How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Leon Your Own Question
Leon
Leon, Solicitor
Category: Australia Law
Satisfied Customers: 44911
Experience:  BEc Dip Ed, Dip Law (SAB) MTax (UNSW)
12124641
Type Your Australia Law Question Here...
Leon is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

We received an electricity bill for 2.5 years in someone

This answer was rated:

hello. We received an electricity bill for 2.5 years in someone else's name. We did not open this mail as we believe it is an offence. Now Origin say that the bill is ours. It's over $5000. We believed that we had another provider. Since obtaining our leases for the last 5 x 6 months, see that we were responsible to connect. We have paid a provider for waters and Electricity since 6 months after moving in. I do not see how we are responsible. This bill is huge.
JA: Because laws vary from place to place, can you tell me what state the property is in?
Customer: Hope Island, Gold Coast, Queensland
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: We when received an open card addressed to the householder, i phoned. They said i was responsible for the account and joined me as of Feb 2015. We moved in in Jan 2015. No-one told us that our gas was heated by Origin. We started paying a firm called BT Utilities in in Feb for power then water as of July.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: My first phone call to Origin said that the man before us disconnected in mid Dec 2014. The second phone call said he had disconnected in mid Jan. I think a mistake has been made and they want someone to be the scape goat. We live in a resort style complex with three buildings and four floors. We have received hot water all this time. I am quite taken aback at such a large bill. We work full time, three of us live here. I am not opposed to the user pays' system. I am just frightened about how we can pay this. Thanks

Hi, I am Leon, a NSW Solicitor. I will be assisting you with your question. If you choose a telephone call, you will be charged an additional fee.

Good Morning

When you moved in you signed up with a separate provider?

You have been receiving electricity accounts for that period from that provider and have been paying them?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
When we moved in we were not informed about the electricity, it was a whirlwind, we had just sold our home down the road, had come back from a rep cricket carnival with our son, made a new move on 12/13 Jan 2015 ... We did not receive a copy of the lease (which would have served as a reminder) although were asked to document things such as cracks, painting ... we paid for some power with BT Utilities as of 4 Feb 2015. Yes we paid the bills for them, however, I cannot say that I checked them too carefully.

Good Morning

So you did not enter into an agreement with a separate provider? You moved in and just used the power?

Do you have the bills you paid.

If you have signed up with BT Utilities when you moved in the old supplier should have been cancelled.

You have to think back what you did and also get out all your bills.

If you cannot recall what you did and find the accounts you have paid for the time you have been there, you will find it hard to get a resolution in your favour.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Since receiving a copy of our leases (requested by myself two weeks ago) i can see on paper that we were responsible for paying. Management changed here - up until mid/late last year, there was another manager here. I can find some paper bills from the start and the rest is now online. Two old accounts, 2016 Jan - Feb =$142.64 + Mar - Apr=$131.80 - clearly stated as electricity - says new meter BUT also at the same time, Origin is billing us ...
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Hang on, found a bill from 2015 July - Sep = $156.05 - BTUnsure now as to who is receiving the extra money - who is using our metre ...

Good Morning

I am concerned that you have no understood what I have asked you.

Did you enter into an agreement with any electricity supplier in your name when you moved in? Can you please respond with a yes or a no?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
No

Good Morning

In that case I am very sorry but you owe the money.

It appears that the previous tenants had the electricity in their name and you have continued to use it.

If you do not pay it they will disconnect the power but because it is not in your name they cannot sue you.

They can only sue the people in whose name the account is in. They on the other hand can join you in the action.

Because you did not sign up with another provider, the bill is for what you have been using from when you moved in. It may also include some usage from when the old tenant moved out but you have to check the dates with Origin.

I assume you do not have all the accounts from when you moved in?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
19 September 2017 10:47
Since receiving a copy of our leases (requested by myself two weeks ago) i can see on paper that we were responsible for paying. Management changed here - up until mid/late last year, there was another manager here. I can find some paper bills from the start and the rest is now online. Two old accounts, 2016 Jan - Feb =$142.64 + Mar - Apr=$131.80 - clearly stated as electricity - says new meter BUT also at the same time, Origin is billing us ...
19 September 2017 10:50
Hang on, found a bill from 2015 July - Sep = $156.05 - BT
Unsure now as to who is receiving the extra money - who is using our metre ...I am unsure now about your response - the account is in now in our name (they said they would cut it off) and they back dated it to Feb 2015 - how is that possible? On two providers there are two meter numbers - how can we pay electricity twice.
Do we have to pay this?
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Hello?

Good Afternoon

Have you spoken to the landlord or BT about these accounts?

You have to also have the metre checked if you believe it is incorrect.

But from what you are telling me I suspect you are liable.

But you can lodge a complaint with the Ombudsman but you need to get all the information from all parties before you lodge a complaint. That includes copies of all accounts form origin, confirmation on what BT is for.

Unless you sign up with Origin they should not have put the account in your name.

But you need to do more investigating before you can take this further to have it resolved.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I returned mail to Origin for over two and a half years - stating on the front of the envelopes that the person did not live at the premises. If they were so worried, why did they not send a "to the householder" earlier.
I will ask to see the meter/s visually, query more as to how we needed to pay two lots of electricity etc.

Good Morning

You have to contact them and ask for copies of he accounts.

Without them you are none the wiser about the charges.

All the best and good luck with it.

I hope this makes sense and is of assistance. If you wish a phone call please elect for one but be aware it will be an additional fee. If there is nothing further thank you for using my services.

If I have missed anything, or you have any further questions please let me know

If there is anything else in the future please do not hesitate to ask.

Please do not forget to leave positive feedback.

Regards
Leon

Leon and other Australia Law Specialists are ready to help you