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Why have I received a bill covering energy used before I moved in to my new home?


Hi All,

 

I recently moved into a new house at the beginning of March and have received a bill from

OVO asking me to pay £700 from October to March, despite not living here. I have provided copies of my completion statement, my old tenancy contract, my old electric bills and a copy of moving company booking to prove this, however this has not been corrected and I am still being asked to pay this. I have contacted customer support numerous times, have been told that a case has been opened however whilst there is an open balance on my account with no direct debit, my details will be passed to credit reference agencies and third parties to seek collection. Has anyone got any advice on what I can do to resolve this. 

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Best answer by Jess_OVO 12 July 2022, 12:36

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Userlevel 7

Updated on 08/09/23 by Emmanuelle_OVO

Hi @neerajk and welcome to the OVO online community,

 

Firstly I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve received a bill covering the time before you were liable for your new home. Just to confirm was this statement addressed to ‘The Occupier’? If so this would be sent out if we’re not sure who’s responsible for paying the bills at the moment.

 

If we’ve not heard from the new occupiers we might carry out  a ’trace and search’. This process involves using the information held for the address by credit reference agencies and the electoral roll to find who was registered at this time. If your details have been found in error, we can remove them once we’ve confirmed that this was a mistake. We may ask for a document to prove this, such as a signed tenancy agreement or council tax notification showing you were living at a different address by this date. It sounds like you’ve already sent us copies of these documents so I’m sorry to hear things aren’t yet resolved.

 

We’d recommend contacting our Support Team directly to check the status of the case that’s been raised. I hope this helps get this settled.

Hello,

I've moved to a new apartment on 21/10/2022 where the electricity supplier is SSE. I called them on 8/11/2022 and set up my account. They have sent me an email to update the meter readings. I did not have a meter reading on the move in date and I've got a meter reading from concierge on 9/11/2022. When I go to update the meter readings, I see a huge gap between the last meter readings on file and the meter reading I've got from the concierge on 9/11/2022.

 

Reading on file (this is shown as the meter reading on 21/10/2022, the date I moved in):

Day: 52658

Night: 30095

 

Current meter reading on 9/11/2022

R1: 55931
R2: 81747

 

I see a huge gap in the meter readings and I'm worried I'll have to pay a hefty amount for something I have not used. Can anyone please clarify this? Thanks in advance. 
 

 

Userlevel 7

Hey @arslak,

 

Welcome to the OVO Online Community. 

 

They’ll need to re-estimate your opening meter reading. All you need to do is contact them with two meter readings, two weeks apart and they can send you a re-vised bill.

@Emmanuelle_OVO Many thanks for the reply. 

 

They might send me a bill before I take 2 weeks apart meter reading. Will they amend the bill if I give them the readings after the bill is prepared?

@Emmanuelle_OVO Thanks so much for the info.

I am being hounded by LCS for a previous tenants debt.

I informed OVO of the date of eviction and set up a new account which I pay. I also provided them with the names of the tenants and the Lettings agency who were managing the property.

OVO told me not to worry about the old debt from the previous people but have since set LCS on me for approx £1,200. 

I have contacted these simpletons so many times it infuriates me. I emailed OVO again and they sent a template email which was partially filled in but some parts not deleted. 

Their collection agency went from a debt to the occupier to attaching my name to the debt and doing searches which I found out about. Since then LCS have got hold of my name and personal home address to send their threatening letters to. Today, I got a letter and even a text on my private phone number, which I also did not provide. Talk about stalking! As I understand it this is criminal behaviour that can lead to civil action.

Unless this is sorted soon the next step has to be the Financial Ombudsman and Ofgem. 

I have been, and still currently am, a long term OVO customer but I am seriously looking to switch if this isn’t sorted soon.

Any advice gratefully received.

 

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

Hi @BeeBug , there are a couple of other threads which mention LCS and it suggests that this may be nothing to do with OVO especially since they told you to ignore the previous notice. 
There are companies who ‘buy’ old debt and may be less than ideal in their methods. 
Of course, no one here has any detail but @Nukecad might be able to provide some helpful advice as I believe that they have experienced something similar. 
 

Userlevel 7

I’m really sorry to hear this @BeeBug, would it be possible for you to send them a copy of your tenancy agreement? It sounds like they may have found your details through a process called ‘trace and search’. Once a debt gets passed on to a debt collection agency (DCA), it is no longer OVO’s debt and the DCA becomes responsible. 

