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Dear All,

We would appreciate your help.

We took over a small office space a few months ago.

At the time, my partner got in contact with EDF to change over the energy supplier, but they got into some confusion about the meters and things didn't progress.

Life got in the way, the office was unused for 2 months but we have finally changed supplier to EDF.
 

Unfortunately, until now the energy supplier was BES Utilities.

They approached us a couple of times but always demanding we organise a contract with them.

They've been very aggressive in their tone so we have not engaged with them.


We have recently received a bill and we are horrified at the charges.

I know it is our own fault that we didn't check, however we thought charges should be fair and we would have never expected such a big bill.
Our actual energy consumption is £15.29 but they are demanding and additional £228 on standing charges for 5 months supply.

 

Does anyone have any advice on how to get BES Utilities to reduce their charges to a normal range?

£228 might not be much for some but for us is a lot of money.

Thank you for your help.

Lx

 

 

 



 

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Hi and Welcome to CAG

 

Im sure you will be interested in the following....

 

https://www.blackpoolgazette.co.uk/news/police-and-trading-standards-raid-bes-utilities-offices-at-fleetwood-town-1-8039226

 

Andy


We could do with some help from you.

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Well we haven't heard about BES utilities for a long time. Frankly I thought they'd gone to the wall.

I love the way that you say you were dealing with a utilities company and you expected to be treated fairly. How wonderfully innocent.

Here's some reading about BES utilities https://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/search/?q="bes utilities"&updated_after=any&sortby=relevancy

You say that they were pressing you for a contract – which means that you didn't have one? So on what basis where they applying these standing charges? Were they the supplier of the previous tenant and they simply hit you with something which is generally known in the industry as "a deemed contract"?


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Here's some more reading:

Trustpilot – https://www.trustpilot.com/review/www.besutilities.co.uk 29% of people rate them as two stars or less – but of course trustpilot give them four stars out of five – an 80% approval rating. You can do the maths yourself.

Also, to follow on from the link provided to you by site team member @Andyorch - 

 

Quote

BES Utilities goes after Trading Standards for £8.6m

FEBRUARY 6, 2018 BY BRENDAN COYNE LEAVE A COMMENT

BES Utilities says it plans to sue Trading Standards, which raided its premises in 2016.

The company will seek £8.6 million in damages against Cheshire West and Chester Trading Standards.

BES Utilities recently took two individuals to court alleging they waged a campaign of misinformation about the company.

BES claims this may have played a role in triggering the Trading Standards investigation.

It is understood the individuals have given voluntary undertakings not to attempt to interfere with the business, although they are understood to have strenuously denied doing so.

Andy-Pilley-pic-300x213.jpg

Andy Pilley: Trading Standards is next

 

BES Utilities founder Andy Pilley, said he had “no doubt” that Trading Standard’s decision to investigate the company was influenced by the actions of the two individuals.

We have now lodged a claim for damages against Cheshire West and Chester Trading Standards in the High Court,” said Pilley.

The company claims that 18 months after the Trading Standards action, no company director or employee has yet been interviewed by investigators.

However, Trading Standards says its investigation into alleged mis-selling is ongoing.

https://theenergyst.com/bes-utilities-trading-standards/

 

Quote

Business energy firm BES hit with million pound penalty for bad practices

NOVEMBER 25, 2015 BY BRENDAN COYNE LEAVE A COMMENT

money-trolleySmall business energy supplier BES has been hit with a penalty just shy of £1 million by energy watchdog Ofgem.

The regulator’s investigation found the supplier was treating customers unfairly by not telling them about important contract details.

As most of its customers were on multiyear contracts, BES’ failure to explain possible termination fees to customers if they ended their contract early, to properly explain price reviews during their contract, and that they faced increased standing charges for not using a minimum amount of energy were particularly serious, said Ofgem.

Some customers on deemed contracts were also blocked from switching supplier, so ended up paying over the odds for their energy.

BES will now compensate those affected. Make good measures include repaying termination fees as well as standing charges.

BES will also get in touch with customers who have previously contacted them about their contracts and will allow them the option to end their contracts without paying termination fees.

 

https://theenergyst.com/business-energy-firm-bes-hit-with-million-pound-penalty-for-bad-practices/

 

 

Quote

TONY HETHERINGTON: Stay clear of energy supplier BES - it's been damned by Ofgem and had its offices raided by police

By TONY HETHERINGTON, FINANCIAL MAIL ON SUNDAY

PUBLISHED: 22:02 GMT, 6 August 2016 | UPDATED: 11:37 GMT, 7 August 2016

 

  • J. M. writes: My wife and I bought a guest house in Devon. The day after we moved in, my wife received cold calls about supplying gas and electricity. She was dealing with guests on her own and asked the caller to ring back. But he bombarded her with warnings that if she did not make a contract with a new supplier immediately, we would be put on an emergency tariff at extortionate rates.

As a result of this bullying, my wife agreed to what she thought was a five-year, fixed-price contract for gas and electricity with supplier BES of Fleetwood, Lancashire. We soon found the price was not fixed, but BES said it was not responsible for the sales pitch. It wanted £5,023 to release us from the contract, and refused to identify the firm that made the sales call.

