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Water bill at old address registered in my name

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Water bill at old address registered in my name

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snodge182snodge182 Forumite
6 posts
First Post
Hi all, My parents and I moved into their new flat back in June 2019 and 2 months later I moved out to relocate for a job. Southern Water are contacting me for an unpaid bill at my parents flat as an account was never set up. Having called southern water (they are my supplier in my current address), they say as no one set up an account they looked on records to see who lived there and automatically set it up in my name.
My parents said they'll call to have it put in their name so thats not a problem, but Southern Water have said if its not done ASAP they'll put the unpaid bill on my credit record.

Can they just do that? I never set up the account and they literally pulled my name out of a hat or something, surely they can't pick someone at random and send defaults to their credit record?

Replies

  • CardewCardew Forumite
    28.2K posts
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    Welcome to the forum.
    Your name was not 'picked at random' they checked if you lived there(by council tax/ voting register??).  With utility bills the occupants are 'jointly and severally liable' and thus they can bill any occupant for the full amount: and send defaults if necessary.
     
  • snodge182snodge182 Forumite
    6 posts
    First Post
    But I can prove that I have been, and still am living elsewhere, as I have an account with them for water at my address which I live now. This surely means that asking me for the money is nonsense (they have billed it from October 2019 - April 2020) as I have an account with them at my current address since August 2019.

    In my head I feel that in principle they can't apply a default to my credit record as I have told them, and can even prove, that I am living somewhere else between the dates they have billed for.
  • snodge182snodge182 Forumite
    6 posts
    First Post
    Also when I say picked at random, there are others living there registered paying the council tax and I was the youngest occupant. If I start an account at a different address with them before the date they even billed for at my parent's, it means they have picked my name at random from the occupants living there and not taken any logic into consideration... Which is why I said "picked at random"
  • snodge182snodge182 Forumite
    6 posts
    First Post
    Cardew said:
    Welcome to the forum.
    Your name was not 'picked at random' they checked if you lived there(by council tax/ voting register??).  With utility bills the occupants are 'jointly and severally liable' and thus they can bill any occupant for the full amount: and send defaults if necessary.
     

    Thank you for welcoming me to the forum :smile:
    I hope it doesn't sound like I'm coming across as argumentative, I just don't like being defaulted for bills that I clearly and obviously am not responsible for.

    Its almost as if someone didn't like me then they could just put a water bill in my name and I have to actively pursue to get my name taken off the record before I get defaulted for it. I never told them I lived there and it was only a temporary accommodation similar to if I stayed in an airbnb.

    I told Southern Water that I don't live there and haven't lived there since I started an account with them for another address but they say its down to me to actively contact the tenants and get the account name changed, otherwise I get the default on my credit record.

    I feel its unfair, I have been trying my hardest to improve my credit record.
  • edited 24 June at 11:47AM
    JJ_EganJJ_Egan Forumite
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    edited 24 June at 11:47AM
    Your parents will set up the account asap and pay any back charges i hope .
    Better check gas electric council tax etc .
    Dont know if a payee is obliged to inform the water company they are leaving the property . I have to as i am on a meter .
  • snodge182snodge182 Forumite
    6 posts
    First Post
    JJ_Egan said:
    Your parents will set up the account asap and pay any back charges i hope .
    Better check gas electric council tax etc .
    Dont know if a payee is obliged to inform the water company they are leaving the property . I have to as i am on a meter .

    I hope they do, its stressful to be threatened with a default.
    I still don't understand how an account with charges can be created for someone automatically. Surely they can't just create accounts without contacting the people first? They seem to have my phone number but never contacted me regarding this.
  • JoannaAnnaJoannaAnna Forumite
    12 posts
    Part of the Furniture 10 Posts
    They will work with credit reference agencies to identify who lives at an address. The new occupants (I.e your parents) should have contacted them when they moved in.

     As they didnt, the water company needs to find someone to bill, hence an account in your name from some form of search. If their assumption isn't correct it's not unreasonable to ask you to prove you were living elsewhere with something like another property utility/council tax bill.

    Tbh your ire should be with your parents who ought to have sorted this last year. It's unlikely they'd not have had any occupier letters.

    If any mark does go on your credit file you can ask for it to be removed when your parents have set up their account for that period and the balance is in their name
  • freeshafreesha Forumite
    142 posts
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Name Dropper
    Your anger should indeed be at your parents. They should have registered with SW, but clearly didn't, so the water company had to do searches to find out who was living there.
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