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Alex J.
Alex J., Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 3695
Experience:  Solicitors 2 years plus PQE
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Hi. I moved out of my flat in April 2012 - in doing so, closed

Customer Question

Hi. I moved out of my flat in April 2012 - in doing so, closed our account with Spark Energy, which (along with the payment of the final bill) was confirmed by telephone call - as is, I understand, the norm.

A few weeks ago, Spark Energy got in touch to say our final bill is over due to the sum of £1,374!! Not only does this seem out-landisly high (given the size of the property and our length of stay); I also couldn't work out why, IF there was a problem with the transaction, it wasn't flagged up sooner or why closure of our account was even confirmed in the first place.

Spark Energy alluded to some loss of information but, anyway, are demanding payment or proof of payment. Myself and my house-mate (at the time) feel aggrieved that we should be expected to do anything due to what we feel is clearly an admin error on their part, PLUS given changes in circumstances we're not even sure we have account records to put forward.

Are they breaching any data-protection laws by keeping our records for this length of time?

Is it acceptable that they contact us nearly 2 and half years after we've moved out?

What rights do we have in this circumstance, and to what extent are we legally expect to co-operate?

thanks
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alex J. replied 3 years ago.
Hi,

Thank you for your question and welcome.

My name is ***** ***** I will assist you.

What I suggest you do is the following - write to Spark energy in the following terms:
1. Say you deny any sum is owing as you settled your bill and final account two years ago;
2. Say they have provided no details as to what these charges relate to and accordingly - even if they could prove the bill was owing you are of the opinion that they would be "estopped" from claiming it on the basis that you acted in reliance that they confirmed the account had been closed to your detriment;
3. Say it is a criminal offence to pursue someone for money so as to cause harassment under S.40 of the Administration of Justice Act 1970 and the fact that they are trying to demand money off you without proof is clearly harassment;
4. Say if they do not stop chasing you, you reserve the right to report the matter to Trading Standards and OfGen -https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/ - www.tradingstandards.gov.uk/


Under the Data Protection Act 1998 you should only keep some ones data for a reasonable period of time, in relation to a service like this, statutory limitations on making claim against your account would be 6 years, so I think more than 6 years would be unreasonable.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards

AJ
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi thank you for your reply.


In summary, despite that is has been two years - they are fine to still hold our details under the Data Protection Act 1998, and thus ok to contact us?


 


Would you say that the fact there has been zero correspondence for over 2 years counts as sufficient proof that both parties considered the account to be closed? I'm wary about getting into a situation where it is our word against theirs. Would you advise we log this Trading Standards in any case?


 


thanks again.


 


 

Expert:  Alex J. replied 3 years ago.
Hi,

Thank you.

Yes they are ok to contact you and hold your details.

I think the fact that they said to you in writing that the last payment you made in 2012 was your final account is sufficient evidence to rely on that the account was closed.

I would write to them first as I have outlined above. If you want to make a complaint to Trading Standards in the mean time then I cannot see an issue with this.

Kind regards

AJ
Alex J., Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 3695
Experience: Solicitors 2 years plus PQE
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Expert:  Ash replied 3 years ago.
Hello my name is Alex and 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 as this is not an ‘on demand’ live service, but rest assured I will be giving your question my immediate attention upon return. There is no need to wait here, you will get an email when I reply.

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