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Was wondering if the people on the forum could help me a bit. Here is a little bit about my situation:


* Friend signed up for British Gas as we were living together, however they set it up under my name without my knowledge.


* Left British Gas in June. Bill comes 14th June with £231.61 being owed. As setup with direct debit from friends account, this was to be taken out on 26th June.


* Final statement comes 4th July for £2.45, which is paid over phone a week or so later and told that was all that was oweing and my account would be closed.


* Another final statement comes on 1st August saying final balance is £0.00


* Come end of September i get a DCA (debt collection agency) letter saying i owe £289.51 (£57.90 "Admin" fee added on). I was a bit confused by this and called them asking what was going on. They ask me to fax

through paperwork proving my final statement and so forth and it would be put on hold and they will contact me next.


* Heard nothing for a while and then another threatening letter saying i owe this amount again. Called up again and explained it all and they said they would speak to British Gas about it.


* Nothing else heard for a while till i get a letter threatening court action if this is not paid. So i ring up British Gas themselves to find out what had happened. It turns out the direct debit was sent back for some unknown reason. Which i have managed since to confirm with my friend since.


Now here is where i am stuck. My friend is willing to pay this £231.61, however i don't know where to turn. British Gas say it is in the DCAs hands and the DCAs won't accept the £231.61 as final payment for obvious reasons as they want their £57.90 fee.


My main issues is British Gas never even tried to contact anyone to say that the direct debit got returned and ask for a final payment or red letter bill or anything at all. British Gas confirmed that nothing was sent out after the final statement. Then a couple of months later send out to the DCA. Surely this is not common practice or right? Secondly, can they just have put this account in my name without my permission? That seems wrong too. I never signed anything or agreed to any of this. This was my friend who signed up to this in the beginning under his name.


My only flaw really is i called these people and not put it in writing. Learning that now though. Any advice is much appreciated on what to do or where to turn to next.


Merry Xmas everyone :)



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The simple solution would be to send the payment for the correct amount (by recorded delivery) and see what they do. They will almost certainly cash the cheque. It then comes down to whether they are willing to sue for their fee. If you make it clear to them that you're not paying because you believe that the fee is an unlawful penalty charge then they may back off. I suspect that the worst that will happen is the DCA may send you a few more hysterical letters before they give up.

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Thanks for the reply. I am not the best on letter writing (god i hated English at school!), so what do people think of this letter? Any corrections/additions will be much appreciated. If people have anymore advice other than seminole's, then feel free to add it.


Re: Ref XXXX



Dear Sir/Madam,


Enclosed is a cheque for £231.61 for the debt owed to the pursuer ‘British Gas Trading’. I am however not prepared to pay your ‘administration fee’ of £57.90, as I believe this is an unlawful penalty charge levied by you.




Nick Morris

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Don't send a cheque to the DCA, the robbers would only take their charges first, leaving you still in debt.


You could make the payment direct to British Gas's account and cut the leeches completely out of the circle. B.G. are highly unlikely to send the money back.


All your old statements etc will have bank details on them for you to pay direct into their account, make sure you get receipts from your bank when you pay the money in, and take great pride in sending enlarged copies to the DCA with a nice "go away and get stuffed" letter :D

Nil Illigitimus Carborundum

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Hope everyone has had a good Xmas. I like idea of going direct to British Gas and paying them off at the source. I have found out through Barclays the account and stuff to pay into for British Gas. My only concern is what do i put in the letter to the DCA? Has this worked for other people? Not really done anything like this before myself.





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