News, Culture & Society

ASK TONY:I got a £994 bill… years after I left my student digs 

In June 2014 I moved out of a student house I had been living in for two years while at university.

The accounts were in my name. We always paid the full amount of our energy bill on time and allowed meter readings. When we moved out we settled our final bill with EDF Energy.

But in March 2018 I received a bill for £994.39. EDF assured me this was legal because it had contacted me in September 2014 to request the final amount. 

Blast from the past: A reader was hit with an energy bill for almost £1,000 from the student house she lived in six years ago

As I received no email, text or call I can only assume EDF sent a letter, which I obviously did not receive as I had moved out of the house.

I questioned how the firm let us get nearly £1,000 ‘in debt’, and why it took four years to chase this up, but I never got a clear answer. 

EDF took £100 off the bill as a goodwill gesture, making the total £894.39. I paid as the company opted to use debt collectors.

Now I have received an email stating I owe £35. My bank statements show I made six payments totalling £929.39, so I actually overpaid by £35.

E. H., Stowmarket, Suffolk.

There is more to this one than meets the eye.

EDF says you told it you would be moving out of the property on July 13, 2014. It asked for a final reading and an address that it could send the final bill to. It says you didn’t provide either.

An estimated bill of £698.64 was produced. This was corrected to £994.39 when an accurate reading was provided on August 21 — presumably by the landlord.

EDF says you opted to manage your account online and had regularly accessed it while living at the property, but you failed to look at it after you moved out.

As it could not track you down, EDF eventually used debt collectors. As well as waiving £100 as a goodwill gesture, it agreed a 24-month repayment plan.

You paid £929.39 to clear the balance — I hope you collected your flatmates’ share of the bill — but EDF admits it then made an error which led to £35 being added to your account. This prompted the debt reminder email you received recently.

It agrees that you have overpaid by £35. It has also recalculated your bill based on your daily average usage, resulting in a rebate of £66.52 in addition to the £35 overpayment.

EDF apologises for the errors it has made but it cannot be held responsible for the initial problems. You chose to manage your account online but washed your hands of that responsibility when you moved out.

Straight to the point 

My husband and I, in our 80s, ordered a fridge freezer from Currys but the delivery man said he could not carry it in. We struggled to lift it.

P. C., by email.

Currys has apologised and admitted it should have been taken into your home in line with safety protocols. 

It has launched an internal investigation. It also offered a refund of the £10 delivery charge and £50 as a gesture of goodwill.

*** 

I am moving and want to transfer my phone number to the new property. BT said there was no line connected and the earliest it could send an engineer was June.

It eventually agreed to do this on my moving date, but when I checked my account it still said June. 

This will leave me without a phone and internet which, aged 71, I need now more than ever.

M. W., by email.

BT confirmed this will be sorted on the date you move. It has also provided you with a dedicated point of contact for if you need help in future.

*** 

I received a Debt Recovery Plus letter demanding £170 for an unpaid parking charge. 

It claimed I had overstayed in the Arena Shopping Park in Coventry, but I was out within the permitted five hours.

N. C., Bulkington, Warwicks.

As it was a match day the free parking time was reduced to two hours, as stated on around 100 signs in the car park. 

But since the first charge notice for £60 was sent to the wrong address, Park Watch has agreed to waive the £170 penalty as a gesture of goodwill.

*** 

I won a PPI claim in 2019 and sent the cheque to the Post Office to send to our bank, the Co-op, but I have not received the money. 

The Post Office says it sent the cheque, but the Co-op has no record of it.

K. L., Gloucester.

The cheque provider, Barclays, says delays were caused by an unprecedented number of PPI complaints at the time. 

It says the cheque was lost in the Co-op’s clearing system and has now issued you with a replacement.

My husband has locked-in syndrome and is paralysed from the eyes down. He can’t eat, drink, talk or move a muscle. He looks up for yes and down for no. He has been in this condition for more than nine years and is in a nursing home.

I have power of attorney over property and finance. We are selling our jointly-owned house, and the proceeds of the sale have to be split evenly. Our new house will be jointly owned.

He doesn’t have a bank account and I can’t open one for him as he has no current passport or photo driving licence, and he can’t sign. I visited banks which refused to open an account, and I can’t have him put on my account to make it a joint one.

G. B., by email.

I was extremely surprised that the banks you approached were not more helpful, especially as you have power of attorney.

I asked Lloyds to look again at helping you. Its press office swung into action and arranged a call from customer services.

The bank has opened a joint savings account which will remain blocked until it receives copies of your identification and a letter from your husband’s care home to confirm his identity.

You will need to provide your passport, and your solicitor will have to send a letter confirming it is acting on your behalf.

Once Lloyds receives these it will be able to verbally share your account details with you. A spokesman says: ‘We are very pleased that we could help Mr and Mrs B open an account with us, and wish them both all the best through these uncertain times.’

Well done Lloyds, for going the extra mile on this occasion.

*** 

For about a year I have been receiving text messages from Santander saying it has received my mortgage application and is processing it.

I phoned Santander and spoke to two people about potential fraudulent activity.

Several months on I received text messages confirming my mortgage application is complete. I have also received messages with codes, which Santander says I must not share, about registering my account with mobile banking.

I have emailed the bank and it is asking me to contact it again. I am worried about fraud.

L. A., Luton, Beds.

I’m not surprised you’re concerned. But I am surprised that Santander did not resolve this issue when you raised it.

It seems that a mortgage broker mistyped the phone number of an applicant’s contact details.

The bank has now removed your number from its systems so you will not receive any further communication. It attempted to phone you to apologise personally but was been unable to reach you, so it has now written.

Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on them we may earn a small commission. That helps us fund This Is Money, and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


Comments are closed.