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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69537
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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we have been backbilled by an energy company in oct 2011. we

Customer Question

Attachment: 2014-02-18_000658_bgas_invoices_listing.xls

we have been backbilled by an energy company in oct 2011. we do not fall in the category of micro business. although we have been backbilled this is again on an estimate of consumption. Bgas confirmed that they do not have readings for the period april 2009 to june 2011,as the smart metre fitted did not transmit readings. bgas were very quick to appoint their solicitors although there was still an issue on visibility of the meter at our end. We could not negotiate or have a meeting as they said it was with the solicitors now. bgas finally fixed the meter in feb 2013, at our end. However this did not resolve there estimation of the bill for 2009to 2011. They kept adding interest and legal costs etc to the balance as we are going to court. bgas also misled us saying that if we wanted a meter changed pay for the tests and the new smart meter to be fitted , which i now know is not the case. in addition to this i had legal expenses cover who have said that as the current lawyers cant verify50% or more chances winning the case they we will not be covered... are there any lawyers who will fix a price and finish this case off for us? We are a family run nursing home and this is causing a great deal of stress . There must be somebody who can help us...


 


i did write to consumer focus ,however they have been told it is with the solicitors now. this is what i sent to them


1.The new Meter was fitted in April 2009.


2.We were not given meter readings of the old meter on that day. 3.Between 29/4/2009 and 30/5/2011(25 months) there were no actual meter readings provided to us,although the smart meter was fitted. British gas have accepted that they do not have actual meter readings for this period. This issue now goes back to now almost 5 years.


4. It was only in February 2013 that we had visible meter readings at our end, which demonstrates that there was an issue.


5.The first time we were informed of the back charges was in October 2011, this was also an ESTIMATE. This was 30 months since April 2009.


6.The outstanding amount as per British gas at 17th January 2014 is £59,994.47 less amount paid for current period £1790.70,thus outstanding is £58,203.77. As per my attached workings and based on British Gas ESTIMATES/ACTUALS the amount should be £50,486.52.


7. However, based on our calculations as attached, we estimate an average of £1412 per month, making the outstanding payment £22,178.47.


8. We made an offer of £20,000 as full and final settlement to date. We have also incurred lawyers fees.


9. Re back billing law: Whilst their invoice was within a month of when the law came into force, British gas have not provided an actual invoice so we should argue under the back billing law??


 10. We have had to incur legal cost mainly because British Gas were not willing to meet with us to resolve this issue. We were also misinformed that there would be a cost to us to replace the meter which we now understand is not the case. Based on above our offer is reasonable. I hope you can negotiate a settlement based on above and conclude as soon as possible. I am prepared to pay the £20,000 up front in full and final settlement.


 

Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.

Alex Watts : Hello my name is XXXXX XXXXX I will help you with this. Please note that I am a working Solicitor and may be on and offline as I have to attend Court and meet with clients, even at weekends. As such you may not get an instant response when you reply, but rest assured I will be giving your question my immediate attention upon return You do not need to wait here as you will get an email when I reply.
Alex Watts : Just to to clarify one point - you never had an invoice for back bill?
Customer:

no .

Alex Watts : How can they issue proceedings against an invoice you have never had?
Customer:

they sent it to us in nov 2011.the case is still ongoing....

Alex Watts : You just said you never had a bill, then you said you had it in November 2011 - I am confused, which is the case?
Customer:

sorry alex, did you get my points i sent out and the attachment .

Customer:

i have only been backbilled once in nov 2011 . that s what i meant.

Customer:

sorry for the confusion

Alex Watts :

Backbilled once. Then when did you get further bills?

Customer:

monthly bills . please confirm if you received my little poniters with the attachment?

Customer:

we were paying by dd .

Customer:

hi alex

Alex Watts :

I received it, but did not really understand it

Customer:

can someone else help?

Alex Watts :

Sure. Let me opt out.

Alex Watts :

I am sure someone else will be along shortly.

Alex Watts :

Sorry I could not assist.

Alex Watts :

Lets try one last thing.

Alex Watts :

So smart meters also didnt help. I assume BG installed these?

Customer:

yes

Alex Watts :

Ok they have a duty under Section 13 on the Sale and Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 to act with all reasonable skill and care.

Alex Watts :

If they do not then they are in breach of contract.

Alex Watts :

This is your key defence

Alex Watts :

If you used energy then clearly you are liable for some cost

Alex Watts :

But if they installed equipment that was faulty or did not work then clearly they are in breach of contract

Alex Watts :

Does that help you?

Alex Watts :

Have you offered a payment of some by installments?

Customer:

has it helped me no not really.

Customer:

yes i have offered a settlement as per the information i sent you

Alex Watts :

Ok - I will opt out for someone else then.

Alex Watts :

That should help you. All the best with this.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Hi.

Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

I'm happy to look at this but is there something you wanted to know specifically?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

hi , based on the background i sent you is there anything that you can help me with legally???


i am at a loss but dont see why we have to give into estimated bills which are calculated by bgas.


have you come across this before ???

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
I'm really sorry if I'm missing the point but I'm not sure what you are hoping to challenge here?

Obviously there is a dispute over the amount but you accept owing over £10 k in gas so there are going to be legal costs.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

-i have been back billed for period 2009-2011 . My question is the back billing is also based on consumption estimation .


I was paying by way of Direct Debit . Although the bills said estimates, we were installed a smart meter by bgas which is supposed to be self reading .


Bgas have told us that the smart meter did not transmit any readings for that period and hence there is no actual readings available for the period.


 


is there no way i can convince them to accept our estimations based on readings done under our ownership?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Well, that is a different point really.

The difference between estimations doesn't go to the issue here. The issue here is that, even if your figures are correct, they are over £10k and so some legal costs are due.

The fact that they have calculated incorrectly does not amount to a defence to costs. This is a claim of over £10k so if they go to court they will get costs against you.

In relation to back billing, I'm not sure why that should be a defence here? This is a contract and so if there is to be a claim they have 6 years to bring it. In fact, this is an ongoing contract so time hasn't started to run which means they could claim even further back than that if they chose although its rare.

if they do go to court then the court would have to settle upon a figure and they would have to prove their figures were correct.

in relation to convincing them your figures are correct, you can do no more than send them your workings out and ask them to accept them. There are no magics wands that will cause them to realise that you were right and they were wrong. If they don't agree then refuse to pay and invite them to sue you where there will have to be a determination of the matter.

I'm sorry this isn't the answer you wanted but it is the position that you face and I have a duty to inform you truthfully.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.

Jo

Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69537
Experience: Over 5 years in practice
Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

thanks for this advise. can you delete the attachment i sent as it was not used anyway.

please confirm

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.

No problem and all the best.

Remember that I am always available to help with your questions. Even if I am in Court I will usually pick up a question within 12 hours. For future information, please start your question with ‘For Jo C’. You can also bookmark my profile http://www.justanswer.co.uk/law/expert-remus2004/
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

sorry jo do u work face to face?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Yes, but Im not allowed to accept instructions directly under the rules of this site.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

thank you

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
No problem.

All the best.

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