Hi BPLightlog, Thanks for the reply. 

I have now read a number of threads about LCS and am now more aware of their operations. That said, the debt originates with OVO and it reflects poorly on a company to sell debts to ambulance chasers.  The bottom line is that OVO caused the problem by not having an efficient debt tracking system in place and causing distress and upset to long term customers.

LCS continually refer to their ’client’  which is either OVO or whoever else bought the debt. 

I do not think that you can avoid responsibility and pass the buck by saying that you have sold the debt.  It has everything to do with OVO and they need to fix it fast.

 

Hi Emmanuelle_OVO

Thanks for taking the time to reply. The tenancy agreement is one of a string of documents that they ask for. Unfortunately, the tenants were on a rolling tenancy after their original tenancy expired. It is a lot of work to provide all the paperwork they insist on. I have provided a copy of the official eviction warrant executed by the Baliffs, which clearly shows the address, date, time and name of the occupiers/debtors...that should suffice.

‘Once a debt gets passed on to a debt collection agency (DCA), it is no longer OVO’s debt and the DCA becomes responsible. ‘

I don’t agree with the above statement.  The problem originated with OVO and it is their responsibilty to put things right. If they sell debts to such shady businesses they will ultimately have to face the consequences. 

Userlevel 6

Hi @BeeBug 

As @BPLightlog says I have had dealings with LCS in the past, and other collectors over the same alleged debt. (Not with regard to OVO, my dispute was with Scottish Power).

I doubt that in this case they have bought the debt from OVO, that’s usually only done much later if/when a debt is ‘uncollectable’ for whatever reason (often because it cannot be proved to exist in the first place, or it’s over 6 years old, etc. so the company can’t chase it in court).
That’s a kind of last chance gamble where the buying company buys an uncollectable-through-the-courts debt for pennies-in-the-pound in the gamble of getting something/anything out of the ‘customer’.

In your current situation then as it is LCS that are harasing you it's LCS that you need to stop.

What I would suggest, from my own experience of dealing with 3 such collection agencies (one of them twice, SP instructed them again for the same thing after I’d seen them off once):

Firstly I would stop providing them with any ‘proof’ that the debt does not exist - it’s their job to prove the debt exists if they want to collect. (to the satisfaction of a court if it ever gets that far, and I have no doubt that is being threatened because DCs always do).

Email LCS telling them the following in your own words and adding dates etc. as necessary, keep things polite but to the point, don’t let them sidetrack you they do it to confuse things:

  • State that you are making an Official Complaint of Harassment.
    Put that in bold, underlined, at the top of your email after the addresses, ref numbers, etc..
  • Thank them nicely for their previous correspondence
  • Tell them that the alleged debt is in dispute with the supplier (OVO).
  • Tell them that as the debt is disputed with the supplier then you require that LCS cease action until that dispute is resolved.
  • Tell them that if they fail to cease action then you will make complaints of Harassment to both the FCA and the Financial Ombudsman.

Personally I also informed them that I was not a 'customer' of LCSDR and that I would not be registering/logging in to their website. (I never went anywhere near their ‘Customer Portal’ website).

You can add the following if you want to get semi-legal back at them:
"In accordance with the FCA Handbook CONC 7.14 "Settlements, disputed and deadlocked debt" you should now suspend any and all collections activity whilst my dispute with the energy provider is still ongoing.

I am also aware that as I have made this Official Complaint of Harassment to yourselves you now are required to inform the FCA of this complaint."

What will/should happen then:

  • LCS will reply saying that they have checked with ‘their client’ and there is no dispute.
    (That’s standard practice with all debt collectors but as far as I can tell they don't actually check anything. I doubt that they report your complaint to the FCA either, they should do but no one checks unless you later complain to the FCA yourself).
  • You reply back saying you are astonished to hear that OVO told them that, and send LCS proof of the dispute, eg. a copy of a dispute email from OVO or something like that.
  • At that point LCS should then reply saying that they have 'placed your account on hold for 30 days'.

If they come back after 30 days you simply inform them that it's still in dispute and that they should back off again.

In the meantime you are of course still trying to get the matter sorted out with OVO.
In this case though it does seem that this is entirely LCs’s error and that they should be looking for the previous tenant and not harassing you.
See my next post below this one for an additional step in these circumstances.

