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  1. #1
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    Default first utility collecting on a voided bill

    Ok, so it wouldn't be me if I wasn't in a pickle with something!

    I'm pretty sure I am right but I would like to know where I stand legally.

    I use First Utility (henceforth known as FU) for gas and electricity, have been with them since December and that is where my saga starts.

    I set up a DD for £100 a month in December, they decided in their greatest wisdom to set the DD up in the name of MR Slainte G Caragh when I am very obviously NOT a mister and do not have the initial G in my name at all (that would be the hubby's name) so my bank froze my bank account - fair play the bank!

    I then had to pay every other bill I had (including my publisher) double! I called up FU to reset my payment plan at £100 per month and was told "can't do that it has to be £130 pm!"

    I made a £50 payment and gave meter readings. the original arrangement I made was 2 payments of £50 per month then back to the £100 a month payments.

    I will spare you the saga of the smart meters and the fact FU told me my home was a death trap due to their location, suffice to say I am still waiting for FU to install the bloody things!

    I am now having letters from a DCA with regards to a balance of £173, which funnily enough it the exact amount of the estimated bill. FU admit this bill is now null and void as I provided meter readings, but are still sending me to the DCA with regards to this.

    My way of thinking is:
    FU have declined to set up a formal payment plan even though the amounts I offered were more that reasonable (£100 per month) . They agent has said this is because he "didn't want to!"- Am I right that this is against the debt collection guidelines?

    FU are collecting on an estimated bill despite the fact they now have a meter reading- Am I correct in thinking they cannot do this? Every part of me is screaming this bill is VOID!

    FU are debt collecting on an account that is being paid- surely they can't do this?

    Advice please

    thanks


    Callie <3

  2. #2
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    Default Re: first utility collecting on a voided bill

    UPDATE:
    Spoken to LCS who are refusing to speak to FU despite acknowledging that the account is on hold.
    FU refuse to discuss this, have emailled CEO office again.
    Apparently according to LCS they do not have to comply with the FCA guidelines as it is a utility debt? So they can call me as often as they like with no consequences to them, and they can collect on a void bill?

    confused.


    Callie

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    Default Re: first utility collecting on a voided bill

    bumping
    also can you move this to the right place please, I'm not used to the new layout

    Thnanks

    Callie

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    Default Re: first utility collecting on a voided bill

    bumping.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: first utility collecting on a voided bill

    Quote Originally Posted by slainte caragh View Post
    can you move this to the right place please, I'm not used to the new layout
    Moved to the Utilities/Telecoms section

    It sounds like FU have made a F-UP with this one lol ... not sure exactly what you can do, but hopefully someone will have an idea xx
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    Default Re: first utility collecting on a voided bill

    Thanks Kati
    They have gone decidedly quiet when I said the words Legal and Beagles in the same sentence. I think you have a liiiiiiittle bit of a reputation

  7. #7
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    Default Re: first utility collecting on a voided bill

    Are you tied into a contract with FU ? I'd be tempted to move....

    Is your £100 DD originally set up to cover both gas and electric or do you pay them separately?

    FU need to recall the ''debt'' from LCS - I know you know that, it is ridiculous they won't do so. I'm also a little unsure where the £173 comes from - I understand it's an estimated bill - for both E & G ? Have you actually had a full breakdown from FU since December so you know exactly where you stand, what debt (if any) might be owing and how much your monthly payments should be? Think that's what you need, a full breakdown from start to date. Also keep an eye on your credit file - utilities can cock that up now too.

    Personally I'd pay the bills when they come in quarterly or whatever - this DD malarky just gives them far too much hold & power over you and enables them to get away with ridiculousness, that far outweighs any cost benefit of paying by DD. Actually I'd stick with prepayment but we can't all be as lucky as me lol.
    “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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  8. #8
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    Default Re: first utility collecting on a voided bill

    The £173 was an estimated amount for both gas and elec.
    The reason for the estimate was due to me not being able to read my meters (one's on the wall 6 and a half feet in the air, the other is on the floor) I have been now registered as disabled (finally) due to having severe hypermobility and rhumatoid arthritis. I got a meter reading when my 11yr old climbed a ladder and did it for me

    The £100 dd was originally for both gas and electric, which I thought was fair enough. Now my bill from December to March is £375 with again.. I'm not disputing sounds about right as there are 5 of us. What is annoying me is that their agents are refusing to set up the payment plans because "they don't want to" (actual quote).

    They have admitted that they have sent the estimated bill to a DCA but it's out of their hands now??

    LCS have said as it is a utility "debt" they are not governed by the FCA and can basically do as they wish.. I am sure this is also wrong.

    Once I have a zero balance (and my smart meters) I am upping sticks and they can shove their unicorn where they like lol!

  9. #9
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    Default Re: first utility collecting on a voided bill

    Do you have twitter Puff?

    @LegalBeagles Hi, is the customer in question, able to contact me directly so I can look into this? ^Harry E
    “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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    Default Re: first utility collecting on a voided bill

    yeh i didnt know they did ooooh might be worth a look cos their customer service is diabloodybolical, I'm still waiting on an email from Monday!

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    Default Re: first utility collecting on a voided bill

    just had the most amusing convo with their rep who told me they are working well within the law.
    I doubt that.
    1: they sent an estimated bill to a DCA after it was void,
    2: They refused to set up a payment plan because (quote) "I don't want to"
    3: They have sent a bill less than 14 days old to a DCA, despite having an active and up to date payment plan.. which the DCA say they are aware of (HUH??)

