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Npower - estimated bills and constant threats

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  • Npower - estimated bills and constant threats

    I read with glee this morning on your forum that Npower have been fined 26 million by Ofgem. This makes me very happy.

    My partner took over an unpaid debt (approx. 3000) from a previous tenant. The landlord was responsible for paying for utilities (a very unusual situation but the landlord had a deal going with the previous occupant to undertake some urgent repairs to the building) which, from memory, amounted to an unpaid debt from a previous occupant.

    In fact, they sent court papers to THE OCCUPIER and she ended up in court paying someone else's debt. Anyway, putting the exact details aside for now because I would need to dig through her original file, the court told Npower and my partner to agree on a repayment and left it at that. Npower refused to enter into a payment plan and continued to push for the installation of a pre-payment meter.

    Roll on possibly a year and they simply changed the amount of the direct debit without reference to her. This has happened several times over a period of time. They keep on claiming that she is in debt and wanting to increase the payment. We are not talking small amounts. Currently, she is paying 243 a month still (5 years on).

    From memory, the last agreement she had with them was this latest increase of 210 a month for the main account and 33 a month for 2 years to clear a debt which had built up due to their constant and repeated failure to use actual meter readings. It got to the stage where she refused to let them in because they were taken meter readings and estimated bills were still being received.

    As an example, in April 2009, the Dual Fuel Service Account stood at 1458.24 yet by October 2009, their estimates had increased the account to 2568.42
    They are coming today to read the meter.

    I have looked at it and their last bill from October 2015 matches what is currently on the meters within 1% approx. yet last week she took a phone call from Npower threatening court action and additional charges being added. I am looking through a file now and Meterplus applied for a warrant of entry as recent as October 2014.

    The last increase they wanted to apply was from 243 a month to 482 a month. This is when she cancelled the direct debit and set up a standing order unilaterally. A friend has told her that legally she cannot ever cancel a standing order. I do not know if this is true.

    Scanning through her file on this, it seems that Npower have passed the debt onto several credit agencies over the years and added 10.50 here and 23.50 there.

    To bring the example up-to-date, they sent a bill on 30 October 2015, where their estimates were 59921 for the Electric and 0324 for the gas.

    The meter reader from Meterplus has just been and readings are 59208 for the electricity and 0685 for the gas. He tells me that although he does his job, the actual readings are rarely ever used!

    As of last week, they were phoning her up saying that there was an outstanding balance of 381.57 and that if she didn't pay another 10.50 and 23.50 will be added to the account.

    This is outright harassment! How can she make it stop?

    As you can see from the figures above, they are 3 month out of sync on the electricity.

    According to her October 2014 Statement there was 3759.31 left to pay. I cannot find a more up-to-date bill in her file. I think she may have given up on them - unsurprisingly!

    She has a bill for October 2015 but there is no total on it only for a quarter period and that states at the bottom that their cheapest overall tariff "Fixed Energy Online Dec 2016 DD" would save her 285.22 a year on Electricity and 539.48 a year on Gas. Why would they not automatically change her to this?

    One final thing is that they arranged to fit a smart meter on 6th July but the meters were inaccessible so they left and said they would re-arrange. This never happened. She is concerned about pushing this as now she feels that with all the history and issues with Npower they could install one and just disconnect the service if they felt like it.

    She doesn't know which way to turn which is why I am posting on here for advice.
    Tags: None

  • #2
    Re: Npower - estimated bills and constant threats

    Did she not defend this claim with the fact she did not live there when the bill was incurred?

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Npower - estimated bills and constant threats

      No. As she had just moved to England from Austria and was receiving bills to The Occupier and was unclear on how anything worked until she randomly decided to open some mail one day and it just turned out to be the threat saying they were going to cut the gas and electric off. She panicked went to court and agreed to pay the outstanding debt.

      I have just got her online account details for npower and have logged on. It seems that they charged her two warrant charges also in October 2014 for the same date despite her paying them a huge chunk the day before.

      I don't know the history regarding this as she stuck her head in the sand. Without talking to her, I think she stopped paying them because they had wanted to increase the DD from 243 to the 480+ figure a month. This was when I told her afterwards that she cannot just stop paying and to pay something and set up a standing order so they cannot change it.

