Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

Search
  • FIRST POST
    • Bishwa
    • By Bishwa 4th Sep 18, 10:38 PM
    • 10Posts
    • 2Thanks
    Bishwa
    National Gas wants me to pay previous owner's outstanding Bill!!
    • #1
    • 4th Sep 18, 10:38 PM
    National Gas wants me to pay previous owner's outstanding Bill!! 4th Sep 18 at 10:38 PM
    Hello,

    I am in search of advise on this matter. After serving 14 years in the British Army, I decided to start a business venture. I bought a restaurant on 09 Aug 18. The gas meter was removed on 23 Jul 18 due to the unpaid bills of the previous owners. The sales process took about 3 months due to the solicitors going on Holiday and I told previous owners to sort out the problem with the National Gas. I submitted the License to Assign, Rent Deposit Deed, Sales Contract Document, solicitor's lawyer and the application for the land registry to inform them that I am the new owner and the new occupier. National Gas did not accept me as a new occupier. They want to see my name on the Land Registry. I told them it is on the process and it can take some time. They did not accept that. The previous owners did not register on the Land register because they told my solicitors they forgot about it so now they are registering as well and is delaying the process. The previous owners stopped trading around April/May as they had different commitments and decided to sell the restaurant. I asked them If I could practice and learn the business before the sales completion to see the actual potential of the business. For training and learning purposes I open the restaurant on 25 Jun 18 with the permission of the previous. On 04 Jul 18 I inform all the utility companies that I am on the process of buying this restaurant and to start my new account. All utility companies started my account from 06 Jun 18 apart from the National Gas. On 23 Jul 18, National Gas removes the gas meter. On 26 Jul 18, I received a letter of rejection on a letter dates on 20 Jul 18 (must be a very slow postman).

    I also suspect an unlawful entry to the premises because the Gas company removed the Gas meter on 23 Jul 18 when the restaurant was closed. They did not send any notice 24 hours prior to the disconnection. They left a letter but did not mention anything about Warrant from the Magistrates Court. Maybe that letter was the warrant which I am not sure but you can have a look as I have attached it. When I asked the National Gas to see if there was any warrant then they say that they cannot disclose the information as I am not the account holder. As current owner whose business has been affected by this incident, I believe I might have a little bit of right to access the information.

    My problem here is that my Restaurant Business is closed because we are not able to cook. I do not have any cash flow as this is my full time job and dream. I explained to them I have to pay other expenses like Business Rent, it's Utility Bills, staff for waiting, my own personal bills and mortgage. If I don't start trading I am going lose a lot of money. I even said that I will pay from 06 Jun 18 (that was when my company was formed) plus the re-connection fees as a good will gesture to the previous owner and the National Gas. But National Gas still wants me to pay all the outstanding bill. When I ask them how much is the outstanding balance and they told me they can't tell me as I am not the account holder. I am not their consumer and do not fall under any contract with them but due to the National Gas my business is closed down temporarily.

    I am new in the Business world but I do know some rights. I do not believe that I should be forced to pay previous owner's bill so I have said thatI am not going to pay a penny. I will donate that money to a charity but not to a bully Company.

    Are there any rules that states that I am responsible to pay for the outstanding balance of the previous which the National gas could not be bothered to recover.

    I have made a complaint. Spoke to Citizen Advice and Energy Ombudsman (they say I have to wait 8 weeks). I am spending money on different lawyer's legal advise fees about this case. Each day I am losing money!!

