Supplier switch put me in the red
We received a sales call from Scottish Power and opened an account with it.
Perhaps naively, following the first phone call to assure us that everything was in hand, we did not check we had been moved to a similar tariff to our previous one. I also, not having access to internet banking and having started a busy new job, did not check that the direct debit I had been assured would be set up was actually coming out of my account. SC, WEST YORKS
Around six months later you received a bill from Scottish Power for £600. You rang and were assured that everything was in order and Scottish Power would look into it. A month later you received a further bill, this
one for £611. You mentioned that the costs were high compared with what you had expected. You then asked for a payment plan.
After that you received two final demands, the second saying the debt was being transferred to a collections agency. You were asked to contact the agency urgently.
If not there would be costs and someone would be sent to your house to demand payment. If you still did not pay, a court order to gain access would be applied for, in order to fit a prepayment meter.
When you were able to contact Scottish Power it said it could no longer deal with your case as it had already referred it to the debt agency. It gave you a debt advice number and said you had two weeks in which to sort the matter out.
You heard nothing further. Frightened over what would happen next, you wrote to me.
You say you suffer from depression and this problem was exacerbating it.
My involvement led to Scottish Power rebilling the account on a cheaper rate for the full period. This saved you £167. It then set up a payment plan over 22 months for the outstanding balance of £1,100.
However, the first month it took too much. I contacted Scottish Power again. It acknowledged the error, blaming an automated system. As you owe it money, it is not returning the surplus but intends to factor it into future bills.
It suggests that, to get the money back sooner, you could use the direct debit guarantee scheme. However, I fear this
could lead to further complications.
I suggested you contact National Debtline either on 0808 808 4000 or online at nationaldebtline.org. It also has an online advice service providing personalised stepby-step guides available via mymoneysteps.org.
failed and Mrs S didn’t receive a call from us. This meant the transaction remained signposted as fraudulent and the card was blocked until contact was established. We’re sorry about this and have credited the account with £50 to apologise for the inconvenience.”
You report that a pleasant person has phoned you from Sainsbury’s Bank assuring you that the bank will contact you if, at any time in the future, the card is blocked. The bank said it had no idea why your two letters were not answered.