      Mess is an understatement. It's giving me a headache looking at it.
      Last edited by Rhothgar; 19th January 2016, 12:43:PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Npower - estimated bills and constant threats

        I am still trawling through my partner's gas account.

        I will report back once I conclude but I have just found something that I think is very interesting and potentially illegal.

        On 10th October 2012, her account stood at 36.33 debit. Despite her making regular payments as had been previously agreed outside court, they sent her a bill on 11th October 2012 allegedly using actual figures (let us assume that this is fact now due to the passage of time). On this bill they stated that they were going to increase the monthly payment from 252 to 430 despite almost no debt existing. This is when she cancelled the direct debit I believe as no other payments were made to them until 26th March 2013 when she paid them 1260.

        Several quarterley bills followed.

        On 23rd December 2013, they applied a bill reversal to the bill date 17th December 2013.

        On 24th December 2013, they reapplied the charge for the bill dated 17th December that they reversed on 23rd December 2013.

        Confused? You will be.

        On 9th January 2014, they applied 5 bill reversals on bills all quarterly bills dated from 20th November 2011 - 17th December 2013.

        On 13th January 2014, they re-applied 5 quarterley charges for the bills they had reversed 4 days previously. However, one bill was re-applied some 600 lighter than the original estimated bill therefore, I believe forcing her into fuel poverty.

        I assume that they then contacted her and said she has a debt to pay which they created and this is where the 33 per month for 24 months comes from.

        Surely, it is not legal, fair or reasonable to cause someone such stress and aggravation for no valid reason.

        Is there any way she can be compensated for this?

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Npower - estimated bills and constant threats

          My partner has logged onto her Npower account to see if they have used the meter readings the Meterplus gentleman took on 19th January and it is showing a credit of 2520 today!!!

          I've looked at it and on 20th January they applied a series of bill reversals again which changed their perceived balance from 138 debit into 2520 credit.

          What on earth is going on do you think? I think this is almost a gaslighting tactic to make you think you are losing your mind.

          Shall I call them and ask for the money back?
          Last edited by Rhothgar; 27th January 2016, 12:51:PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Npower - estimated bills and constant threats

            lol, I suspect it might all vanish again.

            I think this needs sorting out properly for once and for all or it will go on forever.

            Have you been to OfGem or the Energy ombudsman ?
            Common Sense .... if in doubt, use it !

            “We may not win by protesting, but if we don’t protest we will lose. If we stand up to them, there is always a chance we will win.” Hetty Bower

            Any support I provide is offered without liability, if you are unsure please seek professional legal guidance.

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            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Npower - estimated bills and constant threats

              Originally posted by Amethyst View Post
              lol, I suspect it might all vanish again.

              I think this needs sorting out properly for once and for all or it will go on forever.

              Have you been to OfGem or the Energy ombudsman ?
              Thanks Amethyst

              Yes. I have just got off the phone from a 44 minute call with Ombudsman Services. Strangely, they sound VERY interested.

              You are right. It will disappear again in about 4 days as the latest bill is due today and I was shocked when I logged on to find she is in credit by so much. I have calculated that she is 120 in credit so the next questions are:-

              1) Do you think it is time to move on or ask them to apply the cheapest overall tariff which will save her 824 a year?
              2) Should she write to them under FoI asking for all records of contact including audio recordings over the years?
              3) When writing the letter of complaint to Npower, which will run to pages upon pages I am sure, do you think it is fair and reasonable for her to request that they should refund her the difference between the tariff she is on and the cheapest overall tariff she could have been on for the last 5 - 7 years?
              4) Would it be a bargaining chip to simply stay with them and get put on their cheapest tariff rather than leaving? Npower being Npower I doubt they give two hoots about customer loyalty anyway. It may be sensible to simply move, draw a line under Npower and start afresh with a another supplier and let the ombudsman wade in and give them their piece of mind.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Npower - estimated bills and constant threats

                Personally, I'd be going with a different provider completely - why stay with a company that is so appalling?

