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  • FIRST POST
    • DazedAndConfused1980
    • By DazedAndConfused1980 6th Oct 16, 4:33 PM
    • 17Posts
    • 4Thanks
    DazedAndConfused1980
    Text from "Opos Limited" - should I get in touch?
    • #1
    • 6th Oct 16, 4:33 PM
    Text from "Opos Limited" - should I get in touch? 6th Oct 16 at 4:33 PM
    Hi all,

    Sorry if this isn't quite the right place, but this is a difficult question to fit into any of the folders.

    Today, I received a text message from an 07- number. It reads as follows:

    "This is a message for (my correct name), please contact OPOS Limited on (phone number) regarding reference (reference number) as soon as possible. Thank you."

    I tried Google and found out quickly that this is a debt collection company, and people have complained about harassment from them.

    I have no known debts. I've never had a credit card, for instance. I was only in arrears once, but it was well over 10 years ago and only for a value of about £200, which I paid off as a student.

    Part of me wants to call them to check it out - but I'm concerned if it's a spurious claim then that'll somehow "legitimise" things, and lead to further problems.

    What do people think?
Page 2
    • lewisa
    • By lewisa 6th Oct 16, 11:50 PM
    • 194 Posts
    • 268 Thanks
    lewisa
    Actually That alone will not be enough to get CCJ set aside. Even if they did use a wrong address in error (and let's assume this as absolute truth for this example that is beyond a reasonable doubt) you will still need to have a valid defence as to why you do not owe the money, as clerical errors do not change the fact that you owe it.
    And if you do not owe it, then set aside will be granted, regardless of any delivery circumstances.
    Originally posted by Arleen
    Sorry, I forgot that being beyond reasonable doubt was an important factor in civil litigation.

    Back in the real world, it was enough for me to get one set aside when it was a valid debt that was enforced at the wrong address, the original judgement will still be set aside to provide the debtor chance to pay within the 28 day timeframe of a new hearing.

    You need to be friendlier to the judge mate and cut out the reasonable doubt Rumpole of the Bailey nonsense, it can work wonders.
    • 27cool
    • By 27cool 8th Oct 16, 3:48 PM
    • 91 Posts
    • 62 Thanks
    27cool
    Why should it be that you have to have a valid defence as to why you do not owe the money. Surely it must be up to the creditor to prove that you do owe the money. Not the other way round.
    • GingerBob
    • By GingerBob 8th Oct 16, 6:47 PM
    • 3,053 Posts
    • 1,291 Thanks
    GingerBob
    Why should it be that you have to have a valid defence as to why you do not owe the money. Surely it must be up to the creditor to prove that you do owe the money. Not the other way round.
    Originally posted by 27cool

    Exactly right. You don't have to prove anything. The onus is on them to prove that you owe the money.
    • DazedAndConfused1980
    • By DazedAndConfused1980 9th Oct 16, 12:28 AM
    • 17 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    DazedAndConfused1980
    Hi all,

    So to wrap this up, the debt agency texted me to say that the claim was with Spark Energy, who were my old electricity supplier. I called up Spark and confirmed that I do, in fact, owe them £575.

    This is frustrating because firstly, last time I spoke to them a representative on their live chat told me I was £75 in credit (and was waiting to get that back) - unfortunately as it's live chat I have no record of this.

    It seems that between that conversation and more recent times, they've evaluated my bill to come up with this amount.

    Firstly, I'm not happy they went to a debt collection agency. I spoke to Spark yesterday, again via live chat. To clarify, I've only been at my new address for 6 weeks or so, and they have my forwarding address! (I double-checked). They didn't even try to get that money from me via a more reasonable means; they've just went straight to debt collectors. I told them that I wasn't dealing with the debt collectors and that this was a disgraceful practice, and I would make arrangements with Spark if they could explain the discrepancy in writing (so they've sent a letter which should arrive in a few days). They agreed to retract the debt collector claim and give us a few weeks to sort this out amicably.

    Secondly, they sent me (in the live chat) a summary of all my payments and readings (i.e. power usage). To give an idea to you guys reading this, they say over the time I was in that place we paid about £2100 for electricity but we used about £2675 (we had no gas, so heating was electric). This is going to be broken down in more detail in the letter that is on the way.

    Based on the info they've given me, I do concede that we probably have used the electricity and we do owe them that money. What I'm not happy about, though, is that despite paying direct debits for all that time and providing them readings when requested (pretty much quarterly) that we could be so hugely behind on payments. From my perspective it's their job to adjust my direct debit payments to prevent this, so the final bill should be under £100 or so either way.

