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SSE have sent a Bailiff to my home- They've never contacted me to say I owe money?

  • 3 October 2022
  • 12 replies
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I’m a current SSE customer who was only recently informed by them a few weeks ago SSE that an upcoming migration to ovo was to happen but the letter also stated I was also free to leave and go with a different supplier if I wasn’t happy to be moved to ovo. I am currently over 700 pounds in credit with SSE and I had moved to a direct debit from standing order account back in March 2022.

 I arranged the direct debit with SSE because I had opened what looked like marketing information from Ovo but found a demand from the saying they had not received by bill pay to and would be taking me court if I didn’t pay. However, knowing that Ovo is SSE’ s parent company I phoned SSE to ask if my standing order payments weren’t coming through ( they were showing on my bank statements as paid)- they said it was because Ovo was going  to close that account and I should pay SSE through direct debit instead- so went through that process ( It actually turned out cheaper than what I was currently paying)and the SSE operator reassured me I should not now be worried about demands from ovo abut it might take some time for the information to get through to ovo and for my new SSE online account to be accessible. My online account with them is still not accessible, but my bills show I’m building up a lot of credit because I’m paying way more than my usage per month.

This morning I received a visit from a bailiff who demanded thousands from me on the spot and said if I couldn’t raise the money within 20 mins he would put the amount up and call the removal team to enter my home and take possessions. I spoke to him from my bedroom window and wouldn’t let him in. He wouldn’t let me phone ovo or SSE to ask what’s going on ( and it always takes more than 30 mins to get through on the phone)- he also wouldn’t accept a part payment. I told him I’m up to date with my bills and in credit with SSE and not yet an Ovo customer, but he insisted my bill had been split between SSE and Ovo, and that I should have been paying both companies ( how could I pay ovo without an account number with them though?)- neither ovo or SSE has told me I had to do that. I had to phone a court number and they said I could pay 100 then set up the same payment every month by standing order- so that’s an additional bill that will mean no money left to buy food or anything else after my rent and bills go out at the beginning of the month. 

I have been on the phone with SSE and Ovo all afternoon; both customer care and collections teams; SSE said they could find no record of a debt sent to Ovo to handle, and the definitely wouldn’t have taken me to court and sent a bailiff around- I’m on their vulnerable customer list ( I’m disabled and a wheelchair user) and there would be no reason to take me to court as I’m paying my bills. Ovo couldn’t find a record of me or demands made of me in their database, couldn’t find the court reference number or access any of my SSE details or account- the ovo operators couldn’t work out what had happened. Neither companies can find a reference to a court case or debt demand- but this also means they were unable to call of the bailiff enforcement 

So my main question is, while I wait for an ovo escalated complaints team member to call back in 5 days- what can I do to keep myself safe in my home in the meantime, and the bailiff removal team away?

Also, should I let the migration to ovo go through? Ovo would then have my SSE records of payment and be able to sort this situation out- I haven’t had a way to pay ovo anything due to not having an ovo account number. But migration might take to long for me to be safe, and once it goes through I’ll be trapped- and I would prefer to be with a company that respected my safety. 

 

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Best answer by Blastoise186 4 October 2022, 01:03

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Userlevel 7
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I'm really sorry you've had this horrible experience. I would contact citizens advice as soon as you can and see what they can do to help. The fact that neither OVO nor SSE can find a record of the debt is raising some red flags. Did you check that the court number was genuine before calling it?

The court number is genuine, and it refers to Ovo bringing the case against me. But yes, it raised red flags for me too. I was worried all along about the legitimacy of the enforcement- I would have thought the court enforcement was fraudulent if I hadn’t received Ovo’s demand for payment early this year. All along Ovo hasn’t acknowledged I’ve been paying my SSE bills, and that was worrying me but I hadn’t been able to get through to ovo on their phone system due to not being a customer.

I have wanted to deal with the issue through contacting Ovo  and SSE, especially as they would be the only people to find the root of the debt demand and call off the court actions. The court enforcement person I spoke to on the phone today said she couldn’t do anything and that I would have to speak to Ovo and SSE to get the enforcement stopped.  

And It’s only because SSE’s recent notification that I’ll be migrated to Ovo soon that I managed to speak in person with Ovo on the phone today (pressing 2 for new customer - though as  I’m not one yet the first operator hung up on me right away when I mentioned  “ SSE customer “) 

I’ve spent over 5 hours on the phone this afternoon and no-one could get to the bottom of the issue: 

.no record of me on Ovo’s database so no one was able to find details of debt demand or court cases

. No record in the SSE database of a debt being sent to Ovo or instruction any debt is to be paid to Ovo instead of through an SSE payment plan ( though apparently SSE does sometimes refer debt to Ovo during migration, that would not have been the case for me in January and March this year, especially as SSE was happy with my payments

. I’m still on the national register as having SSE as my electric supplier and Edf for gas but I’m now worried Ovo will want money for gas from me too.

I’m going to try the main UK citizens advice hotline again tomorrow. Couldn’t get through today, and my local one has ceased operating in my city due to staff and funding issues-today there was only a dead phone line to the nearest service in the Vale of Glamorgan. I don’t know if I should go ahead and contact the energy ombudsman and Ofgem, or if I should wait until after the Ovo complaints team call me in case they have a resolution. It’s just going to be a very anxious 5 days. I didn’t eat anything today and I’ve  barricaded my front door with my outdoors wheelchair.

