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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71050
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I had a problem with EDF energy and raised a complaint. After

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I had a problem with EDF energy and raised a complaint. After haggling with them for a considerable time we finally came to an agreement. However, they then began stalling me on the implementation of the agreement (to reduce my bill as per the billing code) I waited and waited and nagged them for the reduction in my bill and the payment plan, and they just kept assuring me they were working on it. I finally went to the Ombudsman when I got a letter saying they wanted the balance paid and threatening legal action - only to be told that the Ombudsman won't even review the case because so much time has passed since I initially made the complaint. Do I have any further recourse? This seems very unfair to me, considering how I have been stalled by the company. I don't know where else to turn for answers.

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

Have you been paying it in the meantime?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Yes, I stopped paying by direct debit because they took two payments in one month by mistake and I did not trust them. But I have been making a manual payment to them of 100GBP per month which was agreed in the beginning of the negotiations while the complaint was ongoing until a final payment arrangement could be made.

Thats bad news I'm afraid.

Are they still your providers?

Are they seeking a CCJ at the county court or a warrant of entry at the Magistrates?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

They are still my providers. I didn't think I could switch while I owed this company? I don't understand why it is bad that I have been paying them. I did not want to fall behind and end up with even bigger debt. I spoke to an EDF manager yesterday and as far as I know they are putting everything on hold until the Ombudsman result is final. I just got an email response from the Ombudsman today, but wrote back to them to ask them to consider special circumstances. In the meantime, I am looking for what else I can do.


They will be saying that the agreement is only acceptable to them if you pay by direct debit. You are not.

It actually doesn't much matter anyway overall. They obviously have a claim for the full amount and they can enforce that at any time. The fact that you have agreed a lesser sum does not mean that they cannot sue for the full amount.

Its not clear here what type of order they are seeking? If this is a warrant to enter at the Magistrates Court then the Court might well refuse it if you have paid promptly every month of a reasonable sum like £100. Magistrates Courts are generally laxer than County Courts and as long as the sums are being paid they will allow reasonable periods to do so.

However, the fact that you have been paying a reasonable sum for many months is something the court will consider. You don't mention how much the arrears are but this is a sum of money that is more than many people are paying. What will happen is that they will make an order that you pay in full within 28 days if you are a consumer. You then need to apply for a variation order to pay in instalments at the rate of £100 a month which almost certainly would be allowed. If you have been paying without default a court would take the view that you could be trusted.

In terms of what further action you can take, its a shame the Ombudsman won't act. Its really a matter within their remit. You cannot sue them as the debt is owed. You can always complain publicly about them but I'm not sure that really deters these utilities companies.

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.


Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your reply, I understand what you are saying. However, it is the amount that is in dispute. The original complaint was that they billed me incorrectly and then hit me with a huge backbill. They agreed that the billing code applied and that they would not bill me for services more than 12 months previous, and then after agreeing to this they stalled me and failed to reduce the bill. Does this change anything?

If there is a dispute over the amount then you can ask them to prove the sum of money they are claiming in either court and an order will not be made unless they can.

keep paying in the meantime though to protect your position.

It might well be that they won't take action anyway. They send out debt collection letters all over the place and don't often act upon them.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you.


Two more quick questions; does the Ombudsman have discretionary leeway to investigate cases that fall outside of the time limit? And, to whom does one complain if unhappy with the Ombudsman?


Yes, they do but you will only get them to exercise it if you offer a good reason for the delay. Usually people write in complaining about the company when what you need to do is explain the delay.

There is no appeal from the Obudsman save for judicial review. They are a public body so can be JRed. However, its an expensive action with a high test not to be undertaXXXXX XXXXXghtly.
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