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  • Letter before claim

    Hi!
    Advice would be greatly appreciated.
    I have a letter before claim from "Lowell Solicitors". It was sent to a business adress concerning an alleged debt to an energy company regarding a house that I own but I wasn't resident at the house at the time of the energy contract, or indeed a few years before and I've never been since. The house is currently let off to a different tenant from the time they are chasing the debt.
    I never entered into any agreement with the energy company and told them that, by phone, as soon as this matter came to light a few years ago, the disputed debt is from 2015.
    Obviously, one of the options is to return the letter before claim form to them stating this, but I wanted to know before I do whether this is the best action. The amount is relatively small, just over £400, but obviously I don't want to pay this as it's not my debt.
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Many Thanks

  • #2
    have a word with Diana Mayhew on here :-

    I am a Litigation Executive at Joanna Connolly Solicitors a firm which specialises in consumer credit. If you need to contact me you can send a message by clicking on my username or by emailing me at di@joannaconnollysolicitors.co.uk or by telephoning 0151 254 6986 Our initial advice is always free.
    Last edited by The Tech Clerk; 12 December 2020, 21:45.
    I'm an official AAD Moderator and also a volunteer, here to help make the forum run smoothly. Any views or opinions are mine and not the official line of AAD. Similarly, any advice I have offered you is done so on an informal basis, without prejudice or liability. If in doubt seek advice from a qualified insured professional - Find a Solicitor or go to the National Probono Centre.

    If you spot an abusive or libellous post then please report it by Clicking Here. If you need to contact me, for instance if I've issued you a warning, moved, edited or deleted your post, please send me a message by clicking my username.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Mr Man View Post
      I have a letter before claim from "Lowell Solicitors". It was sent to a business adress concerning an alleged debt to an energy company regarding a house that I own but I wasn't resident at the house at the time of the energy contract, or indeed a few years before and I've never been since. The house is currently let off to a different tenant from the time they are chasing the debt.
      I never entered into any agreement with the energy company and told them that, by phone, as soon as this matter came to light a few years ago, the disputed debt is from 2015.
      Obviously, one of the options is to return the letter before claim form to them stating this, but I wanted to know before I do whether this is the best action. The amount is relatively small, just over £400, but obviously I don't want to pay this as it's not my debt.
      Hello

      If you don’t owe the money then you don’t owe the money. Lowell will have to prove that you do.

      However it would be wise to nip this in the bud now rather than go all the way to court. So maybe you should reply to the Letter of Claim setting out your reasons to dispute the debt.

      What is the date on the LOC from Lowell giving you 30 days to reply?

      Now is the time to gather your evidence such as any tenancy agreement (AST) making it clear that you were not living at the property, and making it clear that the tenant was liable for utilities etc.

      Is Lowell’s client NPower by any chance (I’ve had a few enquiries about them recently)?

      Di


      Legal Disclaimer

      I am a Litigation Executive at Joanna Connolly Solicitors a firm which specialises in consumer credit. If you need to contact me you can send a message by clicking on my username or by emailing me at di@joannaconnollysolicitors.co.uk or by telephoning 0151 254 6986 Our initial advice is always free.

      Any posts I make on the AAD Consumer Forum are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as legal advice. Any advice I provide on the forum is without liability. If you are unsure please seek formal legal guidance or contact your local citizens advice bureau at https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk

      Comment


      • #4
        Hi Di,

        Many thanks for the reply.

        I have actually been over to Liverpool to see Joanna a few years ago when she dealt with another issue for me.

        Nipping it in the bud is what I want. I actually didn't act after I'd made the initial call to the energy company, which actually was E.on , although I take your point about NPower, I've had dealings with them before and they are a nightmare. They actually eventually (after totally draining me) offered to send me compensation which I said I would donate to Mind bearing in mind the mental anguish they cause people, they sent £30 which I sent to Mind. The reason I didn't act with this particular matter wasn't because I was burying my head in the sand, it was that I'd called the company all those years ago and assumed their game would fizzle out over such a relatively small amount.

        The date on the LOC is 4 December.

