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Old EON debt sold to Lowell - how do I contact them?

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Not sure if this is the right place to post this but any help would be sorely appreciated.

 

This debt relates to utility bill for a house share back in late 2014/early 2015. I am almost certain I sent a cheque off for the amount and distinctly remember informing e.on that I was moving out, however I was in the midst of a major depressive episode so everything is a bit fuzzy. I also have severe anxiety and a disability which means I can only trust my memory about 90% so I'm paranoid I may be mistaken.

 

The timeline is as follows:

 

About a year after I left I received a letter at my next residence from Lowells saying I owed about £1,200 for an outstanding bill. My name was misspelt on the letter but I didn't think this was of much consequence at the time

 

. As I hadn't had any communication about it before and was under the impression the debt had been paid, I sent a subject access request with recorded delivery, along with the £10 fee and asked if they could give me more information regarding why they thought I owed it. I had a new bank account at this point so couldn't go back and check. I never heard back from them.

 

Approximately 1 year later I received another letter regarding the debt at yet another address, this time from Pastdue Credit Solutions. It had the same misspelling in the n again i again sent off an SAR + fee and a 'Prove It' letter.

 

They responded saying that as I was not the name on the account, they could not discuss the debt with me. I wrote another letter, pointing out that this made no sense - I wrote that I absolutely wanted to pay any money I could be shown to owe, but that I had a right to see proof that it was due. I got a letter back with an apology saying they wouldn't contact me again. 

 

I've never had any other debts, and I'm very anxious about money so have always lived below my means.

 

Two years ago I moved in with my now partner and we still get a lot of post for previous occupants. We were discussing this last week and said that something came through with a garbled version of my name while I was away visiting my parents so he returned to sender (he had no knowledge of he debt at that point). He now knows this was an incredibly stupid thing to do, but what's done is done. 

 

I've not been able to sleep properly since. I have pulled various credit files once a month for years and nothing has showed up on them but I'm terrified a CCJ is going to suddenly appear, given that I won't have received any letter of claim at this address.

 

I thought of going to e.on and just offering to pay it all no questions asked, but I'm not sure whether the debt has been sold on and I'm also terrified they'll put a default on my credit file with a recent date of settlement. 

 

I called the National Debtline and spoke to a very sympathetic advisor who said that the debt had most likely been sold on and that I had the following options:

 

1. Do nothing regarding the debt, but check my credit files regularly and pay any outstanding CCJ as soon as it comes up. He said this would wipe it from my file?

 

2. Get in touch with the Pastdue, who were the last debt collection agency I spoke to and try to find out who the debt was sold on to, though there's the chance that they still won't divulge anything due to the name misspelling.

 

YAlso put in a complaints against both debt collection agencies due to their failure to comply with the SARs.

 

I will absolutely be doing the former, but I can't just wait it out until it becomes statute-barred - my anxiety is through the roof as it is. 

 

Any help or advice on possible next steps would be much appreciated. y

 

I know this seems like a trivial issue in comparison to many others, but I've been painstakingly saving every penny for years in order to try and get a mortgage and this could totally destroy any hope of that. 

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Yes. Certainly a mistake to send the correspondence back.

I think the best place to start would be to send another SAR – but this time send it using their spelling of your name and maybe that will satisfy them.

I'm especially interested in the fact that you say that you send them an SAR in 2014 and that there was no response. Do you have any evidence of any of this? Do you have any bank statements, for instance, which show that you paid out a cheque which was encashed?

In terms of who owes the money, presumably when you left the address somebody else took over the property and has started using the utilities. Presumably it may be them who have been using the energy without actually registering something in their name. If this were the case then it would be they who would be responsible for that part of the bill.

If the account was still legitimately in your name then you would be responsible to the energy company – but the people who actually use the energy will be responsible to you. That might be difficult to deal with them.

Have you any records of any of the correspondence that has been sent over the years? You say that you have changed bank. And doesn't stop you sending an SAR to your old bank. You should do it straightaway.

Definitely an SAR needs to be sent.


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Thanks so much for your quick reply!

 

Yes it was an awful decision to send it back and I'm so upset and angry that he did it so unthinkingly. It has put quite a lot of strain on our relationship over the past week. 

 

I have copies of all correspondence between myself and the DCAs. I can't prove that Lowells didn't send it, but I didn't receive it or anything else from them despite living in the same property for another year.

 

I also didn't get one from PastDue, just the letter saying that they would not discuss it with me and the apology letter. Again I lived at that address for another 18 months. 

