In the middle of January 2007, we completed the sale of the house in North London that we loved so much.
The house had been empty since the beginning of August hence we had not used too much gas or electricity. Of course, The Utility Company grossly overestimated our final quarterly bill based on our previous winter consumption of gas and electricity.
We duly informed The Utility Company of the actual metre-readings on the date the new owner moved in; we never received a bill for the actual metre readings but yesterday, we received a nasty letter from the Head of 'Customer Services' informing us that if we did not pay the original - over-estimated - bill, that they would take action that would adversely affect our ability to have access to credit. I hope we have sorted out the matter. I don't know.
This seems to be a new development, this instant sending of threatening letters, even when the company gets it wrong and I know that banks have recently been told to cease and desist with this tactic.
Personally, I feel able to stand up for myself and be assertive, but I think that there are a lot of people out there who don't feel able to do so. It seems to me that these sorts of letters are just taking advantage of people who don't understand what is happening. I'm suspicious that companies want customers to over-pay whilst they hold on to the cash for months, gaining interest on it before refunding.
I'm wondering if this is an area that ethical investors are looking into? It's just plain wrong to threaten customers for the company's own mistakes. (In the case of our Utility Company, they actually possessed our correct metre readings but had somehow failed to record those much lower metre readings into their billing system!)