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scarletpeaches
11-01-2009, 12:22 AM
Aye. You heard me.

I've just opened a letter received yesterday or the day before from the Hydro Electric telling me they've been trying to gain access to my prepayment meter (I have a key meter) but they've had no response to previous correspondence.

Thing is, I haven't received any.

Now. This letter is dated a fortnight ago, and they told me to contact them immediately by phone, and/or to fill in the form and return it in the prepaid envelope provided. But the damn thing took two weeks to reach my house.

There was no prepaid envelope provided. Just the letter threatening me with a debt collection agency and a court order because, apparently, I owe them over 700.

I phoned my dad and he said, "There's no point worrying about it."

Well thanks a fucking bunch. It's the weekend, I can't do Jack shit about it, but I'm being threatened with debt collectors and being taken to court over 700 I don't owe? Yeah. "Not worrying" is easier said than done.

I've always been able to put lights on, watch telly, boil the kettle, so clearly I've always had electricity. If I've always had electricity, obviously I've been paying for it. So the only thing I can think of is, they sent someone round to read the meter, I wasn't in, and this is the consequence. A mix-up over which letter I was to be sent. Instead of the "please arrange a time for the lecky man to come round" note, I got, "we're taking you to court, chavscum".

Please, someone tell me this will be all right. Because I know I don't owe them a penny, but proving it is a different matter. I don't have any receipts to prove I've pre-paid for my electricity. My name and address on the letter were correct.

ACK. I feel a migraine coming on with the stress of this. 700+ and they want it, oh, now please.

WHAT???

firedrake
11-01-2009, 12:30 AM
one...two...three and....breathe.

Why is it letters like that always sodding arrive at the weekend?

Your bank statements should show the payments, how much and when they were made, shouldn't they?

ad_lucem
11-01-2009, 12:30 AM
I don't know your system over there, but it's been my experience that things usually work out (or are at least livable).

If they know you can pay, they're not going to do anything that stops you from being able to pay (like jail). Electric companies like money and don't like seeing a bill-paying-costumer fall away.

We got served court orders and sued and judged against over medical bill debt. It's scary, but we didn't have the $$$ to drop on it immediately and the payments were too high for us to pay and still keep living. The judgement of the court was actually more reasonable than what the collections company had offered.

I'd just get as much paperwork as you can find together and do your best. I have to side with your dad on the worrying, even though I know it is hard to do. I was shitting pink twinkies when I got served the papers for our medical stuff.

((hugs)) Hope it's resolved soon.

scarletpeaches
11-01-2009, 12:33 AM
one...two...three and....breathe.

Why is it letters like that always sodding arrive at the weekend?

Your bank statements should show the payments, how much and when they were made, shouldn't they?No. It's nothing to do with the bank. It's not direct debit. You hand over the key, pay for however much electricity you want, and when you get home, stick the little electronic key thingy in your meter.

You get receipts with each payment, but I never keep them.

My dad said, "You should keep them all!" Bit late for that now though.

But this...out of the blue? 700+??? I'm trying not to panic, but I have visions of men with baseball bats banging on my door.

In fact, my door went yesterday and as is my custom, I ignored it. I think it was a guy in a suit; someone left the block after knocking on my door. Sometimes we get salesmen knocking on every door and I get used to ignoring them. So whether that was a random doorknocker or someone connected to this, I don't know.

But as for 'all previous correspondence'? I've had none. Absolutely none. No letters, no phone calls (admittedly I only have a mobile), nothing.

And God knows where they get this figure from.
I don't know your system over there, but it's been my experience that things usually work out (or are at least livable).

If they know you can pay, they're not going to do anything that stops you from being able to pay (like jail). Electric companies like money and don't like seeing a bill-paying-costumer fall away.

We got served court orders and sued and judged against over medical bill debt. It's scary, but we didn't have the $$$ to drop on it immediately and the payments were too high for us to pay and still keep living. The judgement of the court was actually more reasonable than what the collections company had offered.

I'd just get as much paperwork as you can find together and do your best. I have to side with your dad on the worrying, even though I know it is hard to do. I was shitting pink twinkies when I got served the papers for our medical stuff.

((hugs)) Hope it's resolved soon.That's the thing - if I owed it, I'd pay it. But I've not heard anything about any debt up to now and would never let it get that high if I owed money.

Still, proving I've not received anything from them before now is another matter. It's my word against theirs. When it comes to paperwork, I have none, 'cause this came out of the blue.

Mr Flibble
11-01-2009, 12:34 AM
And....relax....

It's a cock up. One that you should be able to sort over the phone first thing Monday. If you have a key meter there is no way you can owe them anything, because you pay up front, right? They should be able to corroborate that in about a minute and a half.

Save all this energy for giving them a good blasting over the phone at 9.01am Monday.

Rarri
11-01-2009, 12:36 AM
Consumer Direct should be able to help you out, Ofgem used to offer advice but it's all done through Consumer Direct now. It's worth remembering that energy companies have tried to pin old debt (IE previous owners/tenants) on the new occupant before now.

http://www.ofgem.gov.uk/Consumers/Pages/Consumer.aspx

Try not to panic, if Consumer Direct can't/wont help, get in touch with CAB.

Sounds like Hydro Electric are being total eejits, hope you can get this sorted

KTC
11-01-2009, 12:37 AM
I think it's pointless to get over-worried over the weekend because there is absolutely nothing you can do about it right now. Isn't that always the case...things go wonky on us on the weekend and we have to wait until Monday to set them straight. Just call, or go down to them, on Monday and set it straight. Do you have all the receipts for the hydro you paid for? If you do, that's your proof...and mistakes happen and I'm sure they'll clear it up. I'm not sure they'll apologize...as, sadly, this seems like something that companies like that are against doing. If you do not have your receipts...it's probably still okay. Just go down there and fight your case...tell them you've been paying on time and regularly. That's all you can do. If you don't really owe them the money...I'm sure they have all the records...and that something got crossed and they will be able to figure out where they went wrong. If your dad meant don't worry now...then he is right. You can work yourself up into a crazy dither over the weekend---then go down there and state your case and be met with an "Oh...you're right". Sorry this is happening. It sucks. It happened to me with the phone company recently. I pay my bills the day they arrive. They called saying they were going to send me to collections. I freaked on the person saying to hell you are. They made some inquiries and ta-da...they were wrong. When I didn't get an apology with that whoops I changed providers.


