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  1. #1
    BrightonHove2016's Avatar

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    Default Thames Water

    Good morning all,

    Bit of a strange one;

    In the middle of October I received a call from a company called Advantis regarding a Thames Water account supposedly in my name for a property that I have never lived in.

    i thought this would be some form of clerical error so I contacted Thames Water who advised me they had been billing me since 2008 for waste water charges related to a property.

    Obviously a bit surprised I advised them that I had not ever lived there and furthermore had never supplied my name to Thames Water and I was therefore a little concerned about where they’d got my details.

    Thames Water were absolutely no help and a little incredulous, implying that I was lying. I stated I could provide proof of residency in the form of a tenancy agreement for another address between early 2013 and late 2016 for a property I was renting and in 2016 I bought a flat, however prior to that I was renting a room from a friend on an informal basis so I didn’t not have any formal tenancy agreement I could supply.

    intrigued by this scenario I raised a complaint with Thames Water and decided to investigate this address. I found on the land registry that this property was first sold in 2007 and that a whole tranche of properties in this area were owned by a housing association.

    i contacted the housing association who provided an email to Thames Water stating that I have never been listed as an occupant of this property and have never been on a tenancy agreement for it.

    i thought this would be sufficient proof for Thames Water but what they are saying now is that until they have details of the actual occupants they will not remove my name from the account.

    apparently they got my name from the electoral register, which is strange. I used to live in the same town, about ten minutes drive away but can’t see how this would happen.

    what makes it worse is that I have always used Experian to check my credit score which shows no negative information but I found that Thames Water reports to Equifax, and lo and behold a default was registered in 2015. I actually have two accounts set up in my name falsely, one is defaulted and the other shows significant arrears.

    please help

    1.) How can I get rid of this error?
    2.) Am I entitled to any compensation for them levying negative information on my credit file for the last ten years.
    3.) how can I get my own back on them, legally, lol.

  2. #2
    Amethyst's Avatar

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    Default Re: Thames Water

    Tagging @slainte caragh; as she might have an idea how best to get this sorted with Thames.

    Did you make a formal complaint in writing to Thames Water ? if not you need to do that, and you can make a complaint to Equifax and the ICO about the possible ID theft/fraud - you could also make a complaint through the consumer council ( https://www.ccwater.org.uk ) about the billing situation. You can also make a complaint through the Financial Ombudsman service regarding the reporting on your credit file, after you have been through the formal complaints process with Thames and Equifax. The FOS could look at compensation side of things if Thames/Equifax refuse.

    When you say negative information on your credit file for the last ten years... the account shows as defaulted in 2015 - what does the other account with arrears show as ? Have you raised this second account issue with Thames Water too? Is it at the same address / HA estate ?

    Actually I'm pretty sure Water only started being reported on credit files in 2013.
    “We may not win by protesting, but if we don’t protest we will lose. If we stand up to them, there is always a chance we will win.” Hetty Bower

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  3. #3
    BrightonHove2016's Avatar

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    Default Re: Thames Water

    Hi Amethyst,

    Thanks for your advice.

    Both the accounts for Thames Water show as being opened in 1st April 2008, one shows as delinquent, the other shows as default, both for this address. I was assuming negative information would have been reported since that point.

    I have made a formal complaint with them and it is with a case manager but as I can’t provide tangible proof of address prior to 2013 I am worried about the outcome.

    regards,
    Last edited by BrightonHove2016; 24th November 2017 at 06:53:AM.

  4. #4
    slainte caragh's Avatar

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    Default Re: Thames Water

    Hiya,

    I must admit I am not surprised they did this, they are buggers for it!

    Ok so you have done the majority of what you need to do, send in proof that you did not live at this address and proof from the HA that you have never lived there. I would initially suggest supplying them with the name and address of the HA and directing their attention to the email from the HA admitting responsibilty.

    I find the words "To the best of my knowledge the property was either inhabited by a HA tenant or empty and unfurnished, due to being tied to the same DPA regulations as yourselves the HA are unable to furnish me with the former resident's name and forwarding address but might be able to tell you if you apply directly yourselves."

    Ask for the Credit Rating to be reconsidered by their insight team (use this phrase it will freak them out!) and advise them that keeping inaccurate records is a breach of DPA which is an unlimited fine and a maximum of 12 years in prison.

    Send it all in writing marked OFFICIAL COMPLAINT and remind them that the Ombudsman complaint time scales start from the inital complaint. give them a timescale of a week to respond with a solution OTHER THAN "get the account holder to contact us".

    With regards to the whole electerol (sp) register.. it is a way that they find names and addresses (the one they like to spout out) but they can also check via HA records, via physically knocking on the door and asking and via someone phoning in and telling them. They can take a 3rd party's information but need them to take responsibilty afterwards! Silly I know.
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  5. #5
    BrightonHove2016's Avatar

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    Default Re: Thames Water

    Thank you so much, appreciate the advice!
    Last edited by BrightonHove2016; 24th November 2017 at 06:52:AM. Reason: Named

  6. #6
    slainte caragh's Avatar

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    Default Re: Thames Water

    You're welcome

    I know it is a trying time, but they need to realise they have a responsibilty to put mistakes right.

    With regards to the compensation, which I totally overlooked through being shattered, yes you can claim compensation and I would insist upon it!
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  8. #8
    BrightonHove2016's Avatar

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    Default Re: Thames Water

    Hi everyone,

    Thames Water have removed the default from my credit file and also removed my name from their database.

    They have offered me £50 in compensation as a gesture of goodwill which I feel is wholly inappropriate for the way they have defamed me with the inaccurate reporting and for the time I have taken in dealing with this.

