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Please clarify LATE FEES applied at the moment by energy firms (ONLY pre-Warrant stage)

Coupon-mad
Coupon-mad Posts: 131,404 Forumite
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edited 27 September 2023 at 3:30PM in Ask An Expert
I was looking at articles from 2022 that gave me this overview about debt recovery fees charged by various energy companies, at default stage (I am specifically asking about PRE-ACTION stage only).

This is what I found:

EDF Energy can charge £10 for customers with an overdue balance of £50 or more that remains unpaid 28 days after the billing date. But they told a newspaper that financially vulnerable customers, and people with certain mental and physical disabilities, are exempt from late payments.

E.ON Energy also charges £10 for a late payment.

British Gas charges customers £13 for a late payment then another £7 for passing it to a debt collector (pre-action stage, not after a warrant).

Scottish Power charges £20 according to their t&cs.

Bulb, Octopus and M&S Energy all state in their terms and conditions that they charge £15 for the first missed payment (and potentially £20 for each missed payment after that). "But a spokesman for Octopus said the company has never charged customers fees or interest if they don't pay on time.  Octopus said: "Instead of charging customers, we employ a number of different ways to engage and help customers who miss payments, and work with them to put together payment plans or payment holidays that allow them to pay their bills on their terms."

Good Energy charges customers 3% interest on bills that aren't paid after 28 days, according to their t&cs.

A number of energy providers don't have any formal charges for customers who make late payments.

Shell Energy doesn't charge customers who go into arrears due to a missed payment.

Utilita Energy doesn't charge anything either.

So Energy said it "rarely imposes" its £20 missed payment fee and has not applied it since the start of the cost of living crisis: "So Energy always seeks to engage with the customer to help them manage their payments before we apply any charges."


My Questions:

Is the above summary correct and still the case?  I appreciate you may not be able to gather evidence from all of the energy firms, so an overview based on evidence from some, is good.

Is it true to say in practice, that late fees are avoided but average about £14?  

If I am wrong please state what the average late fee (pre-action) at reminder stage is, based on MSE data?

Please clarify whether I am right that this bit in bold below (i.e. charging a huge add-on of 31%) is ONLY way down the line after getting a Magistrates Court Warrant and for final stage: sending 'bailiffs' round.  Exactly what stage do they mean here by the bit in bold?

"EON charges a £10 late payment fee, a £20 debt collection fee, or take 31% of the debt balance to cover the administration cost of a debt collection agency if this stage is reached."


When answering and using the phrase 'debt recovery' or 'debt collection' agency, please be clear whether you mean debt collection (pre-action/warrant), i.e. pre-legal action 'reminder' stages, or whether you mean what used to be called 'bailiffs' pursuing a warrant (actual debt enforcement/visits after it's been through court) because this is the distinction I am trying to clarify.  

It is as clear as mud from E.ON there, because the phrase 'debt collection' is used for both stages.


Many thanks!

CM

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