Emails from Barrett Smith & Brown on behalf of Together Energy

Hi

Keep receiving emails from Barret Smith & Brown, on behalf of together Energy, regarding an alleged outstanding amount owed on a previous account and have now received the following in an email:

"We have been instructed by the administrators to collect any outstanding debt relating to Together Energy (in administration).

Despite our attempts to resolve this matter a payment is yet to be received from you. This is the final opportunity to dispute the account. If you fail to provide payment, it will result in doorstep agents and a court order which will result in property removal.

We understand that no formal dispute has been raised in relation to the outstanding sums. Accordingly, we hereby put you to notice that unless the sum of £287.24 is received within 3 days of the date of this letter we will issue doorstep agents and obtain a court order against you without further recourse. If this course of action becomes necessary, you will become liable for further interest, costs in addition to the principal debt and any court fees that may incur."

It then goes on to provide payment options, account details for me to make payment etc and states: 

"Should this matter not be resolved within 3 days of the date of this notice, we hereby advise you that further action will be taken. A court order can be obtained, and doorstep agents will visit the property and remove your possessions."

Not sure what constitutes a "formal dispute" but, having received a number of emails from them since June of this year, I have queried this and tried to ask how this has occurred, as the last communication with Together was me sending final payment for the account (having moved to another provider) back in October 2020.

As a bit of background, I called Together at the time, to give meter readings / settle the account and, having given the meter readings, was told the outstanding balance was £121.85. I queried this (as it sounded low) but was then cut off. Managed to call back and got though to the revenue team and was told the outstanding amount was £884.63! Person I spoke to said it didn’t sound correct either, so they would investigate but, I paid this amount anyway, to settle and it was confirmed the objection would be lifted.

There was no further communication, from Together, until my subsequent complaint via the ombudsman (because of the miscommunication etc) was resolved in March 2021, when I received a letter of apology as well as a goodwill amount (will need to check but it was £150 I think?).

BSB have sent me a "statement" of the account showing my payment of £884.63 and the subsequent amount owed of c.£137 (am guessing the £287 includes their fee?) up to the end of November 2020 but, how do I tell if the statement is genuine (call me sceptical but, it was sent after I told them I had paid the £884 in October 2020 and doesn't look the same as previous statements - although these were downloaded from my online account?).

As such, I am a little concerned to now receive a bill – especially as they wouldn’t allow the original transfer request, until I had settled the account – and am wondering why they did not communicate this debt with me sooner?

A quick online search tells me that the insolvency practitioner for Together Energy is FRP Advisory. There is no mention of BSB anywhere on the gov.uk or Ofgem website.

Despite my repeated requests, BSB have not been able to explain the reason for the debt accruing from a company I ceased using almost 3 years ago or, if the debt is legitimate, why I was not contacted sooner?

Not trying to be difficult but, under the circumstances, am more than a little concerned to receive a request for additional payments.

Are BSB a legitimate company? 

Sorry for the waffle but hope someone out there can assist!

«13

Comments

  • It's not unusual for debts to be bought and then the company to 'fish' for cash with dubious evidence. 

    Couple of choices:

    1. ignore it (until/unless they send you a letter rather than an email it's not really something you need to worry about); 

    2. send them the 'prove it letter' to 'formally' dispute the debt and say that unless they can prove you owe the money any further contact will be considered harassment; 

    2b. include the judgement from the ombudsman case - which should confirm what you owed (nothing). 

    https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/discussion/2607247/letter-when-you-know-nothing-about-about-the-debt-aka-prove-it-letter
    I'm not an early bird or a night owl; I’m some form of permanently exhausted pigeon.
  • It's not unusual for debts to be bought and then the company to 'fish' for cash with dubious evidence. 

    Couple of choices:

    1. ignore it (until/unless they send you a letter rather than an email it's not really something you need to worry about); 

    2. send them the 'prove it letter' to 'formally' dispute the debt and say that unless they can prove you owe the money any further contact will be considered harassment; 

    2b. include the judgement from the ombudsman case - which should confirm what you owed (nothing). 

    https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/discussion/2607247/letter-when-you-know-nothing-about-about-the-debt-aka-prove-it-letter
    Thank you, have drafted the letter and will send recorded delivery today! 
  • FreeBear
    FreeBear Posts: 14,225
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper Photogenic
    Forumite
    edited 3 November 2023 at 5:31PM
    Everest88 said: Keep receiving emails from Barret Smith & Brown, on behalf of together Energy, regarding an alleged outstanding amount owed on a previous account and have now received the following in an email:

    "We have been instructed by the administrators to collect any outstanding debt relating to Together Energy (in administration).