                Yes she should send a subject access request ( its under the data protection act not FOI ) for ALL information they hold about her including all transactions, bills and calculations, meter readings etc related to the account, and screen notes, telephone recordings/records, letters etc. It will cost 10 and will help her get this sorted out.

                While her account is in credit she should be able to get away from them, and if the end calculation is that she has overpaid they can pay it back to her in a cheque/bank transfer - not as credit to her account, as she won't have one. The ombudsman can order compensation too. The average is 100 but can be up to 10k for extremely serious cases.
                Common Sense .... if in doubt, use it !

                “We may not win by protesting, but if we don’t protest we will lose. If we stand up to them, there is always a chance we will win.” Hetty Bower

                Any support I provide is offered without liability, if you are unsure please seek professional legal guidance.

                If we have helped you we'd appreciate it if you can leave a review on our Trust Pilot page

                Find Solicitors offering fixed fees on our sister site - JustBeagle.com

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Npower - estimated bills and constant threats

                  Originally posted by Amethyst View Post
                  Personally, I'd be going with a different provider completely - why stay with a company that is so appalling?

                  Yes she should send a subject access request ( its under the data protection act not FOI ) for ALL information they hold about her including all transactions, bills and calculations, meter readings etc related to the account, and screen notes, telephone recordings/records, letters etc. It will cost 10 and will help her get this sorted out.

                  While her account is in credit she should be able to get away from them, and if the end calculation is that she has overpaid they can pay it back to her in a cheque/bank transfer - not as credit to her account, as she won't have one. The ombudsman can order compensation too. The average is 100 but can be up to 10k for extremely serious cases.
                  That's a valuable piece of advice. Many thanks.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Npower - estimated bills and constant threats

                    What a total shower nPower are?

                    I have logged onto my partner's account and it is now showing 549.20 debit.

                    Interesting although the MeterPlus guy read her meters on 19th January. Only the actual reading for the electricity has been used and they estimated the gas reading as at 27th January. OK it's only an additional 23 units for the gas but why do they play games like this?

                    What's more disturbing is that they have not shown any payments on her account since the October bill despite there being 729 worth of payments. This is presumably so they can prevent her from switching accounts so...

                    I want to play a little game with them and apply to switch.

                    I have no idea how switches work and who communicates what but if she applies to go with Ovo Energy for instance, would they turn her down on the basis of any information from nPower or do they simply just conduct a credit check?

                    When I spoke with the Ombudsman Office on her behalf last week, he said that nPower could prevent her from moving if her debt is more than a few hundred 's. However, this is a perceived debt and no real. Therefore, if they block her moving to a cheaper supplier or tariff, the Ombudsman would surely come down on them like a ton of bricks.

                    Do I get her to call nPower and ask them to switch her to a lower tariff or simply apply to a new supplier? What is the best route to take bearing in mind I want nPower to add fuel to their own fire? Theyu deserve to be well and truly shafted IMHO!

                    Thanks in anticipation.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Npower - estimated bills and constant threats

                      Hi - I have first hand experience of what a set of muppets NPower are and it is still not resolved!! Apologies for the long post but you are not on your own I'm afraid.

                      I have arrears on my account due to their 'new and improved' systems failing to take 5 months direct debits one year and then 7 months the following year. They have led me a real dance when I've tried to sort this out. I applied to switch provider - 3 times to EON which they blocked and 3 times to OVO. I set up a payment plan when I realised their mistake and they still blocked my switches.

                      I have spent hours - I mean HOURS - on the telephone to these muppets - no-one could explain the random entries on my account or the mysterious meter readings! They placed a bill on my account for 36,638.35!! and then accused ME of giving them incorrect readings - I can prove I was away on that date!

                      Moreover, an employee from Meterplus (I believe) has confirmed that he completed an electrical meter safety check (happens every 2 years apparently) and read our electric meter - this again, did not happen as we were out for the day (the gas meter is outside)! When I raised this with NPower they did nothing.

                      I raised several complaints and they just fobbed me off - several promises of a Manager call back and they never happened.

