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    • Littlesth0b0
    • By Littlesth0b0 21st Oct 19, 3:01 PM
    • 4Posts
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    Littlesth0b0
    British Gas chasing 3 year old bill
    • #1
    • 21st Oct 19, 3:01 PM
    British Gas chasing 3 year old bill 21st Oct 19 at 3:01 PM
    Hey folks, I've had a browse before registering but can't seem to find an answer, but it's more advice i'm looking for and you lot are full of it so I'm really hoping you can help me out.

    I moved out of my previous property ~three years ago on less than happy terms with my landlord and since then have found out that a fair bit of my post has probably been disposed of. I was under the impression that I'd settled all of my bills but a few weeks ago I received an email from a Lucas Credit agency claiming I owed them 400 for a British Gas bill. I replied, respectfully explaining the situation and that I would pursue this with BG.

    Trawled my emails to find not one message from BG since I moved out, checked my credit report, nothing. Contacted BG's customer helpline who confirmed, no record of any debt. I then received an email from them claiming I DID owe the money, call them on this number. Called them, nope - nothing on their system.

    Few more days pass and I start getting SMS messages from Capital Resolve for the same bill. I contacted BG again - no sign of the debt on their system still so they'll escalate a complaint. Received an email from them saying, yep, you owe us money.

    As this was the first I'd heard of it in three years (no-one had been in touch and I have confirmed they have my same email and telephone number) and I had no business with either Lucas or Capital Resolve, I would pay Britsh Gas the outstanding balance but they are refusing and telling me I have to deal with the debt collection agency.

    Is this fair? They claim they sent everything they were obliged to yet they didn't email or call me when I didn't respond to the letters they (allegedly) sent to my old address and the first time that I contacted THEM to offer to pay it they are refusing to discuss it, explain why it's not showing on half of their systems, or on my credit report or why it's taken three years to bring up.

    Any advice very much appreciated - I can't get a straight answer from them and I've spent the last four years working really hard to improve my credit score after a nasty DRO, so this is a real kick to the landing gear.

    What's my best option here? Thanks in advance.
Page 1
    • thorganby
    • By thorganby 21st Oct 19, 4:49 PM
    • 363 Posts
    • 302 Thanks
    thorganby
    • #2
    • 21st Oct 19, 4:49 PM
    • #2
    • 21st Oct 19, 4:49 PM
    Some may disagree but to me your whole post reads like you thought that you had got away without paying the final bill but they have now caught up with you and this has annoyed you.

    You should have given them a final meter reading/s and that would have produced a final bill after a few weeks, did you?

    Simply reading your bills would have revealed that you had not been paying enough for what you were actually using, hence the debt.

    If you never received a final bill because you left the property and did not pay the final bill then why should they not put your debt in the hands of a debt collector?

    Now that this has caught up with you why do you think that BG will be interested because they have passed this debt to a debt collection agency, then they have washed their hands of you and you now need to deal with the agency.

    It was your responsibility to pay for what you had used and "being under the impression that you'd settled all of your bills" is simply not enough.

    My advice is learn from your mistake, as not paying what you owe will not help your credit score!
    • Streaky Bacon
    • By Streaky Bacon 22nd Oct 19, 3:58 AM
    • 164 Posts
    • 85 Thanks
    Streaky Bacon
    • #3
    • 22nd Oct 19, 3:58 AM
    • #3
    • 22nd Oct 19, 3:58 AM
    You've contacted BG asking for details of the debt and it seems that their response have been sketchy, at best. It doesn't even sound like they, or the debt collector, have sent a copy of the bill.

    The first thing to do is to get as much information as you can about the debt, not least of all a copy of the bill. The best way may be to send a prove it letter to the debt collector.

    https://debtcamel.co.uk/prove-it/

    You may also want to send a subject access request to BG

    https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/advice/how-do-i-make-a-subject-access-request
    • Littlesth0b0
    • By Littlesth0b0 23rd Oct 19, 3:26 PM
    • 4 Posts
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    Littlesth0b0
    • #4
    • 23rd Oct 19, 3:26 PM
    • #4
    • 23rd Oct 19, 3:26 PM
    Thanks for your replies both, much appreciated.

