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Moved into new property and I owe previous tenants bill, why?


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Words can not explain how mad I am with this company. I have previously moved into a new property supplied by OVO and as now the legal occupier I opened a letter to them sending debt collectors round because the previous tenants hadn’t paid their bill!

I was mortified that they are doing this! I tried calling and couldn’t get through to them at first. When I did the gentleman was very reassuring and told me he would rectify the bill and did the sale pitch to which I decided to stay with them.

Received the new statement and they are still trying to charge me!! I’ve had it with this company already! Painful is an understatement! Plus my new email as a new client states they are open Saturday they are not!

Not at all happy and want to go back to Bulb Energy even though they are slightly more expensive. Customer service was second to none.

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Best answer by Amy_OVO 12 August 2019, 14:29

Updated 29/04/2020

Hey @EB23,

I'm really sorry to hear of your experience so far. When you contacted our team to take over liability of the energy used in the property we would only then start to bill you from that date, as @Transparent mentioned any prior usage is not yours to cover.

We may have used an estimated reading to open up your account, in any case this is something our team will be able to look into. Please contact them with a current reading, but more importantly the reading on the date you moved in, this will be on your tenancy or check in details, they'll be able to adjust the statement to rectify your consumption today.

You can send us a message on FacebookTwitter and our Help centre has online chat, or give them a call. You can reach our Customer Care team 9-5 Monday-Friday on 0330 303 5063.

Thanks

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Userlevel 7
Badge +2

Thanks for posting this @EB23. Firstly the debt results from a contract between an individual and a company (OVO Energy). That debt cannot be transferred to another individual, and you have no legal liability to meet it.

Secondly, as you have spoken to OVO Customer Services and informed them of the problem, any attempt to send debt collectors to your address would merely result in them paying the collection fees. That would be a waste of time/effort/money, and I don't think OVO are that stupid!

You state that you have a new Statement. I assume that it is addressed to you as an individual with a new Contract Number. Correct?

If that Statement contains an element of a debt from a different/previous contract, then the Statement is faulty.

Simply send an email with the word "Complaint" in the Subject Line and at the start of the Message Body Text.

State clearly and politely that the debt in question belongs to a Contract between OVO and another individual. Request that they issue you with a new/correct Statement.

The email means that there is a date/time stamp attached, denoting the start of the Complaints Procedure. OVO have to address the Complaint within 5 working days.

Please do not worry about this. The Complaints System works, and OVO have the best record in the industry for complaints handling. See the latest Which? Report published at the beginning of 2019.

Let us know if you have any further difficulties, and enjoy your weekend.

Thank you for the reassurance. Ovo knew I had only just taken over the property but yet still issued me with the statement with added costs? So if they knew it belonged to someone else why are they still pursuing it?

I have made a complaint as sugested and I hope this gets rectified as soon as possible.
Userlevel 7
Badge +2
I'm not as surprised as you are that this has happened, @EB23.

For reasons I will not expand on here, the scenario you describe bears similarity to a method used by fraudsters to create a fake identity. OVO are required to operate under Ofgem guidelines which aim to make this harder to achieve.

Unless all the boxes get ticked within OVO's anti-fraud mechanism, I would expect their system to send just such a bill to you.

In my experience, you should take every step possible to ensure that OVO have a clear trail of evidence showing that the previous tenant has vacated the property, and that you are a different person with a fresh tenancy agreement. Even if they haven't asked for it, why not start by supplying OVO with details such as the forwarding address for the old tenant and contact info for the landlord?
Userlevel 6

Updated 29/04/2020

Hey @EB23,

I'm really sorry to hear of your experience so far. When you contacted our team to take over liability of the energy used in the property we would only then start to bill you from that date, as @Transparent mentioned any prior usage is not yours to cover.

We may have used an estimated reading to open up your account, in any case this is something our team will be able to look into. Please contact them with a current reading, but more importantly the reading on the date you moved in, this will be on your tenancy or check in details, they'll be able to adjust the statement to rectify your consumption today.

You can send us a message on FacebookTwitter and our Help centre has online chat, or give them a call. You can reach our Customer Care team 9-5 Monday-Friday on 0330 303 5063.

Thanks

Hi Amy,

Thanks for coming back to me, I’ve called Ovo today as I made a complaint and it is now all sorted.

They have had to write off the previous account and I have now started from when I had the property.

It is all now sorted

Emily

Hi,

I’m having a rather frustrating time with moving house and discovering unpaid bills addressed to “The Occupier” which only became apparent after an attempted switch in providers.

The property was previously a part-exchange property - the last occupier/owner sold the property to Barratt Homes effective from the 27th June 2019.  I moved in on the 20th September 2019, so clearly Ovo are trying to bill “The Occupier” for this period of time.  Having updated Ovo with the new occupancy information for myself from this date I am still receiving letters for “The Occupier” that are stating the debt will be passed onto a collection agency.

After speaking to one of your advisors and explaining that there was no occupant between 24th June and 20th September, and also stating who the owner was (Barratt Homes) for this period it seems the debt will still be passed onto a debt collection agency against my property address so I will have to ensure I keep proof of my completion date to hand in case any debt collectors turn up (this is unacceptable).