Good luck. I'm sure it will work out in the end. Have faith. You do what you're supposed to do...they'll figure it out.

Sweetleaf
11-01-2009, 12:38 AM
You'll be fine.

Just ignore it till Monday, call them first thing and explain the situation. Experience with companies like this tell me you won't be the first person to deal with a situation like this.

I'm going to be paying off my former power company for a year because they didn't read my meter for nearly a year and it took them 8 months to admit 'Oh, yeah, sorry, we ere reading next doors meter' even after I had sent them a photo of my meter to prove they had the wrong reading.

If they still threaten you with court after talking to them, threaten them with going to the media. Reporters love an 'evil power company' story.

It works, trust me. :Hug2:

firedrake
11-01-2009, 12:38 AM
Consumer Direct should be able to help you out, Ofgem used to offer advice but it's all done through Consumer Direct now. It's worth remembering that energy companies have tried to pin old debt (IE previous owners/tenants) on the new occupant before now.

http://www.ofgem.gov.uk/Consumers/Pages/Consumer.aspx

Try not to panic, if Consumer Direct can't/wont help, get in touch with CAB.

Sounds like Hydro Electric are being total eejits, hope you can get this sorted

What Rarri said.

KTC
11-01-2009, 12:39 AM
Oops. I was typing when you posted about not keeping your receipts. They have records...they'll figure out their error. Have faith.


And keep your records from now on. These people are famous for repeating their mistakes.

scarletpeaches
11-01-2009, 12:40 AM
And....relax....

It's a cock up. One that you should be able to sort over the phone first thing Monday. If you have a key meter there is no way you can owe them anything, because you pay up front, right? They should be able to corroborate that in about a minute and a half.

Save all this energy for giving them a good blasting over the phone at 9.01am Monday.Thanks. Fuck. I know you're right, but...there's always a but.

Debt terrifies me.

Everyone on AW knows about my mother, right? Well being shit with money is one of her many faults and I can't tell you how cold it makes my blood run to think of being in debt. I don't even have a credit card. I'm obsessive about paying bills. (Which reminds me, council tax comes due on the 1st).

Logic tells me that a pre-pay meter equals no debt, but...God knows. Maybe they've programmed the key incorrectly...or something...

But like I said, I've always had electricity so I've clearly always paid for it in advance.
Consumer Direct should be able to help you out, Ofgem used to offer advice but it's all done through Consumer Direct now. It's worth remembering that energy companies have tried to pin old debt (IE previous owners/tenants) on the new occupant before now.

http://www.ofgem.gov.uk/Consumers/Pages/Consumer.aspx

Try not to panic, if Consumer Direct can't/wont help, get in touch with CAB.

Sounds like Hydro Electric are being total eejits, hope you can get this sortedI've been in this flat for 12 years, so it can't be an 'old debt'.

And they had my name and exact address right on the letter. I don't know if my account number was correct because I don't know what it is.

My dad says to contact my MP about it.

I'll try not to panic, but like I said...debt is what scares me most.

KTC
11-01-2009, 12:41 AM
I'm the same way, Peachy. I'm obsessive about paying my bills the second they come into the house.

Rarri
11-01-2009, 12:42 AM
Eek, 12 years is a long time but seriously, stranger things have happened. Hopefully it will be a system mishap. MPs are good advocates, but it's usually advised to go via the ombudsman first.

BTW, can see why the letter has freaked you out. These things always happen at the weekend too. :(

Misa Buckley
11-01-2009, 12:42 AM
Well for starters, you shouldn't have incured a debt when you have a prepayment meter. Is the letter addressed to you or "The Occupier"? If it's the latter, the debt might be the previous homeowner.

If it is addressed to you, ring them on Monday and speak to them. See if you can arrange a meter reading. If they refuse (and they shouldn't) ask for a statement; they are legally to provide you with evidence of your debt.

Mr Flibble
11-01-2009, 12:44 AM
Everyone on AW knows about my mother, right? Well being shit with money is one of her many faults and I can't tell you how cold it makes my blood run to think of being in debt. I don't even have a credit card. I'm obsessive about paying bills. (Which reminds me, council tax comes due on the 1st).

Then you owe nothing. ( btw you sound like me and food - my first husband always used to spend the shopping money on records, so I make a habit of making sure the cupboards and freezer are groaning with food, just in case...)


Logic tells me that a pre-pay meter equals no debt, but...God knows. Maybe they've programmed the key incorrectly...or something...

In which case it's their fault and they can't charge you for it.

Don't get anxious, get angry! :D

scarletpeaches
11-01-2009, 12:44 AM
Thanks everyone. This is really pushing my buttons. There is nothing, nothing guaranteed to freak me out like the threat of a debt-based court order. And for such a monumental 'out of nowhere' sum, too.

There's nothing I can do...and I hate that. I won't be able to sleep. Or eat. I feel sick. I know I owe them nothing, but...

GAH!

I had this with the council once. For 17 they were threatening to take me to court and I went in to see them and they were like "Oh sorry, computer error," and I said, "Computer error? Computer fucking error? How does a computer make an error? No - the person operating it makes the error. For seventeen pounds? You threaten to take me to court for seventeen pounds?"

They sent me a letter of apology. Which I still have.

Sweetleaf
11-01-2009, 12:46 AM
Media. Trust me.

