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Shell Energy - Failure to disclose data


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Well done.

Instruct county court bailiffs as soon as you possibly can – then standby for the fun!

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The data disclosure by the Ombudsman was provided by Ms Cowley - (Compliance Co-ordinator of the Legal and Compliance team) on 16th Aug by e-mail.

An e-mail reply was sent to Ms Cowley on 16th Aug indicating the response was incomplete. No reply was received.

A copy of the LBC was sent to Ms Cowley via e-mail on 27th Aug providing a 14 day deadline to respond. No reply was received.

 

The written copy of the LBC was posted to the Chief Ombudsman on 31st Aug.

 

A claim was issued on 15th Sep.

 

Today on the 16th Sep a signed for letter arrived dated the 15th Sep from Ms Cowley maintaining the Ombudsman had declared all relevant data. I did not sign for the letter because it was simply posted through my letter box but it has had one tracking number strip removed from the postage label.

 

I am of the opinion that the Ombudsman failed to respond within the 14 day deadline indicated in the LBC and have only provided a response as a result of the issued claim.

 

I disgaree that the Ombudsman has declared all their correspondence with Shell Energy, as I do not find it reasonable that they could have asssesed my cases with the required detail given their response to my cases without contacting Shell Energy, save for one demand to Shell Energy for proof of remedy.

Edited by Intrepid
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Shell Energy issuing of warrant.

 

I want to make sure I get this correct before issuing the warrant.

 

The MCOL option indiciates two boxes, "balance due" in this case £135 and "amount of warrant". Am I correct to understand the amount of warrant is simply the same as the outstanding balance. Using the same amount of £135 for the warrant generates an issue fee of £83.

 

It appears the warrant has to be granted. I am slightly suprised there is not a minimum waiting period in order to request the warrant after receiving a default judgement in order to give the defendant an opportunity to pay and reduce their costs.

 

I am unclear as to what happens if I receive some form of payment after issuing the warrant.

Edited by Intrepid
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In respect of the ombudsman's actions, monitor the money claim website and see if it will allow you to apply for judgement today or in the next few days.

The letter doesn't amount to a defence.

I'm not sure what you're asking about in respect of the warrant. Except that if you have received something on account or something then you would go for the net amount. If you receive nothing then the net amount is the amount of the claim – plus claim fees et cetera.

I didn't know that the issue fee was now £83. I thought that it was about £60 – but anyway, you'll get that back assuming that it is enforced and there is no successful appeal.
This kind of people will normally simply pay out.

I don't understand what you mean in terms of what happens if you receive some form of payment

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The Ombudsman has 19 days to file a responce to the claim issued 15th Sep, by my calculation this is 4th October. MCOL appears to add 1 day before being able to apply for default judgement so this will likely be possible on the 5th October.
 

 

In respect of requesting the warrant against Shell Energy I found it somewhat confusing that it asks to define the "outstanding balance" but you are able to apply for a "warrant" for a different (lower) amount. There must be specific cases perhaps with regards to debt accounts where a warrant is issued for less than the oustanding balance owed.

 

MCOL indicates the court should be informed if I receive payment after the warrant has been issued, most likely in order to cancel the warrant instruction and to issue a refund for the warrant issue.

 

I will go ahead and request the warrant anyway.

 

If Shell Energy were to appeal it occured to me they may take issue with the fact I sent the LBC to their ex-CEO who has subsequently moved on from their position. In any case the claim reference number was sent via e-mail on multiple occasions to Shell Energy who should also have received the claim form which they failed to respond to.

 

Perhaps if they appeal I would be entitled to receive a refund for the warrant issue.

 

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I have gone ahead and made a Request for Warrant of Control.

 

It appears the warrant can be lower than the oustanding balance in case the claimant seeks restitution in monthly payments, which it is not in this case.

 

The Request for Warrant of Control states it must be sent to the court with the appropriate fee (which has already been paid and receipt issued). As this is a MCOL service perhaps someone more in the know could confirm my assumption that this is carried out automatically as part of the MCOL system? The MCOL website does indicate the warrant has been entered electronically against the claim so for now I am satisfied the court has been sent a copy even though as the claim was never allocated I never saw a jurisdiction.

Edited by Intrepid
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Actually there wouldn't be an appeal. There would be an application to set aside the judgement. You could counter that or at least ask for costs.

Normally speaking if the set as I was granted then the question of costs would be decided once a judgement was eventually given. In other words if you want then you get all your costs. If you lost then you would lose your costs including this enforcement fee

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Understood, Shell Energy would likely apply for a set aside based on the reasons I stated above and I would of course request that it is denied due to their unreasonable action not to respond at all to either the LBC or the issued claim.

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There is very little point in resisting an application for set-aside. They are almost always granted.