        Thanks and best wishes,
        Mark

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Mr Man View Post
          Hi Di,

          I actually didn't act after I'd made the initial call to the energy company, which actually was E.on . . . The reason I didn't act with this particular matter . . . was that I'd called the company all those years ago and assumed their game would fizzle out over such a relatively small amount.

          The date on the LOC is 4 December.
          You have time to deal with this but it's best to get on with things due to the imminent Bank Holiday period.

          Why don't you email me a copy of the Letter of Claim so I can see what Lowell intend to claim and why they think they have the right to claim it using di@joannaconnollysolicitors.co.uk

          I note the disputed debt is from 2015. Do you have the final bill (assuming they eventually closed the account) and was it based on an estimate or on meter readings?

          I'm wondering whether Ofgem's Back Billing Code might apply > https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/consumers/h...de-your-rights

          Send a Subject Access Request to e-on to get the full history of what went on.

          Was your dispute with e-on still 'live' when the account was assigned (sold) to Lowell?

          Di
          Legal Disclaimer

          I am a Litigation Executive at Joanna Connolly Solicitors a firm which specialises in consumer credit. If you need to contact me you can send a message by clicking on my username or by emailing me at di@joannaconnollysolicitors.co.uk or by telephoning 0151 254 6986 Our initial advice is always free.

          Any posts I make on the AAD Consumer Forum are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as legal advice. Any advice I provide on the forum is without liability. If you are unsure please seek formal legal guidance or contact your local citizens advice bureau at https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk

          Comment


          • #6
            Hi Di,

            Thanks!

            I'll send the details to your email.

            They say I entered into an agreement with E.on, which I certainly did not. I haven't lived in the house since 2005 and there were tenants either side of the tenant at the time they say that I was responsible. Whether a tenant has used my name I'm not sure. I'm almost certain I don't have the bill and was never given one because of not living in the house. When I contacted E.on initially I'm pretty sure it was because of the debt letter as opposed to an actual energy bill.

            I'll send the LOC.

            Thanks,
            Mark

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Mr Man View Post
              Hi Di,

              Thanks!

              I'll send the details to your email.

              They say I entered into an agreement with E.on, which I certainly did not. I haven't lived in the house since 2005 and there were tenants either side of the tenant at the time they say that I was responsible. Whether a tenant has used my name I'm not sure. I'm almost certain I don't have the bill and was never given one because of not living in the house. When I contacted E.on initially I'm pretty sure it was because of the debt letter as opposed to an actual energy bill.

              I'll send the LOC.

              I’ve received your email with Lowell’s Letter of Claim, and I have replied.

              Sometimes the letting agent will give the Landlord’s details to the utility suppliers (and Council Tax etc.) and the supplier will see that as a contract.

              And sometimes the accounts simply default back to the property owner in the absence of anyone else taking responsibility for the account if they had your name on file. If the supply isn’t disconnected they will see that as a deemed contract- rightly or wrongly.

              And sometimes e-on get it wrong.

              Did you have inventory Check-Ins and Check-Outs for the tenants which should include meter readings with photos?

              Di
              Legal Disclaimer

              I am a Litigation Executive at Joanna Connolly Solicitors a firm which specialises in consumer credit. If you need to contact me you can send a message by clicking on my username or by emailing me at di@joannaconnollysolicitors.co.uk or by telephoning 0151 254 6986 Our initial advice is always free.

              Any posts I make on the AAD Consumer Forum are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as legal advice. Any advice I provide on the forum is without liability. If you are unsure please seek formal legal guidance or contact your local citizens advice bureau at https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks Di!

                I've now requested more information on this allegation as I've never entered into a contract with E.on I'll of course keep this forum posted as to progress and the outcome.

                Thanks for all the help and advice.

                Cheers!
                Mark

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Mr Man View Post
                  Thanks Di!

                  I've now requested more information on this allegation as I've never entered into a contract with E.on

                  Thanks for all the help and advice.

                  It's now up to Lowell to produce the evidence which you and I both know will be impossible unless someone else opened an account in your name.

                  We'll see.