Nothing scares corporations like bad press. :)

Shakesbear
11-01-2009, 12:48 AM
I know that Scottish Law is different from English law - but so far they have threatened you with certain things - court order and debt collectors. If the DCs do come and they do not have a court order tell them, politely to leave. If you are taken to court you will have the right to be there and to say your bit - but ask the court for the help of a solicitor to assist you. That is, imo, the worst case scenario. If they have made a mistake it is down to them - not you, as you pay by key. I do as well, and it they have failed to adjust the tariff you pay then it is their fault and not yours. I would offer to pay them back at a 1 a month! When you do phone them put your case and if the turnip you talk to does not want to hear what you are saying ask to speak to a supervisor.

One other thing - check that the account number and phone number are correct - it could be a scam.

ad_lucem
11-01-2009, 12:50 AM
No. It's nothing to do with the bank. It's not direct debit. You hand over the key, pay for however much electricity you want, and when you get home, stick the little electronic key thingy in your meter.

Okay, I understand now. We have those here, too. If they work anything like the prepaid ones here then how on earth could you not pay and still have electricity? That's the point of the prepay system...no surprise bills.

That's nuts. There's obviously something wrong with the meter or their record-keeping or both. There's got to be someone you can talk to at the company that can help with this, right?

ETA: I agree with overtired... call the local news station or paper and raise a stink.

ETA: Do you have a corporation commission that oversees the utility company's behavior?? I'd call them, too.

Misa Buckley
11-01-2009, 12:52 AM
SP, all you can do is organise a plan of attack and then try and forget the whole thing until Monday.

It's NaNo soon - loose yourself in writing some dirty fiction ;)

scarletpeaches
11-01-2009, 12:52 AM
I'm hoping so.

I'm emailing my local newspaper as we speak as a pre-emptive strike.

Plot Device
11-01-2009, 12:52 AM
Scarlet, your description of the key meter --the system of payment you have been engaged in all this time-- sounds to me like it's impossible for you to "owe" them a damned thing. You obviously have some sort of a pre-pay thing going, NOT a post-pay of the sort that could allow you to fall behind in payments. So it's up to them to prove that you had some other debt-incurring arrangement other than the pre-pay sort. So this is most likely a clerical screwup.

And another thing, the way that letter is phrsed (at least as I read betrween the lines of how you paraphrased it here) they are only THREATENING to get a collection agency invovled, and haven't actually done so yet. So your credit record most liekly isn't marred at all. So breathe easy for the weekend and deal with it on Monday morning.

Misa Buckley
11-01-2009, 12:56 AM
Actually, if this isn't sorted the company will send several letters. It's only if the situation isn't resolved that they would take it to court.

It HAS to go to court and PROVEN before debt collectors call. And before anything goes onto the credit records.

Plot Device
11-01-2009, 12:57 AM
Thanks everyone. This is really pushing my buttons. There is nothing, nothing guaranteed to freak me out like the threat of a debt-based court order. And for such a monumental 'out of nowhere' sum, too.

There's nothing I can do...and I hate that. I won't be able to sleep. Or eat. I feel sick. I know I owe them nothing, but...

GAH!

I had this with the council once. For 17 they were threatening to take me to court and I went in to see them and they were like "Oh sorry, computer error," and I said, "Computer error? Computer fucking error? How does a computer make an error? No - the person operating it makes the error. For seventeen pounds? You threaten to take me to court for seventeen pounds?"

They sent me a letter of apology. Which I still have.

I don't know about the UK, but in America, a "letter of apology" is a huge huge honkin' major legal thing. A letter of apology here carries legal weight and so no corporation/bank/institution ever wants to issue an actual formal letter of apology unless they MUST do so. When such a letter gets issued, they have to LOG the fact that they sent it out, and then at the end of the business quarter they have to send a report to whoever their regulating body is with a list of every last apology letter sent out that quarter. They all like to keep that list as short as possible each time because any entity that exceeds a certain number of apology letters in a given period will trip all the wrong alarms and could get audited and possibly shut down for mismanagement.




.

scarletpeaches
11-01-2009, 12:58 AM
The exact wording is:
NOTICE OF ELECTRICITY WARRANT
Outstanding Debt 726.19

We have not received a response to previous correspondence regarding your prepayment meter. Unless you contact us by telephone or complete the information overleaf and return it to us in the prepaid envelope provided we will commence proceedings to:

Gain access to the meter by obtaining a right of entry warrant.

Refer your debt to a licensed debt collection agency

Obtain a court judgement against you.
It then gives opening hours of the office.

It ends:
Please ignore this letter if you have already contacted us within the last few days and accept our apologies for troubling you. Otherwise, take action now.

Yours sincerely

Prepayment Account ManagerThere was no signature on the letter, no name given. Just a printed 'Prepayment Account Manager'. No envelope was provided, and this is the first correspondence received - dated just over a fortnight ago, so it's taken two weeks to get here.

ad_lucem
11-01-2009, 01:00 AM
Totally OT, but...


Everyone on AW knows about my mother, right? Well being shit with money is one of her many faults and I can't tell you how cold it makes my blood run to think of being in debt. I don't even have a credit card. I'm obsessive about paying bills. (Which reminds me, council tax comes due on the 1st).

Don't ever come to the US and get sick or injured. You'll be getting calls from debt collectors morning/noon/night asking $600 for a 10 minute ambulance ride and $900 for the gauze they didn't use while you were in it. :roll:

JoNightshade
11-01-2009, 01:01 AM
:Hug2: Like everyone else said, take a deep breath and calm down. Have a cup of tea. :)

My little bit of advice, from having had to deal with a bazillion customer service reps in the past few months (moving and having a baby will do that):

Step One: Be INCREDIBLY nice. Like, super incredibly nice. Ask the person on the phone if they are having a nice day, explain you have a little problem and you don't know HOW it could have possibly happened, it HAS to be a mistake, etc. You would be really surprised how much crap the people on the phone have to deal with every day and just being nice can get you far.

