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orchardw

Previous tenants Shell Energy debt now appear in my name.

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Hi,

 

thank you for looking at my post first of all. 

I will need some advice regarding the outstanding energy bill left behind by my tenant.

 

First of all, I am a landlord and evicted the tenant September 2019. 

Tenant moved out on September and subsequently, I (Landlord) have found out that the energy bill has been sent to my property addressing different name (not the tenant name).

 

After multiple phone calls to resolve it, it was found that the tenant has not been paying the energy bill for the entire year and register to the energy company using another person's name, (i.e. not the tenant name on the contract I had rented to).

 

I as Landlord has made all the important phone call to the Shell Energy company to ensure to report the tenant has moved out and provided the tenancy contract as part of the evidence to support.

 

However, after 3 months later, I as the landlord has received a letter from the MIL debt collector on behalf of Shell Energy for collecting the outstanding debt that cost £902 left behind by the previous tenant despite all the phones call and emails have been sent to Shell Energy in last 3 months. 

 

But all of a sudden Shell Energy has appointed the MIL debt collector without speaking to me and the most disgusting issue is, the Shell Energy has passed my personal information such as address and name to the MIL debt collector in which, I had not owed Shell Energy any outstanding amount.

 

We will be going to get hold of the customer service and speak to them next week to ensure such issue to be resolved,

however I would like to find out, is that legal for Shell Energy to pass my personal information to debt collector without my consent or without  having conversation with me to ensure this is genuinely a mistake by Shell Energy because the current utility bill has been re-assigned under the my name since the tenant has moved out. 

 

Also, from now onward, MIL debt collector will have a record of mine which I don't happy at all because I will need to ensure the debt collector does not store any of my personal information in their database as I did not owe any of the outstanding amount but the previous tenant which should take care of the utility bill.

 

Can someone please advice how can put some bold words (in term of GDPR) if indeed, it is illegal for Shell Energy to disclose my personal information and to ensure they will not repeat such mistake or appointing the MIL debtor to repeatedly sending harassment letter to my property please?

 

Thanks,

Orchard

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Use GDPR to your advantage.
 

Don’t speak to them by phone. Send them a GDPR SAR. They will either comply , in which case you will be able to see what has been going on and hopefully get to the bottom of this.

 

If they fob you off just tell them in writing you will report them to the ICO. It’s fairly possible the prospect of a multi million pound fine for non compliance will persuade them to drop the whole thing.

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Just to add to the very important SAR above, you should also write to them – separately in a separate envelope – a letter rejecting the fact that you are indebted to them and that you have not been an energy user at that address. They probably won't pay any attention but it's important have a paper trail.

In addition to the advice not to use the telephone – if for some reason rather you decide that you need to then you should first of all have read our customer services guide and implementing the advice there. If you make phone calls or receive phone calls without having implemented the advice in our customer services guide then you will regret it at some point


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https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-data-protection/guide-to-the-general-data-protection-regulation-gdpr/legitimate-interests/what-is-the-legitimate-interests-basis/

 

Quote

When do individuals’ interests override ours?

Even if the processing might have a negative impact on the individual, this does not automatically mean that their interests always override yours. This depends on the severity of the impact, and whether it is warranted in light of your purpose. Your interests do not always have to be in harmony with those of the individual, and if you have a more compelling interest this may justify some impact on individuals.

Example

A finance company is unable to locate a customer who has stopped making payments under a hire purchase agreement. The customer has moved house without notifying the finance company of their new address. The finance company wants to engage a debt collection agency to find the customer and seek repayment of the debt. It wants to disclose the customer’s personal data to the agency for this purpose.

The finance company has a legitimate interest in recovering the debt it is owed and in order to achieve this purpose it is necessary for them to use a debt collection agency to track down the customer for payment owed.

The finance company considers the balancing test and concludes that it is reasonable for its customers to expect that they will take steps to seek payment of outstanding debts. It is clear that the interests of the customer are likely to differ from those of the finance company in this situation, as it may suit the customer to evade paying their outstanding debt.

However, the legitimate interest in passing the personal data to a debt collection agency in these circumstances would not be overridden by the interests of the customer. The balance would be in favour of the finance company.

However, if there is a serious mismatch between your interests and those of the individual (whose are stronger), the individual’s interests come first, for example where:

  • they would not reasonably expect the processing;
  • they would be likely to object to the processing;
  • the processing would have a significant impact on them;
  • the processing would prevent them exercising their rights; or
  • the data you are processing is particularly sensitive, for example special category data, criminal offence data, or children’s data.

However the outcome will depend on the circumstances of the case.

For more practical guidance on how to assess the balancing test, read the section on How do we apply legitimate interests in practice?.

 

 

However - If they Collection Agency have made you the debtor incorrectly when it should have been someone else then you are free to complain and ask them under what circumstances they have been permitted to do this.


 

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Thank you for the advice. I had already sent an email to both Shell Energy (Utility) and MIL Collections (DCA) to complain that the name on the account is incorrect and should be under the tenant's name. I decided not to phone Shell Energy and just sent SAR to both Shell Energy and MIL Collections (both by email and post).

 

Is there anything else more I can do?

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I received a zipped archive of communications, emails, calls, notes around the account of the previous tenant from Shell Energy.

 

The most interesting part to focus on is the notes on the account that Shell Energy/MIL Collections are trying to retrieve.

 

According to their records, the case has been closed for MIL Agency

(presumably when I have phoned twice to ask why I kept getting letters as "Owner Occupier")

and then reopened (exported) back to MIL Agency.

 

Shell Energy supplied me the files they received with regards to the tenant and the tenancy agreement.

However, there are no notes to say that were going to apply account to me or even the previous tenant.

Also there are a number of calls missing from the archive making enquiries about the "Owner Occupier" letters from MIL collections.

 

I have been given a customer care resolution email address, which I am planning to email with regards to at least get them to apply the previous tenant's name to the account and ask not to attempt to charge me and the property.

 

There is also the issue that Shell Energy of sending my details without contacting me.

Shell Energy claim they have sent email/letter/SMS according to their notes,

for which I have received

nothing in my email account relating to that account,

no letters addressed to me

nor the one SMS message they claim they sent.

 

As I said before the only communication regarding the account was from MIL collections on January 8th.

Shell Energy told me I could safely ignore the "Owner Occupier" letters.

 

How should I proceed with regards to GDPR here?

Are they breaking any rules here?

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so sorry can we just clarity..

you haven't infact received any demands to pay the bill in your name on any letters , just to 'the occupier'

but, and I somewhat agree, you object to shell passing your pers details to MIL DCA.

 

sorry if I've read it wrong but better to check..


..

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That's ok, the January 8th letter was the first demand addressed to my name from MIL DCA.

Edited by orchardw

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from?

 


..

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from MIL DCA

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then yes your target is most certainly shell under GDPR 

 

there are plenty here more expert than me in hitting that nail hard and poss getting compo too.

 

 


..

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Could you also clarify that the information you have received in post#6 was the Previous Tenants account/email information etc. (not when they changed the account by replacing previous tenants name with yours )

 

If the above is correct and you have been provided with the Previous Tenants Data to do with that specific account, then you had no legal right to that information/data provided as you are not the Data Subject the previous tenant that opened the account is. 

 

If they have done the above and provided you with the previous tenant data then I think you need to have a chat with the Information Commissioners Office (ICO): https://ico.org.uk/

 

 


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To clarify, they have no details of the previous tenant or may chosen not to disclose that information. I can assume only they never registered with shell. (I was using a full managed service with a letting agency)

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