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British Gas Default

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Hi everyone.

I was living in a house with friends a couple of years ago and we all had bills in our name but shared the cost.



My friend set up the British gas bill in my name through the letting agency and all was fine.

I decided to move out as things weren't working out with one of the other people I was living with.



Came to an agreement with the estate agents that if my friends sourced someone to take my place in the house everything should fine.


When I was moving out I mentioned to the estate agents and my friends that I will close the account,

we can pay the bill and they can set up a new one.



Estate agent stated that they had closed the account and that the bill would be offset against my deposit etc.


Fast forward a couple of years down the line

I apply for credit.

British gas default on my account for a hundred something pounds?



I contact them and explain the situation.

They state they were never contacted by anyone and a default notice was served.

I am very upset by this and I would like to know what the procedure is for serving a default notice?

As I did not receive anything from them.



I am very happy to pay the amount but I want to challenge them that the correct procedure was not put in place etc.



Anyone have any advice, it would be greatly appreciated.

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I'm afraid that you're in a very difficult position. Your story is not new. You are in a shared house with people who really don't particularly care, once you have gone. You are dealing with an estate agent who also doesn't particularly care and simply wants a quiet life. You probably won't like me saying it, that you should have taken care to close down the account when you left and to make sure everything was paid off. I'm afraid that you left it to others and this is what you get. It happens to lots of people.


I'm sorry to say that by taking responsibility for the account, you have to shoulder all the baggage that comes with it. If there is outstanding money then you would have a basis for recovering it from your old flatmates. But I'm afraid that this doesn't absolve you from the responsibility of paying the money to the energy supplier. It seems very unfair – and to a certain extent it is. I'm afraid I don't think that there is much you can do.


The rule about defaults is very vague. If you look at the information Commissioner's website, you will see an initial set of guidelines drawn up by the information Commissioner that says that a default must be issued before any further action can be taken. If you look at subsequent advice on the same website but this time drawn up by the credit services industry and rubberstamped by the information Commissioner, you will see that an initial default is not a necessary step. It's all very confused and by and large the information Commissioner is abrogated responsibility for his important role as a Guardian for the human right of privacy to the credit services industry – which of course is not a disinterested or impartial group of people.


If you know the people who ran up the bills, if you know where they are now, then you could try approaching them for payment or you could consider some more serious action against them – but all this will do will be to put some money in your pocket. I'm afraid that you're going to have to do your six years on the credit reference agency register. If you pay off the bill then at least it will be marked as settled but of course this will probably no great comfort to you.

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