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    • Hi everyone, I am new to this forum. I am HOPING you can give me some advice that can help me. I am 68 years old and I currently own a leasehold property for which I have to pay (extortionate) monthly fees for Ground rent and Maintenance to a management company. During 2020, I managed to pay only for 6 months and then ended up in financial difficulty due to Covid. I was barely able to make ends meet. I stopped paying the maintenance fees around June 2020. My plan was to pay them a lump sum at the end of the year, when things go back to normal and my financial situation improved. Government advised things would go back to normal but unfortunately this didn't happen and I ended up in a lot of debt. I even had to sell my car to pay back money I had borrowed from family members. I live alone and this whole pandemic situation has really affected me mentally. To make matters worse, because I wasn't able to pay the lump sum as I originally had planned, the management company consulted a solicitor (Realty Law) to help them recover this outstanding debt. The initial debt was £596.00 + £36.15 for interest (no idea where this interest came from). The solicitors have now added on legal fees of £721.50 increasing the total debt to £1353.65. I contacted them via email and offered to pay £50 a month for the time being until I can improve my financial situation, at which point I would pay them more. Their response was the following: 'Our client has advised that they cannot honour a payment plan for that duration and therefore we have been instructed to continue our recovery process and request judgment if payment has not been made by 2pm on 29th October 2021. As such, we request that you please make full payment of £1353.65 as per the attached arrears schedule by 2pm on 29th October 2021. If payment or correspondence has not been received by then, then we shall be continuing with further recovery action and issuing a county court judgement (CCJ) which will incur additional fees. You are entitled to seek your own legal advice.'   The whole idea of court proceedings and CCJs and ADDITIONAL FEES has really elevated my anxiety levels to the point I am struggling to get to sleep at night. I borrowed money from family members and used some money that I had saved to pay off the initial £596.00, but its not possible for me to come up with the £700+ for the solicitor fees by 29th October. How is it even acceptable to charge someone £700+ in legal fees for a few letters?    Can someone please give me some advise on what on earth to do or who on earth I can speak to. I am desperate here.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance  
    • Please also take photos of the sign at the entrance as well as any signs inside the car park especially any that are different. Please take them from a distance where we can read them and if there is a payment machine, the sign on the machine or very close to it that explains their T&Cs for the machine.
    • Thanks for getting the signage posted up so quickly. The sign on entry should explain their T&Cs. As they don't it means that  what they have given you is  an offer to treat, not a contract. For there to be a contract they would have had to put their offer at the entrance.  You cannot put a notice saying that their T&Cs are inside the car park and expect motorists to be subject to those T&Cs when they are unaware what the terms are.. They have to be able to read them and understand them before they can accept them. My feeling is that the sign that includes the charge of £100 is too small to be acceptable On top of that the sign at the entrance is for Parking Control Solutions while the signs inside are from HX Management-a completely different animal. To strengthen your case for not paying them is the fact that their PCN is not compliant.  Under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 there are certain wordings in  the NTK  that by Law must comply with the Act. They don't  have to quote that part of the Act in their PCN but the relevant wording has to be included. PoFA Schedule 4 paragraph 9 [2]   the notice must  [f]   warn the keeper that if, after the period of 28 days beginning with the day after that on which the notice is given— (i)the amount of the unpaid parking charges specified under paragraph (d) has not been paid in full, and (ii)the creditor does not know both the name of the driver and a current address for service for the driver, the creditor will (if all the applicable conditions under this Schedule are met) have the right to recover from the keeper so much of that amount as remains unpaid;   Your  NTK does not include  [if all the applicable conditions  under the Schedule have been met ]thus rendering the NTK non compliant.  
    • I agree its about time but why has it taken for the National Crime Agency to flag this up for then to take action and not Ofcom.   Yet again a Government Agency that is meant to deal with this hasn't Ofcom but flagged by another Agency NCA.   If the telephone companies have this facility in place already to do this then why hasn't Ofcom been pushing them to stop all these scam calls and giving them massive fines for not doing so.    
    • Hi   Send this to them:   Dear Sir/Madam   Formal Complaint   Reference:            (insert their complaint reference number here)   Thank you for your response letter dated XX/XX/2021 which I received by email on XX/XX/2021 that contained your Original Email sent that showed due to your Maladministration that you had sent the Original Email containing my Personal Data to an incorrect email address due to spelling errors in the email address.   a)      Due to this Maladministration of this email being sent to the incorrect email address this email contained my Personal Data which is a Data Protection Breach therefore I require clarification from yourselves that this Breach has been reported to your Data Protection Officer and what action is being taken to ensure that my Personal Data contained in that Original Email has not been read by the recipient that you sent that email to with the incorrect email address.   As the email was sent by yourselves to my correct email address containing the original email showing the incorrect email address was due to spelling errors (maladministration) your IT Department will be able to obtain those emails sent.   If I do not get a satisfactory response that this has been dealt with by your Data Protection Officer, I will report this Data Breach to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) https://ico.org.uk/make-a-complaint/   b)      Due to this Maladministration I failed to receive your Stage 1 complaint response within the allocated time limit for a Stage 1 response therefore this complaint should be dealt with as a Stage 2 Complaint and if you refuse to treat this as a Stage 2 Complaint, I require Full Clarification for your refusal.   I was placed in this Tenancy via the Rough Sleepers Initiative and I find your response about damaged/destroyed items that you would not be able to look into this as this happened 2 years ago but all tenants regardless of private or social housing are responsible for arranging their own contents insurance totally unacceptable as again, I was never notified nor informed of this requirement on taking up this tenancy.   I require clarification from yourself that when a New Tenant takes up a Tenancy Agreement with yourselves why are the not informed of this requirement of Contents Insurance which you should be duty bound to inform all tenants on taking up a tenancy agreement if such a requirement and it should also be noted within that tenants Housing File which you have full access to as dealing with complaint so I require clarification as well if this is noted in my Housing File.   You state multiple properties throughout the area were affected by sewage flood on the same day and the issue will have stemmed from the mains which is not your responsibility.   a)      You have failed to take into that the above statement from yourself blaming the Mains is without any actual evidence from yourselves to back up this claim therefore I require clarification as to what actual evidence you have and to be provided with copies.   b)      You also failed to take into account that in my initial complaint letter that on 12th July 2021 basement flats 1 & 2 were flooded by sewage exacerbated by blockage in the property’s drainage. The blockage has been confirmed by two contractors after the flooding including CCR who were subcontracted by Pyramid Plus that it was the properties drainage that was blocked. Also, while I was decanted from this property, I was contacted by CCR who confirmed that the drain was blocked but they could not access manhole as it was inaccessible as it is located in a utility cupboard underneath carpet, floorboards so how could this be the Main and not your responsibility when it is within the properties boundaries.   Your response about how complaints have been made by residents in relation to this issue is that your system does not allow you to find that information is completely unacceptable as your Housing Association should be able to produce these as part of ongoing repairs and maintenance/procurement processes to present these to your Board for there yearly Budget meeting if not why not.   Then you state you are under no obligation to share that information; therefore, your organisation is not being Open and Accountable to your Service Users and under which Article of the General Data Protection Act (GDPR) are you using for this refusal.   You have also failed to mention that I can make that above request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) and what is your process for such a request again not being Open and Accountable.   I await your response.
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CENTRICA & CST - Reclaiming Training Bonds as Overpaid Wages