I have ended up creating an account with Ovo from the 20th September after the switch British Gas failed as I can’t keep going without an energy provider (as part of this I supplied the meter readings for the date I moved in).

I appreciate this situation is rather unusual but I find it hard to believe that I’m the only person that has experienced this as part-exchange properties are quite common.

Any advice would be appreciated, this has soured what was a relatively smooth house move for my partner and I!

Userlevel 6

Take a look at the best answer, @AndroidL, this should explain what’s going on here!

I’ve just moved into a house & wanted to switch to Bulb energy for the £50 credit but Ovo will not allow it.

Apparently there is an outstanding amount at this address (According to Bulb).

I’m enraged that I can not switch and even more vexed that it seems like ovo are goint to try to pin someone else’s debt on me.

Is this standard practice to get new tenants to pay old tenants bills?

I know a credit card company who try’s this scam but I thought the energy business was more credible...I guess not.

maybe a rebrand to oh-no instead.

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

Thanks for raising this point @notacustomer .

Just have a look at what I wrote here earlier. The debt is not yours. You simply need to inform OVO of the circumstances.

The block to prevent you switching is administrated by ECOES, the National Electricity Meter Database. So there are a few steps for OVO to go through before you can switch to Bulb. It’s not just an in-house operation.

The plot thickens.

I have had the first correspondence from ovo today addressed to the occupier.

2 letters!

The first objecting to the switch as they claim I owe £308.08 ! FOR 6 DAYS!

The second is a threatening letter saying that a debt collector is coming to force entry & fit a prepayment meter.

I see this as a threat of violence against me & I doubt the landlord will be happy about having the door kicked in….then again its not my door!

I wrote to them 2 days ago with my opening readings & have emailed, thats another 48 hours to respond...

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

Please remember @notacustomer - these are not your debts.

There is no threat against you.

There is no possibility of OVO taking enforcement action to recover such a sum from you because the Small Claims Division of the County Court would throw them out!

OVO aren’t stupid… although their computer system which sends out the correspondence is a bit slow on the uptake  :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I have moved into a new flat three months ago and ever since then I have been receiving letter addressed to the flat occupier from OVO Energy. I have opened all of them, and they were all about unpaid debts accumulated by the previous flat tenant. I have tried contacting OVO informing them I have moved here and would like to open a new account and it’s been three months with no resolution of the issue…

Long story short, my account is still somewhat not opened, I have not received any new bills or contract but keep getting letters about the debt. This week I received a notification they will get this matter to debt collection agency to get a warranty of entry to enter my property! This is utterly ridiculous and their phone customer service can’t help with anything…. Awful company.

Userlevel 6

Take a look at this topic for more info, @katiejag. You can open your account here. You won’t be liable to pay any usage from before the date you moved in, so don’t worry too much about that. 

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

Hi @katiejag …. can you please clarify: Are you trying to open an account with OVO in your own name? (Or is with a different Supplier?)

If it’s with OVO and you have the meter reading from the day you moved in, then the solution is simple - use the Complaints Procedure. I recommend using email to contact Customer Services. Not only do you get to keep a dated copy of what you wrote, but it’s easier for them to forward it internally to the correct person.

In theory if the problem isn’t resolved within 8 weeks then you can refer the matter to the Office of the Energy Ombudsman. It’s rare that OVO would let it get that far. Their Complaints handling system has a very high customer satisfaction score.

The fact that you’ve been waiting 3 months suggest to me that you’re not yet even within the Complaints system.

Userlevel 6

Hey @katiejag, this all does sound a bit of a muddle, so that we can best help and get to the bottom of this please reach out to our team.

You can send us a message on FacebookTwitter and our Help centre has online chat. You can reach our team on: 0330 303 5063. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday to Friday.

Hope this helps! 

 

Hi,

I received a bill to “the occupier” at my address, claiming debit for electricity used almost a year ago by the previous tenants. Obviously I don’t have to pay it since I only moved in 6 months ago and I am with a different supplier, but I also do not want this bill hanging over the property and affecting credit if it remains unpaid.

How do I get this removed from the property?

I have tried emailing, but since the email address isn’t linked to the account, they refuse to talk to me, and the automated telephone message says I should not be calling.

Kind regards,

Userlevel 6

I’ve moved your post here, @Kidms001, there’s lots of handy info in the best answer and the thread. 

Thanks! 

Thank you @Amy_OVO . I have tried to sort this out via email, but no success, because even though I live here and the previous tenants are long gone, they won’t deal with me as I’m not the account holder. I will escalate to a complaint.

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

Hi @Kidms001 - It’s very unusual for an energy bill to be addressed to “The Occupier”. Under Financial Services rules, the contract is with an individual, rather than the property. That’s why there is a mandatory 14-day (minimum) delay when you switch Suppliers. You have the right to change your mind.

For the same reason I can’t see how an unpaid energy bill could possibly affect your credit rating.

Please don’t be concerned about this. As I wrote to another customer earlier in this Topic, there is absolutely no possibility of OVO pursuing this debt against you personally. The Small Claims Division of the County Court wouldn’t accept it.

Please note that this Forum is open to everyone, and not just customers of OVO. So if you have further difficulties on such an energy matter, then please post here again.

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