    The move from the old place was chaos, very last minute and, as far as I was aware, the direct debit had been setup and was doing it's job as per the final bill. I will admit that I suck at keeping track of my accounts but have been doing a better job of that, hence the reason I was so cheesed off to find this out so far down the road.

    Yes, I should've been more attentive but at the time I was all over the shop trying to find a new place to live. I didn't swerve the bill intentionally and while some may read it as that I can confidently say that coming off the back of a DRO several years prior I was doing everything possible to ensure my bills were paid and no debts accrued. Had they emailed me, phoned me or attempted to contact me in any way other than a selection of reminders that they say they sent but I never received (I can only assume my old landlord was disposing of the post in some way, which I'm taking up as a separate matter) then I would've settled this long ago.

    The moment I was made aware of the outstanding amount I began chasing up how to settle it. BG claim to have sent three letters over the period of a few weeks after that final bill then didn't try to contact me anymore. They've provided .pdf's of the final bill and of the reminder letters but still insist I pay the debt agency, who are still sending me SMS to contact them. I've offered to set up a standing order to pay it off with them but they are refusing to discuss it.

    The facts are that they issued a final bill, knew I was leaving that house, yet chose to only send more letters to the same address when they had ample means to contact me otherwise when no reply came. Nothing appears on my credit report, no call to their customer service line shows a debt exists.
    Three years down the line, without a single reminder or request in that time, the first I hear of it is from a debt collection agency - the one thing I have worked my bits off to avoid having any business with.

    Considering what's happened I would be happy to hold my hands up and pay this bill but initially I wonder why it's taken so long, why their first action on this outstanding account was to refer it to an agency rather than contact me and why they are now refusing to have any business with me despite me offering them the money at the first instance of hearing it was allegedly owed. I've tried to be as accommodating as possible and asked just one simple request - that I pay them, not these agencies, and they won't budge one inch or acknowledge the fact that they've made practically zero effort to inform me of the debt, or collect, for three years.
    • thorganby
    • By thorganby 24th Oct 19, 8:57 AM
    • 363 Posts
    • 302 Thanks
    thorganby
    • #5
    • 24th Oct 19, 8:57 AM
    • #5
    • 24th Oct 19, 8:57 AM
    To summarise, after leaving the property you failed to contact BG to settle your account, which could have been in credit or debit paying by DD.

    Unfortunately you still don't accept that this was basically all your fault.

    You could have called, emailed or simply logged into your account online for the final bill, however you expected BG to try to track you down.

    Now that the debt collector has found you, the outstanding debt must be paid to them and you can no longer pay off the debt to BG in installments.

    This really does not sound like someone who was doing everything possible to ensure bills were paid and no debts accrued and was working hard to improve their credit score!
    • Humdinger1
    • By Humdinger1 24th Oct 19, 10:18 AM
    • 124 Posts
    • 423 Thanks
    Humdinger1
    • #6
    • 24th Oct 19, 10:18 AM
    • #6
    • 24th Oct 19, 10:18 AM
    Littles

    I'm not 100% sure of the detail or whether it can help in this situation, but isn't there a law that prevents back billing of energy beyond 12 months in some circs? I can see how this has arisen and you do seem to be doing everything poss to clear it up. Good luck and keep us posted Humdinger
    • D_M_E
    • By D_M_E 24th Oct 19, 5:48 PM
    • 2,812 Posts
    • 72,994 Thanks
    D_M_E
    • #7
    • 24th Oct 19, 5:48 PM
    • #7
    • 24th Oct 19, 5:48 PM
    When you eventually get a breakdown of what the bill is for - you did ask for a detailed bill giving meter readings, tariff applied, dates for the billing period - you need to carefully check that they are billing you up until the day you moved out and not for a period which includes weeks or months after you moved.