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Hey BadMojo,

 I'm in the same boat.

 

Heard nothing since I left in 2017. My Union Rep told me to ignore any correspondence, because there was thousands of engineers they'd have to go after before me, besides he'd never heard of them chasing up Engineers for the so called 'bond' as Centrica don't have a leg to stand on (I wonder if we have a case against the union).

 

Centrica also took my final wage, leaving me in financial dire straits, fortunately I managed to borrow money, so I could stay in my home. I did complain to Centrica about this, but they wouldn't reply to my pleas for help. They did this to several people who left before me, including one guy who literally just had a new born baby. Leaving him having to beg for money, to keep a roof over his child's head.


I thought the way Centrica did this was either illegal or immoral but as a lowly engineer, I couldn't fight it, so considered the 'bond' dealt with as they had taken all of my money. 

 

I was shocked to receive my CST letter on 28th June (Dated 8th June - which I think was deliberate) stating I'd been overpaid - This is false. During my time at BG I was in fact underpaid, by a minimum of £4,000 per year compared to other comparable utility companies wage structures.
 

I replied to their letter, stating I don't know anything about being 'overpaid' and I wanted documentation and evidence. I've heard nothing back until today... When I received a Claim Form from County Court Business Centre demanding £2500.
 

I have spoke to someone within the CST legal department today. He actually read out my response, so they got my letter, but said, they'd already proceeded with the case.

 

I've asked for evidence, which he said he would send straight through, and after being cut off and calling back they said they've asked Centrica for this evidence. Strange?


They also told me that this Court letter is on hold and I don't have to do anything - which I don't believe... 

When I left I had discussions with the union about constructive dismissal - It seemed like Centrica had taken on too many engineers and once they were out in the field, they were trying to get rid of them.


My previous BG manager, who head-hunted me after I left, said he left because he didn't like the way BG was treating their engineers... and 'it wasn't just the engineers they were trying to get rid of, it's the old school managers too" - So that may have a bearing on our cases...
 

You are not alone BadMojo, and if I hear anything, I'll post it on here... 

I'm glad I found this page today

 

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@WildWookie

thank you for this very interesting story.

Would you mind starting a new thread and telling us about it there and we can ask questions to find out where you are in all of this and maybe offer you some help.