    Does this fall under the jurisdiction of the FOS? I am not trying to extract unwarranted compensation however I took out a loan in December 2016 with NatWest and the rate was quite high so I think this default could have been responsible for that.

    I would think around the £500 mark would be fair but could one of you give me some guidance as to what would be deemed fair and reasonable in this case.

    thank you

  9. #9
    Amethyst's Avatar

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    Default Re: Thames Water

    I'd agree with you £50 for two years of defaults being on your credit file is inadequate. Glad you got them to agree to remove the records and accept it wasn't your debt, at last.... To be honest I think it's the Energy/Water Ombudsman as the error is Thames' rather than Equifax's - but it could also be the FOS as it affects you financially - might be worth giving both a call and asking the question where your complaint would go to once you have a final response from Thames.

    I would go back to Thames on their offer and point out that their error has affected you for two years and that during that time you have been turned down for credit ( if you have) and only been able to obtain higher interest rate products than you otherwise would have done. ( that would rely on the rest of your credit file being okay ) as well as the hassle/stress of having to deal with it all - there is some case law ( Halliday / Grace / Khoprahor / Durkin ) you can look up and maybe quote to them. There is someone on the forum who has had wrongful default marker issues with their electricity supplier - worth having a read through their thread maybe -http://legalbeagles.info/forums/showthread.php?102607-EON-Would-Remove-Late-Payment-Markers-amp-Default-If-We-Stopped-Ombudsman-Complaint - not sure how far along they have got - few posts recently on the forum on similar issues - this does seems to be a growing issue with Utility companies wrongly reporting to credit reference agencies.
    Last edited by Amethyst; 1st December 2017 at 17:56:PM.
    “We may not win by protesting, but if we don’t protest we will lose. If we stand up to them, there is always a chance we will win.” Hetty Bower

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  10. #10
    BrightonHove2016's Avatar

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    Default Re: Thames Water

    I sent the below to them, does this seem right?


    Dear Ms Craig,


    Thank you for your email.


    Your explanation of the case does not fully illustrate the severity of the issue and I would like to add the following points;


    1.) You not only reported incorrect information on my credit file for a number of years, you filed a default against me which is a very serious indicator of poor credit worthiness which resulted in my defamation for the period of time that the default was registered with the credit reference bureau.


    2.) I opened a loan account at (redacted) in December 2016 which was taken at an exorbitantly high interest rate. This rate is deemed by me to be a direct result of the default that you levied against my name. I cannot state with certainty the rate I would have been offered, however checking the rates available with NatWest for the loan amount I obtained this default resulted in additional charges of around £150


    3.) Agent’s from Advantis, a debt collection agency acting under your instruction harassed me for payment of this account and despite me informing them that the case was under review due to me never having lived at the address proceeded to call me no less than four times over the last six to eight weeks.


    3.) I have been under an enormous amount of distress because of this issue. I have had to call Thames Water approximately thirty times over the last six to eight weeks and I have sent around fifteen emails. Undue worry has been caused because of your company’s poor record keeping because I am looking to take out a mortgage with the knowledge that no application would be successful because of the default registered against me.


    4.) Previous judgements of this nature against utilities companies has resulted in awards of compensation between £500-£2250.


    5.) In a similar context please see judgement against British Gas, where the claimant was awarded £5000 compensation as a result of harassment and incorrect information being levied against an individual who was not responsible for supply at an address https://www.google.co.uk/amp/swarb.c...-feb-2009/amp/


    6.) In the case of Durkin v. DSG Retail, Mr Durkin was awarded compensation of £8000 due to incorrect reporting of a default. https://www.russell-cooke.co.uk/medi...april-2014.pdf


    7.) Whilst the data was incorrectly in the public domain, a reasonable outlook would be after sending bills to an individual for a number of years one would take additional steps to ascertain the identity of the occupants of an address. It is my belief that your company has failed in that respect and as such is responsible for my details being incorrectly sent to an address for ten years putting me in serious risk of identity theft.


    I want to make it clear to you that I do not feel my initial request of £400 compensation is unreasonable given this situation.


    This is comprised of;


    - £150 to correct the financial impact.
    - £250 to compensate me for my time and the stress and worry of dealing with this issue.


    If this is not agreed to my intentions are to follow this issue through to its conclusion. This will involve referring this complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service, who have clear financial awards in place for complaints of this nature, the Consumer Council for Water and OFWAT along with filing a civil litigation suit against Thames Water for defamation and harassment.


    Yours Sincerely,


  11. #11
    slainte caragh's Avatar

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    Default Re: Thames Water

    May I suggest adding "involving my MP with regards to ensuring you note the seriousness of this case and to enquire as to how quickly de-regulation can be ushered in"

    Or words to that effect!

    Water companies DO NOT like it when consumers know about deregulation so make sure and mention the fact that you do!! Deregulation, so you are armed with as much ammunition as you can be, is the government go ahead to allow consumers to pick and chose water providers (cannot wait personally, the fall out for Thames is gonna be glorious!!).

    Now, obviously this means things will have to change so they don't loose customers, it's due in 2019 to the best of my knowledge, but there were that many corporate complaints apparently it got rushed in this year!
    Those who don't believe in Magic will never find it! - Roald Dahl

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  12. #12
    BrightonHove2016's Avatar

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    Default Re: Thames Water

    Thank you so much!

  13. #13
    slainte caragh's Avatar

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    Default Re: Thames Water

    you're welcome

    Good luck!
    Those who don't believe in Magic will never find it! - Roald Dahl

    Tears are not a sign of weakness they are a sign of having been too strong too long! - Unknown

    You are not disabled by your disability but made able by your abilities. - Oscar Pistorius

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