Tenant runs up £882.60 on prepayment meter?

Tenant runs up £882.60 on prepayment meter?

10:10 AM, 29th September 2023, About 2 months ago 20

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Hello, I am being harassed by a debt collection company. They claim that electricity worth £882.60 was used at a house I let out as two flats, between 2013 to 2020, from a prepayment meter, and no payments were made to the meter.

I made the mistake of ringing them when a letter arrived at the house during a void, to ask what it was about. I fail to understand how a large bill £882.60 can be run up on a prepayment meter, and have put this to to the debt collection company. They say that meters don’t cut off when they run out of credit, at certain times.

Now, I have looked online and know at evenings and weekends, when it is hard to top up, meters can continue giving credit until the next day, BUT I thought that you needed to be in credit before these ‘friendly non-disconnection hours’ started.

I offered to help the debt collection company in any way I could, as they were asking for the tenants names, BUT I don’t believe I can just give them the names of all tenants who have been in both flats for nearly an eight-year period, Surely that contravenes GDPR on personal information? However, the debt collection company have been unable to tell me a tenant name, or even which flat.

This harassment started in early 2021, at that time they were pursuing the debt on behalf of Scottish Power. When I asked them to tell me a tenant name or even which flat, they said they would make inquiries and get back to me.

I received a letter at my own house a couple of months ago, to say they have now ‘bought’ the debt from Scottish Power and are again saying there is a debt of £882.60 owed, and as I have not told them who ran this up (?) they are attributing the debt to me. They claim they can do this as they assume I either owned the house when it was not tenanted or lived at the house myself. I did own the house for some time before this debt, it has always been tenanted in both flats, and I have never lived there.

They have supplied me with the meter number, and are asking me to inspect the meters in both flats to find out which flat ran up the debt. I am saying that it is their job. However, I have checked the photographs that we take between tenancies, of all electrics and meters, and although the purpose of these is not to show meter numbers, I don’t believe the meter number they give is in either flat. I am going to visit both tenants tomorrow to photograph specifically the meter numbers, and any previous ‘meter check’ labels that may be on them.

I believe that will prove that the CURRENT meters are not the one they are claiming, and probably a history of check labels back several years beyond their 2020 date. (Can I charge them for my considerable time and travel costs?)

This is not my debt, and to the best of my knowledge not any of my tenants’ debt, especially on prepayments meters. This is plain and simple harassment.

Does anyone have any ideas how to get these debt collection people off my back?



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David Houghton

14:47 PM, 29th September 2023, About 2 months ago

The utility company complaints email usually sorts Rhonda out. Ask them to indemnify you from any gpdr breach so you can give details of the occupancy

Fergus Wilson

14:49 PM, 29th September 2023, About 2 months ago

If the tenant incurred the debt then the tenant is responsible!

In any case they can only go back 12 months.

It is a purchased debt or rather alleged debt.

It is a matter of who is the bravest! Either pay up or send a Letter Before Action seeking £10,000 for harassment!
in the Small Claims Track!

Have look at Lisa Ferguson v British Gas 2009,

Also The Protection From Harassment Act 1997 section 3,

This is a Civil Level not a Criminal Level,

Max Knight

14:49 PM, 29th September 2023, About 2 months ago

Although I can't answer your exact question I am having problems now with Shell energy over a previous tenants debt on the gas meter. They have installed a smart pay as you go meter and there is a debt of £700. They tried to tell me to clear the debt but its not my debt and as you say how can a pay as you go rack up debt. They wouldn't tell me how much was needed to top up and clear the debt ! How was I supposed to know how much was was needed ( I wasn't at the property at the time.
I have new tenants moving in today and we're going round in circles.


15:31 PM, 29th September 2023, About 2 months ago

Do you routinely give the names and contact details of tenants to utility companies when they move in, (including properties with pre-payment meters)? If not, then it's much more difficult to argue you have no liability.

Michael Booth

15:43 PM, 29th September 2023, About 2 months ago

Exact same problem with British gas nearly a year and threats with court for a bill from previous tenant , made the mistake giving my name and address for a new card for the said property so that l could renew the relevant saftey certs l got tourchered for neR a year , l kept saying it was a previous Tennant and how can l use gas or electric on a previous tenants card , when you supplied me with another card in my name I might has well talk to the wall .

Michael Booth

15:51 PM, 29th September 2023, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by David at 29/09/2023 - 15:31
If you have a tenancy agreement for the said period its straightforward.

John Nyari

16:42 PM, 29th September 2023, About 2 months ago

I have a flat with a prepayment meter that had a debt of 1000 when the tenant moved out. I was unaware of this at the time but needed to renovate the place. I noticed I was burning through topups and later learned that it was taking portions of the top up towards the debt.
The previous tenant had built up debt and the power company decided to install the prepayment meter. They then assigned the debt to the meter, so this is how you can have a big debt on a prepayment meter.
To be fair to the power company, I explained the situation and they removed the remaining debt.


17:14 PM, 29th September 2023, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Fergus Wilson at 29/09/2023 - 14:49
As you say, there is a 1 year cut off on the period they can chase.
Nothing lost by asking for a breakdown, so you can determine how much relates to the recoverable period.

Obviously, if they are chasing a bill for the wrong property proving this should put a stop to their actions, but usually you will need to get the supplier to confirm then advise the debt firm.


17:48 PM, 29th September 2023, About 2 months ago

Obfuscated Data

Gunga Din

18:11 PM, 29th September 2023, About 2 months ago

I've a few of these. As mentioned by another contributor, I routinely inform the utility companies of new tenant + start date, move out dates, when I'm liable, and the associated readings. IIRC some companies facilitate this being done via the website.
If done by email they're usually not acknowledged but there's a data trail. If done by the message facility in the website there's no proof.
I know this doesn't help the OP at this stage, but I simply tell the utility what dates/readings I will pay them for, and ask for a bill reflecting it. They go for the LL as an easy target, hoping they'll cave in and cough up.

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