Card transactions by proxy

Roland Perry lists at
Wed Apr 6 13:37:53 BST 2011

In article <dN8uBSRH3wmNFAsW at>, Roland Perry 
<lists at> writes

>I received an estimated bill that is approximately double what it 
>should have been. And immediately sent a customer reading to the 
>supplier's website. Which they seem to have ignored. Does that qualify 
>as a "mistake", required to trigger the DD guarantee? In this case I 
>didn't bother claiming, because overpaying for energy is usually OK, 
>and prices are only going upwards.
>But the principle remains, that you lose control of the money and all 
>the initiative is with the customer to chase up 'errors and omissions'.

At the risk of turning this into a soap opera, the next stage happened 
today, two months later (one might have expected a three month billing 
cycle, but whatever).

They've read my meter and produced a bill, appropriately dated 1st 
April, payable by DD 14 days later (the 15th) or "within 3 days of 
15th", which I now know to mean "any day from 12th onwards". So there's 
just four working days to complain about it.

The amount of gas is correct (and quite small, because the earlier error 
in estimating consumption put me substantially ahead), but there's no 
"Direct Debit Discount" listed.

So I called them - thankfully they have an 0800 number.

They answered the phone immediately, but tried to put me off by 
suggesting that a "variable DD" didn't attract a discount [surely they 
know that's rubbish] or that I'd "changed something" [how, or why, is a 
mystery]. So I ended up on hold for the next 20 minutes while they 
looked into it.

They claimed they'd never seen a bill with an error like this before (I 
forgot to ask how long they've been working there) and eventually that 
it was a "very rare technical fault". [aka Blame the computer].

But they couldn't recalculate the bill with the discount added, 
preferring to make a flat payment of £1.50, which they say is slightly 
more than the discount would have been (I haven't checked).

And they tried to persuade me to leave the current (excessive) bill/DD 
in place, and put up with a £1.50 credit on my account until the next 
bill. But I insisted on a new bill and revised DD, which they say will 
take a week.

If I was paying by cheque [ignoring the contradiction that there 
couldn't then be a wrongly calculated DD discount] I could just send 
them the revised amount and let them work it through the system.

And now I have to wait and see what amount is debited on the 12th 
(sadly, I wouldn't be surprised if it was the original amount) and in 
two (or three) more months will they have corrected whatever error it 
was fouled this bill up?? Remember, they aren't fixing the error now, 
just giving me an ex-gratia payment.

ps As I explained to them, it's not the £1.50 (my last bill was out by 
more like £150) but they need to be able to produce accurate bills and 
not hide behind DD's with their odour of "the supplier is always right".
Roland Perry

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