If the problem is not cleared up, move to...

Step Two: Complete raving bitch. I know you know how to do this. :) This is the stage where you get all up in arms and totally indignant over the whole thing and demand to speak to a manager and how dare they threaten you, etc.

This is my patented system for dealing with crappy companies. :) Mainly it works because if you start with the raving bitch you can't go back to supernice. Lots of these places have little computerized records where the rep makes notes on the call and I am sure that in a couple of cases I have been labeled as a "problem customer." Initially it's better not to have that designation. ;)

Plot Device
11-01-2009, 01:03 AM
Those kinds of letter annoy the hell out of me when they have no actual concrete DATES on them. Keeping the dates vague is to their advantage. I especially hate when I get a bill in the mail with no payment date on it. And utilities are notorious for that deliberate omission.

scarletpeaches
11-01-2009, 01:03 AM
Might need some help composing this email.

Basically I want to tell the local media that I'm being threatened with court action for a debt which is not mine, and...what? Would they like to run an article on how evil the Scottish Hydro is?

Misa Buckley
11-01-2009, 01:05 AM
SP, we had this with the gas people. Just ring them first thing on Monday and arrange a meter reading.

The amount is more than like a default quarterly estimation because of the "missed" reading and once the meter is read, everything should level out.

Rarri
11-01-2009, 01:06 AM
Speak to Hydro first; i know there have been tarrif issues over the years that have caused back-dated debt but apparently they're not meant to do this now. If Hydro are adament that you owe them money, go to the ombudsman; failing that, CAB and failing that the MP.

scarletpeaches
11-01-2009, 01:06 AM
I want to do something, dammit! I'm feeling righteously indignant!

Rarri
11-01-2009, 01:10 AM
Voodoo dance, perhaps?

I know it's difficult, hubby freaked a few weeks ago when letters started coming through for a 7000 debt; debt collectors threatening to come round - the usual threats - but Consumer Direct had it sorted out in days; the 'debt' was no longer going to be chased (not that it existed in the first place...).

Wayne K
11-01-2009, 01:10 AM
I think you should panic. This is the time to run in circles and remove your clothing.

Set up a webcam and you'll have the money in an hour.

ad_lucem
11-01-2009, 01:12 AM
Those kinds of letter annoy the hell out of me when they have no actual concrete DATES on them. Keeping the dates vague is to their advantage. I especially hate when I get a bill in the mail with no payment date on it. And utilities are notorious for that deliberate omission.

Reading it, I'd say it is just a scare tactic. I hate those, too. Our utilities around here have gone crazy since last fall when the whole world was panicking over the economic forecast. Nowadays they call and send nasty-grams BEFORE the bill is due to torment people, claiming all sorts of things. Other people we know with a different company are having the same trouble.

The one utility (water/sewer/garbage) out here is notoriously awful. Service is terrible, billing is crazy. They overcharge routinely. There are literally ladies around here that keep a running tally of their own water meter to dispute their bill every month.

They've been taken to court, fined, etc.--the company has.

But you know what? A bunch of residents got together to protest their offensive behavior and what happened to the residents? They got sued for libel because one of their flyers said they were corrupt.

Well, they are, but I guess you can't protest by writing that opinion down w/o getting sued. Now they've got the water bill and the lawsuit to pay for...nice, eh?

.....

I'm betting this can be settled quickly. It sounds like maybe they're just trying to fish for money, frankly. Good luck!

bettielee
11-01-2009, 01:12 AM
This is clearly a fark up! I am sure you can mend it with a phone call! Plus - you just had a damn postal strike. They also have to have copies of these letters they sent. Maybe some other dirtbag has an account number right close to yours, and the dildo releasing the last, threatening letter put in the wrong account number. Everything is about the account number.

Don't freak out till you talk to someone, and if they give you the runaround, THEN you shoot the hate-filled government-conspiracy email to the local paper, news station, radio station, etc.

I am sure that your past payment history will show them they have f'd up! You will be avenged. I know it in my silly little fairy winged heart.

Plot Device
11-01-2009, 01:12 AM
Scarlet, please tell me the name of the utility company or utility authority who issed this letter? They have some official name of some kind that I could Google?? I just wanna do a bit of quick research here tonight.

scarletpeaches
11-01-2009, 01:14 AM
Scottish Hydro Electric.

The 'Paygo Debt' Customer Service Centre is in Cardiff, Wales.

Plot Device
11-01-2009, 01:14 AM
I think you should panic. This is the time to run in circles and remove your clothing.

Set up a webcam and you'll have the money in an hour.

And you wold even probably get promoted into the covetted status of "partner" on YouTube.

KTC
11-01-2009, 01:14 AM
Even their letter states that you owe on a prepayment account. I don't fucking understand the level of their moronitude!!!

KTC
11-01-2009, 01:15 AM
Scottish Hydro Electric.

The 'Paygo Debt' Customer Service Centre is in Cardiff, Wales.

you have all weekend to pack your bags. road trip. road novel.

scarletpeaches
11-01-2009, 01:15 AM
I'm shooting the local paper an email. I know you guys think it's not needed but I have to do SOMETHING or I'll feel completely impotent (shut up Wayne).

ad_lucem
11-01-2009, 01:15 AM
I want to do something, dammit! I'm feeling righteously indignant!

You should be. Call them, call the media and let em' know who's boss.

ad_lucem
11-01-2009, 01:16 AM
Even their letter states that you owe on a prepayment account. I don't fucking understand the level of their moronitude!!!

I agree with KTC. Debt on a prepay... it really is one for the record books.

scarletpeaches
11-01-2009, 01:17 AM
I wonder if they think I owe them this money because they haven't yet gained access to my house to read the meter?!

KTC
11-01-2009, 01:20 AM
I wonder if they think I owe them this money because they haven't yet gained access to my house to read the meter?!

