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A Utiliry Cock up Should I have To Foot The Bill


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Hello All,

 

I would really appreciate some assistance on this one guys.

 

We are being pursued by a utility company for charges they claim we owe them for utility usage. Nothing unusual about this you might think, except for the fact that we have been paying our bill faithfully upon production of an estimated bill.

 

When they came to read our meter prompted by a move, they sent a final bill indicating an overpayment on our part, (fantastic we thought), they owed us some money. They sent us the money and a couple of weeks later they write to tell us that we owe them. When I called querying this, I was told that upon investigation they had discovered a mis-calaculation in the meter reading, which they base on an old meter which was taken away. Which meant that we were now owing them money. I made the point that, they made the mistake so they should absorb it.

 

Balliffs have since been instructed, I wrote to the company involved, asking them to explain to us in writing, why they say we owe them. Initially they claimed they had not receieved the letter which we promptly faxed across. Since then I was told they would respond within three weeks, well that was six weeks ago and still no reply. When I called to chase up a reply they tried to push me into excepting their verbal explanation, which I declined saying we need to read and understand properly why we owe.

 

Still no written explanation only letters from Balliffs so I had to tell them about our situation and that it remained unresolved as no response from utility company. The Balliffs were still insisting that we owed this money.

 

What are my chances of getting out of paying them. I am interested in hearing from anyone who has experienced similar, any advice and also what legal advice you may have.

 

Many thanks in advance.

Deeks1

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Ggggggg

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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are you sure these chasers are balliffs??????

unless you have been notified the case has gone to court, then it will be a DCA, and basically they have no powers at all, ignore them.

 

write to the power Co. in question again stating that you wisha full breakdown of why & what you owe.

 

TBH, a mistake is a mistake, you probably do owe the money, you have had a service from them so p'haps you need to pay for that.

 

however, how much are we talking about here.?

they just might forget about it.

 

if not, they might well accept a & of the debt & call it quits........

who is the Co.?

 

dx100uk:)

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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Thanks DX

 

The letters state they are Balliffs acting on behalf of this utility company.

 

So you think I should write again even though they are yet to respond to our original letter of more than six weeks ago??

 

We are unsure as to whether we did indeed as we only have there say so and the equipment which supposedly gave the reading has been removed by them.

 

The amount is about £500.

 

Cheers DX

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what is the name of the Co. claiming to be balliffs?

this is a nasty [unlawful] ploy often used by a Debt Collection Agency.

AFAIK, if they are a balliff then it should have gone to court & you should have papers.

if its a DCA then they are in big trouble!!!!

 

£500 is a lot of money, i would push for every piece of info you can & fight it.

 

to run up £500 through lets say 'the wrong rate' on a meter. they must have left it that way for a number of years....not very consumer facing there.

 

something smells here to me

 

dx100uk:(

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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Hiya Deeks - this also happened to me.

 

Bought A brand new house, had est billing from EDF.

 

However to through a spenner to the works Twice a year we had a meter reading by them.

 

In Jan last year (5 years into ownership) we had a bill for £1500. Basically the £35 per month we had been paying them, had fallen short.

 

I took my case to EngergyWatch - who deemed that despite the fact it was EDF error we indeed did own them the money.

 

EDF reduce our bill by £300 as a gesture of goodwill. They deemed we now use £60 per month in Gas - thats before paying off the £1300 arrears.

 

We now pay £100 per month to them - to add insult to injury EnergyWatch confirmed that EDF were entiltled to ask for the repayment to be made over a period of 12 months!! which would have meant our bills were £200 per month for a whole year!!!!!

 

Theres no way we can afford this. Periodically EDF write to us demanding we up our monthly payments - the last demand came about 5 weeks ago and was for £320 per month!!!

 

I just tell them to take us to court because at the end of the day I genuinely cant afford to pay back more than £100 per month and I cant see how a judge can force us to pay back more than Ive got!!!!

:-x Kennsignton Mortage Company

:-x GE Captial

:-x Welcome Car Finance

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According to ozzywizard, the utility companies are only allowed to collect these sorts of arrears going back two years - I think it changes to one year very very soon - and so you need to make sure that the debt they're alleging doesn't include anything before April 05 :)

-----

Click the scales if I've been useful! :)

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  • 5 weeks later...

I too am having problems with N Power and the cost of my bills have increased drastically Today I have tried to use USwitch.com to see if I can change provider, however I have given the information requested by going from my last quarterly bill and they are saying that the prices are too high for domestic rates considering I only use gas for heating and it will not enable me to compare. My last quarterly bill for gas usage was 6/2/07 - 26/4/07 (11 weeks) £575.58 based on estimated reading so I gave them a customer reading 26/4/07 - 4/5/07 (9 days) which added £20.05 charges so now my bill is £595.63. I ordered full statements and have noticed exceptionally high bills at other times as well which I also believe are wrong - I have cancelled DD and asked for payment card so they cannot increase the payment as they wanted to. Something does not add up in my view daily use £2.227777 call it £2.23 as taken from weeks reading 26/4/07 - 4/5/07 x 84 days (12 weeks) = £187.32 so where and how does it equate to £575.58? Has anyone had the same problem? Please help if you know what I can do next. I have now been asked to take another 7 day reading.

