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PLEASE HELP - Massive Bill from Shell Energy!!!

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PLEASE HELP - Massive Bill from Shell Energy!!!

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Energy
11 replies 1.8K views
scottymcdonnyscottymcdonny Forumite
4 posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Energy
Hi guys,

I wonder if anyone out there can help me with some advice.

I moved into my current property in 2017 and First Utility were the current providers. I called them with gas and electricity meter readings and set up a direct debit to be collected at the beginning of each month. I assumed everything was in order and the payments were being made each month. I don't really check our joint account religiously, I just ensure I pay enough into the account each month to cover all bills and a little bit more. As my wife doesn't work, I tell her that any money left in the joint account at the end of the month can be spent if needed!

Anyway, I was going through my emails two weeks ago and had a quick look in my junk folder. I found an email from Shell Energy confirming my next bill was £1,800 due to be collected in July 2019! I called them immediately and when I gave the updated meter readings, the bill increased to £3,650! It turns out that when they set my DD up in 2017, they mis keyed the first two digits of the sort code. They have not sent me a single letter to confirm the payments had not been made and it looks like any bills they have sent by email have gone into my junk folder! The lady said someone had tried ringing me in January 2019 to advise of the situation but they had called my wife's old number and not the primary contact number (my mobile) that I had provided when I moved in. They only tried ringing the once and did not follow it up with a letter or any further phone calls.

I had provided a couple of meter readings manually after receiving a card through the letterbox. I wrote the readings on the card and left in the letter box and they appeared to have been taken. Shell are denying they have ever received a reading since I moved in.

Couple of questions, does anyone know if I can use the back billing rules in this instance? I assume they have been sending bills but by email which went into my junk folder so have not received them.

I appreciate its my responsibility to manage my finances but when you have so many DD's going out each month, I assume everything is in order and knew there was enough money in there to cover everything. If there is the odd problem with a DD, I would ring the company in question on receipt of a letter from them and make a manual payment.

What I cannot understand is how a large company would allow a customer to continue using their services without receiving a payment! Surely, there is some blame on their part as well. Any ideas if I have a leg to stand on in getting this bill reduced?

Lastly, £3,650 for 21 months use of gas & electricity seems very high to me. We only have a 3 bedroom house, 1 tv, a tumble dryer that is not used very often and no electric cars, hot tubs or anything like that! Any thoughts on this?


  • Robin9Robin9 Forumite
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    Lastly, £3,650 for 21 months use of gas & electricity seems very high to me. We only have a 3 bedroom house, 1 tv, a tumble dryer that is not used very often and no electric cars, hot tubs or anything like that! Any thoughts on this?

    Lets first see if this bill is correct.

    Do you have the opening readings when you moved in ? What are the meter readings today? Do you know the unit rates and standing charges ?

    Its a simple spreadsheet exercise to calculate the actual bill.

    I assume your first 12 months was on a fixed tariff . Did you ignore their email saying it was coming to an end - if so the last 12 months will have been at a higher rate.

    Did you ever look at your online account ? That would have told you at the end of the first month that all was not well.

    Do some sums and come back to us.
    Never pay on an estimated bill
  • D_M_ED_M_E Forumite
    3K posts
    1,000 Posts Fourth Anniversary Name Dropper
    Don't think you can invoke the back billing rules because they sent you bills which you have received, allbeit in your junk folder.

    You have the start readings, check all the bills and see if any or all of them are estimated.

    Read your meters now and work out what you have used and at what cost.

    From the size of the bill - which you say increased when you provided an up to date set of readings, you may well have been on their standard tariff - read expensive - from the start.

    If the bill they have sent is correct then arrange a payment plan with them.

    There should be a lot of money in your account - the DD payments which were not taken - but they should bear some responsibility as they tried taking payment from the wrong account.

    Ask them what's happened to the payments if any they took from the wrong account.
  • Hi Robin, thanks for the quick reply!

    Unfortunately I do not have a record of the opening readings but I may make a SAR and will hopefully be able to obtain the readings from a recording of my phone call with them.

    It looks like any emails they may have sent (including the end of the fixed tariff) would have gone into my junk mail folder. I'm pretty sure I didn't specify for contact to be made by email as I usually prefer letters for things like this.

    If for example the bill turns out to be correct, do you think I have any chance of getting it reduced on the basis they did not inform me the payments were not being made and it was as a result of their error (mis typing the sort code)?
  • Thanks for the reply DME.

    Unfortunately there is not a lot of money in my account - as I said before, my wife uses the funds from this account towards the end of the month when we know the bills have been paid (all bills are collected within the first week of each month).

    I completely know its my fault for not keeping a closer eye on things but there has clearly been a massive fault on their part. Wrong sort code, rang the wrong number, only rang once etc etc!
  • Bark01Bark01 Forumite
    825 posts
    Honestly this is mostly on you, but you may be able to get a good will reduction from the supplier.

    The best outcome I can think of is for the supplier to let you be re-billed on a cheaper tariff for the time you were on standard. But I can't see why they would do this.

    I may be wrong but I thought annual statements had to be posted? I have a feeling this was the case but changed in the last few years.
  • Robin9Robin9 Forumite
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    Are there any other emails in your SPAM ?

    Is there an online account - you should be able to download your bills ?
    Never pay on an estimated bill
  • edited 17 July 2019 at 6:35PM
    matelodavematelodave Forumite
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    edited 17 July 2019 at 6:35PM
    Don't you ever check your junk mail account or your bank account or even your energy account. Have you checked your account since they've contacted you

    TBH you really need a kick up the bum.

    On-line accounts are what they say on the tin - ON-LINE, so they don't send letters and they don't usually phone either. The account is handled on-line which infers that YOU have to ensure that you check it on line and make sure that your e-mails don't get junked.

    You are in severe danger of getting an extremelythick black mark on your credit record (if you haven't had already)

    I guess the best you can hope for is time to pay but paying that amount over say a year or so together with your ongoing energy is going to cost you dearly.
    Never under estimate the power of stupid people in large numbers
  • No other emails in my SPAM folder that are of any relevance! I’ll try and log on to my online account and see what I can work out regarding my bills. Thanks again for your input 👍🏻
  • CardewCardew Forumite
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    Firstly it is possible the opening meter readings you supplied have not been used when setting up your account. Thus it is possible you are paying for a previous occupant's consumption; and that might account for the high £3,650 bill.

    As bills have been sent, back-billing will not apply.

    Where did they get hold of your wife's old telephone number?

    Actually you have been lucky that your account has not been passed - yet! - to a Debt Collection Agency(DCA). If the matter went to court I suspect the Judge would not be impressed by emails going into junk box and not seen; not noticing an agreed DD not being taken from your bank for 21 months etc etc.
  • Jono111Jono111 Forumite
    112 posts
    100 Posts Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    All you can do is ask nicely if they will rebill you on a lower tariff and if they will spread the payments over a year.
    Looking at all the mistakes you have made why are you so sure they entered the wrong sort code and weren't given the wrong one.
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