Two weeks ago, one of my energy suppliers (First Utility) emailed me requesting I give them a meter reading through their online system. I duly obliged the following day, and they calculated that I owed them £22. They said they would send me the bill so that I could pay them.
Now without boring you with the reasons, a few days later I had to provide them with a revised reading. This time the bill came to just over £25. (In other words, I had used about £3 more power in the intervening days between the two readings).
I called then and asked whether I should pay £22 now, or wait until I received the revised bill of £25. The Customer Service adviser told me to ignore the first bill, and wait to receive a paper copy of the new revised bill for £25. (Please note that this was literally only a few days ago).
The paper bill never arrived, but this morning, literally only a few days after giving the meter reading, I received an email from them that said:
“Your energy payments are overdue - you must pay now. We have tried to contact you on several occasions to let you know that you have an unpaid energy bill. If you don’t contact us and if you ignore this communication then you risk collection and recovery action from us.”
The bit about trying to “contact me on several occasions” is an outright lie. But far worse is the veiled threat of sending a bailiff round to my house to collect payment, when all I had done is exactly followed the instructions given by their Customer service adviser, who told me to wait for the revised bill to arrive.
So to summarise…
1. First Utility ask me to provide a meter reading, which I do the following day.
2. Three days later, for technical reasons, I have to provide a revised reading.
3) I phone First Utility to ask them what to do regarding payment. They say they will send me a paper bill with the revised amount. The letter never arrives.
4) Less than a week later, they send me a threatening letter implying that they are going to send bailiffs round to get the money!
Just for the record, I have a perfect credit rating (the highest credit score it is possible to have) and I have never owed money in my life. I have no debts whatsoever. I have never owed money to First Utility, or for that matter, to any other utility company. When it comes to paying bills on time, I am just about the most perfect customer you could ever find!
It begs the question of why First Utility hate their customers so much that they are prepared to send threatening letters to people who are simply following the instructions of their own Customer Service staff.
I realise this whole incident is probably all down to an over-enthusiastic automated computer system. But imagine getting these type of threatening messages if you are elderly or a vulnerable adult.
And worst of all...
Oh, and just to rub salt into the wounds, when I phoned them today to sort everything out, I had to wait almost 30 minutes on hold, listening to the insufferable George Ezra sing the same goddam awful song over and over and over again. Grrrrrrr!!!!