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  1. #1
    ladyleez's Avatar

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    Default Taking Utility company to court for loss of earning and harassment

    I noticed in March 2014 that First Utility were not taking my direct debit for nearly 6 months and called them to tell them this. We then set up another direct debit, which they also failed to use. I then started receiving debt collection letters saying that unless I paid them in full I would be liable for court costs etc. I then took them to the Ombudsman who found in my favour and set out conditions for me to leave and compensation of £50 which should be paid.
    This was in July 2014 and I am still waiting to be allowed to leave. I have catalogued every phone call, email and letter sent which is relentless and paramount to harassment.

    It took them 6 months to agree a payment plan which I had to peruse them to do. I then received a threatening letter to say I was in arrears with this plan when I wasn't.

    I have now opened a county court claim for £2500 compensation for loss of earnings and harassment. This afternoon I received and email from someone at First Utility to say that they are now offering me and additional £100 compensation However my bill has gone up an additional £204 in 3 days from a letter I received 3 days ago, and these are based on non existent readings. She also indicated that should this go to court I will loose and will be liable for the court costs.
    I have attempted to leave First Utility twice now, both times being told I would be allowed to leave, and then receiving emails and letters saying I can't as I have a substantial arrears.
    They have admitted their failings and yet I am still no closer to settling this matter
    Do I have a legal claim to this compensation?

  2. #2
    wales01man's Avatar

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    Default Re: Taking Utility company to court for loss of earning and harassment

    Have you filed a claim with the County Court?

  3. #3
    ladyleez's Avatar

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    Default Re: Taking Utility company to court for loss of earning and harassment

    Yes - The email I received today was in response to the claim I filed.

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    wales01man's Avatar

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    Default Re: Taking Utility company to court for loss of earning and harassment

    If you are claiming 2500 and they offer that they must be in cloud cuckoo land if there is a figure between their offer and your claim try for that remember you can win or lose nothing is guaranteed in the Court

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    sean5302's Avatar

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    Default Re: Taking Utility company to court for loss of earning and harassment

    I think you've been watching too many tv progs.
    £2500 claim for harassment and loss of earnings?
    I suggest you withdraw that claim.
    You'll end up paying their costs as well as yours if this ever comes to a hearing.
    The court process is to recoup your losses; to restore you to the position you were in before the events happened. Definitely not to line your pockets.
    It's a shame you didn't come here first, before issuing your claim. You will have wasted your initial fee.
    How did you lose earnings?
    What loss have you sustained due to harassment?
    Last edited by sean5302; 15th March 2015 at 11:53:AM.

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    des8's Avatar

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    Default Re: Taking Utility company to court for loss of earning and harassment

    Protection from Harassment Act 1997
    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1997/40/section/3

    Civil remedy.

    (1)
    An actual or apprehended breach of section 1 may be the subject of a claim in civil proceedings by the person who is or may be the victim of the course of conduct in question.

    (2)
    On such a claim, damages may be awarded for (among other things) any anxiety caused by the harassment




  7. #7
    sean5302's Avatar

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    Default Re: Taking Utility company to court for loss of earning and harassment

    3)Where—


    (a)in such proceedings the High Court or a county court grants an injunction for the purpose of restraining the defendant from pursuing any conduct which amounts to harassment, and


    (b)the plaintiff considers that the defendant has done anything which he is prohibited from doing by the injunction,

    I see no reference by the OP to having an injunction in place, preventing harassment by the company.
    Is your reading of the Act different to mine, des8?

  8. #8
    des8's Avatar

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    Default Re: Taking Utility company to court for loss of earning and harassment

    Yep
    Para 3 continues:"the plaintiff may apply for the issue of a warrant for the arrest of the defendant."

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    wales01man's Avatar

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    Default Re: Taking Utility company to court for loss of earning and harassment

    Who would the defendant be at the water company the CEO?

  10. #10
    sean5302's Avatar

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    Default Re: Taking Utility company to court for loss of earning and harassment

    You're not answering my question des8

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    des8's Avatar

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    Default Re: Taking Utility company to court for loss of earning and harassment

    Yep = yes, Sean, reading it differently
    I read it that there are a number of Civil Remedies available.
    No 1 is a civil claim by the victim
    No 2 is award of damages following 1.
    No 3 is application for a warrant of arrest of defendant if court has granted an injunction which it is alleged the defendant breached

    I don't read 1 & 2 being dependent on any part of 3.
    Does anyone else agree with me?

  12. #12
    sean5302's Avatar

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    Default Re: Taking Utility company to court for loss of earning and harassment

    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/...land-and-wales

    Easier to see the full picture by taking one step back from the link you posted, Des.
    I can see your logic now, from my link above.
    It seems that the difficulty will be in quantum. Why ask for £2.5k?