    Any suggestion will be a great help for me.
Page 1
    • Quentin
    • By Quentin 4th Sep 18, 10:46 PM
    • 37,914 Posts
    • 22,023 Thanks
    Quentin
    • #2
    • 4th Sep 18, 10:46 PM
    • #2
    • 4th Sep 18, 10:46 PM
    As you are paying a lawyer then that is the best person to put your questions to rather than seeking advice/opinions here
    • Bishwa
    • By Bishwa 4th Sep 18, 10:54 PM
    • 10 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    Bishwa
    • #3
    • 4th Sep 18, 10:54 PM
    • #3
    • 4th Sep 18, 10:54 PM
    Yes I have paid lawyers. They are telling me the basic legal advice which I already knew why reading the rules and regulations. My post is to get advise from anyone who has knowledge on this matter. They don't have be a lawyer. Some of them might have been through this kind of situations. I took in what the lawyers said to me and I will take in what ever advise I can get from anyone. You never know when you will get the valuable knowledge you can get from a stranger sometimes.
    • Houbara
    • By Houbara 5th Sep 18, 8:23 AM
    • 3,988 Posts
    • 2,594 Thanks
    Houbara
    • #4
    • 5th Sep 18, 8:23 AM
    • #4
    • 5th Sep 18, 8:23 AM
    Just to be clear which business supplier you are dealing with
    .Are you in dispute with National Gas and Power ltd ?
    If this is the supplier then it has had its licence to supply revoked last July by OFGEM.
    You are not responsible for paying the former owners debts or energy bills but of course suppliers need to know that you have no connection at all with the former owner. You need to do everything possible to help with this .Any delay in providing information then the suppliers will suspect that the new owner is connected to the debtor.
    Gas suppliers will have rights of entry which does not need 24 hours notice if there is a suspected gas leak or dangerous gas meter.That would cover any gas meters in the property which has been tampered with to provide free or reduced price gas .Possibly this is the situation where the 24 hrs notice to disconnect was nt observed.
    I have some experience in my job where if I found a dangerous/tampered meter than the warrant is obtained quickly and Revenue Protection , most probably British Gas ., just go in as fast as possible with a locksmith if the premises are unoccupied. You need to be clear of the real reasons why the meter was removed in the first place..
    I am afraid that many takeaways and restaurants do get involved in gas and electric theft and they are the main target for Revenue Protection Units
    Last edited by Houbara; 05-09-2018 at 9:03 AM.
    • Bishwa
    • By Bishwa 5th Sep 18, 3:56 PM
    • 10 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    Bishwa
    • #5
    • 5th Sep 18, 3:56 PM
    • #5
    • 5th Sep 18, 3:56 PM
    It is not the National Gas and Power Ltd. It is Nation Gas based in London. The Gas meter was removed due to the previous occupier's unpaid bills.
    Scenario of the Situation:
    A = Me the new owner
    B= The National Gas
    C= The previous owner who left without paying gas bills

    Now the B wants A to pay for C's outstanding bill.

    Is there any rule in Gas Act 1986 or human rights or any legislation that states that A is the offender and should pay the outstanding bills of C?
    Last edited by Bishwa; 06-09-2018 at 11:55 PM. Reason: used the wrong Letter before that gave a different meaning
    • molerat
    • By molerat 5th Sep 18, 4:08 PM
    • 19,574 Posts
    • 13,772 Thanks
    molerat
    • #6
    • 5th Sep 18, 4:08 PM
    • #6
    • 5th Sep 18, 4:08 PM
    In a commercial contract it all depends on what A actually purchased from C and what legal entity both A and C are. That is what you pay lawyers for.
    https://www.helpforheroes.org.uk/give-support/donate-now/
    • Bishwa
    • By Bishwa 5th Sep 18, 5:51 PM
    • 10 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    Bishwa
    • #7
    • 5th Sep 18, 5:51 PM
    • #7
    • 5th Sep 18, 5:51 PM
    It's simple. When you buy a business you don't buy debts. You buy goodwill. The accountant checks and makes sure that you create your own Ltd Company, not transfer the Ltd Company of the previous owners (which could be very easy and is everything already up and running for you). On this case A has no commercial contract with the Gas Company as he is not even their costumer (only wannabe costumer) plus he is not the Director of the old company that was linked with the account of the Gas company. I am still investing money on different lawyers in order to get the best outcome. Legal advice was never given to me in free by any lawyers.
    • Houbara
    • By Houbara 6th Sep 18, 12:52 PM
    • 3,988 Posts
    • 2,594 Thanks
    Houbara
    • #8
    • 6th Sep 18, 12:52 PM
    • #8
    • 6th Sep 18, 12:52 PM
    I have had a look at National Gas rates for residential. They are not too bad actually, offering a long 3 year domestic fixed rate tariff at 20p a day standing charge and 3.7 p per gas kwh for my area, which may be a good gamble in the long run.Who knows how the prices will be in 2 years time ?
    Possibly when you get the Land Registry hold up sorted it may be that it could be better to stay with them.
    Its worth it to check a business gas comparison site such as Uswitch to get the best deals once this billing problem is over
    National Gas and Power are a different supplier in receivership and apparently Nation Gas does not exist.
    Like everyone who moves into a new property be it domestic or business you are automatically in a deemed contract with the present supplier to the property. There is no other way the switching system could work without expensive visits from engineers to disconnect and reconnect gas and electricity.
    Seem s like the crux of your problem is the final proof that you have no connections with the outgoing debtor and not just someone who has taken over the account to escape debts.
    This is a common trick with both domestic and business users so all suppliers would check for this
    • Bishwa
    • By Bishwa 6th Sep 18, 11:15 PM
    • 10 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    Bishwa
    • #9
    • 6th Sep 18, 11:15 PM
    • #9
    • 6th Sep 18, 11:15 PM
    I can understand that the suppliers have to check everything to ensure the record is correct. It would not be a good idea to anyone to pay 3 different law firms (buyer's solicitor, seller's solicitor and Landlord's solicitor)SRA registered with long term reputation (1400 x 3 = 4200 pounds), Council fees, Land Registry fees, the big amount of premium of the business, 4000 pounds deposit to the Landlord, spending 3 months of process for the sales completion just to trick Gas Company and avoid paying a gas bill which might be around 2000 - 3000 pounds.

