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Letters from UK Search Limited for old Southern Water Debt


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Hi everyone.

 

I've received a few letters from UK Search Ltd claiming I owe about £800 to a water company, from my time at my previous address. They haven't provided any breakdown of the figure or related dates so the amount could have been simply plucked out of the air for all I know.

 

The first letter was simply asking me if I was their named person that they "would like to talk to". I was but didn't reply. Then, just a few days later, came the payment demand. There has since been one more letter.

 

I moved out from that address well over 4 years ago, having moved in around 2010 /2011. I cannot recall even receiving any water bills there (it was a rented property), whether I paid the water company or not, or when or how or how much, etc. Any bills that did come were probably addressed to The Occupier rather than to me personally. I have a few questions - 

 

If I didn't pay the bills at the time, isn't the water company negligent for not bothering to chase this up while I was living there? Can they legally leave it this long before demanding payment?

 

Is it the case that because of the Statute Barred law, I would in any case only be liable for that part of the debt (assuming it is an accumulated one) that falls within the last 6 years?

 

Is it likely that UK Search has bought this debt from the water company? If so, does this weaken their case for their demand of payment?

 

I know that I will have to contact them about this but would rather be armed with a bit more knowledge about my rights before I do, and any advice or personal experience stories from anyone here would be greatly appreciated.

 

Many thanks.

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send the water company an sar. Make sure that they know your current address because the last thing you want is a backdoor default judgement which will smash up your credit file.

 

Come back here when you have the statutory disclosure from the sar

 

 

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Thank you for the quick response. I don't know much about dealing with such things so can you tell me what such a document would do, please?

 

The debt letters insist I deal directly with UK Search, leading me to believe that they have bought this alleged debt. So would the water company respond to me?

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water bills are rarely sold on.

this will be a dca chasing for the water company ... the letter will say 'our client' - who is that please?

 

an sar to the water company will get you copies of everything they hold on you and will let you workout what is and is not within 6yrs and due.

 

seems you have been lucky here and the water co. have simply not gone for a CCJ , so don't delay.

unlike other util bills, (gas electric etc) the supply of water and drainage is just like any other consumer debt so 6yrs applies.

 

there are numerous threads here of these recently happening with southern water.

 

 

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

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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Thank you.

Yes, it's Southern Water.

 

About the 6-year rule, is it the case then that any bills that were sent longer ago than 6 years do not now have to be paid? I ask because I've always thought that if such bills are not paid at the time of issue then the owed money is simply tacked on to the following year's bill, in other words, keeping any old debt alive?

 

Many thanks.

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They wouldn't be able to keep the debt alive in that way.

on the other hand there is always a discretion to disregard the limitation period if the court so thinks. if it could be shown that you had been deliberately avoiding paying then I can imagine that that would be a case where the call would agree to disregard the limitation period

 

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Thank you again.

 

I never avoided paying, I just don't recall receiving the bills in the first place. Will Southern Water also send me copies of the original bills if I request them?

 

If through their negligence they never sent any bills at the time, then can they legally chase me for payment, all these years later?

 

I really appreciate all your help.

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sadly no.

as I said, water is unlike other util bills and it considered the same as any consumer debt like a card loan or car finance.

 

they have 6yrs bills or no bills sent.

use our search top right for 'shuman claimform'

and have a read of the threads

 

get that sar running to SW

you must act swiftly.

you've been lucky till now.

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

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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  • dx100uk changed the title to Letters from UK Search Limited for old Southern Water Debt

I appreciate your response but when you say "sadly no", do you mean that no, they cannot chase me years later if they've been negligent in the past? Why would that be sad? That would be great news!

 

I will act on your advice, but if they won't send me copies of the original bills, how can I be sure that they were ever issued? From friends' experiences, I know that DCAs will lie and use underhand tactics - anything to get you to part with your money.

 

I'm happy to agree when you say I've been lucky until now although the recent letters were the first correspondence I've ever received!

 

I do appreciate your input.

 

 

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bills are somewhat immaterial on a water supply.

 

water is considered as a consumer debt unlike a gas or electric util bill...those gov't by the relevant Legal acts of parliament , one of which is the back-billing rule. this does not apply to consumer debt.

 

but whatever is over 6yrs old you are not liable due to the limitations act.

hence the SAR request we advised..