    If it wasn't actually such a complete foul up I would be hysterical!
    OH and according to a friend in the know, LCS are in the inside DCA of FU, so I'm dealing with the same company (?)

    Roll on payday when I can pay this mickey mouse organisation off and go to someone who knows what they are doing.. AFTER my smart meters are fitted

  12. #12
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    Default Re: first utility collecting on a voided bill

    Oh for goodness sake, so you've got no further forward at all. Were you talking to FU or LCS ? ( even if they are the same people)

    Check your contract with FU, you might be better cancelling them now before the smart meter is fitted if there's any tie in to them once it is in place.
    “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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  13. #13
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    Default Re: first utility collecting on a voided bill

    Check things like this...

    ''Exit fee
    If you want to change to a different tariff or energy supplier before the tariff end date you will need to pay an exit fee of £50 for electricity and £50 for gas because you have chosen to fix your prices until this set date.''
    “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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  14. #14
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    Default Re: first utility collecting on a voided bill

    yeh will be going over stuff like that with a fine tooth comb. I was talking with the FU rep that you kindly contacted for me but tbh he just said Oh it's already a complaint I will forward it to the case handler.

    This is the same case handler who told me the account was on hold and was not due for debt collection.

    anyone got a brick wall cos I need one!!

  15. #15
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    Default Re: first utility collecting on a voided bill

    UPDATE:

    I finally have smart meters!!!

    after over 3 months of mistakes, cock ups and total bang your head against the wall frustration I have smart meters!!!

    guy walked in at 8 am and it was all done by 930, including pauses to remove the cat from various work bags/boxes!

    The man also reported the fact that I am on crutches and that this should have been done weeks ago, but I now longer have to scramble on to the worktops to read the meter!!

    Now for the negative bit!

    I have had 3 letters from LCS to recover the debt that I "Have no intention of paying!" and when I phoned yesterday to pay my £50 payment (I paid £75 as I have had a few more book sales, yay me) it took the agent 25 mins to find the plan and 6 times he told me I had "no choice" but to pay the full outstanding balance as I didn't have a direct debit!!

    I have checked the website nine times and there is nothing to that effect! I am sitting awaiting my email from the CEO's office regarding the compensation for this, they have admitted I am liable for compensation due to many missed emails, incorrect information, etc.

    Does anyone know if I can claim for a missed family event if it was not booked in my name?

    I was told that I had an appointment to fit the meter on 17th March so declined going to a memorial/celebration of life for a family member to be at home. The appointment was never made so I lost the weekend in Ireland but would have been one of about 30 people going,.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: first utility collecting on a voided bill

    Yeyyy for the new meters - should make it easier for you to point out FU's future cock ups, if nothing else.

    Include the broken appt on 17th March in your complaint - if you haven't heard back from the CEO's office, write again and add everything new that has happened.

    BT have just been told off big time for messing people about so a gentle nudge that you'll be taking this to the energy ombudsman might help.
    “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

    ****If you upload documents to your thread, please ensure you have redacted any personal data FIRST***

    Any advice I provide is given without liability, if you are unsure please seek professional legal guidance.

    Find Solicitors and Legal Services Providers offering fixed fees on our sister site - LBcompare.co.uk

  17. #17
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    Default Re: first utility collecting on a voided bill

    Surely this message needs a domain t to ofgem who are regulator for fuel. Although this shower are apparently not regulated by the FCA there are ofcom rules and a complaint there might be useful. Recording the conversation would be useful. When they say this conversation may be recorded turn your reply recorder on and say "likewise", now they have been informed that the conversation is being recorded.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: first utility collecting on a voided bill

    ofgem won't get involved because we are not at deadlock according to fu, but I have a nice little store of emails (for future ref, FU do NOT like the term must be in writing for some reason, neither do LCS!) which are as we speak winging their little way to Ofgem! as 8 weeks finished officially today

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    Default Re: first utility collecting on a voided bill

    So, today I got an email saying they had added a £55 gesture of goodwill, that I did not agree to beforehand, as this should be adequate.

    WRONG!

    This doesn't even cover the promised payments in their charter for failure to cancel an appointment and failure to email when promised. (a total of at least £75 so far) plus the fact they sent my account to a DCA whilst on a payment plan! If they think I am accepting that they have another think coming!!

    I have emailed back asking them to stop insulting my intelligence and making descions on my behalf

    Bloody nerve!!

  20. #20
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    Default Re: first utility collecting on a voided bill

    ok Sooooooo,

    I have had a lovely chat with OFGEM, then openly laughed at the amount I was offered!!

    I will mark the definate amounts in green but was told the other stuff I should think of an amount - these will be in black.

    Feedback please

    Payment owed due to failed promise :
    Email- £20
    Appointment not cancelled when requested - £20
    Appointment not made when promised: £20
    Being illegally passed to a debt collection agency (admitted by customer payments team) - £80 (£46.99 to send to dca plus compensation)
    Distress at missing family event - £60 (even thought a million wouldn't compensate for missing a memorial weekend to my Aiden.
    Refusal to set up payment plan at a reasonable amount- £20

    I think that's reasonable? what do you think?

    Callie

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    Default Re: first utility collecting on a voided bill

    Hmm, Yes the idea is really cool. Interestingly, such a thing will work in all countries, or not? The fact that in Russia some programs may not receive certain access rights, probably due to our ip, or else of something.

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