                  Di
                  Legal Disclaimer

                  I am a Litigation Executive at Joanna Connolly Solicitors a firm which specialises in consumer credit. If you need to contact me you can send a message by clicking on my username or by emailing me at di@joannaconnollysolicitors.co.uk or by telephoning 0151 254 6986 Our initial advice is always free.

                  Any posts I make on the AAD Consumer Forum are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as legal advice. Any advice I provide on the forum is without liability. If you are unsure please seek formal legal guidance or contact your local citizens advice bureau at https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hi!

                    Well I've heard back from them and what a bizarre situation.

                    They have sent me an estimated bill from Eon from 2015 which they say they sent to me before (they didn't) for an "Agreement" I made with them (I didn't). They say that they don't need a signature as it's not a credit agreement and not governed by the Consumer Credit Act 1974. The house in question was rented to tenants in the period they mention.

                    I asked for a copy of the notice of asignment and they sent one. It was a copy of a letter sent to an adress that I've never lived in but was connected to briefly about 25 years ago.

                    They say they're waiting my intentions and if I don't respond a County Court Claim "may be issued".

                    Thanks as always for any advice,

                    Mark

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      If Di tells you they haven't a leg to stand on, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE send them the 'I refer you to the reply given in the case of Arkell v Pressdram'

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Diana Mayhew

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Mr Man View Post
                          They have sent me an estimated bill from Eon from 2015 which they say they sent to me before (they didn't) for an "Agreement" I made with them (I didn't). They say that they don't need a signature as it's not a credit agreement and not governed by the Consumer Credit Act 1974. The house in question was rented to tenants in the period they mention.

                          I asked for a copy of the notice of asignment and they sent one. It was a copy of a letter sent to an adress that I've never lived in but was connected to briefly about 25 years ago.

                          They say they're waiting my intentions and if I don't respond a County Court Claim "may be issued".


                          I'm going to suggest you send a SAR to Lowell so you can see the interaction between them and e-on.

                          I'd also send a SAR to e-on if Lowell's intention is to rely on those documents especially since the SAR may provide further information which puts those three pieces of paper in context.

                          I have seen them (but can't share that information on the forum) so I'll comment hypothetically as follows:

                          (a) if a bill is referred to as the 'Final Bill' that suggests there was at least one previous bill, and if it refers to a balance carried forward from a previous bill then you would need to see how that figure was calculated - you need to see all bills which relate to the sum they are intending to claim in court.

                          (b) if a bill is estimated then it's not based on accurate usage of the supply that's been actually provided by them which they want you to pay.

                          (c) if a bill refers to another provider subsequently taking over the supply then you'd want to know who that was since e-on may have got a meter reading (estimate or accurate) from them when they took over that supply (if they did) - that's the normal procedure.

                          (d) if a bill refers to there being a Dual Fuel Discount, but is only billing you for electricity not gas, then that raises further questions, especially if any 'contract' provided by Lowell makes no mention of a Duel Fuel discount.

                          (e) Lowell would be correct to say an energy supply account isn't regulated by the CCA but if they refer to it as a 'service contract' it would be reasonable of you to ask to see the “contract” which they intend to rely on if/when they issue legal proceedings. Telling you it may have been taken out over the phone or on the internet is not good enough - you need the facts with evidence.

                          From what you say all this is against a backdrop of communications being sent to an address over several years (since 2015) where you weren't living, and was lived in by someone else - which you can prove.

                          I'll also reply to your email.

                          Di

                          Last edited by Diana Mayhew; 31 January 2021, 21:51.
                          Legal Disclaimer

                          I am a Litigation Executive at Joanna Connolly Solicitors a firm which specialises in consumer credit. If you need to contact me you can send a message by clicking on my username or by emailing me at di@joannaconnollysolicitors.co.uk or by telephoning 0151 254 6986 Our initial advice is always free.

                          Any posts I make on the AAD Consumer Forum are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as legal advice. Any advice I provide on the forum is without liability. If you are unsure please seek formal legal guidance or contact your local citizens advice bureau at https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk

                          Comment

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