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    • Just posted up the POC. Will get on with CCA and CPR tomorrow.   Is there a danger that if he attempts to call BC he could take it out of staute barred?  I will have to contact him Spain so need to advise him what not to say.
    • Here are the Particulars of Claim     Name of the Claimant ? Hoist Finance UK Holdings Limited     30th January 2020 Date of issue 30/01/2020 + 19 days ( 5 day for service + 14 days to acknowledge) = 17/02/2020 + 14 days to submit defence = 02/03/2020 (33 days in total) -   Particulars of Claim   The claim is for the sum of £7939.36 arising from the defendants breach of a regulated consumer credit agreement referenced Under no xxxx926xxxxxx03 The defendant has failed to remedy the breach in accordance with a Default Notice issued pursuant to ss.87(1) and 88 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974. The Claimant claims the sums due from the Defendant following the legal assignment of the agreement from Hoist Portfolio Holding 2 Ltd(Ex Barclaycard) Written notice of the assignment has been given. The Claimant claims 1. The sum of £7939.36 2. Costs   What is the total value of the claim? £7939. + £410.00 Court fee + 100.00 legal costs Total amount £8449.00   Have you received prior notice of a claim being issued pursuant to paragraph 3 of the PAPDC ( Pre Action Protocol) ? Yes dated 02092019   Have you changed your address since the time at which the debt referred to in the claim was allegedly incurred? Not sure   Did you inform the claimant of your change of address?Not sure Is the claim for - a Bank Account (Overdraft) or credit card or loan or catalogue or mobile phone account? Credit Card.   When did you enter into the original agreement before or after April 2007 ?  After April 2007 actually August 2007   Do you recall how you entered into the agreement...On line /In branch/By post ? Can't recall   Is the debt showing on your credit reference files (Experian/ Equifax /Etc...) ?No idea   Has the claim been issued by the original creditor or was the account assigned and it is the Debt purchaser who has issued the claim. Claim issued by Hoist, so assigned.   Were you aware the account had been assigned – did you receive a Notice of Assignment? Howard Cohen solicitors says yes. I say no   Did you receive a Default Notice from the original creditor? Not to my knowledge   Have you been receiving statutory notices headed “Notice of Sums in Arrears”  or " Notice of Arrears "– at least once a year ? No   Why did you cease payments? Costly divorce and failed small business   What was the date of your last payment? Over 6 yeras ago I believe   Was there a dispute with the original creditor that remains unresolved? No   Did you communicate any financial problems to the original creditor and make any attempt to enter into a debt management plan? Spoke to them many years ago          
    • DX ,thanks for spacing post BankFodder,  sorry, point taken,   FS
    • defence due by 4pm Monday 2nd   has he...   .  get a CCA Request running to the claimant https://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/topic/332502-cca-request-consumer-credit-act-1974-updated-january-2015/  leave the £1PO blank and uncrossed . .  get a CPR 31:14 request running to the solicitors [if one is not listed send to the claimant] . . https://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/topic/332546-legal-cpr-3114-request-request-for-information-when-a-claim-has-been-issued/ . . type your name ONLY no need to sign anything . you DO NOT await the return of paperwork. you MUST file a defence regardless by day 33 from the date on the claimform [1 in the count]   get him to ring BC ask last payment date tomorrow.    
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John1978

NPower problems dating from 2001 :(

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Hi all,

 

I’m really hoping that one of you may be able to help me?

 

I’m going to try and cut a very long story short so here we go with the salient points.

 

Back in 2001 (yes, 2001!) my father who was over 60 applied for a TXU StayWarm account

which I believe was government backed and enabled users electricity and gas for a flat fee of £53.20 per month.

 

 

At this time he had an NPower (or their alias back then) account

and notified them he would now be moving onto StayWarm and leaving NPower

– I have a signed contract between him and StayWarm dated 2001.

 

NPower,

despite being told he was switching providers never released his account to StayWarm.

