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  • FIRST POST
    devilchef
    Scottish power reclaiming over 4000 for putting us on wrong tariff
    • #1
    • 28th Dec 13, 2:23 PM
    Scottish power reclaiming over 4000 for putting us on wrong tariff 28th Dec 13 at 2:23 PM
    Hi all MSE's,
    It has come to our attention after being with Scottish power as a small business for over 5 years, we have been under charged for 5 years and now they would like to reclaim a years worth back to the value of over 4000. I should say that they have written to us to tell us that we had been put on the wrong tariff all this time. Are they able to try and get this back even though they have admitted it was their fault? Or do i have to repay this amount? I have not received proof from them, they have just sent it in a letter saying that they will take it back in a direct debit in 2 weeks...but no breakdown of any charges that they are reclaiming. As a consumer, is there anything we can do? Any help would be gratefully appreciated.
    Last edited by devilchef; 28-12-2013 at 3:53 PM. Reason: more accurate info
Page 1
  • Cardew
    • #2
    • 28th Dec 13, 5:10 PM
    • #2
    • 28th Dec 13, 5:10 PM
    Are they aware that this is a business account? e.g do you pay 20% VAT?


    With a business account they used to be able claim back for 6 years as the 12 month back-billing rule only applied to domestic accounts.


    That said there have been some recent changes on small(and micro) business accounts that you need to look into; however the protections that apply to domestic accounts don't all apply to business accounts.


    We would need more information to know about the liability issue. If your contract was for Tariff X, and you have been wrongly charged for Tariff Y, then they can claim for the correct tariff. You would have wanted to claim a rebate had you been over-charged.


    You obviously must have full details of why they consider you have been undercharged.
  • devilchef
    • #3
    • 28th Dec 13, 5:21 PM
    • #3
    • 28th Dec 13, 5:21 PM
    They are aware it is a business account (micro-business rates).They said that we have been on the wrong tariff for 5 years but will only re-coup 1 years worth of difference which equates to roughly 4800. I cant understand how this wasn't picked up sooner. Its 5 years ago. I have seen quite a few similar although domestic instances where this has occurred with Scottish power. Under what circumstances are they not able to back date a claim? At the end of the day, they are providing us with a service in which i am the customer and they have admitted about making this mistake which is very costly. They have not set out a re-payment method, just want it in one go which is 2 weeks from the date of the letter (pretty sure it has to be a month). I will sift through all the details when i get back to work later.
  • Cardew
    • #4
    • 28th Dec 13, 8:14 PM
    • #4
    • 28th Dec 13, 8:14 PM
    They can always backdate 12 months even on domestic tariffs - when it is the company's fault.


    They cannot backdate more than 12 months if it is their fault.


    If any company, not just Utility companies, make a mistake and fail to charge, or undercharge, an agreed price for a product/service; they have 6 years in which to claim.


    Claims for gas and electric are included in this, except for domestic or(recently) micro businesses. Water companies will claim back for 6 years.


    Assuming their claim is valid, the mistake is indeed very costly - to Scottish Power!


    You haven't given any details of the undercharging. Were you not aware you were being undercharged? or are you disputing their claim?
  • matelodave
    • #5
    • 29th Dec 13, 9:23 AM
    • #5
    • 29th Dec 13, 9:23 AM
    Were you not checking your energy bills, if so you should have been aware that something wasn't quite right.
  • dogshome
    • #6
    • 29th Dec 13, 10:42 AM
    • #6
    • 29th Dec 13, 10:42 AM
    Something I do not understand about this post.

    The supply of Commercial Gas/Elec has been a minefield for small businesses, with Shark brokers signing up customers by phone, hard copies of the verbal contract being 'lost' in the post and the Big 6 joining the feeding frenzy.

    Contracts sold were for a period, (1 year - 2 years - 3years), at the end of which the customer, provided they jumped through a series of complicated hoops, was free to re-negotiate the terms or change supplier, but in all the tales of woe reported by Small Businesses, I've never seen a report of a contract for a 5 year term
  • devilchef
    • #7
    • 1st Jan 14, 8:35 PM
    • #7
    • 1st Jan 14, 8:35 PM
    I should say after looking at the letter a bit more closely, its not the wrong tariff, the tariff hasn't changed however we have been told that the price on the tariff was wrong and that it should have been higher. I should also say that this only came to light as we told Scottish power that we were going to leave them and join another company.
  • dogshome
    • #8
    • 9th Jan 14, 12:29 PM
    • #8
    • 9th Jan 14, 12:29 PM
    Business supply utility contracts are individually negotiated between supplier and customer, there are no wrong or right prices