    The debtors are no longer the owner of the Restaurant. According to sales contract the liabilities are to be cleared by the seller before the completion date.

    I am a proud owner of a Restaurant which I cannot open as there is no gas meter. A restaurant cannot trade without gas as we need to be able to cook to trade. Other expenses related to business, my personal expenses and the cost for our livelihood will not compromise with the situation.

    It is up to the National Gas and the debtor to sort out their love affair. All I want is the gas meter back as per Gas Act 1986. By not reconnecting the gas for the new occupier, it means that the company have failed to perform their duty as an energy supplier. I have told the Gas Company that I will not even pay a penny before the 06 Jun 18 but I will take the matter to the Court after Ombudsman to claim my compensation for the business loss and the time loss. I think in court the Judge will go with evidences provided to the court to decide the outcome not just not listen to a Gas Company saying that "they believe...". The National Gas only believes that I am not the new owner even after supplying them with License to Lease, Rent Deposit Deed, Completed Sales contract and the application form of the Land Registry (which is being processed and they can call the department). With your remarks about the prices I do say that it sounds good. But my suggestion to the people is to stick with the Big 6 Gas companies. It is more secured and they have a reasonable system.
    • HampshireH
    • By HampshireH 8th Sep 18, 7:53 AM
    • 1,049 Posts
    • 1,206 Thanks
    HampshireH
    [QUOTEThe debtors are no longer the owner of the Restaurant. According to sales contract the liabilities are to be cleared by the seller before the completion date.][/QUOTE]

    Why did completion take place before this mess was sorted out if your contract states it would not? Your solicitor should have been advising you accordingly.
    • Bishwa
    • By Bishwa 11th Sep 18, 7:45 PM
    • 10 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    Bishwa
    The solicitor checked the sales document and made sure the liabilities is started from the completion date. There might be 100s of debt and if the solicitor chase those debts the completion date would take a year. As far as I know, my solicitor checked all clauses and because of those clauses I am protected. If the seller did not pay the bills then that’s their liability and responsibility. Now I can’t complain to my solicitor if the seller had hidden debts on his name but surely can thank him to ensure that there was no loop hole in the sales contract.
    • C_Mababejive
    • By C_Mababejive 15th Sep 18, 12:00 PM
    • 10,702 Posts
    • 9,563 Thanks
    C_Mababejive
    There is an awful lot of energy fraud going on in the restaurant/fast food sector. It is absolutely massive from your local fish and chip shop right up to larger independent restaurants. Many gas suppliers are on to it and some pursue more aggressively than others.

    What they must all do however is follow the processes and comply with the law.

    They do plenty of letter writing and personal visits before they go to a court of law and apply to a magistrate for a warrant to enter property. They dont just turn up on a whim and kick your door down.