                      They confirmed verbally and in writing that the objection on my account had been removed and I was okay to switch - and was blocked again.

                      I referred my case to OfGem after 8 weeks as NPower would not send me a final letter as I requested - they did so after I referred it to OfGem.

                      I have managed to move my gas but not my electric to OVO.

                      OfGem ruled and said that they had to provide me with a full statement of account, pay me 350 and send me a letter of apology confirming that when another plan is set up I can freely switch. Without my consent (I have 14 days to accept or decline OfGems proposals) they have credited the money to my account but have failed to provide the statement of account so I can clearly see where all these spurious amounts have sprung from.

                      The case officer at OfGem quoted the balance as confirmed by NPower on x date - since then I have received 4 differing amounts - and they have now referred it to a debt collection agency who started calling me and texting me several times a day. I reported this to my case officer and she was less than impressed with this - so she is now going to look at my case again and demand an explanation as to why NPower have told her one amount and then given me several others.

                      As for directs debits and standing orders - you CAN cancel a standing order. With direct debits the company takes the money out of your account but with standing orders you SEND the money (set date, set amount). The other difference is that if you cancel a direct debit you can get your money back as the bank system simply returns the payment. With standing orders it is harder as you have to pursue the beneficiary of the payment to get your money back.

                      I would challenge the initial debt if she was not living there at the time as she will have proof of when she moved in from her tenancy agreement and subsequent initial rent payment. If it is not her debt then she needs that money back!!

                      I would tell her to apply to switch - I certainly would not be staying with them! OVO are cheaper than most companies and certainly cheaper then NPower. They will subsequently block her switch and then you can call and question her bill and the amounts (I can guarantee they will be unable to answer your queries!!) -then raise a complaint and your 8 weeks starts from there if they fail to address your complaint - which they will!! Then straight back to OfGem.

                      Good Luck with it all - I know how frustrating NPower are!!!###****
                      Last edited by Foxyflugel; 4th February 2016, 12:52:PM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Npower - estimated bills and constant threats

                        Please don't apologise for your long post. I am grateful for the advice and know that she is not alone.

                        I don't think she wants to over complicate things with the initial debt as she accepted it. Perhaps she should seriously consider it as I think it ran into the thousands!

                        I was thinking along the lines of approaching it by way of the fact that nPower have done everything they can with every bill to prevent a customer leaving.

                        She received 5 revised bills this morning and it is beyond credulity that they can behave openly like this and get away with it. The regulations do not appear to be working at all if people have to fight tooth and nail to get sense from a company.

                        Her previous bill as at 30th October has now been revised to 190 credit yet the original bill received said she owed 438. From memory, as it is over a week ago since I initially looked into this, every bill she has received has always showed as her owing them money.

                        As explained yesterday, the latest bill now shows a substantial debit and does not show any payments as being made. They will then continue to blatantly falsify the bills throughout the coming year, if they are not stopped in their tracks, and the cycle will being again next January/February when all the previous 4 quarters bills are revised to credits and then a large debit to prevent her moving.

                        And so it goes on...

                        However, I have a measure of them now!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Npower - estimated bills and constant threats

                          The Npower saga updated...

                          After having received the revised bills showing she is still in debit (which she isn't because they failed to show her most recent credits), Npower are now harrassing my partner on the phone at least once / twice a day to pay a debt that doesn't even exist.

                          What should she say to then? Should she say explain that the latest bills they provided are incorrect as they show on credit, that they should stop harrassing her and that she is about to place the matter in the hands of the ombudsmans (when I get time to write a detailed complaint to them)?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Npower - estimated bills and constant threats

                            I've still not progressed this any further.

                            I am going to collate the bills again that have been issued since February. I am sure they will show she was in debt to Npower even though she cannot have been. Another bill will be due within the next month so I am going to advise her to contact them and ask to change suppliers.

                            If they have followed their previous behaviour, they will show her that she is in debt. I will get her to submit new readings. They will ignore those. They always have done. Then the bait is set for them to fall into the trap...

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Npower - estimated bills and constant threats

                              i feel your pain, i have n power issues but am getting nowhere.

                              Comment

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