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Alice H
Alice H, Solicitor/Partner
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 2847
Experience:  Partner in national law firm
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I have case with supplier of electricity and gas to my

Customer Question

Hi. I have case with supplier of electricity and gas to my house.
The problem first started when Npower didn't isseu our bill for almost a year. Then when we tried to set up direct debit another problem started. We haven't been able to pay our bill for 2 years because the customer service we recieved whas just awful. We kept calling them to set up ditect debit but there always had a system error,or wrong amount had been taken from our account. Which resuled cancelling DD and trying to contact them again. Once they even tried to collect whole amount which we own on that time (over £1500) without authorisation. Despite our hard try to be able to pay our bill they kept sending final notice or other reminders. We ended with enourmous bill of almost £3000. We contacted Service obdusman for help they made investigation and agreed service we received was awful but because supplier sent as a first bill before 1 year passed we are obligated to pay it and they request we should received £200 compensation. We havent agreed with it and rejected this offer. I would like to know if there is any chance if I would take Npower to court I would have a chance to win and receive a proper compensation and have this bill cancelled?
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: UK Law
Expert:  Alice H replied 9 months ago.

My name is ***** ***** I am happy to help you today. Are you disputing receiving gas & electricity? Why do you believe £200 is not adequate compensation for your inconvenience?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Do you think that £200 is enough compensation for calling supplier once a week spending on each call at last one hour trying to explain another person what the problem is, and at the end heared that the cannot help you because they have a system error... ans this story repeated foe another 2 years without and hasnt been propely solved till today. I waisted a lot of my time, had lots of stress and preasure when reciving final notice and constants reminders.I have 2 small children and this situatio it isnt acceptable at all
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
That is a summary received from Aervice Obdusman"During our conversation we discussed the following issues:Your concern regarding npowers failure to send you regular bills.
I explained that a supplier must send an accurate bill at least once every 12 months. We acknowledge that you did not recieve regular bills however you did recieve an accurate bill within a 12 month period. npower wrote to you in June 2013 and explained that due to a change in systems it was experiencing delays issuing bills. Your account started on the 8 January 2013 and the first accurate bill was issued on the 6 December 2013. Therefore, whilst this is not good customer service it is within 12 months and does not require any code of practice balance reductions.
Your concern regarding repeated failure to set up your direct debit arrangement and notification of payment plans.
I explained that our investigation discovered at least 12 failed direct debit agreements betweeen November 2013 and September 2015. Six direct debit arrangement were not set up at all, four arrangements were cancelled in error, one full balance payment taken without prior consent and one further unauthorised payment. These failures occured within a 28 month period and we acknowledge the inconvenience this would have caused you. We can see from the supporting documents provided that you have repeatedly made contact with npower to try to make payment throughout this period. We therefore, do not consider it fair and reasonable for it to charge you late payment or debt collection charges. It is also not acceptable to record incorrect adverse credit information when again you have made repeated effort to make payment. We can also see that you asked for a payment card which was received however you did not receive confirmation of the agreed payment plan and you did not know how much to pay. These issues demonstrate further shortfalls in customer service. npower should maintain its offer of an extended payment plan and provide confirmation in writing of the agreement.
In resolution of your complaint you suggested that npower should clear any outstanding balance. The industry regulators Ofgem stipulate that customers must pay for the energy that has been used. Therefore we cannot agree to any charges being removed. In recognition of the shortfalls in customer service npower in its deadlock letter offered to apply a credit of £80 to your account as a gesture of goodwill. We do not conisder that this is reflective of the repeated customer service shortfalls over the 28 month period, the debt collection and the unauthorised direct debits. We have agreed with npower that it should increase the goodwill credit to £200 and apply this to your account. It should then issue your up to date bill showing the outstanding balance."
Expert:  Alice H replied 9 months ago.

Hi, thanks for the additional information and I can see how difficult this must have been for you.

However, a court is not going to order Npower to compensate you to the tune of £3,000 nor is a court going to write off a debt for gas and electricity that you have actually used. If you were allowed to do that there would be a flood of similar claims by disgruntled customers asking for their bills to be wiped clean. But also the energy has been used so it would be unfair not to pay for something that's been used.

The Ombudsman has given you a favourable decision - penalty charges have been removed, adverse records on your credit file have been removed and a payment plan has been put in place to pay the debt. This is in addition to the £200 you've been offered.

You do not have to accept this, of course, but you must remember that if you try and claim compensation through the court, there is no guarantee of success and you may end up paying substantial court fees and then be out of pocket.

So, to answer your question, the chance of taking nPower to court and receiving more compensation is extremely small in my opinion.

Expert:  Alice H replied 9 months ago.

Hi, thanks for the additional information and I can see how difficult this must have been for you.
However, a court is not going to order Npower to compensate you to the tune of £3,000 nor is a court going to write off a debt for gas and electricity that you have actually used. If you were allowed to do that there would be a flood of similar claims by disgruntled customers asking for their bills to be wiped clean. But also the energy has been used so it would be unfair not to pay for something that's been used.
The Ombudsman has given you a favourable decision - penalty charges have been removed, adverse records on your credit file have been removed and a payment plan has been put in place to pay the debt. This is in addition to the £200 you've been offered.
You do not have to accept this, of course, but you must remember that if you try and claim compensation through the court, there is no guarantee of success and you may end up paying substantial court fees and then be out of pocket.
So, to answer your question, the chance of taking nPower to court and receiving more compensation is extremely small in my opinion

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