    A common ruse done by some energy thieves is to run up massive bills and then mysteriously the business transfers to someone else (usually a family member or friend) then they go on to run up more huge bills and repeat the process.

    The end result is that those huge debts do not disappear. WE all pay for the stolen gas an electric.

    Because of this, energy companies insist o all the proper documentations and guarantees to be in place. Its called due diligence.
    Feudal Britain needs land reform. 70% of the land is "owned" by 1 % of the population and at least 50% is unregistered (inherited by landed gentry). Thats why your slave box costs so much..
    • Bishwa
    • By Bishwa 22nd Sep 18, 1:14 AM
    • 10 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    Bishwa
    C_Mababejive, I can understand that small businesses does dodgy stuff like that to trick Utility companies. I feel sorry for suppliers to face those kind of dodgy costumers. Now in this situation, the Gas bill is 3000 and if I have paid more than 20 times of that amount to buy the restaurant then how does it make sense to think that this is the process to fool a gas company by me. The seller does not want to pay it. I can’t force them but I can tell them and advise them.

    I have enquired with 17 energy companies about the documents required the Change of Tenancy. None of those suppliers asked for Land Registry. When I told them National Gas was asking me the Land Registry document then the other energy companies were surprised.

    1. I suspect National Gas has failed to follow the necessary steps to Recover Bill Arrears from the seller at right time.

    2. I suspect that National Gas has performed an unlawful Entry. I believe that they did not get the warrant from the Magistrates Court. They left a letter with a poor headed paper stating the Gas Act 1954 but no mention about the warrant. They have not produced the warrant till now. The Energy Ombudsman have been directed to investigate the warrant as well.

    3. They have not reported about the gas meter removal to the National Grid. All Big 6 companies has said that whenever the supplier has removed the gas meter than they should notify the National Grid. It will give other energy suppliers to act accordingly to the Gas Code.

    4. They wanted Land Registry to make it difficult for the new occupier to prove that they are genuine new occupier. They thought this new occupier won’t wait that long and just pay every outstanding bill of the seller. This call sign is a veteran who has learned not to give up on any thing in British Army and does not bow to Scammy Bully companies. It’s been more than 2 months and the Energy Ombudsman is on the case.

    I will not let this kind of Energy Company to push me. I will try my best to stand my ground hope for the justice.

    I understand about due diligence. Suppliers have to get the right documentation. They do not have right to be believe that all the documents supplied are fake. Three Law Firms (SRA registered Firms) are not going provide fake documentation.

    My advice to the Gas Company was to take the offenders to the Court before they dissolve they Limited Company and that's the only way to recover money from them or all the letters would only be ignored by them. The Gas Company has that power to take them to court and recover all the outstanding balance. The seller's Limited Company is still active and the Gas Company needs to take action quickly. I do feel sorry for the National Gas as they have to experience this kind of situation because of the previous owners thinking it's smart and cool to bury their head on the ground and ignore all their outstanding bill. But I need to run my business as well and need the Gas to start trading. I am affected by both of them.
    Last edited by Bishwa; 22-09-2018 at 1:58 AM. Reason: Added more information
    • micky2phones
    • By micky2phones 22nd Sep 18, 7:04 AM
    • 349 Posts
    • 278 Thanks
    micky2phones
    Hi, Many years ago i was billed for my uncle debt who moved two streets away from where i lived by B.G.

    I wrote and phoned them up, they would not change there minds, i had proof i lived at my address over 10 years, paid all my gas bills.

    It went right upto a court date, i had the Ombudsman help they told B.G that i had all the proof of the debt not being mine and i was coming to court to put my side to the court.

    If won B.G would have to pay my costs, i think this was in the early 1980s and the debt was about 30.00.

    Few days before court date the Ombudsman phone me and said B.G had made a mistake, because the person in that property had my surname then that meant i had moved.

    B.G went to court told them they made a mistake offered me 40.00 in compensation which the Ombudsman said it was a fair offer and i should accept, which i did
    • LewisHamilton
    • By LewisHamilton 22nd Sep 18, 9:23 AM
    • 82 Posts
    • 53 Thanks
    LewisHamilton
    You could ask the Energy Ombudsman to have a look for free and make a decision if you meet the criteria to be classed as a small-medium business.

