Tenant gave fraudulent information to Utility provider

by Readers Question

10:12 AM, 11th September 2014
About 7 years ago

Tenant gave fraudulent information to Utility provider

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Tenant gave fraudulent information to Utility provider

I’ve just found out that a Tenant who has now left put my name in his energy bills 1 month before he left. Eon have said that I am liable – I was not informed of this and had no notification until I saw a bill after he had gone.

It’s only for £40 but it’s the principle as he gave over fraudulent information. All his tenancy paperwork etc had his correct leaving information but eon are not interested , is there anything I can do about this and also to stop this happening again?

Thanks

JamesUtility

Comments

Ralph Davies

11:49 AM, 17th September 2014
About 7 years ago

I too am having a huge problem with e.on over a similar problem and this has been gong on since September 2013.
It is a very long story but basically i had tenants who informed they were leaving at the beginning of September 2013. Itook meter readings and a dated photo of the meter. A bill arrived at the property in the tenants names so I forwarded it on the their new address assuming it to be their final bill. later an estimated bill arrived so I rang e.on in October and gave the reading I had taken. Another bigger but estimated bill arrived so rang e.on again and this time they informed me that the tenants had given their leaving date as 31st July2013 but would not tell me the meter reading as it was none of my business but said if I should send my dated photo of the meter, proof of when the tenants left, forwarding address, tenancy agreement etc. - which i did (alarm bells were ringing because we could tell by the estimated reading of 3???? was way out from the reading I took of 5???? ) Heard nothing till February when i had a bailiffs letter arrive at the property (it was empty from September and on the market and I was only going every so often). Obviously contacted e.on again asked me to e-mail all the information photos ets which i did they just kept saying the readings were inconsistent with previous readings which I explaind must be due to the tenants giving false readings the whole time they were there (3 Years). The meter was never read by e.on. I then met the meter reader e.on said that was inconsistent so I had to meet another reader(this was in April).
E.on kept telling me it was a 3rd party dispute but I insisted that The tenants had systematically been defrauding e.on with false low readings. When they gave a false leaving date of July 31st they had no intention of paying the electricity they usedeven in August. E.on insist they have to believe the tenant and cannot alter any information provided by them regardless that it is clearly the tenants in the wrong. Presumably this gives carte blanche for anybody to give false readings when they leave a property.
They had paid all their rent and did not do a flit , as far as I am aware E.on have never bothered to pursue or even contact the tenants in any way. I have spent hours on the phone with various complaints/investigation depts sent dozens of e-mails. The complaint was closed by e.on for no reason at one point and i had to insist it was not closed.

The shortfall on their bill is over £3,000.00. E.on have issued therir ' final position' that i am liable for this sum. All the information is now with the ombudsmen but a phone call with them before when i gave an overview of the situation was that it is a' third party dispute' so I am not holding out much hope there. I will continue to refuse to pay (the only actual bill I have now received uses an estimated start figure and the my final reading so I wouldn't pay it anyway)

So Just waiting to see what happens next

Neil Robb

21:06 PM, 17th September 2014
About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ralph Davies" at "17/09/2014 - 11:49":

Hi

It is unbelievable that this could be done to you. If no one is living in the house since they left the meter would hardly of moved. Common sense should prevail as the meter had not used much if any power from when you reported the meter reading and the property was vacant.

It was not your usage. It is a joke same as housing benefit they stop paying as soon as the tenant states the have left the property. I had two occasion where the tenant has left a week later then the benefits claim back rent even though the tenant was still there.

I can understand your frustration. Don't be disheartened when you go to the ombudsman looks to me you have recorded all your actions. Make a hard copy of all your emails and communications you have had with eon get the persons name.

Send them a subject access request for all documentation relating to you and the address and any action they have taken to proof it was you and not the tenant who used the electric. Also ask for them to send you a copy a copy of there recording of all the calls relating to this issue. Even ask for it to be transcribe in print of the conversations they may not be able to but you never know.

Eon must give you this information you request with in a time frame. Failure for them to do this you can go to the information commissioners who has the power to fine them £5000.00 for each breach. Eon are duty bound to hold accurate information on you and your account. As they are claiming it was you and not your previous tenant who used the power they should be able to proof that.

They may say we did not record, we did not do that and we don't have. This could be good for you as at the end of the day they will not have proof to present in evidence to the ombudsman. And the ombudsman would know they record there calls they should have calls you tenant made.

Ask for the record of previous meter reading this will show what the tenant was informing them what was the meter reading when they moved in do you still have a record of it.

They will hope you crumble over time and just pay up but don't fight it as far as you can.
But watch your credit rating does not get affected by this.

There must be negligence by EON not checking the meter at least once a year.

Good luck I hope you report back when you get it sorted.

After all you have asset in your property and they are chasing you for £3000.00 that you are disputing. They will believe if they seek to get a charge on you through small claims court you will pay up. act now and prepare your defence.

What the ombudsman wants is facts and proof.

The rules must change to say that when the tenant phones the landlord then has to phone to accept the meter reading and agree.

Yelena Dash

7:40 AM, 2nd October 2014
About 7 years ago

HI All,

I am happy to report that I managed to persuade Eon to clear the bill they sent me when my absconding tenant provided them with the fraudulent moving out date and the readings a few thousand kWs lower than actuals (which amounted to over £1000 bill for a period of 2 months and property being empty!)

I have told them that unless the can provide evidence of the start and end dates of my responsibility and the meter readings included in the bill, I will send a formal complaint to the Information Commissioner regarding Eon's failure to keep my personal records accurate.

I stated that the during the fixed-term AST, the tenant is indeed the "occupier" regardless if he is physically in the property or not, and that this is the accepted position for responsibility on damages and council tax.

I did provide enough data though to show that the readings were fraudulent (e.g. the closing reading before the tenant moved in, the reading taken during the property inspection, number of witnesses present at the readings, that the tenant provided two different moving out dates to the council).

I said that I don't have any disputes with any third parties (including the tenant) regarding the use of electricity and that that my dispute was solely with EON with regards to incorrect billing data.

In addition, I stated that I am prepared to defend my position in court and if they use any third party debt collectors it will be solely at their cost as I will not pay the disputed bill unless ordered by court.

I am not sure which of the arguments was the most effective, but I received the email from them that the balance was cleared. It took nearly 6 months.

I also asked EON to change the rules as Neil suggested above but not so hopeful it will be actioned.

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