The call came from someone using the business name UK Energy, but BES said it acquired us as customers through a company called Commercial Power Limited. We are now free of BES, but this has taken almost a year, and the stress has been immense.

 

 

https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/experts/article-3726878/TONY-HETHERINGTON-Damned-Ofgem-raided-police-beware-energy-supplier-BES.html


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Thanks for your replies and the info.

 

16 hours ago, BankFodder said:

You say that they were pressing you for a contract – which means that you didn't have one? So on what basis where they applying these standing charges? Were they the supplier of the previous tenant and they simply hit you with something which is generally known in the industry as "a deemed contract"?



Answering your question, yes, I think they were the supplier of the previous tenant.
 

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can't see any evidence of bes ever getting a ccj.

 

pers i'd just simply ignore them until/unless you get a letter entitled letter of claim.

 

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, DCA;s would collapse overnight.

 

 

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Well the good news is that you are no longer with BES utilities so that they cannot hold you to ransom and threaten to cut off your supply. You are now with EDF. They're French but I suppose that can't be helped.

In the utilities world there is a system of "deemed contracts". I suppose it is reasonable enough to ensure continuity of supply so that if you move into new premises and take over from a previous tenant/owner, your supply is not disrupted while you sort yourself out. You can then have the opportunity to continue with the existing supplier or tends to somebody new.

The problem is that the utilities companies – both in respect of business energy supply and consumer energy supply then apply something called "deemed contracts". This means that until you formally sign up as a regular customer, they put you on a contract at elevated rates – well above what you would expect to pay once you have agreed to accept them to be your supplier either on a monthly contract or on a fixed term yearly or what-have-you contract.

I have always believed that these deemed contracts are exploitative because the utilities companies apply extortionate rates and I suppose it is mainly in order to put pressure on you to sign up with them as quickly as possible so that they can lock you in to a minimum period contract.

I've agitated with lots of people on this forum to challenge these contracts – but so far no one has decided to bite. Maybe you won't be interested either because you have a business to run – but the basis of the challenge that I would propose – if BES decide they want to go on and make trouble – is to rely on the term implied by section 15 of the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 which says that in respect of a service where a price has not been agreed between the parties, then a reasonable price will be implied into the contract. What is reasonable is a question of fact.

It seems to me that this deprives the utility company the right to unilaterally impose a contract and decide the price. It seems to me that the price has to be decided by reference to circumstances. These circumstances might include the price which was being paid by the previous tenant, or the market going rate for energy.

I have no idea why this industry practice of extortionate deemed contracts has managed to take hold but people seem to expect that this is what will happen and that's simply the way things are.

I would suggest that you write to BES utilities and ask them for the basis on which they are applying these charges and that if they are simply relying on a "deemed contract" you want to see this contract in writing. I think you could reasonably ask whether that was the contract which the previous customer was on. Of course BES will refuse to answer this question – but you may as well get a paper trail. If you know the previous occupier of your premises and you are on good terms with them, then you might like to ask them about the price they were paying and maybe even get a copy of the contract.

I have no doubt that you will get threats from BES. However for this kind of money I think it's unlikely that they would really want to make trouble – and we will certainly help you to deal with it. I think if they realised that you would defend a legal action on the basis that I have outlined above, that they would quickly put their hands up because they would realise that if a case was decided against them on the basis of section 15 SGSA then the game would probably be up for them and all the other energy suppliers in respect of exploitative deemed contracts.

 

 

And just to add – that even without the existence of section 15 SGSA, I'm quite sure that even under the Common Law of contract, the requirement would be the same that in the absence of agreement, the parties would have to find a "reasonable price".


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Hi,

Thank you for your taking the time to answer and your advice. It's much appreciated.

We sent BES an e-mail with a formal complaint almost a month ago and I was hoping to come back with some news, but unfortunately they are ignoring it.


Thank you about the deemed contract point BankFodder, we'll definitely add that to the list.

Although they have ignored our e-mails, they have sent us a Final Reminder with the total amount owed. I have replied with the initial formal complaint, so we'll see if they take notice of it.

 

I think we have to wait another month before we can escalate the case to the Ombudsman, so we'll have to patiently wait.  I am determined to take this issue as far as I can . The concern now is that we are looking to move house/remortgage sometime this summer, and I am not sure how this issue and this 'debt' could affect my partner's credit score.

 

Lx

 

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As far as I understand, you haven't had a judgement against you so I can't see that this will have any impact on your credit score.

By all means begin a complaint to the energy ombudsman. If BES haven't responded to you already then you should begin a complaint directly to them now. No need to wait. However you better be aware that they are limp wristed – even worse than the financial ombudsman. I wouldn't bother to mention deemed contracts to them because the energy ombudsman is in on it. In fact if you mentioned "deemed contracts" to the energy ombudsman and then make a decision which takes that into account then you could find that a lazy judge will simply refer to the decision of the energy ombudsman and say that "deemed contracts" has already been addressed.

I think that the objection to "deemed contracts" is something that which should be kept strictly to be used in a defence in a county court before a judge.

I find it difficult to believe that they are going to start legal actions for such a small amount of money.


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