EDIT to add:
Don’t make the mistake of regarding the debt collection agency and the supplier as working together.
Each is doing their own thing and they don’t really talk to each other.
In particular don’t expect anything that you send to the DC to get to the supplier, it won’t.
All the DC knows is that they have been instructed to collect money and that is all they are interested in doing.
If you dispute that you owe the money in the first place then you have to dispute that with the supplier, the DC isn’t interested in whatever you send them about that, and won;t pass it on.
 

 

Userlevel 6

Sorry I just had a re-read and while my advice above still stands I see that it's not actually a disputed bill LCS are chasing.

What I advised above you should still do in the first instance to get LCS on the back foot and give you a breathing space.

But you then need an extra step.

You need to get from OVO a clear statement that the bill/debt is for a previous tenants account and not for yourself.
Get in written down in an email or letter. You might even already have one in a previous email.

You can then send a copy of that to LCS with instructions that if they contine to attempt to collect from the wrong person, ie. yourself, after you have provided clear evidence that it is not your debt, then you will definitely be making a Harassment complaint to the FCA.
And will strongly consider suing LCS for compensation for harassment.

(‘Harassment’ is the magic word here, it can be a very serious matter for a debt collector to be found guilty of harassment with the FCA).

In these circumstances OVO will not tell LCS to stop trying to collect, the debt does exist.

But they should be telling LCS to do their job properly and to stop trying to collect from the wrong person.

Hi Nukecad,

Thanks for taking so much time to provide all this advice.  There is a lot of useful information there. I have already told them, in polite but less eloquent terms, that their actions constitute Harassment and  that if they do not desist I will be complaining to the FCA. That was yesterday and they have not responded so hopefully that has done the trick but I’m not holding my breath.

If they do send another stupid email/letter/text I shall respond with much of what you advise above. In the meantime OVO have promised to call today…..as I have lodged an offical complaint and mentioned Ofgem too. Lets hope they call.

Failing all that. I will block/bin any future correspondence and see if they are brave/stupid enough to take it to court as they have nothing and it will cost them.

Userlevel 7

Hey @BeeBug,

 

I completely understand how stressful this must be. I’m sorry, what I meant previously by LCS taking over the debt is that any documents you provide should be provided to LCS directly rather than OVO. 

When a customer has a final outstanding debt and we’ve exhausted our internal collections procedure, the account is placed with an appropriate Debt Collection Agency (DCA). Once a customer has been placed with DCA, they shouldn’t be dealt with by our Final Accounts department. The DCA will contact these customers on our behalf, and our customers should contact them directly to make a payment or agree a suitable payment plan. They will send a letter with their contact details on and ways to pay. If a customer disputes the balance that they owe, this is something that they must take up with the DCA.

 

It sounds like you’ve sent enough evidence across to show that you weren’t responsible for the arrears at that time. Are they happy with the documents provided? 

 

I’m really sorry you’ve had to raise a complaint to get this resolved but I hope that this means it gets resolved faster for you. 

 

Thanks Emmanuelle_OVO,

Hmm, That is interesting. From the info that you kindly provided:

‘When a customer has a final outstanding debt and we’ve exhausted our internal collections procedure, the account is placed with an appropriate Debt Collection Agency (DCA). Once a customer has been placed with DCA, they shouldn’t be dealt with by our Final Accounts department. The DCA will contact these customers on our behalf, and our customers should contact them directly to make a payment or agree a suitable payment plan. They will send a letter with their contact details on and ways to pay. If a customer disputes the balance that they owe, this is something that they must take up with the DCA.’

 

OVO admit to washing their hands of any further dealings once a debt is passed on to some dodgy collection firm that is regularly mentioned in the press as being somewhat difficult/unpleasant and unprofessional. Further in suggests that they will not intervence when their own actions in setting the ball in motion incorrectly negatively impact on genuine long term paying customers. 

 

I mentioned that OVO sent me an email saying that they would phone me yesterday to deal with my official complaint. They did not.

 

 

 

Userlevel 6

I have to say that I don’t fully agree with what Emmanuelle says above, or the guidance quoted. The problem is not what is being said but HOW it is being said.

Your original dispute was with OVO and, as you already have, you send any evidence backing up your position to OVO.

LCS (or any other DC) cannot resolve your dispute with OVO, they are just there to (try and) collect money.

Sending evidence of your complaint/dispute with a supplier to a debt collection agent is useless and so sensless.

HOWEVER the same goes in that OVO cannot  resolve the “new and different” dispute you now have with LCS. Emmanuelle and the cleverly/carefully worded guidance is correct there.

