Buchanan Clark and Wells

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Energy
14 replies 1.7K views
Google-loverGoogle-lover Forumite
21 Posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Energy
Hi all, I know there is lots on this forum about this particular debt collection agency but I just wanted some advice after I explain the situation.

When I moved into my new house in December 2013 I immediately switched from Scottish Power to EDF. I gave Scottish Power the final meter readings and was told everything would be sorted. My total time with Scottish Power was 26 days gas and 30 days electricity.

6 months later I receive a bill for £249 with estimated readings. I gave them a call to see what was going on and was told that meter readings had not been provided. I argued the point and was told it would be looked into. I also informed them that I only pay EDF £125 a month and offered to pay them the same considering it was less than a full months service.

I received further letters demanding payment and I sent numerous emails to them explaining. I kept getting asked to provide meter readings, which I could not any more as I did not have them.

Any way to cut a long story short I ended up reporting them to the Energy Ombudsman as their in house debt collection department were ringing me on a weekly basis saying I need to pay even though the amount was in dispute.

A month later I received a letter from Buchanan Clark and Wells saying that they were now recovering the debt on behalf of their client and also that administration costs have been added. My bill is now £277.72.

I have not heard anything from the Energy Ombudsman yet so I am getting a little worried. It turns out the EDF have also estimated my readings but they are being much more helpful to sort out my first bill. My argument with Scottish Power is that if both parties are estimating my usage, how can I get a fair bill?

I sent out the template complaint to Buchanan Calrk and Wells as provided by Fermi on these forums, and I received this reply -

Final Response



Dear Mr XXXXXXXXX



I write with regard to your email of August 23rd 2014 issued in relation to the aforementioned account.

I can confirm we have undertaken substantive investigations into the issues raised in your above referenced letter and have concluded that your complaint has not been upheld. The reasons for this are detailed below.

BCW acts in good faith on the information and instructions issued to us by our clients. We are passed this information on the basis that the information provided is true and correct at the time of issue. We were, at no time, advised by our client of any ongoing disputes or unresolved complaint issues. In this instance, we were passed an account in your name with instructions to pursue for the full balance accordingly. In passing this matter to this office for debt recovery purposes, our client is satisfied that the balance is correct and due.

We have acted upon information provided by you within the context of our client instructions and the legitimate nature of our business. We have ceased activity where details of a valid dispute have been provided and sought to assist in bringing about an amicable resolution where possible. Where a valid dispute or repayment arrangement has remained absent from the account we have contacted you seeking repayment and do not consider the volume and frequency of these contacts to be excessive. We do not therefore consider the conduct of this office in this regard to have been tantamount to harassment as defined in s.40 of the Administration of Justice Act.

We note your reference to the Financial Conduct Authority Consumer Credit Sourcebook but this appears to be misconceived. The reference to ceasing collection activity is in the context of instances where "the customer disputes the debt on valid grounds or what may be valid grounds". Your above referenced letter is the first contact we have received from you in this regard and was therefore the first we were aware of any disputes or complaints. Therefore we could not have previously considered that your debt to be disputed and could not have taken any action in this regard. You have not provided any valid explanation to support your contention that this debt is disputed or may be disputed on ‘valid grounds’.

You have however stated that you are unaware of this debt and we have therefore asked that the creditor provides all necessary documentation. Collection activity shall be held until we have been advised that the documentation has been issued to you.

We are a member of the Credit Services Association who can be contacted in the event of you remaining dissatisfied with the conduct of BCW. The Credit Services will consider your concerns as an impartial external arbitrator.

I really do not know what course of action to take now, can someone please advise me of what could possibly happen if I don't pay up and what I should do next, getting really worried now :(

Many thanks.
«1

Replies

  • SystemSystem Forumite
    177.9K Posts
    10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    As no one else has jumped in, I will offer a couple of comments.

    Presumably, you have the opening readings with your new supplier (EDF) which should be the same as the closing readings with Scottish Power. Surely, you can use these figures to calculate what you actually owe Scottish Power.