The first he knew about a problem was correspondence that he wasn’t paying his gas bill

and a demand for a sum of approximately £5,000*18months later.

 

 

This is when their endless and relentless pursuit of him began for this ‘debt’.

 

 

It appears that they failed to cancel his account and were misguidedly billing him for energy use.

He has never received the money back that he was paying during this time to StayWarm

and now, despite paying his monthly payments

(StayWarm was stopped shortly after these problems began – hence back to NPower)

there is a ‘debt’ hanging over him.

 

 

 

  • *Since then there have been over 55 separate demands for a sum of money between about £5,000 and £8,000 although the number is never the same (ie Jan ’09 £8,182.63 and March ’10 £5,899.95)
  • Numerous letters from the bailiff threatening a warrant to enter his home and he should attend the magistrates court on a certain date. I attended during this summer and it was made clear that these should never have been issued because it was a ‘dispute’ over a sum of money and there was no question that he wasn’t paying his bills.
  • Recent claims that there were two gas metres in the house; I have checked and there is only one.
  • Customer services are useless and at times aggressive
  • He pursued the case with a solicitor in about 2011 but once the solicitor bill got to just over £1,000 couldn’t afford any more money to pay them.
  • Despite the fact he pays monthly over the post office counter (with receipts to prove) they claim in correspondence that he isn’t paying his current bills, and then when challenged are forced to admit that infact he is...

 

Unfortunately this is really affecting him and his levels of stress; and the whole family.

 

 

How it has been going on for so long I just don’t know, but I am now having to deal with it

because I am genuinely worried it will affect his health (as you can imagine he is of a certain age).

 

 

He applied for an SAR during the Summer but the NPower records only go back to 2008

so they have no proof or evidence where or what this bill is for.

 

 

In among the huge file of paperwork is however multiple references to

*Please do not inform the customer of any potential writeoff*

 

He has been to the ombudsman and despite the lack of evidence from NPower (no records before ’08)

have sided with them and summarized that they should write him a letter of apology and give him £150!

 

What do I do?

 

 

How can I get them off our backs?

 

Many thanks in advance.

 

John.

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It is a very complicated story, and I'm trying to understand exactly what the position is now.

 

It is not entirely clear to me what their dispute is now and what they are asking you for.

 

Also, I don't understand that you say that the ombudsman on one hand has sided with npower and yet on the other hand says that they should apologise to your father and pay him £150. This sounds rather contradictory.

 

We have had some cases on this forum where it has turned out that npower have been using different account numbers and this has caused some of the misunderstanding. Have you checked these kind of details? And are you sure that there is consistency in the file that you have.

 

Also, although there won't be much that you can do about it, I don't for one moment believe that npower destroys all their records before 2008. I think that is simply a magical six year figure that they use as a cut-off figure and refused to release any information beyond then.

 

How recent is your SAR? Also, it might help to follow our customer services guide and then to call npower and try to have various conversations with different people to see what other information you may be able to tease out.

 

You're quite right that the customer services are often aggressive. They are usually hopeless. But they often make inadvertent references or admissions which they would never own up to later on but if you have it on a recording then that becomes very helpful later on.


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I think you have to go through all paperwork in a forensic way.

 

Put it all in date order in a large folder. Try to match payments made, with the bills that were issued. Look carefully at the meter no. to see if correctly stated on bills. Look at the billing reference numbers, to which payments have been made against.

 

Perhaps your Fathers payments through the Post Office have not been processed to tbe correct account at NPower.

 

These large companies are just not very good at helping to resolve these issues and you might have to put in many hours to put together a record of information, with a list of missing information and potential issues to look at.

 

It is then a case of trying to beaver away to get hold of missing information and to ask specific questions about any issues you have found.

 

The mention on records of a possible write off, might suggest that if a case was made to them, that they might write of some older bills that they think are outstanding. If NPower did not issue a correct bill, there could be a case to be made under back billing rules.

