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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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Power misled me a tariff - estimating my cost of electric at

Resolved Question:

N-power misled me into purchasing a tariff for electricity based on information the information they gained from there questionnaire form me.

In Jan 2014,  they estimated my cost of electricity at £33 pcm for my 5 bed apartment with 5 people living in it. It turns out that with the specifications I gave them ( 5 bed apartment with 5 people) it should have been about £350 pcm.

I contacted them 3 times in the last 14 months to give meter readings, but these readings were rejected because they were "not compatible with the estimated computer readings".

As a result of the grossly underestimated tariff, they say I now owe them in excess of £5k, to pay for the electricity used to date!!

I have lodged a complaint, asked that the debt is cancelled, and also for some compensation for my time and stress - it has taken about 5 hours to sort this out.

Is this mis-selling? Is this legal? Should I sue them?

Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.
How much have you lost out please?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Dear Alex

What do you mean how much have I lost out?

As explained in my question, N-power sold me an electricity tariff of £35 per month based on a 5 bedroom apartent for 5 people. 14 months later, they have told me that it should've actually been £350 per month. According to me actual meter reading, I now owe them about £5400, because I was paying the £35 per month as they reauwested rather than the real figure of £350.

I have seen about 5 hours on the phone trying to sort this out, and only now have they realised their error and gave me the actual bill based on the meter reading rather than their computer generate estimated readings.

Please let me know if you actually understand wheat is going on here.

Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
When was the last meter reading?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

yesterday

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Ms Alex. Do you understand what has happened here?

Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
What about the reading before, when was that?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
About 6 weeks ago. Do you understand that they Mis sold me the estimate in the first place.
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Yes I understand that. Did you ever check your own meter to see that the bills they sent did not match?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I sent them a meter reading about 2-3 months after the contract started. Then I sent them another one about 6 weeks ago. Then they came about 4 weeks ago to read the meter. All the readings were rejected because they were "incompatible with their estimated readings". Finally yesterday I phoned them and demanded that they match my bill to my meter reading. Initially they said they couldn't do it until a manager looked at it and I would know in 28 days. After 2 hours I eventually decided to go thru the complaints procedure. They complaints officer was then able to tell me that the current bill stands in xs of £5k, and that she does not know why I was ever given such a low estimate for a 5 bed flat with 5 occupants. The original estimate should have been about £350 per month. Instead the estimated me at £33 per month. And billed me for 16 months at that level. Now do you understand why I feel I was Mis sold a product which has now caused an accumulated debt of £5000
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Ok. Is the tariff correct and just the usage wrong?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
No. The tariff that was applied to me was wrong to start with. I have them the description of my use as 5 occupants in a 5 bedroom flat. I was told yesterday by the complaints officer yesterday that this description should have generated a tariff of £350 per month, and she does not know why I was erroneously given such a low tariff.
I do not think you really understand. Please let me know if I should ask a different lawyer.
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
No, I don't think you need a different lawyer, I just need to understand the full situation.
So with the usage you have, what should you have been charged and what have you been charged? You would be liable for consumption, its just a matter of which tariff.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I should have been charged £350 per month. Because of the erroneous tariff applied, I was charged £33 per month.
They now want me to pay about £5000 in arrears. Because I finally got them to understand that they were charging me wrongly
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Alex. Can you please read my initial enquiry and all my responses again. I think you should be able to understand the situation from my emails.
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Yes I read that. But you said you are on the wrong tariff.
Isn't it the case they should have been charging you more, rather than the £33 a month?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes. They should have put me on the correct tariff 16 months ago. If this was the case, and I was paying them £350 per month, I would not have become indebted to them to the tune of £5k.
So the under quoted me to start with. Got me to sign their underestimated contract. And then, 16 months later I owe them about £5000 because I have unknowingly been using much more electricity than I was paying for. This is why I asked you in the first email if this is a case of mis selling a product or Mis-representation in order to gain a customer? Isn't that illegal to wrongly sell a customer a product and them demand more money for that product?!?
Not only that. I now have a debt that I can't pay. And am very distressed because of that. And have wasted countless hours trying to fix what was those mistake in the first place.
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
So its underestimated usage.
Is that right?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes. Underestimated tariff to gain my business. Then trap me into a debt I cannot pay !
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Ok. So you used it but they estimated the usage wrong?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes. I don't know why you keep asking me the same question. Do you have any advice for me?
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Yes I do.
What you need to do is write and formally complain. They must investigate the matter through their formal complaints procedure. If they do not uphold your complaint then you can go to the Energy Ombudsman.
They offer a free, independent service and can be located at: http://www.ombudsman-services.org/energy.html
They can investigate your compliant and report back to you. If they do not uphold your complaint then you can take them to Court and ask a Judge to declare that the £5000 is not owing. This would be a small claim as the small claim limit if below £10,000 and you wont need anyone to represent you.
Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?
Alex
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes. If I have to take them to court what is the charge? What have they done that is illegal? I need to know the correct language please.
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Is what they have done illegal - no.
It is breach of contract which is a civil matter. For a £5000 claim it is £205 and to hear it is £335
Does that clarify?
Alex
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
But didn't they Mis-sell me a product. ?
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
That is not illegal, its a breach of contract. Misrepresentation - not a criminal offence.
Does that clarify?
Alex
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
isn't breaching a contract illegal in this country? And isn't misrepresentation of a product in order to gain business also illegal?
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
No. Its a civil matter. Misprepresentation is also a civil matter.
Misrepresentation Act.
Alex
Ash and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Ok thanks.
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Hi

I am just following up to see if there is anything else I can help with?

If this answers your question might I ask you to rate my answer before you go today please, the button should be at the bottom of the screen.

If you need more help please click reply.

Alex

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