Surface water rebate 6+ years

Hi, has anyone had success claiming more than a 6 year rebate for being charged for surface water disposal?  We have recently received a 6 year rebate as we realised that we have a soakaway.  When I checked my paperwork from when we bought the house (from new), there was an Anglian Water letter stating that the developer would have to provide surface water drainage.
The OFWAT website says that if your water company knew then you are entitled to a full rebate.
Anglian Water has rejected my claim for the missing years despite providing them with a copy of the letter and the statement on the OFWAT website.  I’m sure this is a standard reply so I may wondering if it’s worth pursuing.
Thanks 

Comments

  • fryedslyce
    fryedslyce Posts: 180
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    Definitely worth pursuing, calculate what Anglian owe you and email a letter before action to their legal people at:  [email protected]
  • Cardew
    Cardew Posts: 29,034
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    Water companies rely on the legislation for Statute barred debt which restricts refunds to a 6 year period.
  • uknick
    uknick Posts: 1,610
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    Instead of starting a new thread I thought I'd piggyback on this one.

    I've just got a rebate on my water bill because my surface water doesn't go to the main sewer.  The rebate is dated from April 2022 going forward and is about £30 per year.

    As I've lived in my house since 1998 when I bought it new, I'm thinking of claiming back to then.  The water company tells me they won't entertain any back dated claim, not surprising.

    Any update to the previously given advice?  I'm not sure the 6 year rule is applicable in my case as I wasn't made aware of the surface water charge until I received my latest last water bill in July.  My argument might be along the lines of, how did I know there was an overcharge if the water company didn't show on their bills the surface water charge separate to the other standing charges for household water disposal.
  • Cardew
    Cardew Posts: 29,034
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    The company will state it isn't an 'overcharge'; it is you failing to claim relief from a charge. 


  • uknick
    uknick Posts: 1,610
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    Cardew said:
    The company will state it isn't an 'overcharge'; it is you failing to claim relief from a charge. 


    Thanks for the input.  Interesting approach from them, I didn't claim relief from a charge that I didn't know I was being charged.
  • Cardew
    Cardew Posts: 29,034
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    edited 19 September 2022 at 11:11AM
    Please don't think I support water companies or defend their complex charging system. However 'looking at this from the other end of the telescope' since 1998 you have not checked your charges were correct.

    The information on SWD relief is available in the small print - which few of us read. If it wasn't then you have a case


  • uknick
    uknick Posts: 1,610
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    Cardew said:
    Please don't think I support water companies or defend their complex charging system. However 'looking at this from the other end of the telescope' since 1998 you have not checked your charges were correct.

    The information on SWD relief is available in the small print - which few of us read. If it wasn't then you have a case


    And how would I be able to do that if all the charge for waste and standing water is shown as one total?  I've just checked my first e-bill from July 2019 and there is no mention of the surface water charge.  However, the July 2022 bill now clearly states about surface water and possibly claiming a rebate.  Hence why I'm raising this now.

    A good few years, if not all of them, of paper bills are in my loft.  I'll get these down and check before I go back to the water company. 
  • QrizB
    QrizB Posts: 13,663
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    edited 23 September 2022 at 3:16PM
    uknick said:
    Any update to the previously given advice?  I'm not sure the 6 year rule is applicable in my case as I wasn't made aware of the surface water charge until I received my latest last water bill in July.
    There is no update to the previous advice, the six year rule is still the law (although it's five years in Scotland).
    You can't pursue a debt older than that.
    A good few years, if not all of them, of paper bills are in my loft.  I'll get these down and check before I go back to the water company. 
    It might have been in the T&C-type leaflet that accompanied your bill from time to time. Do you still have those too?

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  • Cardew
    Cardew Posts: 29,034
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    It certainly should have been in the T & Cs and I would be very surprised if it wasn't. 

    The format of bills has changed several times over the years and it was normal for a single charge to be shown and it was only by looking at the T & C's that you could determine that there were two rates for this charge - a lower one for those with a soakaway. Incidentally the Water Act mandated that there would be a charge for SWD and the customer should claim relief; even though for the past 30+ years few houses would have got planning permission without a soakaway.

    There have been many threads on the stupidity of SWD charges - not least that every flat in a 40 storey block pays the same SWD charge!!

    Until recently water companies would only backdate relief from the charge to the beginning of the financial year - a stance supported by Ofwat. Their(valid) reasoning was that any rebate paid by the company is paid for by all customers by way of a levy on the following years bill. So in the case of the subject claim for backdating to 1998 it would mean that customers possibly not born in 1998 would be paying for a rebate that someone had failed to claim.
  • uknick
    uknick Posts: 1,610
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    Thanks for all the input.

    I'll have a look at the invoices I've got in the loft and see what they say.  I doubt there'll be any T&C brochures, but you never know I might have kept some.  I'll also look at my house deeds and other relevant papers when I bought the house.

    I just found this article, not sure how I missed it before I posted on here.

    Two MoneySavers reclaim £1,000+: How to check and challenge incorrect water bills if you use a soakaway or septic tank (moneysavingexpert.com)

    which cites at least one example of a claim going back more than 6 years.  But, as my annual charge and possible refund is nowhere near £1,300 I don't think I'll go as far as he did.   
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