Questions of Cash: I chased my energy supplier to charge me correctly. It left me out in the cold
Friday 21 February 2014
Q. I have been trying for a year to sort out a problem with Npower regarding my gas and electricity, which it took over supplying in May 2012. I have not been charged correctly for the agreed tariff – Economy 7, Go Fix 11 – for May 2012 to May 2013. In June 2013, Npower assured me that I would be given the best tariff for the period May 2013 to May 2014. This has not happened either. And it would not let me change to another, cheaper supplier as the account was being reviewed.
My last bill was in November 2013, which was again wrong. I set aside payments for November and December, but I have not paid for charges based on the wrong tariff. I decided in November that I could not deal with Npower any longer and applied for a dual-fuel tariff with Scottish Power, which was to take over my supply on 6 January.
But then I had a letter from Npower saying it objected to my leaving as my preferred supplier had not properly registered my meters. I challenged this and was then told that Npower claimed I had two house supply numbers, although when Scottish Power checked the central register it found only one. I pointed out this error to Npower in January, but have not had a reply. JS, Leeds.
A. Npower says that it sent you an amended bill in July last year, putting you on the correct tariff for the previous period. But it accepts that it then failed to put you on the new tariff that was then agreed with you. It will now correct your latest bill, using the agreed tariff, so you will not lose out financially. Npower apologises for its mistakes and is sending you a £50 goodwill gesture.
Q. I have a one-bed flat. Between 14 September and 1 October 2012, I used 111 units of electricity. But Npower claims that between 15 October 2012 and 22 January 2013 I used 6,333 units at a cost of £815.88. I am a student and barely at home Monday to Friday. My heating and water heating are on a timer, coming on three times a day for a maximum of an hour. I now have an outstanding bill for £1,500, of which I have only been able to pay off £500 so far. Tenants in nearby flats are charged much less than me. I have taken this to the ombudsman, who found in favour of Npower and says I must agree a payment plan with the company. I am now receiving debt-collection letters. PC, Sheffield.
A. Npower says that it installed a "check meter" in your flat, which confirmed that your meter was correctly recording your electricity use. It believes that your bill is entirely consistent with your usage – which it says included running three convector heaters in winter. Npower adds that the ombudsman confirmed the accuracy of the bills. According to the company, you have refused to agree a payment plan or to accept advice on energy efficiency. We can only suggest you do enter into serious discussions about an affordable payment plan after taking advice from a debt adviser, such as Citizens Advice.
Q. For 20 years we have invested through HSBC's Wealth Strategic Solutions Fund. HSBC is withdrawing the advice element of this service, so will no longer advise on the suitability of our existing investment strategy, provide CGT [Capital Gains Tax] management or manage ISA subscriptions. We need to find another home for our money. CJ, Kent.
A. Philippa Gee of Philippa Gee Wealth Management responds: "There are many options available to you at this point, so it is worth taking time to find the right solution. First, you could simply use a similar service from another discretionary wealth manager, of which there are plenty. You would need to check details such as their charges and risk management. An alternative approach is to manage the money yourself, though you would need to decide how the money is invested, monitored and what support can be provided to produce the necessary tax documentation. The other option is to find someone who is more an overall financial adviser and can manage the wealth with you.
Q. I made a booking with Britanny Ferries for a week in France, including ferry and a property. The whole process was completed online with a confirmation received at the time. This was followed up by an email response, again confirming the booking. However, this message included the following sentence: "Breakage deposit payable on arrival: €150 in cash and £150 by sterling cheque". This condition was not previously referred to and I cannot believe this is appropriate. PL, Somerset.
A. Brittany Ferries says its terms and conditions explicitly state that "all gites and cottages [require] a deposit between €80 and €900 [which] is payable in cash on arrival".
Questions of Cash cannot give individual advice. But we'll do our best to help if you have a financial dilemma. Email us at: questions email@example.com
- 1 Games of Thrones actor Lena Headey makes emotional promise to her unborn daughter
- 2 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
- 3 Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
- 4 Female Muay Thai champion hustles coaches to give them a beating
- 5 16-year-old girl beaten and burned alive by lynch mob in Rio Bravo, Guatemala
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
Report finds that Britain's wages are the most unequal in Europe
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
iJobs Money & Business
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...
£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...
£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...
Day In a Page
On the market for the first time in more than 50 years, this six-bedroom home is a project with vast potential - spread over three floors of living space.
This five-bedroom home comes with a range of outbuildings including a large barn which could be converted into a self-contained granny-flat or rental.
Surrounded by rolling countryside, this four-bedroom barn conversion comes with a self-contained, one-bedroom annexe that could serve as an office or a holiday let.
Located near Harrogate town centre, this five-bedroom Victorian terrace is arranged over three storeys while a current study serves as an optional sixth bedroom.
A ground-floor flat in a country house, located a mile from Sway; this two-bedroom home would make an ideal weekend retreat on the edge of the New Forest.
On a popular residential lane in Caterham on the Hill, this four-bedroom family home offers a secluded garden and a convenient location for local schools and public transport.
Just a short walk from Westerham green, this three-bedroom cottage has a light kitchen with exposed brickwork and double doors that lead to a south-facing garden.
In a prime spot opposite the River Thames, this one-bedroom flat has an 18sq ft reception room with glass doors that open out to a private terrace.