The best thing to do would be to consent to the set-aside on condition that your enforcement costs thrown away are awarded to you in any event.

This would show that you are reasonable and cooperative which would be appreciated by the court. Send a message to Shell that you are in control and it wouldn't unnecessarily hand them a victory – and also hopefully you would recover your enforcement costs.

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A final report has been received from the Independant Assessor.

 

It is in line with my low expectations given that the report largely fails to address the issues I raised and is conveniently selective in its response.

Worst of all the IA has cleverly attempted to place a poison pill within the decision, as despite me making no reference to the SAR response whatsoever in my service complaint the IA feels able to "assess" that a full disclose has been made.

It is interesting the IA considers unprompted that the response to a SAR is within their jurisdiction but does not consider the service standards of incorrectly closing 17 complaints to be within their jurisdiction.

The acceptance of the IA's assessment is therefore by design an attempt to subvertantly have me also agree to the IA's assessment of the Ombudsman Services data disclosure. An acceptance which no doubt their Head of Legal - E Beard - would happily present at any future hearing.

 

IA - Final Report Redacted.pdf

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Posted (edited)

A complaint was registered with the ICO on 27th August regarding the Ombudsman Services failure to disclose data. On 2nd October I received the first response from the ICO which reads as follows. "Before we can decide if we can assist you we will need to see a copy of their response to your query about comunications between them and Shell".

 

As there is now an active legal dispute between myself and Ombudsman Services I am inclined given the time scale it has to taken for the ICO to respond not to reply, as engaging with the ICO may now prejudice my case and assist Ombudsman Services in filing a defence, the deadline for which is 17th October.

 

Initially I received no reply from the Ombudsman at all regarding my query or LBC and when I did so it was only after the claim was issued. I think their lackadaisical approach to engage means the issue must now be dealt with in the courts as that is where it has led and there is now the issue of costs.

 

It is noteworthy that I never received a response from the ICO regarding my complaint regarding Shell Energy despite this being submitted 22 days earlier. Why the ICO has decided to respond to the complaint regarding the Ombudsman but not Shell Energy is a reason known only to themselves.

 

I am still awaiting payment following the Warrant of Control issued against Shell Energy.

 

Edited by Intrepid
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Are you able to find the bailiffs to find out what is going on? There should be absolutely no difficulty enforcing the judgement against such a large and well-established company.

 

In terms of the ICO, if are you I would go ahead and cooperate with them straight away. Don't expect any particular results from the ICO – they are simply a tiny little nuisance factor for Ombudsman to deal with
 

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Posted (edited)

I will contact the warrant officers in due course, having never issued a warrant of control before I am unsure what is a reasonable time scale to have it completed and whether or not this can be disrupted by for example a request to set aside, of which there is currently none that I am aware of.

 

I have not received a response from the ICO regarding Shell only the Ombudsman.

Edited by Intrepid
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Upon further review I note that the ICO did not actually request me to send them a copy of the Ombudsman's response and in fact should they require this they should be requesting it from the Ombudsman Services. I will consider a reply that simply asks if they have requested a copy of this from the Ombudsman.

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I would have thought that enforcement by county court bailiffs of a big easy kill company like this should be no more than 2 to 3 weeks.

I suppose your approach to the ICO is probably quite reasonable

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A cheque was received today from Shell Energy for £218.

Their letter states the following:

"We're sorry that we provided you with a level of service that's below acceptable standards. As a gesture of goodwill, please find below a cheque for £218.00 as discussed."

Their letter is misleading.

1. The payment is not a gesture of goodwill, it is payment for a default judgement awarded against them and the subsequent warrant of control.
2. The payment of or any settlement of the claim was never "discussed".

It was suggested to discuss here the next steps depending on how Shell Energy responded to the claim. My intention is to send Shell Energy a second SAR by the end of the week.

 

It appears as if Shell Energy are attempting to frame the payment as settlement for their level of service that is below acceptable standards. I think I need to make it clear that this is not accepted as settlement for their level of service but is accepted as payment for the claim and warrant of control issued against them.

 

Perhaps I should make this clear to Shell Energy before even banking the cheque and ask them if they intend for it to be accepted as enforcement of the claim issued against them or whether they prefer I inform the warrant officers that no payment has been received and to continue their enforcement action.

 

I propose the following:
 

Quote

 

Dear Shell Energy,

 

Thank you for your letter and the included cheque.

 

I must make it clear that I do not accept the cheque as a gesture of goodwill for your poor level of service. I am still awaiting payment for the claim that has been awarded against you and the subsequent warrant of control it was necessary to issue in order to receive payment.

 

If you wish for the cheque to be accepted as payment for the above please confirm this immediately.

 

If you do not wish to confirm this then the gesture of goodwill is rejected and I will inform the court that no payment has been received and that they should continue to enforce the warrant.