That could be the case. They could have also targeted the wrong person. Who knows?

ad_lucem
11-01-2009, 01:21 AM
I wonder if they think I owe them this money because they haven't yet gained access to my house to read the meter?!

They haven't seen it but "know" what you owe.

This is a talented bunch. I wonder if they would happen to be able to tell us what happened to Schroedinger's cat while they're at it.

Wayne K
11-01-2009, 01:23 AM
I'm shooting the local paper an email. I know you guys think it's not needed but I have to do SOMETHING or I'll feel completely impotent (shut up Wayne).
Dress up, that way you'll look impotent too.

KTC
11-01-2009, 01:23 AM
They haven't seen it but "know" what you owe.

This is a talented bunch. I wonder if they would happen to be able to tell us what happened to Schroedinger's cat while they're at it.

It could be some bizarre estimate number they use. BUT...it seems they suggest past contacts...this leads me to believe they think they sent the letter to someone else. It sounds like NOT a first notice. So...they screwed up on their aim. Peach...do you have a deadbeat neighbour? What about the Noisy McNoisersons?

Plot Device
11-01-2009, 01:24 AM
Scottish Hydro Electric.

The 'Paygo Debt' Customer Service Centre is in Cardiff, Wales.

I tried Googling to see if other people in blogs or on message forums were complaining about Scottish Hydro Electric. I was hoping to see if maybe a huge sweeping clerical error might have happened all at once in your region in the past few weeks, and so that would mean the utility company might be scrambling to fix such an error, and would put you in a good position. I did NOT find such an error, but I did come up with a few tiny glimpses into how they operate.

Try this one. It's sadly from 2007, but it has some info on past errors with that utility (and the style/format/software of their message forum is identical to AW):

http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/utilities-gas-electricity-water/71501-scottish-hydro-electric-old.html




And this forum post is from a few weeks ago (different forum than the above like), and includes postings made by an actual represenative of the utility:

http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.html?p=26433811




If anything, these posts might help you see how those guys operate and what to expect and help you gain insight on how best to deal with them on Monday morning.

KTC
11-01-2009, 01:24 AM
Dress up, that way you'll look impotent too.

when i want to impress someone i try my best to look all impotent and whatnot.

Wayne K
11-01-2009, 01:25 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-t7ceb4DBk

Watch this video and you will want this woman so bad, your angst will go away.

KTC
11-01-2009, 01:26 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-t7ceb4DBk

Watch this video and you will want this woman so bad, your angst will go away.

honey, i've wanted that woman since 1984. beautiful version of at last, by the way. wow!

Wayne K
11-01-2009, 01:29 AM
Sexiest version, done with class. She's something else.

KTC
11-01-2009, 01:30 AM
Sexiest version, done with class. She's something else.

She really is. She was so overlooked. I think it's because of the Girls Just Wanna Have Fun days. Her voice is SO incredible.

scarletpeaches
11-01-2009, 01:31 AM
Well I've sent an email. Wonder what good it'll do?

*sigh*

I've lost about three hours of my life to blind panic.

KTC
11-01-2009, 01:33 AM
Well I've sent an email. Wonder what good it'll do?

*sigh*

I've lost about three hours of my life to blind panic.


Now...enjoy the rest of your day and put this out of your mind for now. (I know it's easier said than done.) Their blunder will be discovered.

scarletpeaches
11-01-2009, 01:34 AM
I sincerely hope so.

Right before NaNo starts, too!

bettielee
11-01-2009, 01:35 AM
Well I've sent an email. Wonder what good it'll do?

*sigh*

I've lost about three hours of my life to blind panic.

Stop it! Stop it! Stop panicing! You'll ruin NaNo and Halloween! !!!

Eat some candy... ?

You can't do anything about it right now... so please, don't work yourself up into a migraine or make yourself sick!

scarletpeaches
11-01-2009, 01:38 AM
I'm really trying not to, bettielee, but sparklepeaches is about to get all wanky on you.

When I say "debt scares me" that doesn't even come close. Not one jot.

I remember as a kid having strange men at the door demanding money and making threats to my mother. When she left my dad, he was left with a big pile of bills and still gets phone calls about debts she's run up. I used to go hungry 'cause she'd spent every penny we had on God knows what.

I am trying not to worry, but like I said...describing it as 'fear' doesn't come close. It really doesn't.

Plot Device
11-01-2009, 01:41 AM
I wonder if they think I owe them this money because they haven't yet gained access to my house to read the meter?!


We had a huge glitch happen with the utility company in my city back in July. The end result was over 5,000 households had their meters incorrectly read, and so the latest monthly bill that went out in July for those 5,00 households grossly overstated what everyone supposedly owed (my household was one, so was my friend Rich's household).

Here's what happened....

The utility company checks your meter REMOTELY in my city, which means their computers can read my meter via a dataline running into the house. On July 23 of this year, a city-wide power outage took place for about 7 hours, and on that day, 5,000 households were supposed to get their meters REMOTELY read. But because the datalines were all useless during the outage, the standard "backup plan" that the utility resorted to was to merely estimate what everyone's meters MAYBE might have possibly read, based upon all our prior meter readings from July of last year.

Well ... this year my mom was in the hospital for over 90 days from June through to September (passed away September 17) so she was not at home in July using the normal amount of electricty she typically uses (which was always a scary high amount of electric, usually $125 every month). As for me, I was constantly turning off every last light in the house, and I didn't run the air conditioner all summer because I don't need it, and it was an extra cool summer this year anyway. So the only thing sucking electric was the refrigerator and one or two lights, and my computer (I shut the cable TV off in May so not even the TV was running). The June electric bill was only $32, so I figured July HAD to be much lower. But the July bill was over $150. I called the electric companmy and asked why. They explained about the blackout and the lack of a true reading and the need of an estimated reading. And they alsp said that when the next true reading took place in August, it would all correct itself. I called Rich, and he said the same thing happened to him: he had not been using the electric as much this year, especially thr air conditioning, and he was home less, so he knew the usage had to be way way down, but his bill for July was super high. Then when the August bill came, it was all fixed again.