    Also make sure that any DD's show on the account - since it's for a period over 3 years ago, make sure you have also cancelled any DD in BG's favour, and make sure that you have not allowed BG to take payments in those 3 years.
    • matelodave
    • By matelodave 24th Oct 19, 7:44 PM
    • 4,733 Posts
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    matelodave
    • #8
    • 24th Oct 19, 7:44 PM
    • #8
    • 24th Oct 19, 7:44 PM
    Littles

    I'm not 100% sure of the detail or whether it can help in this situation, but isn't there a law that prevents back billing of energy beyond 12 months in some circs? I can see how this has arisen and you do seem to be doing everything poss to clear it up. Good luck and keep us posted Humdinger
    Originally posted by Humdinger1
    The backbilling rules doesn't apply when a bill has been issued but hasn't been paid - they've got six years to recover it.
    Never under estimate the power of stupid people in large numbers
    • G_M
    • By G_M 27th Oct 19, 12:03 PM
    • 50,195 Posts
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    G_M
    • #9
    • 27th Oct 19, 12:03 PM
    • #9
    • 27th Oct 19, 12:03 PM
    Either there is an outstanding amount on the bill,or it was fully paid when you left. That is the frst thing to establish, so as others have said, get copies of the final bill (or two).


    If you establish that yes, there is an outstanding amount owed (which may be considerably less than the 400, as legal and admin fees will be added), then you willprobably need topay it.


    Did you write to BG giving them your new address? If not, they will naturally have sent the payment demands to your old address. They have no obligation to ring you or email you to ask why you are not responding to letters. Provided they have demanded the money at the address they hold for you, you will have to pay the bill. And as they have now passed it to debt collecters, you will have to pay those costs too.


    The best you can hope for, then, is either


    1) that your investigation shows there was no outstanding bill to pay after all, or
    2) that BG accept your mitigating circumstaces, take pity, and make a 'goodwill gesture' to eiter write off the whole amount, or more likely write off the debt collecter's costs provided you pay the bill
    • Littlesth0b0
    • By Littlesth0b0 29th Oct 19, 12:19 AM
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    Littlesth0b0
    Again, thanks for your replies - some more positive in their opinion of me than others, but all perspectives appreciated. If i should be thanking people and i'm not forgive me, I never like overdoing the karma on forums i'm new too in case i upset the economy.


    I tried the customer service line again, the guy was really helpful and spent ages checking everything he had access too, third person I'd spoken to who confirmed there was no debt, it was likely in error, lodge a complaint and all i've had from that is that email with the final bill and three letters as pdfs, and one more replying to my offer to settle it basically saying "No, and that's case closed". They made it pretty clear there was no goodwill on offer here.


    So now I have some debt agency acting like this has to be considered the most urgent thing in my life, when British Gas didn't give a stuff for three years.


    Made one more offer to pay them but, man, I'll do anything to not have to deal with a debt agency again. I get that they can be really reasonable and everything but it's something I considered behind me and I was back on track with a half decent credit score and a few plans to aim for but even the few hundred they want is going to be less a pill to swallow and more a suppository right now.


    Streaky Bacon - I'll have a look at that, much appreciated.



    Thanks again people, sometimes just having a place to yell at helps. Hugs n junk for everyone, even grouchy face up there.
    • thorganby
    • By thorganby 29th Oct 19, 11:08 AM
    • 363 Posts
    • 302 Thanks
    thorganby
    Again, thanks for your replies - some more positive in their opinion of me than others, but all perspectives appreciated. If i should be thanking people and i'm not forgive me, I never like overdoing the karma on forums i'm new too in case i upset the economy.