 

If I send PastDue an SAR with the other name, could they accuse me of some sort of fraud? Again, I'm probably being paranoid but if the name is different enough for them to refuse to divulge information regarding the debt, could they not say that I was impersonating someone else? 

 

I don't have any bank statements for the period, but it didn't occur to me that I could request them with an SAR! I shall do that immediately. But if it shows I have paid it, who do I send the proof to?

 

With regards to it being someone else's usage after I left, this is entirely possible given the people that stayed in the house after I left - although I do remember notifying e.on before I moved.

 

At this point I don't care about chasing anyone else for it if I'm honest, I just want to find who holds the debt.

 

I can either show them the bank statements proving that it was paid if that was the case, or settle it if it wasn't paid and/or includes someone else's usage after I left. It would take a chunk out of my hard-earned savings, but that would be worth knowing that it was over. 

 

Apologies I wanted to request a name change but I can't yet send DMs!

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i don't think that sending an sar to their garbled version of your name will cause you any problems. I would go ahead and do it if I were you.

it certainly seems a shame to be prepared to pay somebody else's bills but I agree that that would then make for an easy life and you could then get on and forget it.

 

see if you can get the information you want and then let us know and we will then help you to decide what to do with it

 

I think you should be sending the sar to eon as well as to pastdue or anywhere else.

 

it's all free of charge now so you may as well send them out to whoever you want.

 

 

 

 

 


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pers i'd not bother with PDS

they don't buy debts only chase for their client and that will be lowells.

 

I wouldn't be losing sleep over this either...

like ALL DCA's they are not BAILIFFS 

and have 

ZERO legal powers on ANY debt.

 

your target should be Lowells.

its about the only time i'd recommend using our prove it letter from the debt collection section of our library

attach a copy of the last letter from them you have so they know what you are going on about as there appears to be a slight name issue,

 

also send an sar to EON or ring them and ask.

 

all you need to do is protect against a backdoor CCJ by giving lowells your correct name and address

 

for your ref, most of these old util debts fizzle out in time even if they do get to the courtroom door.

 

stop fretting. get some sleep.

 

 


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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Thanks for your advice dx100uk! I do feel a bit calmer this morning, now I have an action plan. 

 

I have a bit of an update.

 

After calling around and finding the people who lived in the property after I left, one of them felt guilty and admitted that the bills kept coming in my name and they ignored it rather than updating the account. 

 

I'm not sure how this happened given I remember telling e.on I'd moved, but again the combination of the disability and being so depressed I was considering sectioning myself probably means I can't rely on my memory.

 

At the time I couldn't afford to set up a mail redirect, so apparently there was just a stack of bills addressed to me at the house that no one told me about. 

 

I'm absolutely furious about this, but none of these people have a penny to their name to be able to contribute anything to this debt. They're still in the same financial situation they were in back then.

 

Also depression or not, it was still ultimately my responsibility to follow things up and make sure all loose ends were tied up so as things stand I really only have myself to blame.

 

I do feel some relief however, to finally have an idea as to what might be going on - I shall have to put it down as the cost of being very young and in a bad place.  

 

However, as I was going through the letters to find addresses for SARs for the DCAs I noticed that they say that they are acting on behalf of e.on - this means the debt was not sold on?

 

I also found a cheque stub to e.on that corresponds with the time I moved out. Obviously this doesn't mean I actually sent it, but does give me a little peace of mind that I wasn't completely imagining things.

 

The fact that this was for a different amount than the debt increases the likelihood of it relating to my former housemates.

 

I have sent off an SAR to my previous bank, but given the debt may relate to usage after I moved it doesn't seem as urgent as it did

 

. I am going to send e.on an SAR anyway, but I was wondering whether it would be prudent to call them?

 

I want to ask how things stand and give them my correct name and address, and also to see if their procedures allow for negotiating that they not report a debt to CRAs if it is paid off in full,

 

given that I tried to engage with the DCAs and was not able to and was in an extremely vulnerable situation at the time (not sure they will give a monkey's about this, but they may have come policies in place that they need to follow as a result).

 

My understanding is that a verbal conversation cannot be held against me should it come to that but I may well be wrong.

 

I could also just send them a 'Prove It' letter as dx100uk advised, but I wonder if that would make them automatically file a default anyway, once they have the correct name and address. 

 

Thanks again for your help all, it has honestly helped my state of mind so much.

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Well done on managing to find somebody who has apparently admitted that they ignored bills in your name – and they were effectively using energy without paying for it. Unfortunately you did this on the telephone and I suppose that you have no record. Please will you read our customer services guide, implement the advice there and then try to phone that person again and in a very friendly way go over the situation and get it recorded.

