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Help Please! - United Utilities and 1st Credit Problem

in Water bills
2 replies 3.4K views
Hi

My wife received a demand last year for an old water bill. The bill was for
£220.02 (from United Utilities) and she agreed to pay it back at £20pm by direct debit (over 11 months)to their agency 1st Credit. (yuk!). This was last year / September. We've lived together now for almost 3 years and the bill came from her previous house from 2004.

It was my bank account which was used and I noticed that 1st Credit had continued taking monthly payments after the money had been paid back, after the 11th month.

So I sent an email to 1st credit telling them I'd cancelled the DD and claimed back the extra payments (£60 in total) using the Direct Debit Guarantee.

Later that day 1st Credit rang me back and said United Utilities were demanding more money! 1st Credit said they would keep my account on hold (untill 20/11/2007) while I sort things out with them.

I rang U.U. three times to try and get to the bottom of this and was told three different tales:

- first one said their was an outstanding ballance still of £197.08 due to an increase in May 2007, what this increase was I couldn't imagine, the bill should have been £220.02 which had been paid! They said little which would explain how this increase could come about so I asked them for a statement showing which periods were involved. (I'll have to wait 2-3 weeks for this statement!)

- second one said the total bill was £160 and the one of £220.02 had been cancelled - and that their was no record of the £220 paid by DD! They asked me to send in my bank statements (or copy of) to an address in Warrington. Ummm? Which meant they owed me money according to this one.

- third one said there was an outstanding bill of £200 odd and that there had been an increase to the bill because of ratable value (apparently) but they did have the record of my DD to 1st Credit, the money I now owed could be paid to 1st Credit as before.

I'm not sure what I should do next. I can't get U.U. to explain properly why the bill has been increased and I am waiting for them to send me the statement - I wondered if there was another course of action available to me, I'm thinking of going to CAB but I'm waiting to see if this statement arrives first. I've emailed 1st Credit again to keep them updated and haven't heard anything since.

I'm very suspicious about this, nothing adds up properly. The second person I spoke to (above) was convinced that the bill total was only £160 and that the extra money I've paid will be refunded. The others said I still owed money dispit what I've paid. ??

Your help is appreciated,

Elric

Replies

  • Elric,

    The best advice that I can give you to have this matter resolved is for you to write a letter of "complaint" to UU.

    Detail everything as you have on this page and request that they provide your wife (due to data protection they can only have dealings with whoever’s name is on the demands) and request a full breakdown of the original bill, payments you have made and the balance.

    They then have 10 days of receipt of your letter to investigate and reply.

    You must ensure that on the envelope that you write "complaints department" and send you letter to....
    United Utilities, PO Box 459, Warrington, WA55 1WB.

    You should also ask for a copy of their complaints procedure (I have attached a link to it for you anyway)
    http://www.unitedutilities.com/?OBH=4013&SCH=complaints&ID=0

    Don't forget that they are a heavily regulated company and you can take your complaint passed them if you are not getting anywhere.
  • ElricElric Forumite
    39 Posts
    hi

    thank you for reply.

    I just found your message and have pretty much already done what you've suggested.

    UU have admitted their mistake and have since sent me a statement, with a cheque (no less) for a small amount owed to her.

    I'd managed to get more sense out of them as soon as I went down the complaint procedure with them; English speaking, friendly and even helpful!

    Why they can't deal with this before the complaints dept. is asked to I don't understand??

    Elric
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