A customer was default listed incorrectly by her electricity company (May 2016)

Trouble paying a bill, Debt collection and credit default listings
Case Number 2015/33069
Outcome Conciliation

The Issue

Ms W was dissatisfied with her electricity retailer because it placed a default listing against her name for a final account which she was paying off in instalments. She had received a final bill and set up a payment plan with her retailer and had made all payments on time. Ms W subsequently received contact from her retailer advising that a payment had been missed and that she would be default listed if the account was not paid. She contacted her retailer in response to this and it advised that it did not have a record of a payment arrangement on its system. She then received a notification of the default listing on her credit file as well as a text message from her retailer advising that her next instalment payment was due on 23 November 2015. Unhappy with conflicting advice and the incorrect default listing, Ms W contacted EWOV for assistance.

EWOV raised an Assisted Referral, however this did not resolve the dispute.  Due to the nature of the complaint, EWOV used its discretion to bypass the Real Time Resolution process and commenced an Investigation.

The Investigation

EWOV requested copies of Ms W’s bills and reminder notices, customer contact notes, payment history and details of the default listing from the electricity retailer.

The electricity retailer initially advised EWOV that it had investigated Ms W’s concerns. It believed it had listed the default correctly including sending a final bill and default listing warning notices and it would therefore not remove the default listing. However, EWOV noted that the customer contact notes confirmed that Ms W contacted the retailer to make a payment arrangement after she was sent a final bill for the account. Further, Ms W made several payments between the date of the final bill (issued on 18 August 2015 for an amount of $459.85) and the date of the default listing (listed on 17 November 2015 for an amount of $183.94).

EWOV discussed the case further with the electricity retailer on several occasions and reviewed the relevant laws and codes in relation to default listing. It was EWOV’s view that the retailer had not listed the default correctly on this occasion. The retailer’s credit team reviewed the default listing and the payments made by Ms W again and found that Ms W had paid the account balance in full on 18 November 2015, and the default listing actually occurred on 19 November 2015, not 17 November 2015 as it initially thought. It agreed that the default listing was incorrect in this case.

The Outcome

The electricity retailer confirmed that it had listed the default in error because the account balance was paid in full the day before the default was listed. It apologised for the inconvenience caused to Ms W and arranged to have the listing removed within ten business days.  It also provided a direct contact for Ms W should the listing not be removed as advised.  Ms W was satisfied with this outcome and EWOV closed the Investigation.

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