This will put you in a much safer position.


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you SURE lowells letters say our client EON?

answer this and we'll move you forward.

 

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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Thanks both for the quick replies!

 

@BankFodder annoyingly I have a very old iPhone so will have to order the TP8 to record the call. I will definitely try to do so, as it's a very good idea to have the evidence but I'm not entirely sure I can escalate it in any way.

 

The person in question has been unemployed since I've known them and is currently living in a squat, so I don't think I will be able to get any funds out of them unfortunately. If I can get the evidence I will update the thread.

 

@dx100uk I think I read about Lowells and e.on on lots of forums before I posted and got mixed up about who was writing to me.

 

The first correspondence wasn't actually from Lowells, it was from a DCA called LCS

 

. They were the ones who never sent me anything else after my first SAR request. Apologies for being confusing.

 

I've gotten out all the letters and have them in front of me right now - they all say they are acting on behalf of e.on. I have the initial letter from LCS and nothing else, and the initial letter from PDS, along with the letter saying they couldn't speak to me and the apology letter saying they wouldn't contact me again.

 

I also have copies of the SARs/communication I sent to both of them, along with receipts for recorded delivery. 

 

As it is becoming clear that as far as the law is concerned, I am actually responsible for this debt I want to pay it off asap and then think about possibly chasing my previous housemates.

 

The most important thing to me at the moment is to mitigate the effect on my credit file due to a possible mortgage application

 

. It would be a massive blow to have this ruin it after years of diligently building up a decent file to maybe, finally be able to buy my own home - although it may just be a bitter lesson I have to learn to not be so naive. It didn't even occur to me until BankFodder suggested it that other people may have been using fuel in my name!

 

Thanks for your continuing help, it's massively appreciated. 

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good well done

brill detective work 

 

 

so EON is your target.

you've proof you were living elsewhere (like ctax bill or whatever) at the time of their bills after the time you moved out

so all should be dandy.

you don't owe anything.

 

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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Try to get the evidence anyway, it can't hurt you.


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@BankFodder I will do!

 

@dx100uk When I first read your post I was so relieved, but then remembered I don't have any of those things! 

 

I found out a few days after I moved into the next place that it was an illegal sublet (which is why it was so cheap).

 

I was a lodger and the 'landlord' who lived there wouldn't allow any of us to receive any official documentation at the address.

 

He kept saying he would write up a tenancy contract before I moved in, but then never did, and even threatened me with putting my stuff in the street if I put myself on the electoral role. It took me a good few months to sort my life out and save up enough to move out of there, 

 

I received the first letter from LCS a few months after. I've just ransacked all my records and there's absolutely nothing with that address on it. 

 

I know that all sounds incredibly stupid of me, but in my defence I was barely out of school, no family, completely broke and in a very dark place.

 

I was also clearly an idiot who didn't understand how things worked or what my rights and responsibilities were. That whole time period is like a scar on my memory.

 

When you say my target is e.on, should I ring them up and explain the situation? I can't imagine they would have any sympathy, but maybe there's a tiny chance it will stay their hand with regards to a default/CCJ if I offer to pay in full.

 

 I just want to settle everything so I don't have anything from those awful years hanging over me any more. 

 

Even if I had been able to prove I didn't live there wouldn't I still be legally liable for the debt as it's in my name?

 

I had assumed I would be and would have to pay it and then have to pursue the people who actually used the energy to recover the funds.

 

Thanks again both!

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Well if it was an illegal sublet, it is not you who would be responsible. It would be the landlord. It sounds to me as if the whole thing was much worse than simply an illegal sublet. Not allowing you to go on to the electoral register or to receive any letters sounds really quite Draconian. In fact the whole thing sounds rather abusive


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The whole thing was awful. There might have been other issues involved for all I know. He did smoke a lot of weed and was incredibly paranoid. 

 

One of the other lodgers needed to claim housing benefit but he wouldn't sign a tenancy contract to allow her to do so, and said that if any letters in brown envelopes came for her she would be out. 

 

We were all quite vulnerable and terrified of being homeless, and the place was falling down but had very cheap rent.

 

I moved in because I could no longer afford the previous place and it was the only thing I could find in my budget

 

. I think broken people very often find themselves in broken situations. Sometimes you genuinely don't know any better because you've not really known anything different.

