Has­sled over debt I’d al­ready paid

The Daily Telegraph - Your Money - - READERS’ LETTERS -

Four months ago I changed my gas and elec­tric­ity sup­plier away from Ex­tra En­ergy. I paid the fi­nal £83.52 bill and Ex­tra En­ergy cashed the cheque two weeks later. Since then I have re­ceived daily phone calls re­quest­ing pay­ment.

I was able to quote the cheque num­ber and amount but was not be­lieved. For three weeks I was has­sled re­lent­lessly by Ex­tra En­ergy. Af­ter that I be­gan re­ceiv­ing phone calls from a debt col­lec­tion agency. I then asked my build­ing so­ci­ety to trace the pay­ment that was reg­is­tered on my on­line ac­count. In due course it sent me a let­ter in­di­cat­ing that the bill had in­deed been paid. KEN BLACK­WELL, LANCS

The build­ing so­ci­ety con­firmed your £83.52 had been cor­rectly sent to Ex­tra En­ergy’s bank, to­gether with other pay­ments for Ex­tra En­ergy amount­ing to £21,068 in all. It gave the ac­count num­ber the money had gone into.

You sent a copy of this to Ex­tra En­ergy think­ing that was the last you would hear of it. In­stead the calls from the debt col­lec­tion agent con­tin­ued un­abated.

When the debt col­lec­tion agency de­nied any knowl­edge of the let­ter from the build­ing so­ci­ety, you sent it a copy by recorded de­liv­ery. Even that did not do the trick.

You are 77 and re­cov­er­ing from surgery and treat­ment for can­cer. The added stress has not been good for you. Fur­ther to my in­volve­ment, Ex­tra En­ergy ad­mit­ted the fi­nal bill pay­ment had not been ap­plied to your ac­count when it should have been. It now con­firms there is no debt on the ac­count. It promised to give you £75, which seemed on the mean side given that, clearly, Ex­tra En­ergy had failed to pri­ori­tise this. How­ever, some three weeks later, this pay­ment was still not with you. As you said, when we dis­cussed this lat­est de­vel­op­ment, this fail­ure to keep a prom­ise is a step too far. I called Ex­tra En­ergy again and it upped the of­fer to an un­der­whelm­ing £100, which has been paid. now 79 and have been draw­ing ben­e­fits since I was 65. PD, BERK­SHIRE

I left sev­eral mes­sages on the num­ber you gave in your let­ter. When some­one fi­nally an­swered, it turned out no one there had heard of you. So we have not been able to dis­cuss this. I also wrote you a note that was not replied to.

Aon He­witt states that the ben­e­fits for two ser­vices were orig­i­nally com­bined. Af­ter that, in­di­vid­ual poli­cies were set up for each. In­ad­ver­tently though, at some point later, an­other pol­icy was con­structed, which is the one at is­sue.

You dis­puted there had been this du­pli­ca­tion but, I un­der­stand, had been un­able to prove your point.

Ev­i­dence could in­clude copies of cor­re­spon­dence from the trustee or the ad­min­is­tra­tor dis­cussing what scheme and pe­riod of ser­vice this ex­tra pen­sion re­lates to. This could be in the form of a join­ing state­ment, an an­nual ben­e­fit state­ment or a state­ment of ben­e­fits on leav­ing the scheme.

The sum in ques­tion is a £1,796 an­nu­ity you have been re­ceiv­ing all this time and a £6,095 lump sum pay­ment made at the be­gin­ning of the pe­riod.

Aon He­witt had been ask­ing that all the money be paid back. How­ever, this over­looked the time pro­vi­sions which, with my in­volve­ment, it then ac­cepted this meant you only need to re­fund the amounts you re­ceived over the past six years.

There re­mained ques­tions, though, about what ex­actly had hap­pened. Now I learn that you have come to a con­fi­den­tial ar­range­ment with the trus­tees that I be­lieve is favourable to you.

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