Refund for overpayment limited to 6 years

It has recently become necessary for me to begin managing my father in laws finances via a LPA. One thing I noticed when reviewing his finances is that he was paying two direct debits to Yorkshire water every month. My wife contacted Yorkshire water and they said they had never know as case like it with two bill for different amounts being sent to the same address, but confirmed that this was their mistake and have agreed to pay back over £1,000 for the last six years of over-payments.
However, my wife's parents have been in the property for over 30 years and have always had two water bills as apparently when they bought the house the water authority boundary ran through their property and have probably been overpaying for their water since 1989 when Yorkshire water was privatized or whenever the water authoritys in York merged.
Yorkshire water have said they can only pay back up to 6 years, but is there any reason my father in law shouldn't be entitled to get the full amount he has been overcharged back?

Thanks in advance for any advice anyone is able to provide.

Comments

  • redkenny
    redkenny Posts: 21 Forumite
    Guess nobody is able to help?
  • Jonny88
    Jonny88 Posts: 26 Forumite
    There's something called the statute of limitations or limitations act 1980
    Breaches of contract are limited by law to 6 years - so legally they only have to pay you back six years

    If it was the other way around and you'd not paid for all those years they could only claim back 6 too

    Might be worth speaking with citizens advice rather than asking here though as there doesn't appear to be any legal expertise as such
  • Cardew
    Cardew Posts: 29,034
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    As stated above, the legal position is clearly that they only need to go back 6 years.


    Is the property metered?


    Are the bills identical?


    As you put in your opening post you don't know the exact position on water bills in the past. It was, and is, quite common to pay one bill for water and another bill to a different company for sewerage.
  • redkenny
    redkenny Posts: 21 Forumite
    The bills are both based on the rated value of the property, but the rated value is different on both bills.

    The only difference on the bills other than the rated value is a slight difference on the address although the number, street name and post code are the same in both.

    ie
    1 something road, village name, york
    1 something road, major road name, york

    I'm fairly sure it is the statute of limitation they are relying on to limit the payment, but they talked to my father in law and his short term memory is not good now. His understanding is that he will get a cheque for six years worth, but even this hasn't happened yet.

    I'll take a look at the citizens advice website.
  • Cardew
    Cardew Posts: 29,034
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    You would be better going to the Consumer Council for Water and ask them to look into the matter.


    http://www.ccwater.org.uk/
  • macman
    macman Posts: 52,949
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    Agree, CA would not have a clue about this.
    No free lunch, and no free laptop ;)
  • phsci
    phsci Posts: 70
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    Is this anything to do with the fact that in early 1999 Yorkshire Water took over the York Waterworks Company, a small water-only company serving the city of York? Before then, residents of the city of York would have paid a water bill to York Waterworks and a sewerage bill to Yorkshire Water. I’d have expected billing for those affected to have been sorted out automatically but things can go wrong.
  • macman
    macman Posts: 52,949
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    The problem here is that the supplier will have no billing data going back beyond 6 years, so even if they were willing to go beyond 6 years on a goodwill basis, which I very much doubt, they could not be sure that the misbilling goes back another 21 years. And I don't suppose that your dad has kept 27 years of bills or bank statements.
    Realistically, 6 years is all you will get.
    No free lunch, and no free laptop ;)
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