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Well at some point when you think you are sorted out, I think it will be a very good idea to provide us with as much information as possible about this landlord and other people who have been similarly treated by him/her so we can then inform the authorities.

This sounds almost the equivalent of some kind of abusive/coercive behaviour or a form of modern day slavery.


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I'd be more than happy to do so once I've figured out how to deal with the e.on anxiety spiral! 

 

He also refused to give deposits back and as everything was paid in cash there was never any proof it was paid. 

 

But I was a bit more clued up by the time I was leaving and a local community action group helped me get mine. 

 

I'm still in touch with one person who lived there at the same time, and there's one other who moved out shortly after I moved in that I have contact details for. 

 

I'm pretty sure the landlord still lives at the same address as it's not far from where I currently live and his van was parked outside when I walked past a few weeks ago.

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Okay. Contact the others and tell them to come to this forum. Reassure them that it is all free of charge.

Use our contact form at the bottom to send me details of this landlord and the address that you are active and also his address. I shall receive these in complete confidence. Don't worry. I won't use them without letting you know first and asking your permission.

https://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/contact/

How long ago did you leave?
 


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Apologies I had a very hectic day yesterday and my mental health was not great. I shall message the relevant details as soon as I get this e.on albatross from around my neck.

 

I have been compiling a plan of what to say to e.on in regards to trying to negotiate paying it off in full in exchange for them not reporting it to CRAs, but I'm not sure what is essential to include and whether it would be best done by phone call or letter. The help so far has been so useful, any further help would be deeply appreciated! 

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I wouldn't advise saying anything to EON until you have better information. If you call them or write to them – they are better informed than you and they will dominate you. You will achieve nothing and you will feel worse about yourself and about the situation.

The key to dealing with these big companies is to fully inform yourself so that when eventually you break cover you can dominate them.

Sent the SAR to them and anyone else who might have any information. I don't see that you are in a particular hurry other than dealing with your stress. Of course dealing with your stress is important but you will achieve nothing by going off half cocked. Become fully informed and let us know what you discover.

I would suggest that you keep off the telephone – but if you do phone then of course implement the advice in our customer services guide first. If you don't then you will regret it at some point.


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Thank you for the excellent advice Bankfodder.

I will be following your advice and not calling. 

I have the SAR prepared and will post it first thing tomorrow.

 

One thing that occurred to me though is what's to stop them just reporting to the CRAs as soon as they get it and look at the account while preparing the SAR?

 

I'm worried that getting a default removed will be much harder than trying to negotiate not putting one on, if that makes sense.

 

 

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but if it's wrong, then it must be removed.

never know an sar to cause a default.

it will be a different dept anyway.


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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I previously posted about this under this topic:

 

 

I received some incredibly helpful advice so I thought to come back here in case anyone would be kind enough to advise on next steps.

 

I have now received SARs from both e.on and my old bank which show the account remained in my name and the debt was not paid - e.on's timeline show that the debt has now been sold on to Lowell, who I assume do not have my current address.

 

E.on were quite late in responding but I gave them extra time due to the COVID-19 circumstances -  the documents were all in the other, heavily misspelled name but they did not quibble about not being able to give me the information like their agent had.

 

I have carried out searches on trustonline for both my name and the name on the account.

 

Thankfully neither currently have CCJs against them, but I want to move as quickly as possible in order to prevent the possibility of this happening.

 

I am not sure how to contact best to contact Lowell - some have advised to send them an SAR, others a 'Prove It' letter.

 

I'm not sure either of these is the best course of action however, as the documents in the SAR show that despite the situation with my awful housemates,

 

the debt is legally mine and I am fully prepared to pay them a full and final settlement asap to make the whole thing go away and finally get a good night's sleep.

 

This, in addition to the pandemic has not helped my mental state at all and thankfully I am now in a position to pay the whole thing if necessary.

 

I thought to send them an email as the quickest contact option but they do not have an email address on their website, only a phone number and enquiry form.

 

They have a postal address but I am worried that may take too long as I'm keen to let them have my new address as soon as possible to ensure any possible court correspondence comes to the correct address.

 

Any help would be deeply appreciated. It was the advice on here that got me out of total paralysis last time so I thought I'd come straight back once I had all the facts.

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thread s merged

 

Is this debt on your credit file?


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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24 minutes ago, dx100uk said:

thread s merged

 

Is this debt on your credit file?


Thank you very much for merging the threads.

 

The only place it shows is with Equifax and not as a debt or default. It shows as a settled account from 2015.

 

The debt was sold to Lowell in 2018. 

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And of course your correct address is on your credit file?


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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