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    • Taylor26
    • By Taylor26 8th Mar 17, 9:00 PM
    • 3Posts
    • 0Thanks
    Taylor26
    Accidental Unpaid Energy Bill HELP
    • #1
    • 8th Mar 17, 9:00 PM
    Accidental Unpaid Energy Bill HELP 8th Mar 17 at 9:00 PM
    Where do I begin... Right, so.. I moved into a rental property in July last year. I immediately searched for a new supplier for our energy and eventually chose Sainsbury's Energy as they were the cheapest quoted for us. I completed everything online, submitted our metre readings, and I got the contract through the post. Gas & Electricity in a joint package.

    Immediately afterwards, I got a letter through the post saying that 'previous supplier has blocked the transfer', which was British Gas Business. I rang them and they asked for my account number and details, but I had none, as I have never been a client of theres before. I rang the letting agents and informed them of this, and they tried to contact the previous tenant to resolve it. They informed me that the previous tenant had closed his accounts and they can't do anything to help me. Still, we got these through the post EVERY week. One letter saying "your new supply start starts on the ---' and another letter than followed a day later saying "your previous supplier has blocked the move" and that we must contact them to resolve this - but they won't deal with me as I am not the account holder!

    Eventually I got a letter through saying I have a new start date, and money began to debit out of my account. Relieved, I thought no more of it, and the money came out of my account regularly every month. I moved out of the house on the 27th December 2016, just short of 6 months in the property. All my accounts were paid up.

    This is where the twist is... the new tenants sent the landlord a picture of an letter with no name (just the address on it) saying that the property owes British Gas £575! Shocked, I looked at my account and it says my balance is £0, but I realised the horror that my online account only says ELECTRICITY and mentions NOTHING about GAS. I still have the original contract that says gas & electricity from Sainsburys Energy. It seems as though they connected my electricity but never the gas.

    My confusion is - there is no way we ever used that much gas in 6 months at a property, when the majority of the time there was in summer, and when we moved out just before the coldest months of winter. My online thoughts can be that the reasons we couldn't swap suppliers in the first place with our gas supplier is because the previous tenants had an outstanding balance on their accounts for the property.

    What do I do? British Gas won't talk to me because I don't have an account with them? What debt is mine and what debt is the previous tenants? I feel like this is a huge can of worms that is about to open and I don't know where to begin. I'm trying to contact Sainsbury's Energy but they can't help me because technically I never bought gas from them.

    PLEASE HELP
Page 1
    • CashStrapped
    • By CashStrapped 8th Mar 17, 9:29 PM
    • 1,083 Posts
    • 599 Thanks
    CashStrapped
    • #2
    • 8th Mar 17, 9:29 PM
    • #2
    • 8th Mar 17, 9:29 PM
    You have made a very common error and one that pops up on the forum once a month. To be honest, the letting agents should have been more helpful.

    When you move into a new property, you are immediatly in a deemed contract with the existing supplier, whoever that may be.

    You need to open an account with that supplier first. Only then can you initiate a switch to a preferred supplier.

    If you do not do this [create an account with the existing supplier] and just start a new account with another supplier, you will eventually get a bill from the supplier you should have being paying.

    So.....to clarify, the proper steps to follow are:

    1) Move in to new property
    2)Find out who the existing supplier is
    3)Give them a meter reading and create an account with them
    4) Once the account is active, wait a week or so (to ensure everything is registered properly) and then initiate a switch to your preferred supplier.
    5)Your new energy supplier will initiate a proper switch.
    6) Your account with the existing supplier will be closed. You pay any outstanding balance.

    ---

    As I said, by not creating an account with the existing supplier, you never really had a valid contract with the supplier you paid.

    So (based on what you have written) the bill that came through, after you left, is the one you should have paid. And technically, still owe.

    Because you have left, this further complicates things and it has all become a bit of a mess.

    The new tenant may also be paying the wrong supplier as they may have assumed you were paying the correct one.

    Is the lettings agency chasing you for the outstanding amount?

    Do you have the original meter readings from when you moved in to when you left?
    Last edited by CashStrapped; 08-03-2017 at 9:39 PM.
    • Taylor26
    • By Taylor26 8th Mar 17, 9:45 PM
    • 3 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Taylor26
    • #3
    • 8th Mar 17, 9:45 PM
    • #3
    • 8th Mar 17, 9:45 PM
    This is my first time renting as a non-student (with bills packages) and nobody told me anything about the correct thing to do... Not the letting agent, not my parents, nobody! I just assumed you move in - you choose a supplier - and the previous person should close their accounts (as I did when I left) ready for then next person.

    I don't have the original meter readings, but I'm trying to contract Sainsbury's Energy to see if they have a record of the original ones I submitted for them at the start of my tenancy.

    The letting agents asked me to provide my final statements to my supplier, which said £0. I don't think they've quite clocked themselves it just says Electricity on it and not gas, as it took me a double take to notice myself.

    I don't know who to talk to. I collected some old post from the house today, and they've received a letter from a debt collection agency but still with no name on the bill, so everybody is freaking out and doesn't know what to do.
    • CashStrapped
    • By CashStrapped 8th Mar 17, 9:51 PM
    • 1,083 Posts
    • 599 Thanks
    CashStrapped
    • #4
    • 8th Mar 17, 9:51 PM
    • #4
    • 8th Mar 17, 9:51 PM
    I appreciate the difficulty, do not panic or get stress about it.

    I missed the part about the Gas. Did you actually submit meter readings for the Gas too?

    One possible solution would be to contact Sainsbury's energy (who are part of British Gas) and explain that you may have made an erroneous transfer, and that you actually owe British Gas.