    The negotiated contract lists the cost per Kwh for Elec & Gas, and that is the price till the contracts End or Review date.
    If the contract says one price, but the supplier has issued bills at a lower price in error, then the supplier can back-bill for the difference

    However the supplier cannot adjust the contract stated price at a whim - If they find themselves commited to a too lowly price on the contract they can negotiate with the customer on the price of future supplies, but cannot simply demand they are paid more than the contract price for supplies already delivered
  • devilchef
    • #9
    • 10th Jan 14, 4:42 PM
    • #9
    • 10th Jan 14, 4:42 PM
    Business supply utility contracts are individually negotiated between supplier and customer, there are no wrong or right prices

    The negotiated contract lists the cost per Kwh for Elec & Gas, and that is the price till the contracts End or Review date.
    If the contract says one price, but the supplier has issued bills at a lower price in error, then the supplier can back-bill for the difference

    However the supplier cannot adjust the contract stated price at a whim - If they find themselves committed to a too lowly price on the contract they can negotiate with the customer on the price of future supplies, but cannot simply demand they are paid more than the contract price for supplies already delivered
    Originally posted by dogshome
    I believe it is the latter. How can i word this to SS and is there like a law to back up what you have said, ie: cannot demand they are paid more than the contract price for supplies already delivered?. This is very interesting but would like some kind of reference on what you have said or a way to back it up (without being disrespectful to yourself for your advice!)
  • devilchef
    They can always backdate 12 months even on domestic tariffs - when it is the company's fault.
    They cannot backdate more than 12 months if it is their fault.
    If any company, not just Utility companies, make a mistake and fail to charge, or undercharge, an agreed price for a product/service; they have 6 years in which to claim.
    Claims for gas and electric are included in this, except for domestic or(recently) micro businesses. Water companies will claim back for 6 years.
    Assuming their claim is valid, the mistake is indeed very costly - to Scottish Power!
    You haven't given any details of the undercharging. Were you not aware you were being undercharged? or are you disputing their claim?
    Originally posted by Cardew
    First of all, it states on our bill..Micro business. Secondly we had no idea of being under charged whatsoever until receiving the massive bill because we decided to move companies. I have been with SP for 5 or 6 years and they renew the contract etc but nothing has ever been picked up by them. Is there any reference material available with regards what you have said "Claims for gas and electric are included in this, except for domestic or(recently) micro businesses. Water companies will claim back for 6 years.
    Assuming their claim is valid, the mistake is indeed very costly - to Scottish Power!"? Not disputing your knowledge but SP will lol. Any reference mat would be a great advantage.
  • Cardew
    First of all, it states on our bill..Micro business. Secondly we had no idea of being under charged whatsoever until receiving the massive bill because we decided to move companies. I have been with SP for 5 or 6 years and they renew the contract etc but nothing has ever been picked up by them. Is there any reference material available with regards what you have said "Claims for gas and electric are included in this, except for domestic or(recently) micro businesses. Water companies will claim back for 6 years.
    Assuming their claim is valid, the mistake is indeed very costly - to Scottish Power!"? Not disputing your knowledge but SP will lol. Any reference mat would be a great advantage.
    Originally posted by devilchef

    You need to read up on Statute of Limitations


    http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/ihtmanual/ihtm28384.htm


    Nobody here can help you unless you give some clear information about SP's claim.
  • dogshome
    Hi devilchef - Sorry for the delay in coming back.
    My 'Contract' background is that part of my career involved both issueing and accepting contracts - For obvious reasons my employer sent me on a Contract Law course so that I fully understood my responsibilities.

    As already stated, the supplier cannot shift the price listed on the contract, (The contract may contain a clause thet allows a price change, but it must list the exact circumstances that allows such a change and certainly would not allow unagreed retrospective increases)

    You say the contract has been re-negotiated a few times over the 5 years - Did SP issue new documentation each time that stated the Gas price per Kwh and Service Charge, and were the bills you got charged as those prices ?

    From the posts, I can only see two valid reasons why SP should be demanding money in excess to what has been billed.
    1) They issued bills that charged less than the prices on the contract
    2) There was a mix-up in the type of Gas meter you have, and they were chargeing on the basis of a Metric meter which delivers appx.11 Kwh per meter unit, when in fact it's an Imperial model that delivers appx. 31 Kwh per meter unit

    Nowhere in the posts can I find anything concrete as to exactly what the "Wrong Tariff" problem is - I suggest you get onto SP and demand a detailed written explanation.
    Then if their answer isn't one of the two reasons above, you consult a Legal Eagle
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