    Looking at the timeline of events, if you became the legal occupier on 9 August 2018 then it was reasonable for the energy supplier to continue business as usual for any liabilities by the previous occupier until this date providing you gave sufficient documentation to show you were the legal owner on exactly 9 August 2018. If you did not, then the supplier is in its right to continue business as usual even after 9 August 2018 until the date you provide sufficient documentation to show you are the legal occupier.

    I would probably go to the Energy ombudsman first before spending money on legal fees etc.
    • C_Mababejive
    • By C_Mababejive 22nd Sep 18, 10:43 AM
    • 10,702 Posts
    • 9,563 Thanks
    C_Mababejive
    If the OP is sure then they should engage a lawyer.
    Feudal Britain needs land reform. 70% of the land is "owned" by 1 % of the population and at least 50% is unregistered (inherited by landed gentry). Thats why your slave box costs so much..
    • Mister G
    • By Mister G 22nd Sep 18, 10:52 AM
    • 796 Posts
    • 472 Thanks
    Mister G
    You could ask the Energy Ombudsman to have a look for free and make a decision if you meet the criteria to be classed as a small-medium business.

    I would probably go to the Energy ombudsman first before spending money on legal fees etc.
    Originally posted by LewisHamilton
    Err - I believe that the OP has already consulted the Energy Ombudsman, as quoted in his post #13
    • Robin9
    • By Robin9 22nd Sep 18, 11:01 AM
    • 3,263 Posts
    • 2,127 Thanks
    Robin9
    I can see that OP might well have a good case but as he says -"every day he is loosing money". The longer this goes on the more he will loose and whatever the outcome with his supplier he won't get this back.

    Pay up - without prejudice - get some income from the restaurant and continue the fight.
    Never pay on an estimated bill
    • C_Mababejive
    • By C_Mababejive 22nd Sep 18, 11:15 AM
    • 10,702 Posts
    • 9,563 Thanks
    C_Mababejive
    I can see that OP might well have a good case but as he says -"every day he is loosing money". The longer this goes on the more he will loose and whatever the outcome with his supplier he won't get this back.

    Pay up - without prejudice - get some income from the restaurant and continue the fight.
    Originally posted by Robin9
    Great idea,,,at least that unlocks the business and gets it into an earning position and the OP can then prove his case and reclaim the cash,

    I am aware of some businesses that are entered under warrant and disconnected for energy fraud and the proprietors then get some bent person to reconnect it resulting in utility companies having to dig up in the road ,do a more involved and permanent cut off in the road and backfill the road. A lot of work and very expensive,,all passed on to other energy users.
    Feudal Britain needs land reform. 70% of the land is "owned" by 1 % of the population and at least 50% is unregistered (inherited by landed gentry). Thats why your slave box costs so much..
    • Bishwa
    • By Bishwa 2nd Oct 18, 12:23 AM
    • 10 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    Bishwa
    My restaurant is still closed! There is no way I am going to pay for someone else. I should be running my restaurant since 10 Aug 18. I have being paying Rent, utility bills at least 3000 pounds per month till now. Energy Ombudsmen are investigating the case. The previous owners should be tried on court by the National Gas for the arrears. They should not make my life miserable. I have already lost two staff. Please don’t give me wrong advise in paying for offenders. The National Gas did not have good reputation in East London when I researched about it. I can’t wait Ombudsman to find out that this gas company is doing dodgy stuff. No matter how much money I will lose but I will make sure this Scammy Company is reported to OFGEM. I will expose these Scammy company.
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

121Posts Today

1,916Users online

Martin's Twitter
  • "Sabrina, you're young. I'm not sure you've the experience I'm looking for in a business partner." Eh? Isn't the pr? https://t.co/IeTxBQq2OU

  • I am predicting the word myself will be misused 6 times in today;s boardroom. What do yourself think? #TheApprentice

  • Not sure how I ever succeeded running a successful entreprise? After all my gardening and garden design skills are? https://t.co/FFnvkjsGDU

  • Follow Martin