So ... could it be they merely did an estimate based on last year??

I suspect this situation with you will be okay. Monday will be a manageable day with a manageable phone call for you to let them come and read the meter for real this time.

Misa Buckley
11-01-2009, 01:43 AM
((huggles SP))

Here, have some Jared ;)

http://joshandjosh.typepad.com/josh_josh_are_rich_and_fa/images/jared_leto.jpg

scarletpeaches
11-01-2009, 01:44 AM
I've also found an email address for Scottish Hydro, and I'm informing them that I've contacted the local media and oh, here's my phone number in case anyone wants to contact me before the local newspaper gets properly involved...

scarletpeaches
11-01-2009, 01:53 AM
There. Both emails sent. That's all I can do at the moment.

I feel dizzy as hell now. If I get a migraine 'cause of this...

Wayne K
11-01-2009, 01:54 AM
I'm really trying not to, bettielee, but sparklepeaches is about to get all wanky on you.

When I say "debt scares me" that doesn't even come close. Not one jot.

.
Me too. Y'know the paycheck everyone is away from complete disaster?

I got that one two years ago.

:Hug2:

scarletpeaches
11-01-2009, 01:55 AM
If I owed this money, then...fair cop.

But I don't, so...fuck it. What else can I do?

Medievalist
11-01-2009, 01:58 AM
I wonder if they think I owe them this money because they haven't yet gained access to my house to read the meter?!

Scarlet are you sure this is "really" them?

Do they have an account number in the letter, that is YOURS?

Is the address they want the money to go to correct?

I've received fake meter readings and bills from an electric company--the address in the fake letter was not the real electric company, and when I called them they verified that it was a scam.

Misa Buckley
11-01-2009, 02:01 AM
I feel dizzy as hell now. If I get a migraine 'cause of this...

Dammit. I know how these things affect me, can't imagine how bad it must be when they're playing on your worst nightmare.

:Hug2:

scarletpeaches
11-01-2009, 02:02 AM
The website address at the bottom of the letter looks legit, but I've contacted them (by email) to be sure. Also, after some research regarding the address and phone number it appears to be genuine.

But like I said, nothing else I can do for now. I'll phone on Monday and see what's what.

I can see me collapsing with exhaustion soon though. Money worries do that to me.

bettielee
11-01-2009, 02:20 AM
http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys/smiley-hug008.gif (http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys.php)

http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys/smiley-hug013.gif (http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys.php)

http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys/smiley-hug001.gif (http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys.php)

I'm postin' those... ya know, in case you get a migraine and need help barfing later...

bettielee
always thinks of others

scarletpeaches
11-01-2009, 02:23 AM
I think I prefer the Jared.

(I secretly don't mind the hugs just now but don't judge me).

Misa Buckley
11-01-2009, 02:24 AM
I think I prefer the Jared.

Take two Letos and have a nice lie down :D

scarletpeaches
11-01-2009, 02:24 AM
Oh, if only I could...they would [censored] all my worries away...:D

Misa Buckley
11-01-2009, 02:26 AM
Hehe. It's very good for stress, I find ;)

Wayne K
11-01-2009, 02:55 AM
Sometimes you just need to lie back and:censored

Wayne K
11-01-2009, 02:57 AM
I have a deathly fear of flying, so I :censored at least once per two hour flight.

Misa Buckley
11-01-2009, 02:57 AM
Let it all out :D

Wayne K
11-01-2009, 02:59 AM
I sense a derail.

Priene
11-01-2009, 08:48 AM
Scarlet, you're a million miles from court proceedings. This is just a form letter for customers who, one way or another, haven't been in touch with them. Forget about it until Monday, then pick up the phone and talk to them.

AdamH
11-01-2009, 09:27 AM
I read somewhere once (I forget where now): "Why worry about the things outside your control as there's nothing you can do about them? And why worry about the things within you control? The act of worrying just immobilizes you from solving them."

This quote I wish I could remember where I read it...maybe I made it up pulling from numerous sources but I can't claim to be that wise...but it has served me very handily throughout my life.

In any case, this letter is a fear tactic used to get debt-dodgers to pay up. There's no court preceedings at this point...but there will be. Most big companies won't sue an individual for a few hundred dollars...just not cost effective. But they'll lump you in with a group of other people in unpaid collections.

But you're fine for now. Just call them on Monday and plead your case with whoever you're dealing with.

BardSkye
11-01-2009, 09:50 AM
:Hug2: Sounds like a major cock-up on their side. Like others here have said, I don't see how they think you can owe them anything if it's a pre-paid account. That's the point of a pre-paid account.

I feel for you, I really do. Try not to fret over it. You've contacted them and told them you're not hiding from anything; the ball's in their court now.

Priene
11-01-2009, 11:49 AM
Like others here have said, I don't see how they think you can owe them anything if it's a pre-paid account. That's the point of a pre-paid account.
.

That's not necessarily true. The machines are set to accept payment at a certain (disgustingly high) value, and a bloke gets send round to change them if the tariff changes. If there's no-one in the house to let the bloke in, the house will be on the wrong tariff and, if prices have risen, it is possible for the customer to end up owing the company.

scarletpeaches
11-01-2009, 06:18 PM
Well that's reassuring. :rolleyes:

Seven hundred pounds in the past year or so? I don't think so.

Priene
11-01-2009, 06:35 PM
Well that's reassuring. :rolleyes:

Seven hundred pounds in the past year or so? I don't think so.

I wouldn't have thought so either. But it's a very early stage to be getting panicky.


Priene (who got taken to court during the Poll Tax fiasco of the early nineties)

scarletpeaches
11-01-2009, 06:37 PM
Logic tells me the only thing I can do is call tomorrow.