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  • 1 month later...

Demon, liability for these charges could well be 6 years, as per Statute of Limitations.

What you can do depends on the utility type. The charges will be payable however, but the meter exchange cock up may help you get a goodwill payment.

Get them to recall it from the DCA immediately, as them sourcing it out when a billing mistake has occurred is pretty harsh.

If the DCA contact you then inform them that you are dealing with the company direct due to a dispute. If they pretend to be bailiffs then this is against DFT guidelines.

I would advice to always provide up to date readings in response to estimated readings, as billing systems can really cock up.

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Demon, liability for these charges could well be 6 years, as per Statute of Limitations.

 

Ahem:

Ofgem chief executive Alistair Buchanan replies

 

 

Last Updated: 1:44am GMT 07/01/2006

 

 

 

 

 

The head of the Energy regulator is on his first day back from holidays, and is visibly refreshed and full of vigour.

The Ofgem office is almost empty, since staff are filtering back from their Christmas break, but he promises there are 20 people monitoring the electricity market on behalf of consumers.

ccwatch107.jpgAlistair Buchanan thinks wholesale market is working well but temporary shortages led to spikes in prices

"This year we are watching the industry very carefully on billing and how they resolve the super complaint," he says.

The so-called super complaint was lodged last April by Energywatch, the consumer group. It alleges that there is "overwhelming evidence that consumers face billing problems across the energy market".

Buchanan wants to appoint an ombudsman to sort it out - another independent adjudicator. He has banned companies from back-billing more than one year's sum from 2007. Previously, bills for up to six years were dropping through letter boxes.

"They have also got to make their contracts legible," he warns. "If you cannot sort it out yourselves, then come the first of July we will put on the regulatory hobnails and kick you. Shareholders will not be pleased that areas which have been unregulated will be back under regulatory control. We have to defend consumers' rights," he adds.

When it comes to the current high prices, which have gone up by 40 per cent in the last year, he is less ferocious.

 

Ofgem stopped regulating the domestic market three years ago because it thought competition was sufficient to protect the interests of households.

He thinks the wholesale market is working fine, but that a temporary shortage of gas and a lack of information have led to a panicky spike in prices.

"It gives us no pleasure to see gas prices going up. But we do see active investment in gas. We have seen £10billion going into infrastructure, both from the utility companies and from the oil and gas companies."

He says it is also a good sign that companies such as Gaz de France and Gazprom are joining the market. "Three pipelines and three massive trains of Liquified Natural Gas are arriving," he says, "but it is a bottleneck year. What we have got here is an anxiety premium. Traders can see this is the worst time in 15 years and will probably be the worst time for the next 20 years."

He also blames the Government, for not providing the information on the North Sea that would allow traders, suppliers and shippers to set a more accurate price for gas.

"The Department of Trade and Industry started to publish information last year, but the feedback we are getting is that it is simply not enough, and industry cannot work out what is going on in the North Sea. We do not mind who regulates it, as long as someone is providing this information," he said. The supply of gas from the North Sea into Britain is falling by 10 per cent a year.

He adds: "They are still lower than many of our European competitors. The consumer in Dusseldorf is paying more than the consumer in Guildford."

He says prices will come back down in two to four years, but in the meantime, the only option for customers is to switch supplier.

"164,000 people are switching each week," he says, adding that half the country has made the move.

"If the prices do not drop, we have a number of powers and if we have concerns, we can go to the Competition Commission under the Enterprise Act," he warns.

-----

Click the scales if I've been useful! :)

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Also:

 

http://www.official-documents.gov.uk/document/cm66/6609/6609.pdf

 

3. On 6 April 2005 Ofgem received a supercomplaint from energywatch,

under section 11 of the Enterprise Act 2002, alleging that there is evidence that the billing processes of gas and electricity suppliers are harming the interests of domestic consumers. Ofgem published a consultation letter seeking views from interested parties on the issues raised by the supercomplaint and is now considering those responses carefully. Ofgem published its analysis and conclusions on 5 July. While Ofgem found no widespread failure of industry billing arrangements, it did find that a relatively small number of customers suffered real harm when companies made billing mistakes. Ofgem’s measures are designed to protect customers.

They are:

# suppliers must stop ‘back-billing’ customers beyond two years, if no

bill is issued and the supplier is at fault. This will reduce to one year in 2007

# energy suppliers must set up an independent body, with the power to

award compensation, to resolve disputes quickly, and

# they must review their domestic customers’ contract terms to ensure

compliance with consumer rights legislation.

-----

Click the scales if I've been useful! :)

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