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Claudette's complaint against npower
Npower wrecked my credit score and chances of being a home owner Even though I was never a customer
Complaint against npower
In Dec 2012 I tried to switch to npower using 'Uswitch'. By February 2013, the switch still hadn't gone ahead 'due to technical problems with a new computer system' so I called npower to cancel the switch - I was nervous that I could be charged by two energy companies simultaneously as I had heard accounts of this happening. Npower informed me they had no record of my switch to them and did not hold any details of mine. I continued paying Eon by direct debit. Soon after, I received a letter apologising for the delay and acknowledging that I had tried to switch but that it hadn't happened. Over the next two years, I received occasional circulars from npower addressed to me. "Reduce your energy costs" "are you on the correct tariff" etc. I assumed they either held my details from my original attempt to switch or had TAKEN my details when I called them, in order to send me advertising material. Each time I received something I called them to ensure they weren't still trying to switch my energy as I didn't want to be billed by two energy companies. Each time they assured me that had no record of my address or details and I wasn't a customer and they didn't know why I was still being sent these circulars - just ignore them they said... I was even sent the infamous 'apology letter' which I found very fitting going by their inability to understand their own computer systems and take people off their mailing systems. When I sold my flat in July 2014 I had just received another circular from them. I was anxious to have them stop sending mail in my name as I was moving. Again, they said they had no record of me. A month later, having moved to Brighton, I receive a bill from npower for £200 in my name for a different flat number in my old block of flats. I receive this only because I'm paying for post redirection to my new address. I call npower to explain there has been a mistake, they say they can see that and maybe they got confused since I moved out (!) but assure me they will correct the error. I ask them to send any further correspondence, including a correction of the situation in writing, to my new address. Nothing arrives. I call twice more, they assure me it was a mistake. In November 2014, I receive a bill (through directed mail) from npower for flat 1 Comfrey Court, the wrong flat number as I previously owned Flat 5, for £1000. I am beside myself with worry - I call them, they say it's a mistake and they will fix it. I ask for that I writing. I DIRECTLY TELL THEM I AM WORRIED ABOUT THESE BILLS BEING SENT TO MY OLD ADDRESS AND THAT I AM WORRIED THIS WILL AFFECT MY CREDIT SCORE AT A TIME WHEN MY PARTNER AND I ARE LOOKING TO GET A MORTGAGE. They tell me this won't happen. In December, the last month of my mail direction service, I receive a red bill for £1500 threatening legal action against me. Over the next month I repeatedly call npower to find out the situation and what's being done. I reiterate in the strongest terms about my address and concern for my credit score. No further mail arrives as now my mail direction service has ended and I don't want to continue paying it. No official acknowledgment of their mistake or attempt to correct it arrives in the post. I continue to contact them weekly for updates, explaining my story again each time, speaking to multiple telephone operatives each time; I can never be put through to a senior manager. I ask for written explanation, ask for call backs - nothing. In Easter holidays I go to Brighton Lloyds bank (my bank) to arrange a mortgage meeting. I am informed that they won't even make a meeting to discuss lending to me as there is a serious alert on my account. Having checked my credit score recently, it should be 999, top score and 'Excellent'. I have worked hard to get it there! They say it must be something serious so I sign up to credit Experian to check. Npower had applied TWO delinquent (unpaid after 4 months) accounts, sending my score to 'poor'. What follows is 7 months of phone calls, complaints, letters from npower contradicting themselves on dates and figures and addresses time and time again. Many of these letters are still sent to my OLD address- they can't even get that right! I have to get in touch with the estate agents I sold through and ask them to contact my buyer to get any mail still being sent by npower. I get Ofgem involved. They say they can't help as the complaint against npower has been open too long. We have to renew our tenancy in September as we still can't get a mortgage or any type of lending due to the catastrophic damage done to my credit score. By this time, the Victorian terraced house we rent in Hanover, Brighton, is showing signs of damp and mould growth after an extremely wet year. I am desperate to move as this was only supposed to be a short term rent. Finally, in November 2015, npower repair my credit score by removing the damaging delinquent accounts. I am told to call for compensation. I do, only to be told that their system shows no evidence of having made any negative credit claims against me; at this point I break down in tears on the phone. In the meantime I've been signed off work from December 1st to February 2nd due to a serious chest infection, possibly caused by the damp and mold prone house we are renting, and have had to stay in longer than we ever intended, and the stress caused by npower is exacerbating the situation (I have doctors certificates to uphold this.) I would like to state that I have never had a serious illness or been signed off work for anything, ever. Through January I continue to call to ask for them to acknowledge their mistake in writing and offer some compensation for the time and damage caused by them, not to mention the expense (by now £150 +) of tracking my credit score. I hear nothing. In February I receive a cheque for £40 which has been sent to all customers who experienced errors in billing. Well, I wasn't a customer and their errors have cost me a year of my life financially and untold stress. I now spend most of my half term collating evidence (correspondence, phone logs, bank statements, credit reports) to send to the CEO. I do this and it costs over £8 to send as it is so extensive. In this pack I return the £40 cheque they have sent. The rest of my half term I spend packing and moving house, finally, although I am still not recovered from my chest infection. Two weeks after sending the package to the CEO of npower, I receive my first ever phone call and personal email from npower's executive complaints team - offering £250 compensation. I decline this offer based on all the factors I have already stated and inform npower I am left with no other choice - I'm taking them to court. I receive an email saying they understand my rejection of the £250 and are closing the complaint. I receive a further letter (with further mistakes in it!) stating that £250 is the max they can offer but that despite understanding I have rejected this offer, they are going to send me a £250 cheque in the post anyway. One more thing I have to do in returning this cheque then... On the 10th March I log into my online bank account to pay some bills to find that npower have paid £250 directly into my account. Having never given them my bank details and feeling outraged at this blatant disregard for my wishes, I call my bank to find out how they could have done this. My bank informs me that they SET UP A DIRECT DEBIT ON 9th OCTOBER 2015! When I ask how they could have done this without my consent and without me supplying them with my bank details, they tell me that they couldn't have done that and if they have (which they have!!) it is a criminal offence. I try to pay back the money but as I've never been a customer, and don't have a customer reference number, I can't make that payment to npower, despite having their bank details. I have emailed them to ask how I should do this. So now I'm taking them to court. I hope the judge throws the book at them! Everything I have described is carefully documented and my bank is in the process of sending me an account of this fraudulent activity in writing. I should add that I don't have a single letter from npower which isn't riddled with mistakes and contradictions - their incompetence is astounding. They really only have themselves to blame.
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Kath Hannam | | VERIFIED