HOWEVER. What concerns me is they say they've contacted me before. They haven't, but how do I prove this? There have been no letters and phone calls, so how does one prove a negative?

Of course, I could be borrowing trouble. I'll just have to wait and see.

Ellefire
11-01-2009, 06:50 PM
Hate to tell you this SP but it's possible to owe with a prepayment meter. It depends on your meter. If the meter is an old style one that requires them to adjust their prices at the meter itself, then it's possible you have been paying a reduced price for your electric and do owe it. That said, a newer meter updates from the key itself and will adjust itself. That's how we ended up with a debt from one of ours. Although it was about 150, not 700.

Here's the better news. If it's a key, then it's likely to be a new meter. Our debt was incurred with a token meter. Our Gas meter has a card, but also updates itself. If you do owe this money, you can ask for it to be put on the meter and will pay it off that way. Perhaps an extra fiver a week.

Threaten to move companies. You can do this even on pre-payment meters. And yes, go to the ombudsman if that doesn't work.

If you do owe the money, court action and bailiffs are the last resort for them. They would far rather you pay via the meter or in instalments. Same goes for rent accounts. We had about five notices for eviction in this house. We're still here.

So ring them monday - don't swear, the buggers will terminate the phone call (Elle says, ruefully) and find out what's going on. Hopefully it's a mistake and it's very unlikely you'll have the bailiffs on your doorstep. And if you do, don't let them in.

scarletpeaches
11-01-2009, 06:53 PM
It is a new meter. No more than, what, two years old?

Ellefire
11-01-2009, 07:10 PM
In that case, sounds like there's been a balls up somewhere

scarletpeaches
11-01-2009, 07:12 PM
Yep, I'm crossing my fingers for a monumental balls-up.

Wayne K
11-01-2009, 07:22 PM
Yep, I'm crossing my fingers for a monumental balls-up.
Don't you always? :D

scarletpeaches
11-01-2009, 07:25 PM
I knew you'd say that.

Wayne K
11-01-2009, 07:28 PM
I knew that you knew I would say it.

kayleamay
11-01-2009, 07:35 PM
Peach, if you would just unplug those...devices...in your secret room when not in use, your electric bill wouldn't be so high. Do they still have debtors prisons over there in medieval land?

I'm sure you'll be fine. From what I'm reading about your meter situation, I don't see how you could owe that much. Relax, drink some vodka and eat some bacon. You can work it out in the morning.

backslashbaby
11-01-2009, 07:42 PM
You'll be fine :) I promise.

Oh, I was hauled off to jail on a warrant I knew nothing about for a cock-up of exactly $7.47 from 10 years prior (that I had tried to pay to a company in bankruptcy). I have a mug shot, got my fingerprints registered, and they know all about all of my scars. My dad had to come bail me out of jail.

But it was thrown out of court a month later.

Quite an adventure, actually. Did I mention the frisking on the side of the road?!!

You're tough. They are wrong. You'll be fine :)

Wayne K
11-01-2009, 08:21 PM
Peach, if you would just unplug those...devices...in your secret room when not in use, your electric bill wouldn't be so high. Do they still have debtors prisons over there in medieval land?

I'm sure you'll be fine. From what I'm reading about your meter situation, I don't see how you could owe that much. Relax, drink some vodka and eat some bacon. You can work it out in the morning.
:partyguy:

Priene
11-01-2009, 08:25 PM
Logic tells me the only thing I can do is call tomorrow.

HOWEVER. What concerns me is they say they've contacted me before. They haven't, but how do I prove this? There have been no letters and phone calls, so how does one prove a negative?


It's difficult to know without seeing it, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if this was a standard letter. The company wants your attention, your account is in a certain state in their database, therefore letter #427 gets sent. That it doesn't match what's actually happened in your case doesn't bother them much. The amount owed sounds very fishy, because while they could work out you owe them something, as far as I understand it they couldn't know exactly what without the wee bloke going round. Therefore the letter contains an amount based on guesswork, and it's almost certainly too high, unless you've got a particle accelerator running in your spare room.

But even in the worst case, even if you do owe them every penny, court proceedings won't happen unless you refuse to arrange a payment scheme, and the timescale would be based on your ability to pay.

So don't sweat it and go and do the Nano thing. November's passing.

scarletpeaches
11-01-2009, 08:27 PM
It's difficult to know without seeing it, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if this was a standard letter. The company wants your attention, your account is in a certain state in their database, therefore letter #427 gets sent. That it doesn't match what's actually happened in your case doesn't bother them much. The amount owed sounds very fishy, because while they could work out you owe them something, as far as I understand it they couldn't know exactly what without the wee bloke going round. Therefore the letter contains an amount based on guesswork, and it's almost certainly too high, unless you've got a particle accelerator running in your spare room.

But even in the worst case, even if you do owe them every penny, court proceedings won't happen unless you refuse to arrange a payment scheme, and the timescale would be based on your ability to pay.

So don't sweat it and go and do the Nano thing. November's passing.So that's what's using up all the electrickery...

Button
11-01-2009, 11:42 PM
In situations like this, you just have to chalk up to 'What's the worse that could happen?'

Worst would be you'd have to pay up over 700 pounds (sorry, I can't make the little L thingie) to avoid jail. Could you live with that answer? You aren't going to die, they aren't going to eat your liver and kill Colin Ferral in front of your eyes. They just want money.

And having to pay the 700 sounds like the least likely future.

Reality will play this off far better than the worst, no doubt.

Obviously there were no other letters, as you would have gotten them, at least one of them. Not getting a single 'previously sent letter' means they didn't send them. Your postal system isn't that screwed up to have sent letters to the wrong places except that one.

And if you got a receipt, even if you threw it away, it means they had receipts. They'll pull those up on the computer or on their books in a minute.