 

if you go read the shuman claimform threads everything will become alot clearer.

 

 

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

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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Thank you so much, dx100uk and BankFodder, for your thoughtful and patient replies.

 

I am greatly encouraged that any monies allegedly owed from before May 2014 can be pretty much ignored. By my reckoning, this means the most I can possibly owe will be about half of the £800 they're screaming for.

 

I will read the other related threads on this site and get the SAR from Southern Water. Once I have that, I'll come back to this page, as suggested.

 

This is a great site. Thanks again.

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well done

and ignore the powerless DCA

 

a DCA is NOT A BAILIFF

and have ZERO powers on ANY debt - no matter what it's type

 

dx

 

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

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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Forgive me here if I sound stupid, but "zero powers"? Don't debt collection agencies use bailiffs if their letters don't achieve results? UK Search Ltd and the other DCAs don't employ bailiffs?

 

If this is the case, why does anyone - ever - bother to pay up??

 

Thanks again.

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no.

the only time bailiffs can ever be involved in a consumer debt is AFTER its been to court and you LOSE and get a CCJ and fail to pay that within 28days...

(see those other threads) 

 

only THEN can the debt owner request the COURT send COURT bailiffs to request payment, and that's about all they can do as county Court Judgements (CCJ's) on consumer debt don't allow force entry . debt in the UK is not a criminal offence.

 

and as much as a dca might paint a very scary picture by cleverly worded threat-o-grams, there is actually NOTHING they can actually do to you. 

and stupid doorstepper they threaten has less legal powers than your CAT.

which is why we say READ their letter very carefully, as when you do...you'll see their letters don't say WILL anything.

 

dx

 

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

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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Fascinating, thank you so much, dx!

 

So if one of these people turned up at my door (or anyone else's), asking for money, it would be reasonable to tell them to go away or else the police will be called.

 

I know someone who had to deal with a bailiff a few years back but I think that was for an unpaid electricity account. Of course, that would've been different because - as you pointed out - electricity is different to water in that it doesn't come under Consumer Debt.

 

I don't understand why a water utilities company would bother to use a DCA if they have no power.

 

Anyway, I have started reading the other threads here and some of them are really eye-opening.

 

Thanks again.

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why do they use dca's. Becaue they are cheap and many people think they have bailiff powers ( as indeed you did until you read a little more about them). that is why they are often successful

 

. You will see many reports in the papers about someone getting an unreasonable demand but paying the DCA because they didnt want them coming round and removing their furniture etc when they didnt actually owe any money in the first place.

 

Knowledge is power so await the arrival of the results of your SAR and then let us know how that matches in with their demands.

bills that are over 6 years old are not automatically  time barred, depends on the terms of business and how and when they billed you.

 

An easy example is if you had an overdraft at the bank for the last 20 years the debt isnt time barred because you continued to use the account so by doing so accepted that the debt was due on demand and can be called in at any time so the clock would only start when the bank demanded the whole lot paid back.

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Many thanks for your response and the interesting points made.

 

dx100uk seems to contradict what you say about the 6-year limitation rule (unless I misunderstood him) when he said - 

 

"but whatever is over 6yrs old you are not liable due to the limitations act."

 

But anyway, no, I didn't know that these a-holes who drive around putting cards through people's doors, telling them to phone the stated mobile number within 24 hours "or else", were not bailiffs. If you phone their office to complain after a card has been put through your door, you're told that they can't help you and you can now only deal directly with their "agent". I think such activity is scurrilous and should be more tightly regulated.

 

I've now received another letter, but this one is less passive-aggressive than the first two, making me think that the DCA is acting independently of Southern Water, who may know nothing about it?

 

My main issue here though is that I'm convinced I never received a bill addressed to me personally, at my previous address. Letters may have been addressed to "The Occupier" or the previous tenant (I just can't recall), but never to me. So can the DCA or Southern Water/DCA now be chasing me, between 4 and 10 years later?

 

I have requested the SAR and will come back to this page once I have it.

 

 

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when you get the data we will be better able to advise you on what is what.

If they put the occupier then there is a contract formed under Acts of Parliament dating back more than a century. Same applies to leccy and gas co's and possibly your landline telephone so not a cut and dried matter.

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