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Debt Collector - 4 Year Old Bill
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# 1
charltonguy
Old 01-08-2009, 10:15 AM
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Default Debt Collector - 4 Year Old Bill

We have just received a letter from UK Search Limited debt collectors to say that we owe Southern Water £57.29 from our previous rented home that we moved out from just over four years ago.

They say that our account with Southern Water was assigned to someone called Southbank Capital Limited who are now legal owners of the account. UK Search say that they previously sent bills for the water supply to 'the address above' which I assume means our old address.

This all seems very odd as I remember when we moved out, the rental agency were very clear on us proving that we had paid all bills before vacating the property. Unfortunately as we haven't lived there for 4 years we have discarded the utility bills we had from back then some time ago, therefore we have no physical evidence that we did pay off all outstanding debts. However I am pretty sure we cleared everything as we would have lost our rental deposit without proof of bill payment. The other point is that we have certainly received no other contact from Southern Water since then, either directly or forwarded from our old address. Strangely, though, our current water supplier is Southern Water and they haven't mentioned it!

So, where do we stand? UK Search are asking us to contact them if we didn't receive any bills from Southern 'at the address above'. Should I really contact Southern Water firstly and how would I be able to prove that I don't owe them anything given that we haven't kept any old bills? Do we actually have a case legally of not doing anything seeing as we haven't been notified directly by Southern Water in four years? Would a court dismiss UK Search's claim due to the time delay and non contact? Is a customer exempt from payment after four years?! Is this debt collector just trying it on?

Hope someone has an idea!
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# 2
Gothicfairy
Old 01-08-2009, 10:47 AM
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Firstly, Water companies can chase debt for at least 6 years and win in court (even with no communication from the customer)
Secondly, were you on a meter ? If so it might be that you paid the final bill to an est and a actual read was supplied and you are being asked to pay the difference.

If you were on RV then the amount of the final bill would not change and had it been paid nothing more should be outstanding unless the dates on your account had change.

Go back to the letting agent and see what records they have and also find out what the bill really is for. Dates and amounts and when you last made a payment on that account.
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# 3
DVardysShadow
Old 01-08-2009, 12:33 PM
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Go back to Southern water and ask for the last 3 bills at the property. If you still have bank account info, you may be able to reconcile what has happened. If this goes to court you can ask for that information as part of the evidence.
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# 4
AnnaMonkey
Old 20-08-2009, 7:21 PM
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Hello - I just got one of these too!!! And as far as I know it's all been paid up but our letting agent is since defunct and I can't think of another way to prove it! Argh!
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# 5
Dnorris
Old 26-08-2009, 4:04 PM
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Hiya,

What was your outcome for this as I have just received the same call but for £274, not a good present just before I go on holiday!
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# 6
claireloupul
Old 28-08-2009, 8:00 PM
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HI,

I have just had the same £237 bill for 6mths..wow four years ago!!

My problem is my landlord said water charges where included in his maintenence charges so I had no reason to dis believe that! Only prob is yip after four years I don't have the tenancy agreement!

The only thing Southern Water is providing me is a letter to say £100 were for the first three months charges and £137. for the next three months charges they seem unable to provide an actual bill.

I have written to them again as they said the Landlord wrote to them in Feb 2006, this is when he also sold the property. I have asked them for a copy of the tenancy agreement which states I am liable for these charges, I will wait and see I will also ask them for a copy of the acual bill.....surely they can't bill you without this..I dunno!!!

Also the time frame in the limitations act1980 states they can recover debt up to 6 years later however if you never recieved any bills then they can only recover the last year that you owe!! I am looking into this a little more if anyone has any information on this I will be most grateful.
Thanks

Claire
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# 7
claireloupul
Old 28-08-2009, 8:37 PM
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Hi to everyone who is recieved a dca letter then this is intersting reading




Dear Sir/Madam

You have contacted me regarding the account with the above reference number, which you claim is owed by me

I would point out that I have no knowledge of any such debt being owed to (insert company name).

I am familiar with the CPUTR 2008 and the Office of Fair Trading's Guidance on Debt collction, which states that it unfair to send demands for payment to an individual when it is uncertain that they are the debtor in question.

I would also point out that the OFT say under the Guidance that it is unfair to pursue third parties for payment when they are not liable. AND in not ceasing collection activity whilst investigating a reasonably queried or disputed debt you are using deceptive/and or unfair methods.

Furthermore ignoring and/or disregarding claims that debts have been settled or are disputed and continuing to make unjustified demands for payment amounts to physical/psychological harassment.

I would ask that no further contact be made concerning the above account unless you can provide evidence as to My liability for the debt in question.

I await your written confirmation that this matter is now closed. Otherwise I will have no option but to make a complaint to Trading Standards and also inform the Office Of Fair Trading of your actions.

I look forward to your reply.
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# 8
Cardew
Old 28-08-2009, 9:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by claireloupul View Post

Also the time frame in the limitations act1980 states they can recover debt up to 6 years later however if you never recieved any bills then they can only recover the last year that you owe!! I am looking into this a little more if anyone has any information on this I will be most grateful.
Thanks

Claire
I don't know where you get that information.

