CCJ From United Utilities

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Water Bills
16 replies 5.1K views
Darren_LeeDarren_Lee Forumite
16 Posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Water Bills
Thank you for your time in looking at this thread. Tomorrow I shall be attending court to try and dispute a CCJ claim from United Utilities. I am looking for any advice / tips that I can put forward during my hearing.

I moved out of a rented property on the 17th August 2015. Somehow I missed notifying UU that I was moving out. My payments were almost up to date. The last payment made was via DD on the 28th July.
A couple of weeks ago my ex landlord contacted me to say a letter had arrived from the county court. I was found guilty of non-payment

I phoned UU and explained that I had moved out of my old address and was unaware of any outstanding arrears and had no idea that they were taking me court. I asked why they did not email me or phone my mobile as both details are on my UU account details. They said it was not their responsibility to contact me but it was my responsibility to contact them and tell them I was moving.

I am attending court to appeal against the UU legal fees / court costs imposed against me as they made no attempt to contact me with regards to the outstanding £6.00 debt on my account. UU have written to the court and sent me a copy reducing the legal fine from £200 to £100 but I fell this is still unjust for a £6.00 outstanding balance that I knew nothing about.

The only effort UU made to notify me of the outstanding debt & legal action was by uploading it to the message centre on the UU website. A place I would never goto visit. I have double checked the UU website and can confirm that my mobile number & email address are documented.

Has anyone else had a similar experience and is there any advice I can take into account for tomorrow?

Thank you.
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Replies

  • CardewCardew Forumite
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    I suspect UU's legal team won't even turn up at court.


    Common sense says UU should have accepted your explanation.


    Good Luck
  • UU have confirmed they won't be turning up and have reduced my fine from £200.00 to £100.00. I am still going to appeal that I should not be fined anything as they made no reasonable attempt to contact me. If they upload a document to my account on their website it should at the very least notify me via my registered email address. I had no idea at all that legal action was being taken against me.
  • edited 15 December 2015 at 11:42PM
    GingerBob_3GingerBob_3 Forumite
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    edited 15 December 2015 at 11:42PM
    This is an astonishing case, not least because those scumbag low-lifes at UU have chased a debt of £6 through the courts. If the law in this country made any sense whatsoever - which generally it doesn't - this would not be allowed.


    What is particularly outrageous here is that when challenged as to why they had not made contact, United Utilities came up with the breath-taking excuse: "They said it was not their responsibility to contact me ". Why then, when you sign up with these morons do they make such a song and dance about harvesting your contact details? If you challenge them as to why they want your phone number, for example, the standard response is "so that we can contact you if there's an issue with your account". Of course one should never supply utility companies with any contact details or other personal information, but given that the OP had done so, it's reasonable on his part to expect them to contact him in the event of a "serious" problem such as a £6 debt!!


    BTW - the likes of Unite Utilities cannot fine you. I assume the £100/200 relates to their court costs. Good luck with your appeal. Don't let it rest.
  • Attended court yesterday, United Utilities didn't but submitted a claim letter for £100.00 for court costs against me. The court found me guilty of not informing UU that I had moved but found UU guilty of not doing enough to resolve the matter. Therefore UU had to pay for their court case and I had to pay for my court case and matter is closed. So its cost me £150.00 for a simple oversight of not telling UU I had moved. Also the £6.00 arrears I though I had with UU was actually £6 credit that they owed me. Does anyone know that it is written in law that you must notify your water utility company when you leave?

    Thanks.
  • edited 17 December 2015 at 11:03AM
    macmanmacman Forumite
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    edited 17 December 2015 at 11:03AM
    No it's not 'the law' . But It's blindingly obvious that when you leave you tell them so and submit a closing meter read. That is for your protection, because otherwise you may well be billed for the next occupier's usage.
    UU are not psychic. Since you failed to leave a forwarding address or a final reading, the system continued to bill you as though you were in occupation, and since you had cancelled the DD without having any final bill you had no idea if your account was in credit or debit, so how could you think the account would close itself? Once the DD fails, the procedure to recover the debt via a default and CCJ rolls on, whether you were aware of it or not.
    I'd say the court ruling was spot on.
    BTW, you weren't found 'guilty' of anything: a county court is a civil court, not a criminal one.
    No free lunch, and no free laptop ;)
  • GingerBob_3GingerBob_3 Forumite
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    macman wrote: »
    No it's not 'the law' . But It's blindingly obvious that when you leave you tell them so and submit a closing meter read. That is for your protection, because otherwise you may well be billed for the next occupier's usage.
    UU are not psychic. Since you failed to leave a forwarding address or a final reading, the system continued to bill you as though you were in occupation, and since you had cancelled the DD without having any final bill you had no idea if your account was in credit or debit.
    I's say the court verdict was spot on.


