from me.

 

What do I do???

I would send them a letter but I am loathed to give out my current address.

Edited by mrimac94
about contact from FU

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Oh CRS are just a little DCA who have no clout at all... The account will be with First utility still.

Ignore CRS. But if its owed to First Utility, I would pay it back to them.

From a Legal standpoint, you are not entitled to that money.


 

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Receptaculum Ignis

 

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Thanks for the info fkofilee. It is easy to see how people get intimidated to pay it straight away when a DCA get involved!

 

So even though First Utility are now chasing me 17 months down the line, and they admit the error was their fault,

I am still liable to pay this back?

 

 

I am not trying to second guess your legal knowledge at all, just trying to fathom how this all is going to end up :)

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Ignore CRS, no-one will knock on your door,

and even if they did, you are more than well in your legal rights to tell them to jog on,

DCA's are NOT bailiffs, nor will they ever be,

it is just an empty threat to make you panic and pay money you don't owe.

 

As for the ''bill'' cough cough, they can ONLY back bill you up to 12 months, no more, so by my reckoning, they're well out of time.

 

IGNORE the powerless DCA, and lodge a formal complaint with FU,

at the outset you need to demand they either call off their powerless DCA

or issue you with a 'deadlock' letter so you're able to escalate the complaint to the energy ombudsman to have them investigated.


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 would be inclined to send FU an SAR.

 

the back billing might not play a part here as they 'did' bill you

 

but if/if not you [and the other occupants at the time] do owe them

is better decrypted with account statements.

 

 

dx


please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

 

if everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's tomorrow

the biggest financial industry in the UK, the whole DCA industry would collapse overnight.

 

 

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First Utility have informed me that I was last invoiced on September 2014, which I was £10.22 in credit.

 

Since then, no invoice has been raised for the £316.75 I apparently owe.

 

As there has been no invoice in over 12 months,

 

does this mean that I have nothing to pay under the backbilling code?

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IMO yes.


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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agreed

 

 

dx


please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

 

if everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's tomorrow

the biggest financial industry in the UK, the whole DCA industry would collapse overnight.

 

 

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So I phoned First Utility (recorded the call) and asked to either send me a deadlock letter or call off the bailiffs. Apparently this has been arranged.

 

Today recieved the following e-mail:

 

'Thank you for your previous correspondence.

 

Firstly, please accept my sincere apologies for the upset caused as a result of the problems you have experienced with our service to date and the length of time it has taken to respond; we do strive to offer an exceptional service to all of our customers and we are extremely disappointed when we do not achieve this.

 

I have tried to contact yourself today by telephone, unfortunately I was unable to reach you, however I do hope that you received my voice mail message.

 

I would like to apologise for the time that this has taken to come to a resolution. I have looked through the account and have done a calculation in regards to how much energy you have used from your initial read to your final read.

 

You were sent a payment via cheque for the amount of £385.65, you made a total of £327.57 which means we over paid you £58.08. As you have had all of your payments back and the over payment this means there has been no payment made towards your usage.

 

As a goodwill gesture I am going to wavier the extra cost of £58.08, so the total amount owed is £277.73. Please see attached the manual calculation showing your consumption.

 

Once again I would like to apologise for the inconvenience and thank you for giving me the opportunity to resolve your complaint.'

 

 

and my reply...

 

Thank you for your e-mail.

 

I am not sure which correspondence you are referring to or what has warranted your e-mail response.

 

I spoke to Fatima at First Utility on 05/02/2016 who said that there was £316.75 outstanding on this account. Fatima confirmed that the last invoice on the account was for £10.82 as a credit balance. You have not billed me since September 2014, according to your own records and confirmed by Fatima.

 

I asked Fatima to supply me with a ‘deadlock’ letter so that I can get this matter escalated to Ofgem. Please can you supply this as soon as possible.

 

I have also written to you, via post, with a Subject Access Request. According to Royal Mail, this has been delivered and you have 40 days from 8th February to comply with this request. I also enclosed a £10 cheque which is the statutory maximum for releasing these documents.

 

Further to this, I asked Fatima to note on my account that all further correspondence should be made in writing only. As this matter shows no signs of coming to an end, I am now evidencing all my contact with First Utility for further action, if required.

 

Please note that all further postal correspondence should be sent to my current residential address: ------ I did provide this as a forwarding address in August 2014 along with the final meter readings, however I was informed by Fatima that this had not been recorded. To confirm, I have no access to 10 ------, so have not received any postal correspondence from yourselves and will not do if you continue sending correspondence to that address.

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I bet they're now going to say that they sent you bills to the old address.

 

Well done for recording the call, and logging everything, it's utterly farcical that we have to go through all of this, just to be treated like adults.

 

What you 'could' do, is to send Ofgem a complaint anyway, if they have had 8 or more weeks in which to suitably rectify your initial complaint, and they have failed to do so, then you are well within your rights to escalate it without a 'deadlock' letter, or their 'final' response letter.

 

I've done this previously when inept companies try to keep your complaint on their own merry-go-round complaints system, pillar to post, back to pillar etc etc etc, this will force the company to look at your complaint properly, due to the ombudsman getting in touch with them to demand what is going on, and whether you have gone through all of their processes.


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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Now passed on to Ofgem. They have to remain impartial but the guy I spoke to thinks I have a very good chance of winning. Time will tell! :)

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:thumb:

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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Little update..

 

Case is now in Ofgem's hands. I've had an e-mail from First Utility today stating that they are now providing information to Ofgem.

 

Interestingly enough, had a response from CRS regarding the 'prove-it' letter.

 

 

They reckon there is now a bill of £315.57 outstanding.

 

 

The bill they have attached (which is the bill First Utility have sent to them) is from November 2014 (the last bill)

and shows that the account is £385.65 in credit.

 

This is going to go down an absolute storm at Ofgem when I provide the files tomorrow!! :):wink:

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Only goes to show you just how laughable DCA's really are.

 

Powerless to do anything, less for sending puerile missives that have zero meaning.


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 know I probably shouldn't have replied now that Ofgem are involved,

but I've saved it all and uploaded it to their evidence.

 

 

I'm just more intrigued with how CRS are going to prove this debt!

 

 

As they seem to be happy to chase me for money without any proof from First Utility that a debt exists...

 

Dear Mr Medved,

 

Thank you for your response to my letter dated 5th February 2016.

 

The final bill which you have attached, and that this matter relates to, shows that my account is £385.65 in CREDIT. I.e. I had overpaid by £385.65.

 

You have stated that the current balance, which you are chasing for, is £317.57.

 

To confirm, I have not made any payments to you or First Utility since November 2014 when the final bill was produced.

 

As far as I am concerned, you have NOT proved that a valid debt exists. You are prohibited by Law from continuing any collection activity until you have done so. Failure to obey the law in this regard will render you liable to prosecution for harassment.

 

If you have reason to believe that a valid debt still exists, please provide evidence in writing of this debt.

 

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what you also need to bear-in-mind here

is the DCA's stance on this..

 

 

like all DCA's they think they are onto a winner whenever they get a utils debt..

because they think it hives them magical powers.

 

 

the bottom line is it doesn't!!

 

 

no DCA has any powers whatsoever, they are NOT BAILIFFS

and even less on a debt where they have a 'client'

 

 

just like govt debts assigned for a dca to chase..

you absolutely ignore them.

 

 

dx


please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

 

if everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's tomorrow

the biggest financial industry in the UK, the whole DCA industry would collapse overnight.

 

 

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