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yes start a new topic please

hit create in the top red banner

 

also pop the results of this in your 1st post too

 

You have received a Court Claim ISSUED IN ENGLAND & WALES What you need to do - Financial Legal Issues - Consumer Action Group

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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Hi I responded to BadMojo... and was asked to start a new conflab, so here goes.

 

 

Centrica seem to be targeting 2017 leavers from British Gas. Apparently reclaiming 'alleged' training bonds under the false title of 'Overpaid Wages'.

After hearing nothing for over 4 years, all of a sudden I received a letter dated 8th June 2021, which arrived June 28nd 2021 from CST Law. Looking at other replies, this seems to be happening a lot. I don't know if it was deliberate, but it's strange that it's happening to many BG ex-engineers - Modus Operandi?

 

A bit of background here...

It was only a couple of years after the economic crash, so many of us were grateful to have a job... 

British Gas sold the fact that you would be working for BG and that was a status symbol... So not only were BG wages roughly about £4000 per annum lower compared to other utility companies, they included something in your contract, saying they could claim a training bond from you if you left. £9000 if you left year 1, £6000 in year 2 and £3000 in year 3. 

 

A lot of new starters were nervous about this, but a job was a job and as soon as you left the training centre you were reassured on patch at Team Meetings about this so called Bond. I was told not to worry! When asked, these 'bonds' were dismissed by union reps, as unenforceable, and were "just a smoke screen to keep staff retention up, as all training was in-house and carried out by BG staff, so by law, there was nothing to pay back - So don't worry about it" - Direct quote!!!!

 

During training, engineers were also told/ coerced into joining the GMB. They would cover your back and be on your side if anything happened - As time went on though, they didn't seem to be, they appeared more to be a political arm of British Gas. I remember them making a presentation - 'telling' engineers which way to vote in the 2016 Europe referendum. That didn't go down well with a few of the seasoned engineers - who shortly after , weren't there.... Mnmmnnn.

 

In early 2017, rumours were rife about BG recruiting too many engineers, and we were told to watch your back and cover your behind.

So whether, leaving was your choice or not, it seemed in 2017 a lot of engineers left. The confident ones, the opinionated ones, the loud ones. If you didn't keep your head down, you could be next. Some engineers were offered Hobson's Choice... Either go or be forced out...

Constructive dismissal comes to mind, but who is going to take on Centrica?

 

Every engineer who left, who I know, didn't get their final wage. A lot, including myself, were left in severe dire straits. Every engineer who left, who I know, kicked off about this and were ignored by British Gas. I thought they had a duty of care? I actually called my union rep, I enquired about BG holding back my entire final wage and if it was legal. He told me I could fight for my wages, but it would probably cost me more than I was owed... and did I really think I would win. With no wage, no money and no safety net, 

 

I asked advice about the bond... He told me they wouldn't chase me for it... in all his years he'd never heard of BG demanding it from anyone, besides, they'd taken my wages and that probably covered it anyway. So don't fight for your wages and it'll all go away. So I for one, didn't fight. I just went. Like a lot of other engineers, I just moved on. skip forward 4 happy years since I left British Gas and CST Law is now demanding money on Centrica's behalf!!! Where do we stand?

It seems that their demands are erroneous. I was never overpaid, so therefore I don't owe Centrica anything... There was no external training - So as the union rep said - "There's nothing to owe"

 

Do I make a counterclaim for my wages? A counterclaim for putting me into hardship? A Counterclaim for their failure of duty of care? I didn't ask for this fight, but if Centrica are coming for us, could we band together and go after them? Could we get this kicked? Could we countersue?

 

Any help would be gratefully received!!

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please complete this:

 

 

no dont counterclaim

there isn't anything in the UK like class action and individual private court claims are far more damaging esp to a large co. like BG.

 

 

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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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi BM,

I've acknowledged the court documents. and now I'm waiting for their evidence. Nothing has arrived as yet.

As I don't think there is any!!!

 

As I recall, they dropped the bond on us in the training centre, rather than within the employment contract - possibly a way to get around employment law, but they aren't claiming a  bond repayment, they're claiming 'Overpaid Wages' and I've never had overpaid wages.

 

Working for Team Penguin we were underpaid compared to the rest of the industry by thousands, so to me, that's an untruth - Unless I'm mistaken, they need to prove I was overpaid.

 

To be fair I'm not worrying too much about it. I've acknowledged their claim, I've disputed it... I'll go through the system and if I have to pay up in the end - well, I'll pay up, but it'll only be what I can afford. 

 

The union was pretty adamant that the bond wasn't enforceable, but they would never say that in writing, as the union were on too much of a good thing with British Gas. They talked the talk, but when it came to it, they did nowt for me and other leavers who I've spoken to. Just platitudes and their advice, which of course was off the record

 

So, I'll just sit and wait until I hear anything!

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can you fill this out please:

 

 

did you send a CPR yet?

 

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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