County Court Claim Affinity Water - Advice Needed

fryster
fryster Posts: 33
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edited 14 January 2022 at 9:48PM in Water bills
Good Evening. Today I have received a county court claim form from Affinity water for an outstanding debt from a previous address that we lived at in 2016. They are claiming £1358.28 in total (water charges + interest court fee + legal representative's fee). This is for the period 20/06/2016 to 07/10/2019. We only lived at this address from 20/06/2016 to 28/11/2016. So estimate actual charges should be £150-£200 as we were on the fixed low income tariff. We have been called and texted by UKSL but ignored them, maybe naively. 

What is the best way to respond to this? We have never been in debt to any water company before and this may have been an oversight by us. I need to get to my bank and see if we made payments for the period we were there as we wouldn't have knowingly not paid the bill. We have never previously or since owed any money to any water company. It's no understatement to say that the 5 months and period leading up to living at the house were a very testing time due to circumstances out of our control and this may have led to an oversight. 

Is there any way that if I ring them and offer payment for the amount owed for the period we lived there they will accept this or is it now beyond that? Many thanks!

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  • booshya
    booshya Posts: 170
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    edited 15 January 2022 at 10:16AM
    fryster said:
    Good Evening. Today I have received a county court claim form from Affinity water for an outstanding debt from a previous address that we lived at in 2016. They are claiming £1358.28 in total (water charges + interest court fee + legal representative's fee). This is for the period 20/06/2016 to 07/10/2019. We only lived at this address from 20/06/2016 to 28/11/2016. So estimate actual charges should be £150-£200 as we were on the fixed low income tariff. We have been called and texted by UKSL but ignored them, maybe naively. 

    What is the best way to respond to this? We have never been in debt to any water company before and this may have been an oversight by us. I need to get to my bank and see if we made payments for the period we were there as we wouldn't have knowingly not paid the bill. We have never previously or since owed any money to any water company. It's no understatement to say that the 5 months and period leading up to living at the house were a very testing time due to circumstances out of our control and this may have led to an oversight. 

    Is there any way that if I ring them and offer payment for the amount owed for the period we lived there they will accept this or is it now beyond that? Many thanks!
    The best way to have addressed this was way before the creditor felt it necessary to ask a court to become involved in attempting to recover the monies it believes you owe them.

    But you are where you are.

    You need to reply to the court as per the correspondence you have received.

    Yes, there is nothing to stop you ringing the creditor and offering to settle out of court.
    Doesn't the paperwork you have received from the court encourage you to do that? It certainly used to.

    I'm sure the creditor will not expect you to pay for anything you do not rightfully owe, and I'm sure no court , based on the evidence placed before them, would expect you do so either.
    However, the creditor has now incurred court fees that I suspect they will want repaid.
    There may be other fees (such as late payment fees), that the creditor feels is rightly owed in the circumstances.
  • Cardew
    Cardew Posts: 29,034
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    edited 16 January 2022 at 8:52PM
    Presumably you didn't tell the water company you had moved in on 20/06/2016 and they got this date from the previous occupant when they settled their bill??

    Also you presumably didn't tell the the water company you moved out on 28/11/2016??

    Do you know if the property was re-occupied after you moved out? and by whom?

    If the property was metered you(again) presumably did not note the readings at the start and finish of your occupation.

    Have you received any bills/correspondence prior to the court order?


    Affinity water will have sold the Debt to UKSL who are a Debt Collection Agency. You should bear in mind that most DCA are not the slightest bit interested in the merits of your case - they just want money!

    I would prepare some written evidence of dates, times and your addresses post 28/11/2016 and send it to UKSL but don't enter into correspondence.

    Google UKSL and you will get advice on how to deal with the company
  • booshya
    booshya Posts: 170
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    edited 17 January 2022 at 7:42AM
    Cardew said:
    Presumably you didn't tell the water company you had moved in on 20/06/2016 and they got this date from the previous occupant when they settled their bill??

    Also you presumably didn't tell the the water company you moved out on 28/11/2016??

    Do you know if the property was re-occupied after you moved out? and by whom?

    If the property was metered you(again) presumably did not note the readings at the start and finish of your occupation.

    Have you received any bills/correspondence prior to the court order?


    Affinity water will have sold the Debt to UKSL who are a Debt Collection Agency. You should bear in mind that most DCA are not the slightest bit interested in the merits of your case - they just want money!

    I would prepare some written evidence of dates, times and your addresses post 28/11/2016 and send it to UKSL but don't enter into correspondence.

    Google UKSL and you will get advice on how to deal with the company
    Why have you assumed that?
    The OP said:
    fryster said:
    Good Evening. Today I have received a county court claim form from Affinity water for an outstanding debt from a previous address that we lived at in 2016. ...
    Affinity Water would not be expecting to be paid twice for the same debt, surely?

    I would presume, based only on the information provided by the OP,  that Affinity Water had instructed UKSL as debt collectors to assist Affinity Water to recover the debt they believe is still owed to them.