Userlevel 7
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Hey, I’m really sorry to hear this has happened to you.

I’m afraid there’s not much more I can add here as a forum volunteer, but I can do something that may help you out. All active forum moderators will have been notified about this thread being created, but I’ve got a call scheduled with them in the morning - and I’ll definitely be flagging this as a priority for you.

I’ve also directly notified them just now that your thread requires urgent attention.

I am now also actively monitoring this thread. If you need me to stop by at anytime, simply reply to this thread and mention me on @Blastoise186 and I’ll drop by asap.

Thank you Blastoise. 

 I really appreciate that you’ve flagged this for me and the solidarity is very welcome right now.

 The enforcement officer was really nasty- turned up dressed up in black gear with a flak vest and shouted up at me in the window; told me I had twenty minutes to raise the money and if I couldn’t he was adding 600 pounds to the amount and calling in the removals team. I called my brother  and he told me to call Ovo right away but I got placed into the WhatsApp enquiry zone when trying to get through. Enforcer shouted at me and called me a liar when he heard the Ovo menu on my phone speaker, said I was only allowed to call family and friends to raise money and Ovo won’t help, I replied” I’m trying ok, I called my brother and he told me to call Ovo”.

I came away from the window, called the court enforcement number and the operator accepted a small payment ( I paid £100) and asked me to set up a standing order through my bank. She also said the enforcer had just complained to them that I abused him ( by panicking? He was about 3 times the size of me).

I looked out of my window after talking to the operator and the enforcer had drove away, but I’ve been shaking all day while on the phone because I was expecting the removal team to turn up at any time. I’m hoping they don’t come during the night. Apparently they can change your locks. I did call the court enforcement agency back with a query over the case after Ovo and SSE told me they couldn’t find anything, but they were really unhelpful.

 

Userlevel 7
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You’re welcome.

I agree with @M.isterW and yourself. There’s absolutely no way OVO or SSE would ever jump directly to bailiffs without first exhausting basically every other step before it - and it takes a LOT of them before you get this far. And trust me, you would KNOW about it well before it gets this far!!! I only have two theories:

  1. That bailiff is chasing you when they should be going after someone else and got the wrong person
  2. There is no debt at all and that bailiff showed up without permission from OVO or SSE

In both cases, you are entitled to a full refund of ALL monies paid because it’s not your debt. It can take a while to send the money back to you, but there’s ways it can be done. I also suspect that bailiff company may be breaching their license terms and their contracts if they’re enforcing invalid debts that clearly don’t exist. You would of course be entitled to have all enforcement fees waived as well - and the bailiffs would be told to clear off and leave you alone once this is resolved.

You are also entitled to have any CCJs against you withdrawn and quashed and your credit record corrected to eliminate any black marks. If OVO or SSE placed any by mistake, their collections teams will definitely be happy to fix things up once they’re able to verify you’re in good standing. It may take up to a month to push such updates through, but I know that they definitely will make the arrangements if needed.

Userlevel 7
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Can I suggest that if they turn up again you call the police. A bailiff should not be threatening you in that way.

Userlevel 7
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In addition (I just looked this up!) County Court Bailiffs cannot force entry at all. They have to be invited in. High Court Sheriffs can force entry on commercial premises when enforcing a High Court Writ (such as by getting a locksmith to force the locks), but on domestic/residential premises they are only allowed to enter if either if you invite them in, or if there’s an unlocked and open door or window that they’re able to get through without causing damage.

Userlevel 7

Hi @Desperate sse customer and thanks for flagging this. 

 

I’m going to send you a private message shortly, get some details and pass them on urgently so we can figure out the facts and ensure you’re not visited by a bailiff again any time soon. 

Thank you everyone. I had a more productive day on the phone than yesterday. A team member from Ovo Complaints called me and had,  with his manager, contacted SSE and found out it was SSE that raised a debt and brought the court judgment- SSE have made a catalogue of mistakes and  given me misleading information over the phone, and as I had been consistently paying them and even set up a new direct debit with them they weren’t even supposed to be taking me to court. And I can’t be simultaneously in credit and in debt with SSE so I will be taking it further. Roll on migration to Ovo then, I to get this situation sorted out and be rid of SSE.

More phone calls tomorrow. I’ll update when there’s more progress 

Userlevel 7
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You’re welcome. For my part, I’ve had a chat with the moderators and we’re working on making the alert process even faster and more efficient for emergencies like this one. I can’t say too much in case it gets abused but I can say this - use of the new mechanism guarantees that all active moderators get a heads up in one go.

Keep us posted with how you get on! We’ll be happy to offer as much advice as you need while you get things resolved.

Userlevel 5

Hey @Desperate sse customer,

 

I’m really sorry for the issues you’ve had.

 

But glad we’ve gotten to the bottom of it and hopefully this all gets sorted now.

Userlevel 7
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As for the migration to OVO, I forgot to answer that before, sorry!

From the latest information I’ve got, your account should be migrated by the end of March 2023 at the latest. Chances are it’ll probably be sooner though. You’ll be notified at least two weeks in advance.

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