United Utilities set the debt collectors on me!

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Water Bills
11 replies 2.8K views
princessamy86princessamy86 Forumite
4.9K Posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Water Bills
Hi all
First time post on this part of the forum, just thought I would share this with you and see if anyone else had had the same experience!

We moved out of our flat in Sept 2007, all bills paid on time with DD every month so got my final bills and moved on. However, OH was very lax with checking if DDs were still being taken, so Utd Utilties continued to take our DD until April 2008 (I know, idiot OH!) After moving into our shiny new house in 2008, and being supplied by UU for a year, we got a debt collectors letter saying we owed them £35 from the previous address! Promptly phoned up debt collectors, they couldn't give me any info on what on earth this £35 was for, only that it encompassed the period we had been living at the property (they said we were there until Nov 07 but informed them we weren't). I then, after several days of having no better luck with the agency, rang UU who said they had no record of me ever living at that address.

By this point I was fuming, pointed out that I was gobsmacked that I owed them money when I didn't even exist on their system and proceeded to try and find out what exactly they wanted to prove I wasn't living there, and there was no reason I would owe them money. Debt collectors had said they would only accept tenancy agreement with a move out date on it, but ours didn't have a move out date only a move in date. Totally unhelpful, they said tough. UU said if I forwarded proof of payment, proof of move out from landlord they would reconsider it. This after debt collectors had said that I wouldn't get any info off UU.

Sorry this is getting way longer than I meant it to but I can't believe how bad their records are!! Was so mad at being threatened with court action over a debt I hadn't incurred because of their mistake! Has anyone else had a similar experience?
Scar tissue that I wish you saw, sarcastic mister know it all, close your eyes and I'll kiss you cause with the birds I'll share this lonely view.
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Replies

  • anniecaveanniecave Forumite
    2.4K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    ✭✭✭✭
    maybe they couldn't find you because the bills were in your partners name?

    I'd send in all the documentation to UU (send them details of all payments, any reference number on the payments, details of when you moved in, moved out etc) and hopefully they will sort it all out

    debt collectors will often try to dissuade you from going back to the original company, but in your case I would!
    Indecision is the key to flexibility :)
  • Pay nothing, they can't touch you. they're being aggressive because they're on a huge commission rate to collect whatever they can.

    Years ago, if the balance of an account was below a threshold (say £50) they wrote it off as not worth chasing. They're now in such a financial mess they've got a company in to chase these old small debts. The debt has been written off and that's why they couldn't find you on their records when you rang.
  • bluewirebluewire Forumite
    182 Posts
    Don't do this...... Pay nothing, they can't touch you. they're being aggressive because they're on a huge commission rate to collect whatever they can.

    It is true that this balance was once written off as it would have been classed as too little cash for the cost to chase. However things have obviously changed and they have found you and if you have a balance to pay they will keep after you until it is paid.

    Do this.......
    I'd send in all the documentation to UU (send them details of all payments, any reference number on the payments, details of when you moved in, moved out etc) and hopefully they will sort it all out
  • Hello,

    I have answered the same problem in another thread, but I have copied and pasted below for your ease.

    1) write a complaint letter to Consumer Council for Water and Office of Water Services (Ofwat). These organisations will take care of your complaint to the final bits. Send them a letter or email, with all details (like names of the persons you dealt with, any correspondence that you had with them). You dont have to write two separate letters. One letter and cc to another is sufficient.

    2) Also, if you have time, write a complaint letter to Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and Credit Services Agency - they also regulate the act and behaviour of debt collection agency. Please note that it DOES NOT have to be different from the complaint letter you sent to CCW or Ofwat. Just change the bits and bobs little bit.

    Those organisations above will be able to take care of your matter. Just do your bits and leave the rest to them.
    I used to be part of the water industry. If you need any advice, feel free to ask me :A
  • mobile48mobile48 Forumite
    745 Posts
    I would also like to make complaints about domestic debt collection at my water company.

    From reading information on the Consumer Council for Water site I must however first complain to the my Water Company and follow their complaint procedure if I want them to formally investigate a compliant. You can contact them direct but I am afraid if I do this it will not be treated the same way.

    My water company complaint procedures has three stages. I guess the only way is to slowly follow these procedures one step at a time.

    I did call Ofwat but they were not able to help me.

    Is it possible to by-pass the above process?

    The CSA inform me that complaints will only be accepted on their official form so this will require extra effort - they only way I can see to complete the form is via hand.

    I would also be interest to know how to send a copy of any complaints I make to the OFT as I would like them to see a copy. I did not understand the OFT website on how to do this.
  • Mobile,
    Who is your water provider ?
    You have to follow their complaints process but it can normally be done by email as well and then you would just copy anyone in.
    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.

    Robert Service
  • mobile48mobile48 Forumite
    745 Posts
    Thanks you are right my water company SEW does have the option to connect them via email - or at least a contact us web form - this will save me stamps. I missed it when I checked before.
  • GothicfairyGothicfairy Forumite
    3.1K Posts
    Mark the email to the complaints dept and remember that a written complaint has 10 working days to get a response. The response should be in writing but it might depend on if more information is required.
    You should also be asked if you want a copy of the complaints booklet or one should be sent with the reply ( unless of course it is by email in which case it might be a pdf or link)

    At this stage to be honest there is no point copying the CCW in as they will only ask that it goes through the company first. Send in your email , wait 10 working days and if you get nothing by say the 12th working day complain again and copy the CCW in and they can then chase it up.
    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.

    Robert Service
  • Hello,

    I have answered the same problem in another thread, but I have copied and pasted below for your ease.

    1) write a complaint letter to Consumer Council for Water and Office of Water Services (Ofwat). These organisations will take care of your complaint to the final bits. Send them a letter or email, with all details (like names of the persons you dealt with, any correspondence that you had with them). You dont have to write two separate letters. One letter and cc to another is sufficient.

    The complaint has to go direct to the water company first then if fails to resolve it will be passed to CCW.


    They will also say it is your responsility to take care of your finances and to check bills etc (ie regarding your DD)
    as it was said 10 days for a written reposne
    if you ring and compalin is 5 days response.
  • GothicfairyGothicfairy Forumite
    3.1K Posts
    Actually all complaints must be done it writing to get a response. You can call the company and ask for information /help/ advice or a question and that will get a reply in 5 days but formal complains have to go through the proper process.
    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.

    Robert Service
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