    If the OP now wishes to attempt to settle this matter out of court, they should do so directly with the complainant, i.e. Affinity Water, and not with some third party. (save for any court suggested mediation service)

  • fryster
    fryster Posts: 33
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    Thank you for the replies, I am receiving help elsewhere as they believe I have grounds to defend the claim. I'm not disputing that I may owe them some money, but not for the dates they have stated. I will leave it there and follow the process that I need to follow. 
  • booshya
    booshya Posts: 170
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    edited 17 January 2022 at 8:39AM
    fryster said:
    Thank you for the replies, I am receiving help elsewhere as they believe I have grounds to defend the claim. I'm not disputing that I may owe them some money, but not for the dates they have stated. I will leave it there and follow the process that I need to follow. 
    So since you posted this thread on Friday evening, you have sought and obtained advice over the weekend who have advised you to defend this case in court?

    If so, I really would urge you to seek a second opinion from a more trusted source, such as Citizens Advice.

    The court would expect you to try and settle the claim out of court, and based on the information you have provided, it would seem quite a simple case in which to do so.

    If you don't feel confident to do so yourself, then a mediation service would  be able to assist you.

    Good luck :)
  • Cardew
    Cardew Posts: 29,034
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    booshya said:
    Cardew said:
    Presumably you didn't tell the water company you had moved in on 20/06/2016 and they got this date from the previous occupant when they settled their bill??

    Also you presumably didn't tell the the water company you moved out on 28/11/2016??

    Do you know if the property was re-occupied after you moved out? and by whom?

    If the property was metered you(again) presumably did not note the readings at the start and finish of your occupation.

    Have you received any bills/correspondence prior to the court order?


    Affinity water will have sold the Debt to UKSL who are a Debt Collection Agency. You should bear in mind that most DCA are not the slightest bit interested in the merits of your case - they just want money!

    I would prepare some written evidence of dates, times and your addresses post 28/11/2016 and send it to UKSL but don't enter into correspondence.

    Google UKSL and you will get advice on how to deal with the company
    Why have you assumed that?
    The OP said:
    fryster said:
    Good Evening. Today I have received a county court claim form from Affinity water for an outstanding debt from a previous address that we lived at in 2016. ...
    Affinity Water would not be expecting to be paid twice for the same debt, surely?

    I would presume, based only on the information provided by the OP,  that Affinity Water had instructed UKSL as debt collectors to assist Affinity Water to recover the debt they believe is still owed to them.

    If the OP now wishes to attempt to settle this matter out of court, they should do so directly with the complainant, i.e. Affinity Water, and not with some third party. (save for any court suggested mediation service)


    The normal situation is that a DCA purchases the Debt from a company and then pursues it 'at risk' albeit in the name of the company from whom they have bought the debt. Some cases the DCA loses money, others they get back more than they paid.

    They are claiming for the period 20/06/16 to 07/10/2019 i.e. over 3 years. So the bill hasn't been paid for that period and they believe to OP is responsible for that period.


  • booshya
    booshya Posts: 170
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    edited 17 January 2022 at 10:55AM
    Cardew said:
    booshya said:
    Cardew said:
    Presumably you didn't tell the water company you had moved in on 20/06/2016 and they got this date from the previous occupant when they settled their bill??

    Also you presumably didn't tell the the water company you moved out on 28/11/2016??

    Do you know if the property was re-occupied after you moved out? and by whom?

    If the property was metered you(again) presumably did not note the readings at the start and finish of your occupation.

    Have you received any bills/correspondence prior to the court order?


    Affinity water will have sold the Debt to UKSL who are a Debt Collection Agency. You should bear in mind that most DCA are not the slightest bit interested in the merits of your case - they just want money!

    I would prepare some written evidence of dates, times and your addresses post 28/11/2016 and send it to UKSL but don't enter into correspondence.

    Google UKSL and you will get advice on how to deal with the company
    Why have you assumed that?
    The OP said:
    fryster said:
    Good Evening. Today I have received a county court claim form from Affinity water for an outstanding debt from a previous address that we lived at in 2016. ...
    Affinity Water would not be expecting to be paid twice for the same debt, surely?

    I would presume, based only on the information provided by the OP,  that Affinity Water had instructed UKSL as debt collectors to assist Affinity Water to recover the debt they believe is still owed to them.

    If the OP now wishes to attempt to settle this matter out of court, they should do so directly with the complainant, i.e. Affinity Water, and not with some third party. (save for any court suggested mediation service)


    The normal situation is that a DCA purchases the Debt from a company and then pursues it 'at risk' albeit in the name of the company from whom they have bought the debt. Some cases the DCA loses money, others they get back more than they paid.

    They are claiming for the period 20/06/16 to 07/10/2019 i.e. over 3 years. So the bill hasn't been paid for that period and they believe to OP is responsible for that period.


    There are typically two methods a DCA works:

    Either:
    a) as you say the DCA buys the debt from the original creditor (usually at a discount) and then becomes the new creditor. The DCA then assumes the full responsibilty of recovery and the risk of being unsuccessful. Any payment made goes and remains with the DCA (as they are then the creditor)

    or

    b) the DCA is employed by the original creditor to act as collection agents.
    In that event, the original creditor remains the creditor. Any payments collected go to the original creditor.

    If (a) applied, then Affinity Water would have no valid claim against the OP, as Affinity Water would have been already paid.
    A vaild court claim would need to have been from UKSL as the claimant.

    On the basis of the information supplied by the OP, I would presume that (b) applies in this case.

    As I said, Affinity Water would not be expecting to be paid twice for the same debt, surely?
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