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    ladyleez's Avatar

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    Default Re: Taking Utility company to court for loss of earning and harassment

    Quote Originally Posted by sean5302 View Post
    I think you've been watching too many tv progs.
    £2500 claim for harassment and loss of earnings?
    I suggest you withdraw that claim.
    You'll end up paying their costs as well as yours if this ever comes to a hearing.
    The court process is to recoup your losses; to restore you to the position you were in before the events happened. Definitely not to line your pockets.
    It's a shame you didn't come here first, before issuing your claim. You will have wasted your initial fee.
    How did you lose earnings?
    What loss have you sustained due to harassment?
    I am a company Director of and I have spent a considerable amount of time dealing with this matter during my working day, so no I haven't been watching too many TV programmes!
    And do not see why I should have to allow them to get away with this abysmal service. Let me remind you of the facts.
    I made them aware they were not taking my money
    I set up 2 direct debits with them which they failed to take
    I was harassed by a debt collection company and threatening with court costs
    The ombudsman ruled in July 2014 and they have still not fulfilled the conditions they agreed to
    It is nearly 9 months after the ruling and I am still being told I can leave (3 times now) to have it rejected

    I am now in debt with them, which is no fault of mine - So I now have to pay 2 utility companies going forward once I am allowed to leave.

    I would also refer you to the Barry Payling v British Gas case, where he was paid out for loss of earnings. My time is as important as theirs.

  14. #14
    ladyleez's Avatar

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    Default Re: Taking Utility company to court for loss of earning and harassment

    First Utility is a Gas & Electric company ...

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    wales01man's Avatar

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    Default Re: Taking Utility company to court for loss of earning and harassment

    You can only try Who you are has no standing in a Court case its down to facts and evidence Good luck

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    des8's Avatar

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    Default Re: Taking Utility company to court for loss of earning and harassment

    Quote Originally Posted by ladyleez View Post
    . My time is as important as theirs.
    Probably more important if you are productive

    Barry Payling V British Gas is of course not a court case, and is only an instance of where a utility Co. has backed down when threatened with court.
    In Jones v Ruth – at first instance beforeHHJ Wilcox [2010] EWHC 1538 (TCC) and in the Court of Appeal [2011]EWCA Civ 804.- in the General Points arising from decision it was stated that financial loss caused by harassment was recoverable, such asloss of earnings, as well as damages for distress
    Regarding Quantum there is an interesting article here: http://www.newlawjournal.co.uk/nlj/content/looking-more

  17. #17
    dan_1207's Avatar

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    Default Re: Taking Utility company to court for loss of earning and harassment

    It would be interesting to see the pleadings draft by/OBO the OP.

  18. #18
    Lilly_2000's Avatar

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    Default Re: Taking Utility company to court for loss of earning and harassment

    Quote Originally Posted by ladyleez View Post
    I noticed in March 2014 that First Utility were not taking my direct debit for nearly 6 months and called them to tell them this. We then set up another direct debit, which they also failed to use. I then started receiving debt collection letters saying that unless I paid them in full I would be liable for court costs etc. I then took them to the Ombudsman who found in my favour and set out conditions for me to leave and compensation of £50 which should be paid.
    This was in July 2014 and I am still waiting to be allowed to leave. I have catalogued every phone call, email and letter sent which is relentless and paramount to harassment.

    It took them 6 months to agree a payment plan which I had to peruse them to do. I then received a threatening letter to say I was in arrears with this plan when I wasn't.

    I have now opened a county court claim for £2500 compensation for loss of earnings and harassment. This afternoon I received and email from someone at First Utility to say that they are now offering me and additional £100 compensation However my bill has gone up an additional £204 in 3 days from a letter I received 3 days ago, and these are based on non existent readings. She also indicated that should this go to court I will loose and will be liable for the court costs.
    I have attempted to leave First Utility twice now, both times being told I would be allowed to leave, and then receiving emails and letters saying I can't as I have a substantial arrears.
    They have admitted their failings and yet I am still no closer to settling this matter
    Do I have a legal claim to this compensation?

    Hi
    I have just read this and I've had to join this site to reply to you. I could have written that myself. First Urility are a complete nightmare. 9 months my issue has been going on. They actually sent a bailiff to my house when it was the company who failed to set up the dd for a period of months! My bills have gone from £300 too £1060 in 5 weeks. The ombudsman ruled in my favour however like you, they haven't deslt with issues.
    i have decided to take legal action against them.
    Im no expert but I do have someone in the know on legal matters and I've read them your message and he says they are using scare tactics to put you off taking action. He advises you use this info to the judge (if it goes to court) on their underhand tactics. Also apparently it costs a company approx 9k to go to court so my guess is it won't make it that far but from my past experience, you have to hold your nerve. You have to call their bluff as they have so much more to loose in court than you do.

    loads of luck and I hope you beat the b*****ds :-)

  19. #19
    dan_1207's Avatar

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    Default Re: Taking Utility company to court for loss of earning and harassment

    £9k to go to court?? Who are they using?!

  20. #20
    sean5302's Avatar

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    Default Re: Taking Utility company to court for loss of earning and harassment

    Quote Originally Posted by dan_1207 View Post
    £9k to go to court?? Who are they using?!
    Ken Dodd's solicitor.
    He read that income tax was 2% when first introduced, and thought it still was.
    Whatever he paid his lawyer was money well spent.