    I tried the customer service line again, the guy was really helpful and spent ages checking everything he had access too, third person I'd spoken to who confirmed there was no debt, it was likely in error, lodge a complaint and all i've had from that is that email with the final bill and three letters as pdfs, and one more replying to my offer to settle it basically saying "No, and that's case closed". They made it pretty clear there was no goodwill on offer here.


    So now I have some debt agency acting like this has to be considered the most urgent thing in my life, when British Gas didn't give a stuff for three years.


    Made one more offer to pay them but, man, I'll do anything to not have to deal with a debt agency again. I get that they can be really reasonable and everything but it's something I considered behind me and I was back on track with a half decent credit score and a few plans to aim for but even the few hundred they want is going to be less a pill to swallow and more a suppository right now.


    Streaky Bacon - I'll have a look at that, much appreciated.



    Thanks again people, sometimes just having a place to yell at helps. Hugs n junk for everyone, even grouchy face up there.
    Originally posted by Littlesth0b0
    Strange that you mention Karma, because according to the theory of Karma, what happens to a person, happens because they caused it with their actions.

    BG provided your final bill when you eventually requested it, which you obviously agree is correct because you state that you have now offered to settle this bill with BG.

    Why should BG give you any goodwill when you have cost them money engaging the services of a debt collection agency to track you down to recover this debt.

    You had the opportunity to settle your account three years ago but chose not to, resulting in your debt being sold on and therefore you no longer owe BG anything, as you have correctly been informed.

    Seriously you really believe that "BG didn't give a stuff for three years", no that was you!

    Yell all you like but it is your naive attitude that needs to change and you will need to be more responsible if you ever want to improve your credit score.
    • t0rt0ise
    • By t0rt0ise 29th Oct 19, 3:01 PM
    • 3,293 Posts
    • 2,094 Thanks
    t0rt0ise
    You don't seem to understand that when BG have sold the debt to another company, to the debt collector, that they can no longer deal with you. The debt for them no longer exists for they have sold it. It will be somewhere still on their system but probably in an archive section.

    So you deal with the debt collector. It sounds as though you didn't leave the property properly as far as bills go so now you have to correct things. You may be able to make a deal with the debt company and offer to pay a smaller sum at once in full and final settlement. If you pay in installments they will be less likely to make a deal.
    • Littlesth0b0
    • By Littlesth0b0 4th Nov 19, 2:43 PM
    • 4 Posts
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    Littlesth0b0
    Ok, clearly the two posts above me are from spotlessly attentive individuals who aren't able to comprehend the position of someone who finds themselves in my particular circumstances and have a really negative view on people. Go for it, my life goes in a more positive direction where I seek answers, solutions and advice, not responses from people telling me I messed up repeatedly and be talked down to without any help whatsoever.

    I'm not going to argue with you guys on t'interweb, I appreciate the advice given in good faith by others but this obsession with my own personal c0ckups in life over my current financial situation is a bit weird, if i'm honest.

    British Gas make mistakes all the time and I wanted to be sure it wasn't a scam. They didn't contact me, I contacted them.

    They say "no debt", so I move on.

    ANOTHER debt agency gets in touch - not BG to correct their mistake.

    I contact them again, NO DEBT.

    An email from BG says "Yes debt! Call us!" So I do and they say? NO DEBT!!!

    So, aside from my continued attempts to work out what on earth is going on, them flip flopping between every communication, my insistence on every call that, should it turn out that I do owe them money that I want to pay it off, and all of this after three years of no contact and them confirming they didn't even TRY and get in touch after those initial letters... yeah, i'm the rotter here, fighting this white knight of a company, for sure! :P Jokers.

    If you are just going to rip on me for having an unfortunate period in my life where I had to struggle to stop myself ending up homeless or in a dodgy mess personally, how about you either lean off, eh? Doing my best here, been a struggle, sorry i'm not as clued up as you.

    edit: Apologies, Tortoise, the reply above yours put me on a grump, thanks for the advice (y)
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