A transfer without consent leads to debt collection and imminent disconnection (November 2014)

Energy disconnection and water restriction, High bills, Billing mistakes
Case Number 2014/22036
Outcome Assisted Referral

The Issue

The customer was dissatisfied that her gas account had been transferred to a gas company without her consent. The first time she realised that her account had been transferred was when she received a disconnection warning notice from the gas company in June 2013. On 18 June 2013, she contacted the company about the disconnection warning notice and was advised that she had provided verbal consent to the transfer during a marketing phone call and was told that the company would look into the matter further. However, the company did not follow up with the customer and she called it back in September and October 2013 in addition to sending emails to try and get the matter fixed. Later in October 2013, the company advised it had started the retrospective transfer process to send her account back to her preferred company as it had transferred her account in error. However, she then received debt collection activity. This prompted her to contact the company again in December 2013, however, this did not resolve the complaint.

As the complaint remained unresolved after several more contacts with the gas company and the debt collection agency in early 2014, the customer contacted EWOV on 28 April 2014 and an Assisted Referral was raised. Following the Assisted Referral, the customer thought that the issue was resolved and she waited for confirmation of the retrospective transfer. However, the account was not retrospectively transferred back to her preferred company and she received further debt collection action. Dissatisfied with the delays and lack of action by the company, she recontacted EWOV on 15 October 2014 and an Investigation commenced.

The Investigation

EWOV liaised between the customer and gas company to ensure that the gas account had been successfully returned to the customer’s preferred company as far back as possible (118 business days for gas accounts). Due to the time limitation on retrospective transfers, there was an account balance of $590.92. EWOV also requested a copy of the voice recording and substantiation of the transfer request. However, the company was unable to locate the requested information.

The Outcome

The company apologised for the inconvenience experienced. In recognition of not been able to locate the voice recording to substantiate the transfer request, the company waived the account balance of $590.92 and confirmed the account was closed with a nil balance. It also confirmed that the gas account had been returned to the customer’s preferred gas company from 11 April 2014 and that all debt collection activity had been withdrawn - without impacting her credit rating. The customer was satisfied with the outcome.

Related content

Hot topic

Hot Topic − Fair and reasonable (August 2018)

Getting connected and changing energy company, Energy disconnection and water restriction, Trouble paying a bill, Debt collection and credit default listings, Outages, brownouts and power surges, High bills, Billing mistakes, Delayed and catch-up bills, Meters, poles, wires and pipes
Hot topic

Real Time Resolutions (July 2017)

Getting connected and changing energy company, Energy disconnection and water restriction, Billing mistakes, Meters, poles, wires and pipes
During the first half of this year, EWOV began to wind down the Real Time Resolution (RTR) process as a case handling option.