The worst fears are of the unknown, and more than likely when you know the real deal, it'll be far better off than what you were thinking.

I've had an issue like this before. I was sent a letter for debt, and called, and bam, they had no clue why the letter was sent. It happens.

scarletpeaches
11-01-2009, 11:50 PM
Exactly right. Fear of the unknown; that's it in a nutshell.

Alpha Echo
11-02-2009, 12:10 AM
Sorry to hear about this, and I'd be freaking too. But ditto what everyone else says. No sense worrying right now when there's nothing you can do. Hopefully you were able to enjoy your weekend. And like someone else said - what's the very worst that will happen? You have to pay the money, but I doubt they'd make you pay it all up front even if that happens...which it might not. Keep us posted (I know you will. :) )

Priene
11-02-2009, 12:26 AM
Worst would be you'd have to pay up over 700 pounds (sorry, I can't make the little L thingie) to avoid jail.

No. We haven't gaoled debtors in the UK for many years. The worst that can happen is you're forced to declare bankruptcy.

bettielee
11-02-2009, 12:45 AM
the thought of the sparklepeaches with a particle accelerator at her disposal.... not a good thought... not a good thought at all...

scarletpeaches
11-02-2009, 01:20 AM
Absolute, rock bottom worst that could happen?

I'd have to pay up. In which case I would throw myself on my aunt's mercy and beg her for a loan. I despise debt and find it so, so shaming but I'd rather be beholden to her, than Scottish Hydro.

maryland
11-02-2009, 01:43 AM
Dear Scarlet, once upon a time I had a job in a big office and could hardly type. (Still can't!) There were piles of letters to send out.
Often a mistake got through - suddenly I'd question if something was right, but it had already gone past into another pile. They were gathered up in handfuls and posted several times a day. Forms just accumulate and I'm hoping yours is one of those amnesia-while-typing mistakes. Good luck on Monday.

Wayne K
11-02-2009, 04:16 AM
Dear Scarlet,
If this is the end of your life and you decide to go all Thelma and Louise on these bitches, take me.

Wayne K
11-02-2009, 04:18 AM
http://www.gerrymay.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/thelma-and-louise-off-a-cliff.jpg

scarletpeaches
11-02-2009, 07:05 PM
I would like to publicly declare that IdiotsRUs was right.

Fucking error. My meter was set to the wrong...uh, settings. And technically I do owe them the money but they're waiving the bill as it was their mistake. I need a new meter put in, but I won't be charged at the correct rate for any electricity I use between now and when they install it.

So yes, I SHOULD LISTEN TO IDIOTSRUS MORE OFTEN.

There.

I said it.

Now I need a bath.

Julie Worth
11-02-2009, 07:14 PM
I would like to publicly declare that IdiotsRUs was right.



Just by her name, I'd expect IdiotsRUs to have great insight into the workings of corporations, government, or almost any sort of human endeavor.

BardSkye
11-02-2009, 09:13 PM
:hooray: So glad it's straightened out for you. Have a bacon sammie and celebrate.

AnonymousWriter
11-02-2009, 09:42 PM
Yay! Good news! :D

stormie
11-02-2009, 09:54 PM
It must have been a horribly l-o-n-g weekend, SP. Glad it's resolved!

bettielee
11-02-2009, 10:06 PM
Told ya.

Wayne K
11-02-2009, 10:08 PM
Does this mean we don't get to go postal on their asses?

Ellefire
11-02-2009, 10:09 PM
Oh, a balls up in your favour! Excellent :D

Wayne K
11-02-2009, 10:13 PM
*Thinks of a good 'balls up' joke, but refrains*

Snowstorm
11-02-2009, 10:23 PM
Whew! Glad to hear all's well. At least for your anxiety and stress since last Friday they give you SOMETHING out of it.

NOW you can go back through this thread and enjoy what others have "sent" you tucked in the thread or their *ahem* suggestions for relaxation.

Mr Flibble
11-02-2009, 11:37 PM
I would like to publicly declare that IdiotsRUs was right.

Fucking error. My meter was set to the wrong...uh, settings. And technically I do owe them the money but they're waiving the bill as it was their mistake. I need a new meter put in, but I won't be charged at the correct rate for any electricity I use between now and when they install it.

So yes, I SHOULD LISTEN TO IDIOTSRUS MORE OFTEN.

There.

I said it.

Now I need a bath.

Excuse me while I frame this:D


And don't listen to me, I'm an idiot!

kayleamay
11-02-2009, 11:45 PM
This is wonderful news. Now you can save your money to buy me Ryan Gosling in a pizza box for Christmas.

Priene
11-02-2009, 11:45 PM
And technically I do owe them the money but they're waiving the bill as it was their mistake.

Good to hear things are resolved. My ISP rang me up a couple of months ago and said 'do you realise you've never paid any money?' This was after a couple of years connection, but I'd never noticed I wasn't paying anything. I read my bank balance at the cashpoint, and that's it. They also waived the payment, which was decent.

But it's also quite difficult to reclaim long-term underpayment where the firm is at fault. If you no longer have the money, have spent it in good faith and repayment would cause hardship, reclaiming becomes very difficult.

maryland
11-02-2009, 11:57 PM
So now you have a metaphorical 700 to spend on all those little luxuries like paper, printer ink, disks,envelopes, postage and that nice computer-mender-man? Marvellous!

Mr Flibble
11-03-2009, 12:01 AM
I have a new siggy

That's never getting old :D

scarletpeaches
11-03-2009, 01:12 AM
I knew you'd be pleased. :D

Ol' Fashioned Girl
11-03-2009, 03:01 AM
Because I know I don't owe them a penny, but proving it is a different matter. I don't have any receipts to prove I've pre-paid for my electricity.



They sent me a letter of apology. Which I still have.

Uh... wait. You have a letter of apology but you don't keep receipts?

May I suggest you throw away letters of apology from now on and keep the receipts? Or at least keep both?