The hell of dealing with Thames Water

gld73
gld73 Posts: 248
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I'm being hounded by Thames Water for a bill of £220 which I don't owe them, and which one part of the company knows I don't owe them - but today I received the final demand and am being threatened with court action and bailiffs.

I owned a house which was rented out - tenant moved out in March and I was there all that day. Contacted Thames to give my details to take over billing but couldn't read the meter as it wasn't visible. House empty since then (and sold in July).

I received a bill for £220 in May, allegedly based on actual readings (but impossible and wasn't). I contacted Thames and eventually managed to speak to someone - there was a discrepancy as one meter reader had provided a reading, but they also found earlier notes from another meter reader saying the meter had been covered and couldn't be accessed (the latter was correct - it's a meter outside the house in the pavement, so they said councils etc sometimes accidently cover them when work is done). To resolve it, they sent out an engineer who confirmed the meter had been covered, but he did the necessary work to make it accessible and gave the meter reading (showing no water had been used, as the house was empty and water turned off). Customer service person told me not to worry about the £220 bill as it wasn't valid, and to just ignore the bill.

It's now August and I'm still getting the money demanded. Every time I've tried to contact them, I'm on hold for so long that the system times me out and cuts me off, saying phone back at another time (easily double figures this has happened). Even when their automated service phones me, that still happens! The 2 occasions I've got through to a real person, their computer systems down and they can't access account details (including today).

Their website says to raise complaints via FB, Twitter or the phone number, but I'm not on FB or Twitter and the phone service is proving useless. I managed to send a secure message/email but a week later have had nothing back. The customer service of Thames is shocking and I'm worried it's going to end up with me having a court judgement against me and a black mark on my credit file when I don't owe them that money (they should just bill me the standing charge for March-July, I gave the July reading when it was sold).

Does anyone know of any other route where I can make a complaint please?

Comments

  • Cardew
    Cardew Posts: 29,034
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    gld73 wrote: »

    Does anyone know of any other route where I can make a complaint please?

    Yes - The Consumer Council for Water https://www.ccwater.org.uk/
  • Fireflyaway
    Fireflyaway Posts: 2,766
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    edited 8 August 2017 at 7:46PM
    I've experienced similar. First I was accused of not paying a bill for 10 years! Obviously I had been, they had 2 account numbers for me. Then I was told I owed £800. I challenged this as all the bills were estimates showing very high useage. My many emails, letters and calls just fell on deaf ears. All I asked was they apply the one actual reading ( that was 4 times lower than the estimates) historically and adjust the bills based on that. For whatever reason they won't / can't. Imagine going to the supermarkets and the cashier glances at your basket and decides to estimate your shopping cost £100. Would you accept it? Of course not!
    Like you my meter was in the street and we were unable to lift the lid. TW even acknowledged this and several of thier own advisors even commented how high the estimated bills were and that we hadn't had an actual reading in 3 years. Stupidly I'm paying back the £800 under protest as I'm worried about debt collection if I don't. How can it be OK to send a customer a demand for payment for a product you can't even prove they used?! Oh says the shop keeper....I see you purchased a small can of lemonade. Well I'm going to charge you for a large bottle just because I feel like it. Would you accept that or ever go there again? Yet TW seem to get away with it. I guess they need the extra income to pay all those fines for polluting the water course!
    Latest saga.....good old TW put a late payment marker on my credit file. I pay the same sum every month on the same date. I challenged it and they said it was an accident and its been removed, but the service is shocking. Most of the agents don't know what they are talking about. You can't change provider so they don't care! I'm going to write to the water consumer council.
    Good luck!
  • I would try reaching out on all channels - making a FB or Twitter account doesn't take more than 5 minutes. You'd be surprised how responsive companies are on these channels
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