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stripy

Water Plus late payment fee **RESOLVED paid with no fee**

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Hi,

i'm new to this forum and hope it is correct place i'm posting this.

 

Our water supplier is Water Plus. I pay their bills through online bank account.  Same was with last bill, which I paid online (however our bank changed the way we make payment, but i can swear i made the payment). 

 

In about 4 or 5 days we received reminder, but assuming the letter was already sent before i paid, i ignored it.  Then we receiver final reminder, I went online bank account and couldn't find my payment (apparently it didn't happen).   i quickly paid the bill. 

 

Now we received new bill and the company is charging us £40 for late payment. 

It never happened before and it seems it's too steep

.  Please, any advise on this?

 

Can we dispute this charge, as the bill is £143 total out of which £40 is for this late payment

. Many thanks in advance.

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Presumably you are dealing with them as a business. Can you tell us what your business is and how big it is please?

Do you have a copy of their terms and conditions?


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Hi,

yes, it's business but run from home (so we split cost between home and business use, but the name on the bill is business name)

 

. it's quite small, selling online craft supplies. 

I can't see any original T&C's, but found just now on the reverse of the bill that up to £999.99 they charge £40 for the late payments (according to their T&C's).  

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Well in my view, this term is subject to the provisions of the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1977/50/contents . I quite agree with you that this is an excessive charge and frankly it also probably amounts to an unenforceable penalty at common law. The company would be entitled to claim any administrative losses caused by your late payment – which of course is a breach of contract – but no more. I would suggest that at the very least you write to WP and ask them for a detailed breakdown to show how they have arrived at this £40 figure. You should ask them if it is a genuine pre-estimate of loss. I can imagine that they will ignore you or fob you off

However I gather that you haven't paid the money yet. Therefore at the moment there is nothing to claim back. Your only position is to refuse to pay it but then I suppose that because you are trading as a business these people reserve the right to cut off your supply. This would be very inconvenient for you especially as you are apparently sharing it with your household use. (I have to say that I expect that you find it "fiscally convenient" to arrange your affairs in this way – but now you can also see the downside.)

 

This would mean that it would be dangerous to refuse the payment. That means that you are left in the position where you should make the payment and then claim it back. Then Water Plus have nothing to complain about because they're not owed any money. They can simply start to hate you but they won't be able to do anything about it – which is satisfying in itself.

If you then wanted to claim it back we would be pleased to help you and even though it's not a lot of money, you may feel that it is worth the principle. However, you may feel that your life is too busy to get involved in that kind of thing simply for £40.

Another downside of allocating your water bill to your business life is that if you did sue them, because you would be seeing as a business, any hearing would take place in the defendants local court. If you had arranged your water supply under your household expenses, then a hearing would be in your local court and of course that would then be another load of unrecoverable costs that WP would have had to factor into the decision as to whether or not to defend the claim.

I have to say that for £40 I can imagine that they would put their hands up anyway. On the other hand, they might consider that it is a point of principle not to give way to you. I can imagine that they do very nicely from these extortionate charges. It's a nice little additional money earner for them.

We can help you if you want and we will support you all the way. It would be a good learning curve for you and you will acquire transferable skills which you can then use to sue any other company that decides to try and dominate you with unfair practices. On the other hand you might prefer a quiet life and put it down to experience.

 



 


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Thanks for the answer.  Really appreciate all the effort and time you put in.  

 

We try to be organised and pay bills in time, no problem.  With this one, as I mentioned above, i did pay in time, but  for some reason it didn't go through ( it was first payment since our bank changed paying procedures, and I'm sure it said that payment was successful).

 

I'll call and speak to them and see what they say - after all we have been with them for many years.  

 

The fine is too steep and we are already paying double what we used to do.  So if they don't write it off, we'll change the supplier.  

 

If there is an option to claim it back in the future, we'll certainly consider that if it's worth the effort (we got child with special needs, so we can't it get aggravated to the point when they cut off water supply). I will post the outcome here after I phone them.

Thanks again.

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Don't imagine that by changing business supplier to another business supplier that you will get anything better. It's like people who fall out their banks and decide to strut off in a huff and open an account with another bank. They are all the same. Don't kid yourself.

The only thing you might try is to tell WP that you are leaving because of their £40 charge and invite them to return it to you. A lot of these companies suddenly get very cuddly if they think they're going to lose a customer

The last thing you could think about doing is to restructure your water supply so that it becomes a consumer item rather than the business item. This would give you greater rights.

As I said in my post, if you pay and then claim it back from them – they can't cut you off. They will have to take it on the chin.

If you're going to start using the telephone then read our customer services guide first and implement the advice there. You should be doing this every time you phone any business – either as a business or as a consumer. It's essential and basic survival.


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Yes, basically to make threat of leaving. They have all my records of payments and should see that it's not worth loosing my custom.  Thanks for the link, I'm reading through it now.  

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here is a question for you, is your house divided up into a retail/business area and domestic area for business rates purposes?

If not why on earth are you paying business water rates?

certainly not for tax purposes as you can claim any legit expense without having to reclassify your home as a business premises.

 

i would be stopping this nonsense and going back to whatever water supplier is the domestic one for your area

. there is stuff all they can do to get the £40 from you whan you do that.

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As promised, here's  what happened next. 

Searched around for other water suppliers. 

Not many options, but there are some, pretty much similar prices.

 

Then I called to Water plus customer services, explained why it when to late payment. 

They checked my previous payment records which was fine.

 

I also offered to set direct debit.

they cancelled the invoice and issued new one without fine.

 

  So thankfully it resolved without much pain.

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