Are you not getting confused with gas and electricity bills(not water).

With gas and electricity bills you are only liable to be back-billed 12 months if the company are at fault and have not produced a bill. Not producing a bill is very different from you not receiving a bill.

In any case that provision does not cover water bills and normal UK law applies - they have 6 years to make the claim.

Why would Southern Water have a copy of your tenancy agreement?

If your ex-landlord wrote and told them you were in residence and liable for charges, then your dispute is with the landlord.

Southern supplied the water and if you were the occupant during that period then you need to prove to them that the landlord was liable for the charges.
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# 9
claireloupul
Old 29-08-2009, 7:55 PM
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Hi,

I got the info from Trading Standards website which looked like it covered water as well maybe it doesn't, that's why I'm on here to find as much info as possible.

One thing for certain is that Southern water will not provide me a bill for that period!! !

I have recieved the following response from a website

Hello Claire,

We have received your email on our website and we would like to help you!

With regard to your queries, when a company is requested to provide information or proof of a debt, they are required to provide you with this information.

However, until the dispute is complete, we would suggest that you still send some sort of payment to the account so that it doesn’t go any further. You should send a payment by cheque or postal order of any amount down to £1. However, enclose a letter clearly stating that this payment is “under duress”. This way, once the dispute is closed, if it turns out you were not meant to pay this debt, you can claim any monies paid, back.

It would also be an idea to contact the Energy Supply Ombudsman on or for further help, advice and support with this matter.

I hope this has been of some help to you.


I am fighting this as I don't believe someone can give your details without any kind of proof!! That surely open's the door for any opportunist's!!!
Also why should I pay when Southern water will not provide me with the original bill?? The amount is far two high for 6mths for two bedroom flat with Two people who were hardly there because we were crew! We didn't even have a washer machine!!
If it wasn't metered then are we responsible for the whole year...again I don't know?? these are the questions I am trying to find out..I will post whatever information I find to help other's and if's not correct then please do tell me!!


Cheers
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# 10
AnnaMonkey
Old 02-09-2009, 9:43 PM
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arrrgh so i put the bill down and forgot about it. but it's good to see what you've done so far! I'm going to talk to them tomorrow, as i heard from someone that if you pay anything its as good as admitting the debt is yours? i need to do some research on that one. It's ridiculous that they can chase it with no smidge of proof though, i am doubtful about it.
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# 11
claireloupul
Old 03-09-2009, 12:37 AM
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Hi yeah you have a point,

I've done some research and Debt collectors use some harsh techniques so I've found this template which I am going to send off, trouble is Southern Water will not deal with me because they have sold the debt on but how can they try and bill you for £232 without even a proper bill!! I've written to Southern Water asking for a copy of the letter they said they recieved from my landlord in Feb 2006 I've also asked them for a copy of the bill for that period and I'm in the process of sending this template off to UK Search!!

Dear Sir/Madam

You have contacted me regarding the account with the above reference number, which you claim is owed by myself.

I would point out that I have no knowledge of any such debt being owed to (Southern water).

I am are familiar with the CPUTR 2008 and the Office of Fair Trading's Guidance on debt collection, which states that it unfair to send demands for payment to an individual when it is uncertain that they are the debtor in question.

I would also point out that the OFT say under the Guidance that it is unfair to pursue third parties for payment when they are not liable. AND in not ceasing collection activity whilst investigating a reasonably queried or disputed debt you are using deceptive/and or unfair methods.

Furthermore ignoring and/or disregarding claims that debts have been settled or are disputed and continuing to make unjustified demands for payment amounts to physical/psychological harassment.

I would ask that no further contact be made concerning the above account unless you can provide evidence as to my liability for the debt in question.

I await your written confirmation that this matter is now closed. Otherwise I will have no option but to make a complaint to Trading Standards and also inform the Office Of Fair Trading of your actions.

I look forward to your reply.

.................................................. .....................................

I think this is the best course of action and I will see what comes back, Let me know if you get anythin!!
Cheers
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# 12
Gothicfairy
Old 07-09-2009, 7:26 PM
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One thing I missed first time around was how could you prove you paid the bill before you moved out ?
If the property has a water meter then the account would close on the day you moved to a supplied read or an estimated read.
As far as I am aware no one can bill you a final bill before you move as it means closing the account and taking final payment and that takes at least 7 days by post and that would leave the company in an odd position of trying to make sure you are actually moving etc.
A lot of letting agents do require copies of paid final bills to get the deposit back but some seem not to take water bills as they are not charged against the property but remain with the customer.

I would see if your bank can provide a statement to show payments for that period.
It might well be that as you were using the supply they can clam you are responsible for the bill and that as they have 6 years to chase the debt they may ask that you provide some documents to support your position.

Guess there is nothing to do but wait now and see how it goes..But good luck
There is a race of men that don't fit in; A race that can't stand still;
So they break the hearts of kith and kin, and roam the world at will.