    Can this be considered malpractice on their part?

    Also, if not, as we were with them for several years, is it acceptable for me to insist I pay them back over monthly repayments over a year or two? As I'd argue their error was built up over this duration.
    • redux
    • By redux 9th Oct 16, 1:05 AM
    • 15,580 Posts
    • 18,378 Thanks
    redux
    Based on the info they've given me, I do concede that we probably have used the electricity and we do owe them that money. What I'm not happy about, though, is that despite paying direct debits for all that time and providing them readings when requested (pretty much quarterly) that we could be so hugely behind on payments. From my perspective it's their job to adjust my direct debit payments to prevent this, so the final bill should be under £100 or so either way.

    Can this be considered malpractice on their part?

    Also, if not, as we were with them for several years, is it acceptable for me to insist I pay them back over monthly repayments over a year or two? As I'd argue their error was built up over this duration.
    Originally posted by DazedAndConfused1980
    I think you'd be pushing things a bit to ask that.

    Consider this. You've just argued they should have adjusted the direct debit. If you were still their customer, and they proposed a DD change to stay ahead of things or correct arrears, would the aim to intercept where it ahould be be spread over 2 years?

    On the other hand perhaps you left in the spring, and if you'd stayed lower use through the summer would have brought things in line, and if so they may not have actually made an error

    I'd think about asking for 4 to 6 months, but on the other hand even that is a bit cheeky, as in theory you're currently this amount better off from not having spread it over the last few months.

    Ask about whether they've recorded this with credit reference agencies, or check yourself. If they have and immediate full payment would persuade them to remove it, I'd say do it.
    Last edited by redux; 09-10-2016 at 1:22 AM.
    • Westminster
    • By Westminster 9th Oct 16, 5:07 AM
    • 522 Posts
    • 337 Thanks
    Westminster
    Sounds like perhaps you had a long period of estimated bills and its only the final reading (should have been from you so should have triggered a recalculation at the time - if you didnt do this then that would be a likely cause for your troubles)
    • worried jim
    • By worried jim 9th Oct 16, 7:45 AM
    • 7,691 Posts
    • 11,350 Thanks
    worried jim
    You should be supplying monthly meter readings from now on. Glad you are getting it sorted.
    • DazedAndConfused1980
    • By DazedAndConfused1980 9th Oct 16, 11:23 AM
    • 17 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    DazedAndConfused1980
    Sounds like perhaps you had a long period of estimated bills and its only the final reading (should have been from you so should have triggered a recalculation at the time - if you didnt do this then that would be a likely cause for your troubles)
    Originally posted by Westminster
    That's the weird thing, though. They sent me a listing of all the times I gave them readings over the 3 or so years I was there; I'm not going to pretend I sent monthly readings but there were about 16 readings, spaced out over that time. I also put the power use into Excel and it's a pretty smooth line over that duration (like there isn't a sudden upswing between the penultimate and final reading).

    From that perspective it means that this deviation between payments/actual use has gradually built up over a long period of time. I feel I've been let down by their service.

    Again, I'm willing to pay (once I see the details in writing and confirm everything) - I just think it's a bit much to suddenly ask me for £575 out of the blue.
    Last edited by DazedAndConfused1980; 09-10-2016 at 11:26 AM.
    • Westminster
    • By Westminster 9th Oct 16, 3:49 PM
    • 522 Posts
    • 337 Thanks
    Westminster
    That's the weird thing, though. They sent me a listing of all the times I gave them readings over the 3 or so years I was there; I'm not going to pretend I sent monthly readings but there were about 16 readings, spaced out over that time. I also put the power use into Excel and it's a pretty smooth line over that duration (like there isn't a sudden upswing between the penultimate and final reading).

    From that perspective it means that this deviation between payments/actual use has gradually built up over a long period of time. I feel I've been let down by their service.

    Again, I'm willing to pay (once I see the details in writing and confirm everything) - I just think it's a bit much to suddenly ask me for £575 out of the blue.
    Originally posted by DazedAndConfused1980
    Oh well - fair enough. It was just a thought - sounds like you tried your best to give them plenty of readings!

    I do agree that the sudden demand would be tricky for many people to deal with.

    I would be trying to put together a case to make a formal complaint and perhaps eventually escalating to OFGEM once you have fully exhausted the company's complaints procedure (unless they do resolve it in a way you are happy with).
    • DazedAndConfused1980
    • By DazedAndConfused1980 10th Oct 16, 9:38 AM
    • 17 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    DazedAndConfused1980
    I would be trying to put together a case to make a formal complaint and perhaps eventually escalating to OFGEM once you have fully exhausted the company's complaints procedure (unless they do resolve it in a way you are happy with).
    Originally posted by Westminster
    Yeah; first step I think is to talk to them about a payment plan.