    Despite our attempts to resolve this matter a payment is yet to be received from you. This is the final opportunity to dispute the account. If you fail to provide payment, it will may result in doorstep agents and a court order which will might result in property removal IF we go to court and you do not defend."

    Are BSB a legitimate company?
    BSB are a registered company authorised by the FCA to undertake debt collection activities. Their business practices could be regarded as shady or even immoral by some - Certainly, their threats of doorstep agents and court orders need editing (fixed it for them). If it ever does get to court, you put in a defence, and then they have to prove that the amount is owed. Should a judge decide in their favour and you refuse to pay, then bailiffs could be instructed to sieze your property..
    If BSB can not demonstrate that there is a genuine debt beyond am entry on a spreadsheet to you, today, how are they going to convince a judge....
    Her courage will change the world.

    Treasure the moments that you have. Savour them for as long as you can for they will never come back again.
  • Everest88
    Everest88 Posts: 8
    First Post
    Forumite
    edited 21 December 2023 at 2:19PM
    Further to previous, sent the following by letter as advised:

    "I am writing in response to your email, dated 02/11/2023, reference number (Removed by Forum Team) (A copy is enclosed).

    As per my many previous communications with your colleague ((Removed by Forum Team)), I have no knowledge of any such debt being owed to Together Energy and paid the final bill back in October 2020.

    If you do not stop collection activity whilst investigating my dispute, you are breaking FCA rules and guidance. In addition, ignoring claims that accounts are in dispute and continuing to make unjustified demands for payment is considered harassment.

    Please provide written evidence (not email) of my liability for the alleged debt, or send me written confirmation (not email), that this matter is now closed.

    I look forward to hearing from you."

    BSB have now responded (by email) as follows:

    "Good Morning, 

    We  have received your letter. Please find attached your final bill. We are a paperless company so we can only email.

    If the final bill has been paid please send evidence and we will get back to you as soon as possible." 

    The 'final bill' which shows my payment of £884.63 (paid on 29/10/2020) states "Your last bill ended on 29 Oct 2020. This bill is up to and including 29 Nov 2020"The subsequent amount showing as owed is £137 (am guessing the £287 they originally stated includes their fee?) but, again, how do I tell if the statement is genuine - the 'final bill' was sent after I told them I had paid the £884 on 29 October 2020?

    If this is normal, and I do owe, happy to pay (dates seem to tie in with subsequent suppliers dates) but, if it is legitimate a) why was this is the first I have heard of it and b) why would they have not used (or offer to use) the subsequent £150 goodwill payment (following complaint via ombudsman) from March 2021 to settle?

    Or am i just being too sceptical?!

    Thanks in advance.
  • Everest88
    Everest88 Posts: 8
    First Post
    Forumite
    edited 21 December 2023 at 2:19PM
    Reposting in the hope someone can offer guidance...

    Further to previous, sent the following by letter as advised:

    "I am writing in response to your email, dated 02/11/2023, reference number (Removed by Forum Team) (A copy is enclosed).

    As per my many previous communications with your colleague ((Removed by Forum Team)), I have no knowledge of any such debt being owed to Together Energy and paid the final bill back in October 2020.

    If you do not stop collection activity whilst investigating my dispute, you are breaking FCA rules and guidance. In addition, ignoring claims that accounts are in dispute and continuing to make unjustified demands for payment is considered harassment.

    Please provide written evidence (not email) of my liability for the alleged debt, or send me written confirmation (not email), that this matter is now closed.

    I look forward to hearing from you."

    BSB have now responded (by email) as follows:

    "Good Morning, 

    We  have received your letter. Please find attached your final bill. We are a paperless company so we can only email.

    If the final bill has been paid please send evidence and we will get back to you as soon as possible." 

    The 'final bill' which shows my payment of £884.63 (paid on 29/10/2020) states "Your last bill ended on 29 Oct 2020. This bill is up to and including 29 Nov 2020" . The subsequent amount showing as owed is £137 (am guessing the £287 they originally stated includes their fee?) but, again, how do I tell if the statement is genuine - the 'final bill' was sent after I told them I had paid the £884 on 29 October 2020?

    If this is normal, and I do owe, happy to pay (dates seem to tie in with subsequent suppliers dates) but, if it is legitimate a) why was this is the first I have heard of it and b) why would they have not used (or offer to use) the subsequent £150 goodwill payment (following complaint via ombudsman) from March 2021 to settle?