  21. #21
    ajs444's Avatar

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    Default Re: Taking Utility company to court for loss of earning and harassment

    Well I have had to join this site just to confirm that First Utility are a joke and I am also heading the Court route.

    3 years of total misery since I moved to them, not paid them a penny, cannot even set up a Direct Debit, though details have been supplied on numerous occasions, just keep supplying meter readings, billing produced, no way of paying.

    Energy Ombudsman was involved and instructed FU what to do, still nothing resolved some 18 months later, this company have the correct initials, I have had 3 years of hell and worry.

    The dilemma now is do I pay the bill and then go to court, for the misery and time wasting I have endured, making phone calls, writing letters and general health issues?

    Or do I negotiate first?

    I am probably moving house within next 6 months and then can be away from them, thank God.

  22. #22
    Captain Haddock's Avatar

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    Default Re: Taking Utility company to court for loss of earning and harassment

    Quote Originally Posted by ladyleez View Post
    My time is as important as theirs.
    I wish to God that these people understood this. The contempt they hold their paying customers in is unbelievable!

  23. #23
    Mr $quanda£ot's Avatar

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    Default Re: Taking Utility company to court for loss of earning and harassment

    Whilst I haven't had any issues with First Utility - yes, they are my dual fuel supplier at the moment, I am aware that they aren't always too efficient.

    I would urge you to keep all the evidence and build up a hood paper trail.

    If you genuinely believe you have a decent case, then by all means you should proceed and go all the way.

  24. #24
    adam romanowski's Avatar

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    Default Re: Taking Utility company to court for loss of earning and harassment

    Hi, I joined this site so I can comment. I really sympathise with your issue with First Utility. I just wanted to say that I am experiencing difficulty with First Utility and I agree about the fact that you should be able to make a claim due to harassment and time spent trying to resolve an issue. Over the last 3 years I tried very hard to resolve an issue with FU and had to give up in the end. I have literally spent and wasted many man days of effort and to no avail.

    The problems with FU are many and here are a few examples: every time I rang up to try and progress I was being dealt with by a different person, very polite but promising and telling me that would do this and that i.e. they will speak with the relevant department to sort out. This never happened. Even worse, I kept telling the different individuals to update their system with our phone conversation so when I speak to someone else they can get up to speed with things. The operators either never made any updates at all or when they did it was not accurate. FU are either completely useless as they can't do simple things right and cause great misery or very clever bordering on fraudulent as they get customers to rack up debts they do not own and then pursue them with vigour. For example, if FU investigated my issue by analysing all the emails I have sent them containing real evidence and if they analysed all the phone conversations between both parties showing their complete incompetence they would have their answers and a speedy resolution would take place where time, money and effort would not be wasted.

    It is not just harassment but it is the time I have spent that hurts me with no effort apart from a barrage of automated emails from FU that just repeat themselves. I will be working out how much time and money I have spent e.g. how long it takes me to go through all my emails, documents, writing emails, paying phone charges etc etc and then I will be pursuing this perhaps at the Small Claims court. I am still getting harassed 3 years later. Also, my next move is to contact local media programmes such as BBC Watch Dog and Trading Standards. I think the only way useless large organisations sit up and take notice is if you hit them in their pockets, hurt them with bad publicity ensuring you have such institutions as Trading Standards and the Utility Ombudsman on your side and stick to your guns.

    Perhaps, people like us and I bet there are so so many others should get together and form a pressure group where we could petition government and legal bodies to do more to get companies like FU to work properly and if they don't, something meaningful would be done about it as whatever is in place now is not working.

    I will keep you posted with how I get on.

    Good luck and hope all turns out well for you.

    Adam

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Taking Utility company to court for loss of earning and harassment

    I have had a major issue with First Utility. After getting no help from the Ombudsman whatsoever, I decided to set up a Discussion group on Facebook.
    Quickly I found out that I was not alone, there are now 58 member and we are in conversation with another group with over 400 members.

    We have had over 30 people post their back stories, and I have to say some border on criminality, people have had life changing health problems,
    front doors broken in to, having to choose between feeding their kids and heat!, having direct debits set up and taking nearly £1000 without prior
    knowledge leaving one poor guy stood at Tesco's with his children and shopping he had to leave behind.

    I have seen several cases brought against the utilities in the news , one guy took Npower and British Gas on both occasions over £2000 was paid to him.
    unfortunately most of the people cannot do this as they don't have the time or experience.

    I would like to ask anyone on here if they know of 'Lawyers' or a service other than the Ombudsman that take cases. as we have a bucket load.

    Mass action is the only way to stop these bullying companies.

    Our facebook page is

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...3019851&type=3

    Search FIRST UTILITY RIPPED ME OFF.

    Hope this helps and I will have a look at all the posts on her , thanks to Adam for posting his story here!

    Ian
    Last edited by IanRice; 15th December 2016 at 07:25:AM.

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