    No, the court verdict was absolute bollo-cks, as one might expect with British "justice" these days. It turns out there was no debt, so UU should have been fined for pursuing the matter. Since there was no debt, the fact that the OP failed to tell the UU scumbags that he'd moved is immaterial.
  • macman wrote: »
    No it's not 'the law' . But It's blindingly obvious that when you leave you tell them so and submit a closing meter read. That is for your protection, because otherwise you may well be billed for the next occupier's usage.
    UU are not psychic. Since you failed to leave a forwarding address or a final reading, the system continued to bill you as though you were in occupation, and since you had cancelled the DD without having any final bill you had no idea if your account was in credit or debit, so how could you think the account would close itself? Once the DD fails, the procedure to recover the debt via a default and CCJ rolls on, whether you were aware of it or not.
    I'd say the court ruling was spot on.
    BTW, you weren't found 'guilty' of anything: a county court is a civil court, not a criminal one.
    Crikey break it to me gently why don't you. There are a few points I would like to raise here.
    First point is that this claim was to do with Water Rates and I did not have a water meter, Also I have no written contract to refer to. It’s not like you can shop around for your water and find the best deal out there.
    The rates were fixed at £27.00 per month. So there was no final meter reading to be made. My bill was paperless so I had no contact details for UU. Yes I could have made the effort to google them but hey as most people I have very little time to do these things.
    As far as I was concerned my payments were up date, my landlord had told me he was not going to re rent the house out but move his 18 year old son in so he should have registered with UU as the new tenant.
    I consider myself a fair person who always pays his bills on time. I have an excellent credit rating and rightly so. I still feel hard done to for having to pay £150.00 for a simple oversight. UU could have contacted me to resolve this but instead issued notice to their website only and hit me with legal fees for not responding.
    As you stated UU are not psychic but it wasn’t all that difficult to know I wasn’t at that address any longer as my landlord had re register it back to him and was paying the water rates.
  • edited 17 December 2015 at 11:43AM
    matelodavematelodave Forumite
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    edited 17 December 2015 at 11:43AM
    The court was correct each party paid it's own costs. UU did no know that there was no debt until they started chasing the OP for his unpaid bill which was still outstanding.

    They were unaware that he'd left the property and so they were still entitled to bill for the standing charge and any water that was used until someone else took it over. As said above they aren't clairvoyant. The same might have happened if he'd failed to pay his council tax after he'd left or even with the gas & leccy

    Perhaps UU were a bit heavy handed about it but the OP might have been able to mitigate his losses by not going to court but as he chose to fight it and lost (not found guilty) then be should bear his costs. UU chose not to attend and mitigated their costs.
    Never under estimate the power of stupid people in large numbers
  • matelodave wrote: »
    The court was correct each party paid it's own costs. UU did no know that there was no debt until they started chasing the OP for his unpaid bill which was still outstanding.

    They were unaware that he'd left the property and so they were still entitled to bill for the standing charge and any water that was used until someone else took it over. As said above they aren't clairvoyant. The same might have happened if he'd failed to pay his council tax after he'd left or even with the gas & leccy

    Perhaps UU were a bit heavy handed about it but the OP might have been able to mitigate his losses by not going to court but as he chose to fight it and lost (not found guilty) then be should bear his costs. UU chose not to attend and mitigated their costs.

    I did try to resolve the issue with UU direct once I found out about the problem. But they were very abrupt and stated it was no their responsibility to chase me up about what they assumed was outstanding debt and I had to pay the £200.00 legal fees. That is the reason I took the case to court as I was left with no other option.
  • CardewCardew Forumite
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    I sympathise with you, and despite 'the letter of the law' UU's action is disgraceful.
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