Once you seperate them in your mind and realise that these are two different disputes, with two different companies, it then gets simpler to deal with.

And they are different disputes although stemming from the same debt.

As things stand for you it seems that OVO accept this is not your debt. So there is no longer any dispute there and no use knocking on an already open door. Your dispute with OVO has been resolved- you do not owe this debt to OVO.

But a debt is still owing (owed by the previous tenant) and OVO have instructed LCS to collect it.

It is now LCS who are chasing the wrong person, it is no use complaining to OVO about what LCS are getting wrong, OVO can't fix that.

You have to complain to LCS who are the ones making the error so the only ones who can fix that error.

You do that as I said above by simply showing LCS that OVO agree that it is not your debt and so LCS have made an error and need to correct that error and back off.

Userlevel 7

I’m sorry that you were offered a call by OVO which you didn’t receive @BeeBug, I’ll get Forum_Support to reach out. Please keep an eye on your private messages. 

Hi,

 

I moved into a property in October and as the supplier was already ovo, as i thought it would be easier i phoned up and created a brand new account, and have been paying monthly direct debits on that account since,

 

A short time after i created this account, ovo sent me final bill from a period before i moved in - with my name plastered all over it, i have complained and said many times this is nothing to do with me and my name should not be anywhere near this bill, as it is from a time i was living elsewhere, the complaints department told me to ignore any correspondence asking for this debt, a month on from that and i am still get daily calls and letters chasing me and threatening me for this bill, i have tried what i can to resolve but it’s not stopping.

 

Does anyone have any experience on how i can escalate this, would the ombudsman be able to help or is there a legal channel i can start to take as it’s causing a lot of stress and just want someone to put an end to this, and i have to be honest i do not understand how they can just add someones name onto an account as and when they feel like it, and i do feel someone needs to answer to how this is allowed.

 

Thanks

 

Rich

Userlevel 7
Badge +1

Hi @richieswansea ,

Please call 0800 069 9831 about this. The team on that line will assist you.

Userlevel 6

Is it OVO who are chasing you, or a 3rd party debt collector?

It can happen if the debt collector is being lazy about finding the previous occupier
OVO have instructed them to chase the debt owed by the previous occupier, but they just find any name associated with the address and don’t check further.

If that is what is happening here then it’s the collection company you need to sort it out with an not OVO.
It’s the debt collectors who are chasing the wrong person not OVO
There was another similar thread recently, I gave advice on there regarding how to deal with the collection company in such situations.
(Some of it is general advice for disputed debts some is more specific to previous occupier debt, so start with the post linked below, and the one following it, but please read the whole thread, it isn’t that long):
 

 

Userlevel 7

Hey @richieswansea,

 

I’m sorry to hear this, it sounds very stressful.

 

I’ll ask Forum_Support to reach out, please keep an eye on your private messages. 

hi,

 

Not long after i posted this i had an email from OVO asking for more information about the account…

So i replied and sent over my address and details and a screen shot of the messages you were sending me, and clearly stating what was going on, and that i was being chased for a bill that was not mine…

 

I then had an email back saying phone the collections team and “I was informed by your email regarding the message that you are receiving to settle a payment” i literally have no words, every single thing i say just gets ignored, why am i wasting my time typing.

 

I just cannot understand why this is so difficult for OVO to read an email or understand what is going on.

 

I literally have no choice but to push this outside of OVO as nothing is happening and no matter what i say or send it does not get understood.

Userlevel 7

Forum_Support will be in touch today @richieswansea 

I really need help and advice! 
 

I have recently been informed I owe OVO around £6500. I moved to my new house in April 2022 and payed an average of £45 per month. In July 2023 I got charged £80.43. All of a sudden In August 2023 I got charged £1,213.56. This carried on until November 2023. In December 2023 it then goes down to £390.18.

can someone please shed some light. We are in communication with OVO and think our electricity cost is just ridiculous. This will affect me financially and think this overcharge is ridiculous. 
 

can someone tell me how this is even possible? 

Userlevel 3

Hi @ivneet,

I recommend speaking with our Support Team about this. As we can’t see accounts on the Forum, it would be hard for us to understand what is causing the high bills. The Support Team will be able to review the account with you and, if necessary, raise a case with our billing team for any errors. 


You can find financial support options if you are struggling with your payments. 

 

I hope you get this resolved soon. 

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