What a disgrace!

  peter99co 18:43 04 Jul 2008

What a terrible thing to happen to a person.
Let's hope there are not others in a similar situation.

Is there not a better way for the utilities to behave. Could they not inform Social Services when things like this happen. I know they perhaps they are not aware of the age of the person but this is not right. Any ideas they could use to prevent it happening again

click here

  rdave13 19:01 04 Jul 2008

It is an appaling situation I agree, however, E.On state; "Had we been made aware of the severity of this situation by Mr Bargate or his family we would have acted upon it immediately."

Where were his family?

  Snec 19:44 04 Jul 2008

I've recently had a letter from E.on stating that they made a mistake but would honour it for this year. The true cost should have neen over £30 per month more.

Two daughters in different parts of the country, and with different suppliers, have had similar letters except one of the suppliers will be taking the shortfall by Direct Debit immediately.

What are these outfits up to? It beggers belief that these suppliers can get there figures so wrong when it is exactly these figures that form the basis of the contracts that exist between them and their customers.

I think I've become more suspicious as I've got older but this smells to me.

  Mr Mistoffelees 19:45 04 Jul 2008

rdave13, read the report properly before you insult the poor man's family.

"It emerged he had been unable to pay increasingly high bills - of up to £1,800 a quarter - and had hidden the debt from his family."

They clearly will not have known of his problem.

  interzone55 20:43 04 Jul 2008

Old, possibly apocryphal news story

"Commenting on a complaint from a Mr. Arthur Purdey about a large gas bill, a spokesman for North West Gas said, "We agree it was rather high for the time of year. It's possible Mr. Purdey has been charged for the gas used up during the explosion that destroyed his house." - The Daily Telegraph

  Forum Editor 20:49 04 Jul 2008

is how an energy company can continue to bill a domestic user with amounts of up to £1800 a quarter and not realise that perhaps something isn't quite right. E.on has access to data relating to hundreds of thousands of domestic account consumption figures, and you would think that software would be in place to flag any meter that consistently returns high readings like this.

It's not rocket science, similar systems are used by many regular billing businesses.

  rdave13 21:14 04 Jul 2008

With deep respect to yourself the man is 84 years of age. NOT 48 for heaven's sake. How could this man 'hide' such things from his 'loving' family?
84 and the 'family' charges in to 'help' only when he tries to commit suicide?
Give me a break.

Agree FE, if Credit card companies have such software then utilities companies should also have the same type of software to pick up irregularities.

  spuds 21:23 04 Jul 2008

Nothing like having a meter reader call, who takes a reading and passes this information onto the utility company, then you receive a bill in far excess of the actual meter reading. Happened to me twice last year, and who was to blame. Apparently not the utility company, and mine wasn't an isolated case.

There was an investigative documentary program on television a few months back. In that there was a similar vulnerable person, who was receiving threatening demands for payments from an gas utility company. The only problem was the flat that the person lived in, had no gas supply connection, and never had. His flat was all electric.

  laurie53 07:48 05 Jul 2008

As I've said on other threads, one of the reasons I won't do direct debit is because of faults like this.

One quarter, out of the blue, I got a bill for £2,000 instead of my usual £80/£90.

OK, it was fairly easy to sort out, but I shouldn't have had to, and had I been twenty years older I might have panicked too (in fact, I did, but managed to calm myself into a rational frame of mind).

It is time these utility companies were reined in, there are far too many of these stories, and apart from from a bit of adverse publicity at the time nothing seems to be done about it.

  spuds 09:32 05 Jul 2008

Thats the problem, we have watchdogs, but they appear to have very little or no realisation of the true effect this sought of thing as on people.

In my particular case, I am sure that had in been someone 'rather insecure', then they would assumed that the utility company was 100% correct in their demands, and paid without question. As it was, I have (perhaps) a good knowledge of challenging these type of things. Fair dues when I contacted the company, the customer services representative was very apologetic,and she sounded rather sincere, but at the same time, I suspected that she had been through the same routine perhaps hundreds of times before.

The water company that I use, is constantly in the news due to previous bad management practises. Its okay, the watchdogs stating that the companies have been fined x millions of pounds, but this doesn't resolve the situation of the timid person waiting for the knock on the door. Its okay for the CEO of these large companies saying these things shouldn't have happened, but they do, only to often. Perhaps if the CEO's were fined personally, and from their own pockets, then things might change perhaps!.

These sort of incidents annoy me extremely,and I do on occasions try to right the balance for others, but my voice is a very small and minute ripple in a very large pond.

Rant over for now.

  johndrew 09:59 05 Jul 2008

".. how an energy company can continue to bill a domestic user with amounts of up to £1800 .."

Unfortunately it is only too easy. Companies such as e-on have software written for them that simply churns out the bills. The same software is used to determine changes to standing orders and other items. The meter reader simply puts the numbers into the system with no knowledge of usage.

I recently (twice in the past 12 months) have had the need to `speak` with British Gas because they automatically `adjusted` my standing order downwards in the face of increasing fuel prices and a debit balance which was over £100.

When challenged the response I received was that all such figures are automatically dealt with by the computer with no input from a human.

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

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