    Or am i just being too sceptical?!

    Thanks in advance.

  • FreeBear
    FreeBear Posts: 14,225
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper Photogenic
    Forumite
    Everest88 said: We  have received your letter. Please find attached your final bill. We are a paperless company so we can only email.

    If the final bill has been paid please send evidence and we will get back to you as soon as possible."

    It is for them to prove that the "debt" is outstanding, not for you to show that it has been paid. Should this ever go to court, BSB will have to provide paper based evidence (a judge is going to take umbrage at being told to print out paperwork)..
    If BSB really are as paperless as they claim, I'd send them a pack of crayons and a colouring in book to practice with.
    Her courage will change the world.

    Treasure the moments that you have. Savour them for as long as you can for they will never come back again.
  • Ignite
    Ignite Posts: 352
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Forumite
    It does occur to me that they are trying to charge you for after you left the company.  You state that you left Together in October, and you paid the bill to the end of October.  Why are they trying to bill you for November?  You were not a customer then.
  • brewerdave
    brewerdave Posts: 8,479
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post
    Forumite
    There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of ex T.E customers who have been sent "demands" by BSB. Very few, if any, appear to have included any form of proper final bill ie showing dates, meter readings etc.
    Many people have reported that their DD payments are not shown correctly, and many of the demands are for the exact amount of the DD previously set up ,for periods after the customer left T.E!
    There is a Facebook group set up to support ex customers with much good advice. I'm not aware of anyone being "taken to Court" in pursuit of these supposed debts. 
  • Everest88
    Everest88 Posts: 8
    First Post
    Forumite
    edited 2 February at 12:54PM
    Further to previous, have now received the following from BSB (addressed to me at my home address) via email:

    29th January 2024

    Account:  (Removed by Forum Team)

    Balance: £287.24

    Dear Accounts Payable,

    Despite a number of attempts to contact you, your Together Energy Limited (in administration) account remains unpaid.

    Barratt Smith & Brown have instructed their legal partners to proceed with legal action and will now be seeking a court order in the form of a County Court Judgement (“CCJ”) which will allow BSB to obtain a Writ of Control and instruct enforcement agents to seize goods to the value of the outstanding debt and any associated fees and interest incurred in recovering these monies.

    A County Court Judgement may remain on your credit file for 6 years and significantly affect your credit score.  Further information on the CCJ process can be found at: link for gov.uk 

    If you cannot pay the full balance or require any additional support relating to the above process, please contact BSB on: 0116 296 1438 or [email protected]

    Payments can also be made at: link removed please put the account number (found at the top of this correspondence in the reference field).

    It is important that you correspond with BSB if you are in financial difficulties.  Alternatively you can request independent debt advice, support can be found at: stepchange link

    Regards,

    FileMichael Jackson signaturesvg - Wikipedia

    Pre-Legal Collections Team

    Barratt Smith & Brown

    E: [email protected]

    T: +44 (0) 116 296 1438

    W: bsb website link

    NB: for the avoidance of doubt this communication has been sent to your registered email AND home address.  Please do not ignore this communication.

    Nothing received by post (as of 02/02/2024) but, if this is legitimate, obviously do not want to ignore it.

    Can they do this?

    Thanks in advance.
  • QrizB
    QrizB Posts: 13,624
    First Post First Anniversary Photogenic Name Dropper
    Forumite
    Does it say something like "letter before action" or "letter before claim" on it?
    If not, I think you can still ignore it.
    And are they really using Michael Jackson's signature from Wikipedia?
    N. Hampshire, he/him. Octopus Go elec & Tracker gas / Shell BB / Lyca mobi. Ripple Kirk Hill member.
    2.72kWp PV facing SSW installed Jan 2012. 11 x 247w panels, 3.6kw inverter. 30MWh generated, long-term average 2.6 Os.
    Ofgem cap table, Ofgem cap explainer. Economy 7 cap explainer. Gas vs E7 vs peak elec heating costs.
Meet your Ambassadors

Categories

  • All Categories
  • 341.4K Banking & Borrowing
  • 249.6K Reduce Debt & Boost Income
  • 449.1K Spending & Discounts
  • 233.7K Work, Benefits & Business
  • 605.8K Mortgages, Homes & Bills
  • 172.3K Life & Family
  • 246.6K Travel & Transport
  • 1.5M Hobbies & Leisure
  • 15.8K Discuss & Feedback
  • 15.1K Coronavirus Support Boards