 

As for the SAR issue of data not being available more than 6 years old, you can complain to NPower and if necessary to the ICO. If they don't have some data, how do they know the bill amount being asked for is correct.


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Could CAB help with this? At least it is free.

 

Like Bankfodder I don't understand the Ombudsman part.


Dont let the parasite dca's prosper

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Hi everybody,

 

 

Many thanks for your help so far - really helpful so see a different perspective on this.

The letter of apology and £150 compensation ordered by the ombudsman is strange , I agree Bankfodder. I assume it is some kind of acknowledgement that NPower have dealt with the matter badly but it does seem incredibly contradictory.

 

 

The SAR is dated from the Summer '15 and the paperwork is impressive - I think the postage bill alone was about £20! There is just so much paperwork its going to take me some time to go through it but such is my fathers health and stress regarding the whole situation I feel I must step in and try to deal with this once and for all. However the elephant in the room is that there is no paperwork regarding where the initial bill for circa £5,000 was generated from (way back in '03 ish), and that is what I realize I have to get to the heart of and the fact that every one of the substantial number of demands from NPower is always for a wildly varying sum of money...

 

 

The ombudsman has come back and notified us that

 

'Dear XXX

Thank you for your email yesterday requesting an extension to the response deadline to our final decision.

 

 

As an exception we are able to extend the deadline for response to 29 February 2016.

 

 

 

 

Yours sincerely

 

David Barrell'

 

I'm going to have to start thinking on my feet and acting fast...

 

 

Funnily enough, when I represented him during this summer regarding one of his court requests for non-payment and bailiff threats to enter the house (which was retracted the second I arrived as this was a 'dispute' and not an issue over the non-payment of a bill, so I was told by the freelancer who was representing NPower) she also told me that she has never seen a case where a judge has ruled in favour of NPower when similar parties to me have taken the fight to NPower - but then I realize that without more detailed knowledge I could be playing with fire...

 

 

Thanks UncleBulgaria - I'm off to investigate the ICO.

 

 

Regards,

 

 

John

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The ICO will do absolutely nothing. Npower will simply tell them that this is all the data available – and then the ICO will repeat the same rubbish to you.

 

You will not be able to get anything more from npower unless it appears accidentally or you manage to discover accidentally what their mechanism is for archiving older documents.

 

I believe that RBS and NatWest for instance use a third-party company for storing all their older data and this allows them to say that they don't hold the data any more and in this way they are able to frustrate subject access requests.

 

Abbey bank – before it became Santander – used to store all their archives back to 1933. I don't for one moment imagine that Santander has destroyed it all.

 

I would like you to post the actual letter please from the ombudsman which recommends the £150.

 

Please don't just type out letters. We want to see the originals here.

 

Also, I don't quite understand. You seem to be saying that you have had the npower disclosure since summer of last year and yet it seems you still haven't gone through it all. Is this correct

 

You say that your father has been making all the payments but simply they haven't been credited to the npower account because they were being paid to StayWarm. Is that correct?

 

Do you have the evidence of the payments which were made to StayWarm?

 

Finally, we are very anxious to help you here – especially against npower but it is rather difficult if you don't monitor the forum and you allow four days to elapse between each visit and each response.


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I believe that npower has an archive which they call legacy. This could possibly be where older information is stored


Dont let the parasite dca's prosper

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Thank you. That could be extremely useful.

 

Where did you get this "legacy" information? Do you have any evidence for this? Do you think it is part of the npower company or it is some other storage company which has been specially set up?

 

This is exactly the way that these companies work. They have had a belly full of SARs. It cost the money and also they know that it causes them trouble. Therefore they go to any lengths to sidestep the law


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Thank you. That could be extremely useful.

 

Where did you get this "legacy" information? Do you have any evidence for this? Do you think it is part of the npower company or it is some other storage company which has been specially set up?