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# 13
ScruffyPofessor
Old 21-09-2009, 1:27 PM
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Hi charltonguy and others,

There is some information about Southbank Capital Limited that you may find interesting:

They do not have a consumer Credit license with the Office of Fair trading, so should not be engaged in debt collection activity.

They are also not registered as Data controllers with the Information Commissioners Office so are not legally entitled to process your or anyones personal details, for any purpose!

I have forwarded this info, (regarding my own dealings with Southbank), to the relevant agencies, Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and the Information Commissioner's Office, (ICO) and strongly urge any one else who can evidence them as trying to collect debts and processing data etc to also let them know.

I have a thread on another forum (consumer action group) which has some more info on how to verify this for yourself, and addresses of who to report it to with template letters etc. Don't Panic! I am not trying to hijack your thread or convert you to a different forum, just like this one you don't have to sign up to read, only if you want to make a post. I just wanted to make you aware without having to run duplicate threads.

I have been trying to find other people who are or have been subject to the unregulated and unlicensed activity of Southbank Capital, and encourage and where possible support, them to alert the OFT and ICO.

I'm sure you'll find the information interesting and useful. if you come across any one else on these forums who is or are involved with Southbank Capital please pass this on.

Here is the link:
(As a new user it won't let me add functional links, so you'll have to cut and past it into your browser! but ad the www. first)
consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/general-debt-issues/219009-southbank-capital-limited-unlicenced.html


With thanks,
SP

Last edited by ScruffyPofessor; 21-09-2009 at 4:27 PM. Reason: added bracketed section to make it more clear that the information I'd provided to OFT and ICO was about my own dealings.
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# 14
TradingStandards
Old 06-10-2009, 1:31 PM
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Default Southbank Capital Ltd

Good Afternoon

I am a Trading Standards Officer working for Surrey County Council. I am looking into the case of Southbank Capital Ltd as described above. Please get in touch if you can provide me with evidence that Southbank is acting as a creditor - i.e. that they have bought debt that is now owed to them by consumers. My email address is matthew.bickle@surreycc.gov.uk.

Thanks
Matthew
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# 15
savemoney
Old 06-10-2009, 1:35 PM
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Matthew whilst I know you are trying to be helpful you may need permission to post to make sure its legit



MSE TEAM PERMISSION: CUSTOMER SERVICE DEPARTMENTS

Company representatives are actively encouraged to post on the forum to provide good customer service to MoneySavers. They should not be using the opportunity to tout for business. We need to know in order to legitimise it. Where permission has been given for a company/person to specifically post there will be a note from the MSE Team. If someone has posted claiming to have been given permission but this has not been followed by a MSE team note please report it to abuse@moneysavingexpert.com.

Last edited by savemoney; 06-10-2009 at 2:03 PM.
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# 16
mickey77
Old 19-10-2009, 8:28 PM
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A reprensentative called earlier tonight, saying united utilities had no record of receiving a payment from us! We have never received a bill to pay and on ringing United Utilities, they have no record of the building (new builds built 6 yrs ago) with approx 150 apartments, with only one address being on the records. Have tried looking at what my rights are to no avail, and on finding ofwat a waste of time, have come here, so if anyone can provide some answers it would be greatly appreciated.

Mick
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# 17
killer cam
Old 19-10-2009, 8:30 PM
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you can chase debt for 6 years
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# 18
Cardew
Old 19-10-2009, 9:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mickey77 View Post
A reprensentative called earlier tonight, saying united utilities had no record of receiving a payment from us! We have never received a bill to pay and on ringing United Utilities, they have no record of the building (new builds built 6 yrs ago) with approx 150 apartments, with only one address being on the records. Have tried looking at what my rights are to no avail, and on finding ofwat a waste of time, have come here, so if anyone can provide some answers it would be greatly appreciated.

Mick
Welcome to the forum.

As said above, you really have no rights other than those under UK law pertaining to debt, which essentially means they can chase back debts for 6 years.

As it is a new build, all units should have been metered(compulsory since 1990) So somewhere there should be 150 meters.

I would think that it very doubtful that the water company would agree for there to be one meter which the managing agent paid and charged each unit, you are talking about an annual bill of around £60,000(£400 per unit). They would then charge each unit in their annual servicing charge.

What I find hard to believe is that 150 owners(more assuming a lot have changed hands) have all kept quiet about not paying water charges.

Something doesn't add up.
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# 19
mickey77
Old 20-10-2009, 2:43 PM
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Default no meter

Am very new to this so bear with me, It took half hour for the rep to find the correct valve to our apartment, none of the valves he looked at had any meters on, am i correct in believing they should have one on? Not sure how many know/pay their bills.

mick:confused:
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# 20
mickey77
Old 20-10-2009, 2:46 PM
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Hi Cardew and thanks

Not sure about the service charge and will look into that, but in all the valves the rep checked there were no meters on, were now bricking it as expect a huge bill, but as i know they cant disconnect us makes breathing easier! lol

mick
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