Set in the hills above Llanwrda Village, west Wales, this 18th-century three-bedroom farmhouse has holiday-let potential from a separate barn conversion and annexe.
This charming end-of-terrace townhouse is arranged over three floors, with two double bedrooms and a private courtyard garden located at the rear of the property.
This four-bedroom Edwardian home offers a combination of original features and contemporary design after a renovation by the current owners.
Located in the University area, this semi-detached five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors - there's even a rear garden and off-road parking too.
Only a few minutes' drive from the charming town of Marlow, this two-bedroom home sits on the private riverside estate of Harleyford.
This detached four-bedroom home in Middleyard is arranged over two floors, with features that include a wood-burning stove and bespoke oak staircase.
In a row of eight detached Georgian residences, this five-bedroom home offers views of The Sound, Mount Edgcumbe and Cornwall from its impressive veranda and full-length balcony.
If you love cooking for friends this two-bedroom flat - complete with views of the iconic Battersea Power Station and an open-plan kitchen/dining area - will go down a treat.
Located above Grasmere village, this five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors and offers countryside views across Grasmere Lake towards Silver Howe.
Surrounded by the Western fells, this five-bedroom Georgian home retains many original features including panel-plastered ceilings, sash windows and fireplaces.
This six-bedroom home is set amongst three acres of grounds. Currently a large family home, Clift Hill has potential to make a B&B, subject to change of use permissions.
A former period coach house, Glebe Farm Stable is now a three-bedroom cottage with a double car barn, office, kennels and an outbuilding that's currently used as a gym.
Set sail for this four-bedroom farmhouse in Cowes. With five acres of land and an indoor pool, this home oozes character. There is even potential to let a one-bedroom annexe.
Surrounded by woodland, this five-bedroom manor house has plenty of outdoor storage space in the form of three converted loose boxes, two smaller outhouses and a woodstore.
This four-bedroom detached home comes with a double carport, useful workshop, garden and two walkways that offer views of the adjacent countryside.
With space for an equestrian business, a greenhouse for growing your own veg, a wine store and a gym; this five-bedroom home has all the ingredients for a country retreat.
This four-bedroom home has exposed brick chimneys and a vaulted ceiling in a breakfast room that's ideal for summer entertaining - the doors open to the patio and garden.
The decked roof terrace of this two-bedroom flat is perfect for summer drinks while large windows and ample storage space make for a light and spacious interior.
Surrounded by approximately 15 acres of grounds, this six-bedroom grade II-listed home has been extensively refurbished yet retains many period features.
This four-bedroom home comes with a two-bedroom cottage and commercial office, with planning to extend, in a stunning courtyard setting.
In a pretty Norfolk village, this four-bedroom family home is surrounded by landscaped gardens, with even a self-contained annex for guests.
A few miles from the seaside at Perranporth, this four-bedroom farmhouse sits amongst nine acres of idyllic grounds - including a lake and two barns used as holiday lets.
This five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors of a converted Victorian hospital, offering spectacular views of the Pentland Hills - only three miles from the city centre.
This four-bedroom detached home comes with grounds that span to approximately 2.5 acres, as well as two large patio areas and a double garage.
This four-bedroom cottage is a Grade II-listed town house, well-located for the thriving market town of Nailsworth.
A four-bedroom apartment on the ground floor of a stunning period property in North Yorkshire, with two kitchens and a large south-west facing garden.
This high-spec two-bedroom home is part of a smart collection of new flats at Beaufort Park and has a large decked balcony that's perfect for summer drinks.
Capitalise on the fabulous views of Trevone Bay by taking two homes and creating one spacious boutique B&B. Just a cliff-top walk from Padstow.
Overlooking a golf course, this six-bedroom Edwardian detached home spans four storeys and retains many period features including the original, operational servants' bells...
On the edge of the city, this six-bedroom home comes with an outdoor swimming pool and a large garage block that has annexe potential.
In a Grade II-listed manor just outside of Bath, this three-bedroom home is arranged on two floors with a skylight in a vaulted roof line.
Open the living room's bi-fold wooden doors to reveal a retro-style kitchen, and a conservatory leading to a paved garden at this three-bedroom home.
A Grade II-listed, four-bedroom home, in a charming Somerset village, with a two-storey studio that could be converted into a holiday cottage
A modern four-bedroom Victorian home, within walking distance to the high street
A luxury apartment in the Gothic mansion of Wyfold Court in Kingwood, offers six bedrooms spread over three floors and a turret
This school conversion, near Stockwell Tube, oozes New York loft style. The one-bedroom flat features double height ceilings and exposed brick work
This six-bedroom Georgian home is on three floors with open fireplaces, a two-oven Aga, an annexe, and cottage gardens with outbuildings and a car barn
High Crest House covers an impressive 9384sq ft, with almost three acres of grounds including a tennis court and summer house enclosed by electric gates
A six-bedroom farmhouse with separate accommodation in converted stables. Situated in the village of Church Aston, within walking distance to the market town
A two-bedroom flat with under-heated walnut floors and bespoke built-in storage. The Tube and Clapham Common are a short stroll away
A refurbished seven-bedroom townhouse with staff quarters, cinema room, superb gym, steam room and plunge pool
A minimnalist four-bedroom home designed to the highest spec, featuring glass walls and a kitchen space lit by a glass roof