 

This is exactly the way that these companies work. They have had a belly full of SARs. It cost the money and also they know that it causes them trouble. Therefore they go to any lengths to sidestep the law

 

Most Banks and Insurance companies use off site storage like Iron Mountain. When they decided to go down the paperless route, after running out of basements, they started to send van loads to outside companies. It gets boxed up and there is a vague system of what is in each box. Trouble is that over the years, the lists of what is in each box are not always available or helpful. I have seen it happen, where a van load of boxes have been requested back at quite an expense ( i think it was £5 a box), just to find one important document. You would have several staff spending hours sifting through boxes. So if an SAR relates to a paper document you want to see, unless it was microfilmed at some point, you are probably not going to get it.

 

Then there are the IT records issues, where staff working in customer services are restricted to what is currently available, unless they are allowed time to access archive systems or microfilm records. Sometimes because companies are unwilling to spend money on maintaining archive records, the ability to access it, becomes very difficult. For example they don't spend money on microfilm viewers which are connected to printers and it becomes unavailable. Access to older computer databases is restricted or not available.

 

Records management is a big issue for companies, as they are often more interested in spending money on new IT, rather than waste money on older systems.

 

The issue with SAR's is therefore not just companies deliberately not providing documents, but the staff handling these requests are not equipped properly. They will therefore just access what is immediately available and send it out. If a complaint it made to the companies Data Protection Officer and the ICO, it is possible other documents will become available. But as Bankfodder suggests, they might just say they have provided what is available.


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The Abbey/Santander system going back to 1933 was certainly microfilmed at least from the 1960s onwards.

 

I don't for a moment imagine that any company was still using hardcopy storage by the late 1980s.

 

I think that any company that says it was, is lying.

 

In the early days of the bank charges – 2006/2007/2008, various companies including Barclays and Abbey try to frustrate SARs by claiming that they were only available on microfiche.

 

The ICO compelled them to comply with SARs.

 

Now, since that time, most pre-six year old records have mysteriously disappeared – but I'm quite sure they're not destroyed. I'm quite sure that some mechanism has been setup which allows these institutions to put their hand on heart and to avoid their statutory obligations.


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Anyway, it would be nice to be able to find out specifically about this "legacy" system because then one could address it specifically in SARs and also bring notice of it to the ICO and asked the ICO for a ruling on whether or not its contents should be included in respect of subject access requests.

 

The ICO isn't a lot of good but if you provide specific evidence and asked for specific decisions, then sometimes you can get a good result.


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I bet that if you went to NPower or any large company to inspect their data record storage, with an overview of say the last 20 years, you will find it confusing. Companies rely on data being transferred correctly when there are system changes or updates and from experience there are always problems. Which is why companies normally keep older IT records for a few years, so they can go back to look.

 

In the OP's case, i wonder whether NPower have any proof of the older bill issued at the time it was supposedly incurred. If they can't prove this historic debt and that it is currently legally enforceable, they will have to write it off.


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I wonder where the back billing rule sits in all this?

 

 

dx


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

 

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Looking online "legacy" is the old Npower system before SAP and the accounts were migrated from this old system. This tends to suggest that it is in-house


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I wonder where the back billing rule sits in all this?

 

 

dx

 

If they have no evidence of billing at the time, they can't charge it. That is my understanding.


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When does the back-billing principle apply?Each case is looked at on its own merits; however,

the 12 month limit for back-bills may apply in these

examples when your supplier has:

Failed to bill you at all and you have requested

bills from them;

Billed you using estimated meter readings and

instead of valid readings provided by you or a

meter reader;

Billed you incorrectly by mixing up meter

readings, and failed to act upon information

available to put this right;

Failed to do anything about a query or fault you

have raised regarding your account or meter and

subsequently allowed a large debt to build up on

your account;

Failed to reassess a payment arrangement

(eg. Direct Debit) within 15 months, or failed to

reassess based on a reasonable estimate.

http://www.energy-uk.org.uk/files/docs/Factsheets%20and%20guides/back_billing_consumer_guide.pdf

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Oh hang on, you must at least have requested a bill from them.