    They may transfer the funds you paid them to the account owing with British Gas. You may have to transfer an extra amount as the tariff may not have been as good.

    As they are part of the same company, it may be much easier to resolve this than if they were completely separate entities.

    The only outstanding thing is the Gas. Which is why I asked...where you paying for gas and electric [albeit to the wrong company] while you were there and giving meter readings for both?

    p.s they should still have your meter readings on record.
    Last edited by CashStrapped; 08-03-2017 at 10:04 PM.
    • Taylor26
    • By Taylor26 8th Mar 17, 10:25 PM
    • 3 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Taylor26
    • #5
    • 8th Mar 17, 10:25 PM
    • #5
    • 8th Mar 17, 10:25 PM
    I signed up for Sainsbury's Energy GAS + ELECTRICITY both together on a bundle package. My start date kept getting halted, and evening reconnected. Though I originally got a contract through stating I have officially started both gas + electricity with Sainsbury's, due to whatever complications British Gas had Sainsbury's only ever charged me for my electricity. I have been using gas thinking I've been paying for it all this time, but I haven't, due to British gas stopping the transfer but not giving me a reason why as I 'wasn't the account holder'. So I've never paid for gas so far it seems... unintentionally!

    Sainsbury's changed my contract to just electricity and I never noticed.
    • CashStrapped
    • By CashStrapped 8th Mar 17, 10:39 PM
    • 1,083 Posts
    • 599 Thanks
    CashStrapped
    • #6
    • 8th Mar 17, 10:39 PM
    • #6
    • 8th Mar 17, 10:39 PM
    You need to clarify [somehow[ if the outstanding bill relates to gas and electricity, or just the Gas.

    What made you pick Sainsburys to begin with? Was there a letter in the flat from sainsburys energy?

    So, it terms of the amount leaving your account (when paying sainsburys), you were only paying for electricity?

    You were not sending nor giving meter readings for gas?
    Last edited by CashStrapped; 08-03-2017 at 10:44 PM.
    • Dobbibill
    • By Dobbibill 8th Mar 17, 10:58 PM
    • 2,028 Posts
    • 3,146 Thanks
    Dobbibill
    • #7
    • 8th Mar 17, 10:58 PM
    • #7
    • 8th Mar 17, 10:58 PM
    Have you checked your emails for any correspondence from them?

    Even if you delete them from wherever you read them they can still be retrieved from the web browser access.

    Just thinking to give you some clarity.
    I'm a Board Guide on the Energy, Student Money Saving, UK Armed Forces and
    Local Money Saving - Wales boards. I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly, and I can move and merge posts there.
    Board guides are not moderators and don't read every post. If you spot an abusive or illegal post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com. Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.com.


    If you always do what you've always done,
    you will always get what you've always got!
    • Joyful
    • By Joyful 10th Mar 17, 6:41 PM
    • 2,172 Posts
    • 1,120 Thanks
    Joyful
    • #8
    • 10th Mar 17, 6:41 PM
    • #8
    • 10th Mar 17, 6:41 PM
    You mention British gas Business rather than Residential. If this is correct call and advise the date you moved in and that it is not a business premise. Otherwise you will have been charged a business tariff.
    I am an employee of British Gas.The views expressed on this post are mine and do not necessarily reflect the views of Centrica, its subsidiaries or affiliated companies.
    • phillw
    • By phillw 12th Mar 17, 5:03 PM
    • 271 Posts
    • 120 Thanks
    phillw
    • #9
    • 12th Mar 17, 5:03 PM
    • #9
    • 12th Mar 17, 5:03 PM
    What do I do? British Gas won't talk to me because I don't have an account with them? What debt is mine and what debt is the previous tenants? I feel like this is a huge can of worms that is about to open and I don't know where to begin. I'm trying to contact Sainsbury's Energy but they can't help me because technically I never bought gas from them.

    PLEASE HELP
    Originally posted by Taylor26
    If they aren't chasing you for the money and they aren't willing to talk to you then there isn't much you can do. If you feel morally obligated to do something then write to them explaining that you were living in the property and the new tenants have received a bill for energy before they moved in and invite them to contact you. Keep a copy and send it recorded delivery & check that it was signed for. It can work out better to do this early as if they don't respond within a year then you can say you tried but you assumed the debt wasn't yours when they didn't contact you, the longer you leave it then the longer they have to figure out what they are doing.

    If they do contact you then complain that the switch never went through and tell them you are prepared to pay the bill for any gas that you used as long as it's billed at the sainsburys tariff as you believe that is fair. Be really nice as they are part of the same company and they might do it just to solve the issue. Apologising for being confused over all the letters telling you different things will go down better than being aggressive towards them.

    They shouldn't try to bill you for energy that was used prior to the date you moved in, if you didn't keep a meter reading then it gets trickier. At that point you would ask them what date they are billing back to and if it's before you moved in then you have a really strong case for negotiating how much energy you think you used in the time you lived there. It's probably best if you ask them the date they are working to before you tell them what date you moved in. As long as you are being reasonable then they should be scared that the ombudsman will side with you and shouldn't give you the run round.

    If they go after the landlord then he may go after you, if this happens then he is under an obligation to mitigate his costs by complaining to the ombudsman about the failed switch. The ombudsman should then gather evidence from you. If you cooperate with british gas and the landlord but can't come to a reasonable arrangement that is fair to you then you may still end up in court, but you are more likely to be treated favourably.

    This probably seems like it could ruin your life, but just sit back and relax and deal calmly and fairly with the issues as they present themselves.
    Last edited by phillw; 12-03-2017 at 5:13 PM.
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