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Dealing with debt charities

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GettingtherequicklyGettingtherequickly Forumite
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I, on behalf of a small charity, am trying to help someone with a large utility debt. I suggested that they contact one of the debt charities to establish the best way forward.  The debt is too large for us to clear, but depending on what the debt advice was, we could possibly assist. Apparently the advice was that the debt needs to be paid so that they can get out of debt! I suspect that something has been badly misunderstood, as they want to pay the debt but are unable to do so.

The utility company has said that they can leave without penalty providing a payment plan is set up but are requesting about 50% more than client is able to pay, so they are in stalemate at the moment.  We could possibly contribute about 25% of the debt, which would reduce the repayment to a more manageable amount while extending the repayment period by a few months, would the utility company accept this option? The utility company acknowledged mis-selling and have responded as required by the Ombudsman ruling.

Our client wants to pay the debt, but has been frustrated by being lied to regarding the savings that could be made (bills in fact higher than previous supplier), having to supply readings despite being told as there was a smart meter, it would not need to be done.

Any suggestions appreciated.
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Replies

  • Robin9Robin9 Forumite
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     having to supply readings despite being told as there was a smart meter, it would not need to be done.

    Any suggestions appreciated.
    It may have been Smart once but it is quite possible that due to changes of supplier it is no longer so. It is always good practise to read your own meter.
    If the bill your client is being asked to pay is based on Estimated readings then giving the supplier a reading may reduce the amount owed.
    Never pay on an estimated bill
  • GettingtherequicklyGettingtherequickly Forumite
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    Thanks Robin, she has supplied meter readings, so the bill is correct and I have told her that the smart meter is of no use to her now that she has changed supplier. Her bills have not been helped by the erratic dates, they should have been monthly, but there is anything from a 2 week  to 7-8 week production date. I know this is shutting the door after the horse has bolted, but if she had been making a regular payment based on what she thought should have been owed, while there would still be a debt, it would be easier to address now.
    A smile costs little but creates much :)
  • fatbellyfatbelly Forumite
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    A lot of the bigger utility companies have their own charitable fund. You don't say who this is so we can't comment. I suspect it's a tiddler.

    If this is the only debt, and you've already taken it through the ombudsman, then this is difficult. I guess you just keep pointing them to the numbers until they accept something affordable

  • sourcratessourcrates Forumite, Board Guide
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    Hi,
    Regarding the debt, it is whats termed, a priority debt, some companies run hardship funds, do they ?
    Being in stalemate is not an option, even though they are asking for more than she can afford, she should still be paying as much off this debt as she possibly can, withholding payment until a solution is reached just prolongs the agony.
    Companies will not refuse her money, and it shows goodwill on her part.
    Is going onto a pre-paid meter an option ?
    This should be discussed with the company concerned, usually these things can be cleared up over the phone, quite quickly, and payment plans are usually set up taking into account an individuals available disposable income.
    Which company are we talking about here ?

    I'm a Board Guide on the Debt-Free Wannabe, Credit File and Ratings, Bankruptcy And Living With It, boards. "I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly".
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  • GettingtherequicklyGettingtherequickly Forumite
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    Thanks guys, it is Scottish Power, so one of the biggies. I agree with you on her making payments and she plans on getting a prepayment meter, so while she is planning for the longterm, it is actually getting on to the first step that is causing the immediate problem.
    A smile costs little but creates much :)
  • sourcratessourcrates Forumite, Board Guide
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    I don`t know if you`ve lodged an official complaint or not, but may be handy -

    I'm a Board Guide on the Debt-Free Wannabe, Credit File and Ratings, Bankruptcy And Living With It, boards. "I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly".
    Board guides are not moderators and don't read every post. If you spot an abusive or illegal post then please report it to:
    [email protected].
    Any views expressed are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.com.
    For free debt advice, contact either : Stepchange, National Debtline, CitizensAdviceBureaux.
  • edited 13 July at 12:05PM
    fatbellyfatbelly Forumite
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    edited 13 July at 12:05PM
    ...and they've got a hardship fund

    https://community.scottishpower.co.uk/t5/Extra-Help/Hardship-Fund/ta-p/53

    Also worth knowing that if you're on a prepayment meter you have a legal right to switch while up to £500 in arrears.


  • GettingtherequicklyGettingtherequickly Forumite
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    Ooh, that's great, I will let her know. Thank you so much SC & FB
    A smile costs little but creates much :)
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