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Ed Turner
Ed Turner,
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 612
Experience:  Director and Consultant Solicitor (Self-Employed) at Ed Turner LLB Limited
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A year ago my daughter arranged a gas and electricity

Customer Question

A year ago my daughter arranged a gas and electricity switch, and provided house details and former usage figures to a company called Getswitchd ( no e).
JA: Where is your daughter? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: they switched my provider and a monthly direct debit of approx £77 was set up. I am not computer literate, so my daughter deals with all of this kind of thing for me. My daughter lives in Stanwell Village, middx.
JA: What steps have been taken so far?
Customer: none. I have just been contacted by my present provider, Utility Point, that after 10 months of paying £77 a month, five of which were summer months with no heating, I owe them a further £799.
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: i sent them a cheque for £584.33 a few days ago because that was what they wanted before I could switch from them, but they have now asked for a further £755.09
Submitted: 11 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ed Turner replied 11 days ago.

Hello. I am Ed, a Solicitor qualified in England & Wales with over a decade’s experience in the legal profession advising clients.

 

I specialise in Commercial Contracts, Business Transactions, Employment, Dispute Resolution, Personal Injury and Road Traffic Law and will be able to resolve your legal problem today.

 

Regarding the site’s automatic offer of a Premium Service Phone Call, I shall be delighted to talk with you by phone to discuss your issue in greater detail if you accept the offer.

 

However, if you do not want a phone call, please cancel the offer for a Premium Service Phone Call and you will not be charged extra.

Expert:  Ed Turner replied 11 days ago.

This type of situation is depressingly common in the consumer energy market.

 

Unfortunately, the normal laws of contract and recompense for goods and services do not quite apply in the consumer energy contracts. The energy companies have the statutory right of a “Deemed Contract” whereby they can charge an occupier for energy usage at a property even when the original consumer in whose name the contract was made has vacated the property.

 

While this protects the energy suppliers from their customers vacating the property and not directly terminating the contract while the gas and electricity at the property continuing to be used by the new occupier, it often causes the new occupier a great deal of expense and inconvenience as they are being charged at much higher rates and/or based on meter reading estimates which are wholly inflated by comparison to the actual amount of energy being used.

 

I recommend that you withhold payment on the second account and complain to the energy company that you were not occupying the property, not actually using the account, the charges are based on estimates as opposed to in-person meter readings and that you were paying for your actual energy use via your own account with the energy company.

 

You should attempt to negotiate a cancellation of the charges, or otherwise a reduced settlement with the energy company.


If necessary, I suggest that you instruct your own meter-reading expert to prepare a report to the energy company which can be used in Court Proceedings as an Expert Report as long as it complies with the provisions of Part 35 Civil Procedure Rules 1998.

Expert:  Ed Turner replied 11 days ago.

I hope this resolves your enquiry. Please revert to me if you have any further questions and I will be delighted to assist.

 

Otherwise, I shall be grateful if you will please mark your enquiry as “Closed” and give me a “Positive” rating in order to conclude this matter.

 

Kind regards

 

LawyerEd

Customer: replied 11 days ago.
I think you are under a misapprehension. I live at the property concerned, and have owned it since 1976.
Customer: replied 11 days ago.
I thought I was getting advice direct from the Ombudsman office, free of charge. Your offer to talk to me for £44 is declined.
Expert:  Ed Turner replied 11 days ago.

If you do not want a Premium Service Phone Call, just click the “Reject” button and you will not be charged extra. I am happy to provide you my answer by text on the Portal.

 

I have not received a notification that you have accepted a Phone Call from my side and therefore you have not been charged extra.

Expert:  Ed Turner replied 11 days ago.

Thank you for the clarification. I am sorry for the misunderstanding, however, it does not alter my substantive advice above.

Expert:  Ed Turner replied 11 days ago.

You are in a bit of a tricky spot.

 

If you refuse to pay up, then the Claimant may be entitled to pursue you for damages through the Civil County Courts. However, the onus will be on the Supplier to enforce their legal rights against you. Whether or not they take any action is up to them. I cannot advise you directly upon whether the Claimant will in fact take any recovery action against you as I do not know what is in their minds.

 

In addition, the amount claimed of approx. £1,000 damages is comfortably within the Small Claims Track threshold of £10,000 damages. Even if the Claimant issues Court Proceedings against you for this amount, plus interest, and wins at a fully contested Trial, they are unlikely to be awarded their legal adviser’s costs of the Claim. Legal advisers’ costs are generally not recoverable in the Small Claims Court: only Court fees for issuing the Claim and for the Final Hearing.

 

Nevertheless, the Claimant may be well-versed in such low-value recovery action against defaulting customers or may be able to instruct legal advisers for a low fixed fee to litigate the entire Court Proceedings on its behalf making it economic to claim against you.

 

I suggest negotiating a discontinuance of the contract on mutually agreeable terms with the Claimant and paying a mutually agreeable settlement figure.

Expert:  Ed Turner replied 7 days ago.

I am sorry that I do not have better news for you, but I must be as honest as possible with you in order to act in your best interests.

 

I hope this resolves your enquiry. Please revert to me if you have any further questions and I will be delighted to assist.

 

Otherwise, I shall be grateful if you will please mark your enquiry as “Closed” and give me a “Positive” rating in order to conclude this matter.

 

Kind regards

 

LawyerEd