    I'm going to suggest that as the problem was, essentially, caused by their clerical error over a period of several years, that I should be entitled to correct it over a long duration at my convenience. I'm going to suggest a payment plan of 24 monthly payments, and see what they say. The problem is that I could pay the £575 now; I could take it out of my savings - but naturally I would rather not pay a lump sum right off the bat. However, if they want six monthly payments, I'd end up paying 90 or something a month which is even more inconvenient. It either needs to be a full up-front payment (with a complaint to the relevant ombudsman) or a long-term plan of convenient small payments (without one).
    • Heng Leng
    • By Heng Leng 11th Oct 16, 12:33 AM
    • 3,501 Posts
    • 1,047 Thanks
    Heng Leng
    I'd personally be inclined to pursue their complaints process and bring up the debt collector issue and substantial underbilling. You may be able to get a goodwill credit and therefore lower settlement offer.

    As for the payment terms, you say you have the money in savings (at current low rates) there is not much to be lost in simply paying it and disposing of the issue. Having ready funds will also make a settlement offer more likely than some long drawn out payment plan from an ex-customer.
    • Nebulous2
    • By Nebulous2 11th Oct 16, 3:16 AM
    • 1,282 Posts
    • 743 Thanks
    Nebulous2
    Yeah; first step I think is to talk to them about a payment plan.
    Originally posted by DazedAndConfused1980
    There is a risk that a payment plan will be registered with one or more credit reference agencies as an arrangement to pay. (AP)

    This could then impact on your ability to get credit. We often get messages on here where that has hapened to people.
    • GingerBob
    • By GingerBob 11th Oct 16, 9:16 AM
    • 3,053 Posts
    • 1,291 Thanks
    GingerBob
    There is a risk that a payment plan will be registered with one or more credit reference agencies as an arrangement to pay. (AP)

    This could then impact on your ability to get credit. We often get messages on here where that has hapened to people.
    Originally posted by Nebulous2

    That is true, and it's another example of a dysfunctional credit reporting industry badly in need of reform and meaningful regulation.


    An AP is normally registered against someone who's defaulted on a debt or something similar and now can't pay in full. IT IS NOT aimed at people negotiating with the utility blaggers. But, since there's no QA regime operating at the CRAs, these arrangements get put alongside the more serious markers.
    • DazedAndConfused1980
    • By DazedAndConfused1980 25th Oct 16, 5:33 PM
    • 17 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    DazedAndConfused1980
    Just thought I'd come back to post, now that this is all done-and-dusted (in case anyone else finds it in a search).

    Several weeks have passed in which I have contacted Spark multiple times for paper bills that didn't turn up, spoken to people on the phone, been sent an email which never arrived... Anyway, I kept notes about all the issues I'd had with them and decided last week to call up their dedicated complaints phone number.

    The complaints department looked into my case and they identified three failings.

    1) There was some confusion over which of my readings were day/night readings. As these were taken by their operator over the telephone, Spark were liable for this problem, and recalculated my bill with this corrected.

    2) Some of the errors were over 12 months old. Apparently the industry code of practice prevents Spark from charging me for a clerical error over 12 months old (to prevent them coming for customers years after the fact).

    3) They conceded that they had made a litany of customer service failings, and decided to give me a reduction on that basis.

    The end result is that the original £600 or so has been reduced to under £300.

    So I suppose the lesson learned here is that if you have grounds for a complaint, take the time to do it. It might save you a wedge.
    • MothballsWallet
    • By MothballsWallet 25th Oct 16, 7:19 PM
    • 10,358 Posts
    • 13,378 Thanks
    MothballsWallet
    Actually That alone will not be enough to get CCJ set aside. Even if they did use a wrong address in error (and let's assume this as absolute truth for this example that is beyond a reasonable doubt) you will still need to have a valid defence as to why you do not owe the money, as clerical errors do not change the fact that you owe it.
    And if you do not owe it, then set aside will be granted, regardless of any delivery circumstances.
    Originally posted by Arleen
    "Beyond reasonable doubt" is criminal law.

    Debt collector scum are civil law and that's based on balance of probabilities.
    Always ask yourself one question: What would Gibbs do?
    Married to an immigrant.
    If Putin invades, I'm not worried: you, however, should be.
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