 

On the other hand, the examples above are simply – examples. They are governed by the overriding principle which is

 

BBack-billing principle

If your supplier is at fault, it will not seek additional

payment for unbilled energy used more than 12

months prior to the error being detected and a

corrected bill being issued


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Thanks all - the back billing issue is interesting and worth consideration. In the meantime I can attach the ombudsmans 'ruling' shortly.

J

ps how do I attach an image?

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First of all it should be attached in PDF format – not JPEG format.

 

If you click the "Go advanced" button at the bottom right of the reply form, you will see towards the bottom of that larger reply form a button which says "manage attachments".

 

Find your way from there – if you can't then let us know what the problems

 

Incidentally, relying on the back billing rules in this kind of situation is a poor second best – and won't solve all of the problems necessarily.

 

Also, I notice that you haven't answered any of the other questions that have been asked.

 

It will be helpful if you would respond to these questions.


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Sorry Bankfodder - I must have not been paying attention - my apologies.

 

Also, I don't quite understand. You seem to be saying that you have had the npower disclosure since summer of last year and yet it seems you still haven't gone through it all. Is this correct - Correct, it has become more apparent that this is getting totally ontop of him and he's now so immersed in the small detail he can no longer see the wood for the trees. To be honest this is probably how it has gone on for so long; there is so much detail i am still uncovering. I have a pretty hectic job but have now realized its just not going to get resolved unless I try and deal with it (this dawned on me about two weeks ago) He is in the midlands - I am in London.

 

You say that your father has been making all the payments but simply they haven't been credited to the npower account because they were being paid to StayWarm. Is that correct? Correct, at the same time it seems npower were billing him concurrently.

 

Do you have the evidence of the payments which were made to StayWarm? Not yet - I will ask him tonight. I have a signed contract for staywarm. When presented to npower in the early days they denied it was a contract - it has since been proven that is in fact is.

 

 

Finally, we are very anxious to help you here – especially against npower but it is rather difficult if you don't monitor the forum and you allow four days to elapse between each visit and each response. I am incredibly grateful for the information I am receiving, thank you all - unfortunately I was off line this weekend. Now and for the foreseeable fully online :)

 

 

J

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Thank you for these answers.

 

The disclosure documents that you have received are now a priority. They need to be gone through very quickly – lots of notes – and at the same time, in order to save you having to go through it all again, I suggest that you start indexing all the pages. I would suggest that as you go through it, you number each page by hand and then keep an Excel spreadsheet of the title and date of each document along with its file number.

 

It may seem a pain right now – but you will be very grateful for it later on.

 

Whatever, you need to go through the file. Make sure there are consistent account numbers, consistent readings or estimated readings, try to notice any notes which refer to documents which don't appear to be in the file. That would be good evidence that there is material missing and you can then complain about it.

 

This really is a priority.

 

Secondly, you say that you have a document which purports to be a StayWarm contact.

 

Please will you post this up as well as a PDF document. Are there any other documents that you have already which might be relevant. It will save us finding out about them accidentally later on and then having to ask you with all of the delays that that entails.

 

Why is it that npower did not accept it was a contract? And why is it that you say that it has now been proved that it is a contract? What does that mean?


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Another question is about StayWarm.

 

Could you give us some information about this company please. I have looked around and StayWarm seems to be a name that is still used by some energy companies now.

 

Also, I see that there has been some linkup or connection between StayWarm and npower in the past.

 

Is it at all possible that StayWarm were taken over by npower? Is it possible that StayWarm was really merely a scheme for older people but which was actually being run by npower or at least RWE?


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Thanks. And what happened to Powergen?

 

 

- hang on, they became EOn

 

... so an SAR to EOn might turn something up as well

Edited by BankFodder
.

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