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Harassment from Southern Water
in Water bills
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So it seems on the strength of a phone call just before you left, and not seeing a final bill you decide you are fully paid up with SW. I am afraid that is not 'obvious' to myself!
If you maintain that you don't owe money, and SW won't reply etc etc. Then contact The Consumer Council for Water and get them to take up the matter with SE.
The harassment of your Grandparents is regrettable, but it is obvious that in accordance with standard procedures SW have 'sold' the debt to a Debt Collection Agency(DCA) who will use any method, including intimidation and threats, to get their money - and add their charges as well.
The DCA have all sorts of methods to trace people and addresses and are not in the slightest worried about who they upset. So you need to take the matter up with the DCA.
I called them twice and was told on the last call, by Southern Water, I was all paid up and ready to go. Seeing as I've never closed an account like this before (it was my first flat of my own!) I figured Southern would know best. I gave them a forwarding address in case I had missed any payments but they never contacted me with it.
Thank you for the consumer council for water and the DCA tip. What concerns me more is that Southern Water had my grandparents address first, then they gave it to the first creditor. The first creditor told me that they only wrote to the address that southern gave them. So where did southern get the address from?
This whole thing is so confusing...
If I was to ring up my gas/electricity/phone/sky supplier now(or even looked up my accounts on line) I would not get a true picture.
For instance if I rang, or looked up, my gas and electricity account right now it is, say, £200 in credit, but tomorrow a new bill of £600 will be produced and I will be £400 in debit.
Until SW know exactly when you ceased to have responsibility for the account - which is probably not the day you left the property - they can't produce a bill. Assuming you were renting, the landlord might not agree that they were responsible for water charges on the day you left - especially if you had a rental agreement.
I had a rental agreement that finished one or two days after we left. We had planned this roughly 8 months in advance. We returned the keys and signed the end of the lease thing on the day of our flight, so we had no responsibility for any charges after we moved.
However SW were unaware of that situation. You just rang them and asked if you owed them money.
Once it is established the date on which the owner becomes responsible for the account, a final bill can be produced. On that date if you have been paying by DD you will either be in credit or debit; and SW obviously think the latter.
What about those companies(gas, electricity, council tax phone etc) none of those would have been able to produce a final bill until you had left.
No, when I rang I also told them that I was moving country and on what date exactly. Then, the night before I got on my flight I called them to remind them as I wouldn't be able to contact them further. I gave them my new address in Sweden and they knew I was leaving. I've also said that several times before on here. There's a quote:
Our electric was a pay and go, we didn't have gas, council tax had no problem with my system. I called them, told them the date I was leaving and made sure I was up to date on payments. Which I wasn't, because it was quarterly, so I paid that over the phone. (I think, I may have done it online, not too sure on that one.)
Because I was already up to date on my payments. £160 was what I would pay for 3 months of water for my flat. I like that you say "doing the right thing" is paying them when I owe them nothing, and was even told so by southern themselves.
If I were you I would call the Energy and Water Ombudsman, they will investigate.