A customer has an account fraudulently set up by her ex-partner without her knowledge and is default listed for an associated debt (January 2018)

Debt collection and credit default listings
Case Number 2017/23013
Outcome Conciliation

The Issue

Ms M was unhappy with an electricity company because she was default listed and received debt collection calls on an electricity account she did not set-up or authorise. She believed that her ex-partner had fraudulently set up this account in her name when she ended the relationship and moved out of the property. 

Ms M contacted the company. It advised that she was liable for the debt of $2,665 unless she could provide a statutory declaration and other evidence that she was not residing at the property during the period the account was active (such as lease agreement, certificate of title, contract of sale, rates notice, drivers licence, utility bills). The company confirmed that it had listed a default against her name. Unhappy with this response, Ms M contacted EWOV for assistance.      

We lodged an Assisted Referral. The company put debt collection activities on hold, however it required a statutory declaration and other evidence from Ms M to investigate liability for the debt. Due to her circumstances, Ms M was not able to provide this so she contacted us back and we commenced an Investigation.  

The Investigation

We requested details of the contract, copies of phone recordings, and copies of Ms M’s billing and account history from the company. We also discussed the case in more detail with Ms M. She advised she had made a police report about her ex-partner fraudulently opening several accounts in her name, including this electricity account. She said a copy had been sent to the company. Ms M also told us she had another case with EWOV for a similar issue with a different company and that company waived a debt based on the information in the police report.

We then discussed the case further with the company. It advised it had not received the police report. As a police report was available on Ms M’s other case, the company agreed that it was unfair for Ms M to be held liable for the electricity debt.   

The Outcome

The company apologised for the inconvenience caused. It removed the default listing from Ms M’s credit file. The company recalled the debt from its collection agency and waived the debt of $2,665 in full. It also provided a direct contact for its dispute resolution team in case Ms M had any other concerns in relation to this matter. Ms M was satisfied with this outcome and we closed the case.  

Related content

Hot topic

Translated fact sheets (June 2017)

Getting connected and changing energy company, Energy disconnection and water restriction, Debt collection and credit default listings, Billing mistakes, Delayed and catch-up bills
We’ve been getting six of our existing factsheets translated into five more languages.
Hot topic

Having trouble paying your energy or water bill? Help is available (April 2017)

Energy disconnection and water restriction, Trouble paying a bill, Debt collection and credit default listings, High bills
In Victoria, all energy and water companies must have a hardship program to assist people who are struggling to pay their bills. Find out how they can help you.