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JimLawyer
JimLawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 13950
Experience:  Senior Associate Solicitor
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I'm having awful problems with my former energy supplier and

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I'm having awful problems with my former energy supplier and I need help. I've been in constant contact since the issue first arised in oct 2020 and now have debt collection agencies wanting to know where I live
JA: Where is this? And when did the issue begin?
Customer: Utility wearhouse October 2020
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: They hadn't connected to my smart meter and when they did they took over 600 pounds leaving me with nothing, they told me to make an indemnity claim and they will sort out a way to make repayments, they did the same the next month and told me to do the same. By now its the begining of Dec. I was moving at the end of Dec so they said they would give me a final bill. As I moved out I gave them a final meter reading. Got a final bill in Jan for over 800 pounds which I borrowed off of family to pay. Then get contacted in April to say I owe money. When I called them they said I owe 1000 pound, this is for a tiny 2 bed apartment for 10 months. I said this cant be right and they said it is. They are still charing me for my old address, asking me to send tenancy agreement, then when I did they said I dont know why you were advised that we need a final council tax bill which I've sent and now they are messaging saying to give them my new address as its been passed onto a debt collection agency. Im absolutely stuck, they are saying that they have no record of any calls I've made even though I've been in constant contact. I live in a 94 year old relatives home full of her things, mine are in storage and I'm worried they will take all of her belongings which aren't even mine
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: I think that's it

Hello, this is Jim and welcome to JustAnswer. I will be the lawyer working with you today.
Sorry to hear of the issue. I will set out my written answer shortly.

They will note take your relative's belongings, don't worry - they have no powers to do that as they are not bailiffs.

You will need to make a complaint to the energy company and tell the debt collectors you are doing this too. Ask the debt collection agency to pause any enforcement action pending the outcome of the complaint.

You should go on to the supplier's website to find the complaints procedure and start that as soon as possible - and if that does not resolve the matter ask them for a "deadlock letter", which is a letter giving their final response.

Once you have the deadlock letter the next step would be to escalate this to the Energy Ombudsman - they will investigate and liaise with the energy company which would hopefully result in a cancellation with no bill to pay. They can order the energy company to make a financial award for inconvenience if they have acted poorly.

The service is covered by the Consumer Rights Act 2015 so you have a right to expect a reasonable service which is carried out with care and skill - if you do not then the Ombudsman will step in to help you with this.

Once you have the final response from the supplier you can complain to the Energy Ombudsman by email here: ***@******.***

Or via their website here: www.ombudsman-services.org/energy-complaint.html

If the debt collection agency continues to contact you, just note that debt collectors are not bailiffs - they have no powers as such. They will simply try to collect the money their client thinks you owe. You can turn them away if you dispute the debt and they visit you - they can’t enter your home and take goods. They would report back to their client they were unsuccessful and it’s then up to their client whether to take matters further.

If the supplier decides to sue (assuming the Ombudsman does not uphold your complaint), you will receive court documents (a response pack) which you must complete and return to the court. It is a tick box exercise for the most part and there is a short section to write a defence which is easy enough though please feel free to come back to this site if you need any more help. A claim will also take 9-12 months to be decided at court. If you lost then you would get 14 days to pay the judgment before the claimant can enforce the order, and 30 days to pay in full before it is registered with credit agencies. The claimant cannot recover legal costs if they win, in a claim under £10K (a small claim), all they can claim are the court fees and interest.

If the claim has no merit then you have an option (after your defence is filed) to apply to strike the claim out. The court will consider an application if the claim has no merit, or is misconceived. The application costs £255 but this is recoverable if your application succeeds. If you are on a low income, have low savings or in receipt of benefits then you can ask the court to waive the court fee. If you won the application, the claim is struck out.

The hearing (if the case gets that far) is likely to be held remotely, it's you, a district judge (who is a practising solicitor or barrister) and someone from the claimant company. The Judge decides and if you lost, you get 14 days to pay the sum. If paid in full within 30 days then nothing goes on your credit record. But certainly I think you would succeed in a defence, just to be clear.

If you lost and if you were unable to pay the full sum owed at that point you can also ask the court to pay by instalments (a simple form is sent in, form N245, and a fee of £50 unless you qualify for a fee exemption so if you are on a low income, have low savings or in receipt of benefits then you would qualify). If the CCJ was not paid in full though bear in mind the credit record would contain the CCJ details for up to 6 years. After that it comes off the credit registers.
I can assist you going forwards if it gets to the point they issue a claim. If you need a law firm to assist you to defend the claim, here is an example for you and they offer a fixed fee : https://stormcatcher.co.uk/practice-areas/dispute-resolution/small-claims-lawyer-service/

I hope this helps and answers the question - my goal is to ensure you are happy with the answer and have the information you need. If you have any follow up questions then please let me know. I will reply as soon as I can to help with any further queries.

Many thanks,
Jim

Please let me know if the answer helped or if you need me to cover anything else?. I am happy to clarify the answer or if you have any follow up questions. If so, I’d be grateful if you would let me know. I am free most days, including weekends, so feel free to ask me anything you are unsure of.

Best wishes,

Jim

Customer: replied 17 days ago.
Thank you so much. Ive felt helpless for months trying to sort this, until I received this reply. I now feel i have a path to proceed and honestly can't thank you for your help

It's my pleasure - this situation happens a lot to be fair and it can be worrying but there is a solution.
Thanks, ***** ***** good day.
Jim

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