 

For the avoidance of doubt my account balance is still in dispute and has yet to be corrected in full.

Sincerely,

 

Intrepid.

 

 

 

Alternatively I could lead with the more flippant:

Dear Shell Energy,

 

Perhaps you consider I am avid member of the born yesterday club?

 

Your attempt to mislead me into accepting the cheque you have provided as settlement in full for your poor level of service is deceitful and if necessary I will present it at any future hearing.

 

Every time Shell Energy has recklessly tried to avoid its obligations it has simply lead to further costs to your business, I am unsure why you insist upon this course of action. I can only imagine by now as the pattern is firmly established that this is a matter of policy instigated by your head of customers services Andy Eadle (cc'ed).

If you wish to confirm the cheque provided is payment for the judgement awarded against you and the issued warrant of control please inform me immediately.

If I do not receive confirmation within 24 hours I will inform the court that no payment has been received and that the warrant officers should proceed with enforcement.

 

For the avoidance of doubt your gesture of goodwill is rejected, my account balance is still in dispute and yet to be fully corrected.

 

Keep trying...

 

Intrepid.

 

 

 

 

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I'm afraid I don't think the second one works. They don't do humour and they don't do sarcasm.

Send the first one – I think it sums up the situation precisely.

In terms of sending another SAR – have they satisfied the first one yet? The one in respect of which you brought this claim?

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They have not satisfied the first SAR in full, however I believe once I have received a response to the second SAR combined with the re-issued decision from the Ombusman this will be sufficient evidence to prove they have mishandled my data.

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Well if they still haven't satisfied the first SAR – and you have documentary evidence to demonstrate this then it seems to me that this is a continuing breach which has not been addressed and so it doesn't need another SAR, it simply needs another letter of claim pointing out that there is a continuing breach of statutory duty – followed up by another claim.

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While I do have documentary evidence to demonstrate Shell Energy are in breach of their statutory duty, this evidence may not be required to address the substantial issue which is the incorrect running of my account. Shell Energy without doubt failed to disclose some of the correspondence between us and in my opinion also failed to fully disclose how the meter readings provided were used or rather not used to bill my account.

 

Shell Energy have taken some action to improve the billing of my account as result of the Ombudsman re-issuing their decision. This action has taken place after the statutory deadline to disclose data set by the first SAR. I am interested in capturing the rest of the data they now hold on me to further substantiate the claim I wish to bring.

 

I am also of the opinion a response to a second SAR may actually substantiate further that they did not make a full disclosure in response to the first SAR.

 

Having read through the Virgin thread, and knowing the chaotic state that Shell Energy are also in with regards to data handling I believe litigating the two matters concurrently is unlikely to be of significant benefit. However I could perhaps send two letter's before claim for the two separate issues at the appropriate time and see what response this receives.

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I wouldn't advise you sending two letters of claim in respect of different matters. That will simply confuse them and if you do end up bringing actions for them the actions are likely to be merged.

I'm making the suggestion of litigating on the continuing breach as a way of harassing them. A new SAR can be sent later on with the prospect of a further action if they breach that as well.

However if it is correct that they have already had a judgement – even though it is a default judgement – in respect of an SAR breach and they still haven't remedy that breach then it seems to me that they are bang to rights to have the matter emphasised by a second claim in respect of the same SAR.

Of course play it how you want it – but I think that my approach would be a death of a thousand cuts until they finally get themselves together and decide either to start talking or else to sort things out.

Don't forget the you are talking about potentially 200 quid a pop – and that's not so bad for the moment and every victory is at least a moral victory – and that is worth something.

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A response has been received from the ICO and not a very good one.

 

Their first response to my complaint regarding the Ombudsman's data handling was as below:
"Before we can decide if we can assist you we will need to see a copy of their response to your query about comunications between them and Shell".

When I asked the ICO if they have requested a copy of the Ombudsman Services's response to my query this was their reply.

"We will not approach them without seeing a copy of your complaint to them about your DPA concerns. In order for us to decide if we can assist we will require the documentation from you."

They appear to be changing the size of the hoop, I will respond accordingly.

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No reply has been received from Shell Energy in response to the correspondence I sent them.

A simple call to Coventry County Court to request an update as to the warrant results in pass the parcel for several hours to no agent that is able to answer the simple query of why the warrant hasn't been enforced. The final agent simply hung up after refusing to believe Conventry County Court transferred me to them, despite me recording exactly what took place.

 

@BankFodderDo you think it would be at all possible to bank the cheque without compromising my legal position to bring a further claim for their statutory breach. I have made it clear to Shell Energy in writing that I do not accept the payment as a gesture of goodwill and that it is only accepted as payment for the claim and warrant issued against them.

Edited by Intrepid
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