Questions of Cash: Scottish Power is charging me for a closed account


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The Independent Online

Q. I changed my energy supplier last December from Scottish Power to OVO Energy.

After a few weeks, I received a final statement from Scottish Power, and in February my bank account was debited by Scottish Power for £50. I stopped the direct debit and telephoned Scottish Power, who told me there had been a mistake in not closing my electricity account, that I was due a refund of about £430 which would be paid in 10 days.

On 16 February, I was told that it could take up to six weeks to close the account. I lodged a complaint. I was then told that a cheque had been issued and should arrive by 9 March. No money appeared. I phoned once more, and was now told there had been an error on my account and that I am owed £408. I was promised the complaints team would contact me within three days, but I have heard nothing more – and still no refund. JS, Exeter.

A. Reader complaints about Scottish Power continue to arrive. The good news is that your complaint has now been properly addressed. A spokesman for Scottish Power says: "We sincerely apologise for the delay … a final refund could not be issued to [the reader] due to a human administrative error. This has now been resolved and [the reader] has been sent a cheque for £458.45. We have also offered £75 as a goodwill payment, to apologise for any inconvenience." You tell us you are very happy with this outcome.

The wrong bill, from … Scottish Power

Q. Since September 2013 Scottish Power has been billing me for the wrong account, using a different meter number from mine. Every time I have received a bill I have phoned to explain it is wrong – this has probably happened 10 times, or more. No one has ever responded, except that I receive the same standard letter of apology – but nothing changes. To make matters worse, Scottish Power threatened to register a default notice against me and send a debt collection agency round! This has now been rescinded, but I want to move house and I can't until this is resolved. CS, London.

A. A spokesman for Scottish Power says: "We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience … Unfortunately we were billing [the reader's] gas usage against an incorrect meter number, this has now been corrected and the account updated. … We have offered to write-off £110.57 – 50 per cent of the bill – as a goodwill payment. [The reader] has accepted our offer."

Costs, courts and American Express

Q. I was in dispute with Dell over a laptop for which I was charged by American Express. You helped me get the cost credited to my account (Questions of Cash, 3 August 2013). But AmEx took legal action against me, which was struck out in 2013. The only matter still outstanding is to agree costs, which are to be settled by AmEx on the standard basis for a failed court action. I expected these to be settled promptly. But I am still waiting for costs to be agreed and settled. AmEx's solicitors made a number of administrative mistakes which caused the claim to be struck out. The solicitors have since apologised to me in writing for apparent misrepresentation. Perhaps you can help me again in order to get the costs paid? HN, London.

A. You contacted us at the end of last year and it has taken us several weeks to obtain a full response from American Express. Its spokeswoman says: "[The reader] stopped making payments on his £13,684.41 balance in 2011, of which a small amount was related to the purchase of a laptop. We … issued legal proceedings to reclaim this balance but as a consequence of an administration error … the claim was struck out … [The reader] submitted to us a claim for these costs and we subsequently agreed an amount in settlement which was paid in February."

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