Leaving owners lied about the water meter amount, 3 months later I get a bill. It's massive!

492800
492800 Posts: 218
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edited 21 October 2022 at 9:27AM in Water bills
We moved into our new flat at end of June this year. 
Previous owners had been there 6 years (it was a new build)
To be honest, we had a fractious relationship with the previous owner, which is relevant to this post.

When we moved in, the estate agent asked for the water meter readings so the previous owner could let Thames water know.

I took a photo of the meter and emailed it to the estate agent who would have forwarded it on.
I still have this email.

Three months later, we have our first bill which states the meter reading he gave.
He lied, massively.

Thames Water said that a final meter reading had been given at 427units on 23rd June. but my photo on moving day shows 840units.

This difference is going to cost well over a £1,000+

Speaking to Thames Water they said the previous owners, never gave meter readings, only estimates were used.
Except, the only meter reading they did give was when they moved out!
Which means they saw my reading in the photo, and then lied.

Thames Water were a bit 'slow' with understanding this. Kept saying is there a leak? Whereas I say that the readings were wrong and this is a legal issue now.
What can I do, will my email with a photo be enough evidence?
Has anyone else had this issue?
Will we be liable for all this?
It's all rather stressful

Any advice is appreciated. Thanks
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Comments

  • ariarnia
    ariarnia Posts: 4,225
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    edited 21 October 2022 at 9:06AM
    your email and photo should be enough evidence. the photo will have meta data proving when and where it was taken as will the email header. 

    if it isnt then you can come back with what they say (why they wont accept it) and we can help you with your response. 

    you gave the picture to the estate agent. the estate agent will have passed it on as a picture or in an email/message. and it might have gotten typed or read wrong. or maybe they didn't send it and the seller guessed based on previous estimates to close the account. or they got the numbers mixed up with the gas meter reading (have you checked the other readings or are they smart?). lots of ways a number could be wrong without it being attempted fraud. 
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  • I have never given my supplier (Yorkshire Water) a meter reading, ever. You got me worried now lol. I have just checked my last bill and it says.....

    "16 Aug 22 0 0 4 1 8 Meter serial number: *********** Read by us electronically"

    For some reason i am always on top of my gas and elec readings, but the water never crossed my mind!
  • I have never given my supplier (Yorkshire Water) a meter reading, ever. You got me worried now lol. I have just checked my last bill and it says.....

    "16 Aug 22 0 0 4 1 8 Meter serial number: *********** Read by us electronically"

    For some reason i am always on top of my gas and elec readings, but the water never crossed my mind!
    You might have a smart water meter, I have one (new build three years ago) and they installed them to replace the old meters on the road my mum lives on a few years back as well. I still submit mine monthly though as for some reason they will only use the smart data every six months. 
  • Bradden
    Bradden Posts: 1,051
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    It seems odd to me that you didn't give your meter reading to the water company directly. Whenever I've moved in the past I've contacted the utility companies to give them my details for billing and meter readings. Are you billed directly or through the estate agent?
  • Swipe
    Swipe Posts: 4,994
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    You should have submitted the reading for the day you moved in as soon as your water account was set up
  • Bradden
    Bradden Posts: 1,051
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    Swipe said:
    You should have submitted the reading for the day you moved in as soon as your water account was set up
    I think the issue is that the OP did submit meter readings on the day.. it's just that they supplied the estate agent and not the water company which I'd expect is the normal way things are done.
  • Misslayed
    Misslayed Posts: 13,980
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    I've had a meter for over 20 years and I've never submitted a reading, I assume a Wessex Water representative comes and lifts the cover set in the pavement and reads it every 6 months. I pay by DD, get a bill every 6 months and it's always +/- £10. Is it different in flats?
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  • Bradden
    Bradden Posts: 1,051
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    @Misslayed i think once you're set up with the company you are right,,, this is just establishing the starting reading for when you first move in,
  • molerat
    molerat Posts: 31,508
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    Misslayed said:
    I've had a meter for over 20 years and I've never submitted a reading, I assume a Wessex Water representative comes and lifts the cover set in the pavement and reads it every 6 months. I pay by DD, get a bill every 6 months and it's always +/- £10. Is it different in flats?
    Or they drive past in their van and it reads the meter automatically.  Some water cos have readers fitted in bin lorries which regularly pass by your meter.

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