Unbelievable – A water industry first! Water retailer demands a £1,000 fee to process a refund request for £40,000 overcharge, is this a sign of things to come?
Unbelievable but true, not only has water deregulation in England brought chaos for customers and water consultants working on behalf of customers in terms of incorrect billing, overcharging on mass and rock bottom customer service.
Now it seems one water retail company is intent on creating even more disruption by demanding a £1,000 fee for processing a refund estimated at £40,000 due to overcharging on previous water bills.
Water audit experts H20 Building Services submitted a claim on behalf of a client in Scotland nearly 8 months ago. Having sent 4 complaints all of which have not been dealt with through the official complaints procedure the water retailer Water Plus Ltd (previously as United Utility Water Sales Ltd in Scotland) have offered an insulting £480 and they have demanded a £1,000 fee if the claim is to be continued.
The site in Scotland was previously charged for water and waste water services by United Utilities Scotland (United Utility Water Sales Ltd ) and changed its name to Water Plus Ltd 21st December 2016.
The clients property was billed for property and roads drainage services based on a rateable value formula. An in depth historical water bill audit was conducted by the water bill validation team at H20 and it revealed the incorrect rateable value was applied due to changes resulting in a water bill overcharge of £40,000.
Graham Mann, Water Industry Expert and Senior Partner at H20 Building Services said ” This is an extremely worrying development in the water retail market, to demand a £1,000 fee to process what amounts to an overcharge by United Utility Water Sales Ltd which changed its name to Water Plus having merged with the new water retail arm of Severn Trent Water.
It is totally unacceptable and although we have still to take further advice on this matter I am sure that this practice is not allowable.
I do find the attitude of Water Plus towards customers of late a lot to be desired, 8 months to get to this stage 3 complaint and not taken through the official complaints procedure and £1,000 to process a refund claim to their overcharging.
Water Plus really do need to address serious customer service and water billing failings.”
It really is about time 1 year after water deregulation that the business adheres to its statement on their own website “We value and understand the consultant and broker model and we know your choice of suppliers can impact on your reputation, that’s why we go out of our way to provide an excellent service for you and your customers”
To date and since water deregulation in England this water retailer has not gone anyway close to living up to its service and performance statement on its website.
Needless to say we shall continue to pursue the claim for a full refund of overcharges by Water Plus with the full support of our mutual client.
In more detail what are property and roads drainage charges in Scotland?
Property drainage charges : – This is a charge for sites in Scotland for the cost of taking the rainwater (known as surface water) from your property transporting the surface water away from your property and treating the water prior to discharging to the environment.
Roads Drainage charges: – This charge is for share of the cost of draining all of Scotland’s roads.
It is the policy of the Scottish Government that the cost of roads drainage is recovered from all of the customers connected to the public sewerage system.
How are property and roads drainage charges calculated?
Property and roads drainage charges are based on the property rateable value assigned by the Scottish Assessors Association.
If you think you could be charged the wrong amount what should you do?