    You use the slightly false argument that as you only pay EDF £125 per month then this is a good basis for resolution. The truth is that you are paying EDF £1500 pa for electricity and gas with the heaviest consumption months being December, January and February. It follows that your energy bill for the disputed period might be a lot more than £125. Looking back through my old bills for the period Oct to Dec 13, I had charges of £144 - or 1.8 times my monthly payment. It follows that the Scottish Power estimated bill may not be that wide of the mark.
  • JJ_EganJJ_Egan Forumite
    19.1K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    AS above you really need to be sure before doing anything .
    You moved so your meter readings on the day you took over the property .
    Your meter readings on the day you moved to EDF .
    They will give you the Kwh usage multiply them by the tariff charges and add the standing charges for the period .
    Tariff will be SP standard tariff for the period in question .
    December one months usage £249 may not be that wide of the mark .
  • When you change supply your new supplier will request meter readings, this is so they know what readings to bill your meters from. They then send these meter readings through to your old supplier who will then generate a final bill based upon these readings. If you don't provide meter readings to your new supplier, they will estimate the start readings based upon previous readings/annual usage.

    Often these estimates are wrong. Sometimes even if you provide your new supplier with readings these get "lost" or rejected (due to being implausible - industry term for a meter reading which doesn't make sense or align with previous actual readings) and your new supplier will estimate them.

    Like JJ Egan says above, if you have readings from the day you moved in, plus readings from the day you moved to EDF (or even within the same week) you can get this rectified.

    The process to amend change of supply readings is called a "SAR" or Shipper Agreed Reads. This is an industry wide process and either your old or new supplier can raise this job to get your readings changed.

    In regards to the debt letters from BCW I would be contacting Scottish Power and asking them to place a hold on your account/the debt until a SAR can be completed. Best of luck and feel free to ask for more advice.
  • Thanks for your replies guys. Basically I gave readings to both Scottish Power and EDF but somewhere along the line BOTH suppliers have used estimated readings. I no longer have the original readings from when I moved in so I have no idea what I should be doing. EDF have said they are looking into it so I presume they are trying to work it out. As for BCW, they have ceased collections until this is resolved.
  • It really is impossible for your supplier to do anything about it without actual readings. Unfortunately very few people keep hold of their readings from several months/years ago (I keep a copy of mine in a notepad file, sad I know).

    All EDF can do is try to re-estimate what the readings should be at the time of move-in and change of supply, though I doubt they will do this.

    The only saving grace is if you had correct move in meter readings. Then the extra money SP charged you would be saved in your first bill from EDF (as they would be billing you from a higher reading than was on your meter at the time).

    Sounds like you may get lumbered with the bill to be honest.
  • Surely though, if I gave them the readings, and they have lost them or whatever, it's their responsibility and I should not be penalised for it?
  • SystemSystem Forumite
    177.9K Posts
    10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Surely though, if I gave them the readings, and they have lost them or whatever, it's their responsibility and I should not be penalised for it?

    I understand your frustration but I think that you are grasping at straws. When you switch, the gaining supplier is responsible for the switch and it will pass meter readings on to your old supplier. Most of us, though, do copy the old supplier the closing meter readings. The most likely reason that the bill shows estimated readings is down to third party adjudication. I suggest that you look at your EDF opening reads on MYAccount and if they are the same as the closing reads on the SP bill then you really do not have a case. If they are different, then the gaining and losing suppliers need to get their act together. If they are one and the same then any error between actual and estimated is likely to be in pence not £s.
  • I have checked both Scottish Power and EDF bills. My closing bill with Scottish Power has estimated readings and my opening bill with EDF also has estimated readings. Stuck between a rock and a hard place :(.

    The energy ombudsman is looking into it but more for the amount of harassment that Scottish Power and their DCA's have been giving me considering I have a current dispute with them.
  • SystemSystem Forumite
    177.9K Posts
    10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    I have checked both Scottish Power and EDF bills. My closing bill with Scottish Power has estimated readings and my opening bill with EDF also has estimated readings. Stuck between a rock and a hard place :(.

    With respect, you are missing the point. It doesn't matter whether the readings are metered or estimated - are the readings on the two bills the same? Your opening meter readings with EDF should be the same as the closing readings on the SP bill. If they are not, then you need to raise this formally with SP who will then take it up with EDF.
  • Sorry, I understand now, no the readings are different between both suppliers.
This discussion has been closed.
Latest MSE News and Guides

Top savings accounts

Up to 1.7% fixed or 0.6% easy access

MSE Guides

24 craft beers for £26 delivered

Flavourly newbies only (norm £70ish)

MSE Deals