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Joint Serveral + liability for utility bills

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
Hi im currently in a battle with Npower and was wondering if any one would no the answers to my questions? i would be very gratefull as i dont seem to be getting anywhere with it...

A friend I worked with had a tenant moving out, I was looknig for a place so I moved in, My friend was in a joint account with npower at the time with this other tenant, and I agreed to pay my portion of the npower bill when I moved in. Throughout my tenancy i allways paid my fair share and left the property early to move to lincoln so only expected a small bill for the final payment. My flatmate contacted me months later saying shed recieved the final bill and asked for an address to send a copy, i never recieved a copy so i messaged her asking for the account number as obviously i dont want to pay a bill ive never seen but she refused, i tried phoning npower but they couldnt find the account anywhere under any names or address i gave. Months later i recieved a letter from debt colelctors, my flatmate had put the account in my address and removed hers completely so she couldnt be found, the only thing i can do is argue how i got on this account. shes basically stitched me up for her debt. i was unaware of her debt untill i moved in and found she also owed £700 on the rent too.

I recieved a letter from a debt collections agency for £508. i contacted them straight away and asked for a copy of all bills since i lived there and found the final total of the bill to be 80 and the final total was 80 + her debt giving a total of £508. i had been added to the account but never had signed any agreemnt with npower to be joint and severally liable. can they do this?

I contacted npower and got a copy of all the bills to find the old tenant had been wiped off and i had replaced her, the account also had a whopping £200 debt outstanding from when my name appeared on it. from going through my reciepts id paid my fair share and only owed half on the final bill amount of £40, my flatmate was trying to get me to pay all of it a massive £500 debt of hers. Obviously not fair. She wont give me an adress therefore npower say im liable so im trying everything possible to resolve this. but it looks like my old flatmate is taking me for the mug and gettin me to clear her bill and debt

if any on has any advice id be very gratfeull

Thank you :)


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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    If you have contact details for this "friend" then give that to the debt collectors and let them chase it.
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Ah see thats the problem i managed to get hold of her mobile and she hung up, i messaged her but she refuses to give me an address what so ever.
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I'm sure the debt collectors have their own methods if you give them the phone number.

    I don't quite understand how this was transferred to you. I can't just phone my electricity company and give them some random person's name to give my bills to. Unless you have signed an agreement with npower you have no responsibility for these bills.
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Thats exactly what im hoping is the case that im not liable. The flatmate i lived with had another person on the bill. When i moved in she somehow changed it so i was jointly liable, but i have never signed anything confirming this with npower or recieved any contract.

    I did contact the debt collectors but sadly they dont care all they want is a person to chase for the money, but if im right, i should by law have a signed contract showing i agreed to this joint bill arrangemnt.. which i definately didnt have, so my next step is a very long complaint letter to npower. I did contact npower today as a made up person to find out their procedure on adding a person to a contract but havent had a response as yet

    Thank you im deffinately going to chase them as ive never been in any kind of debt in my life
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    There are several things at play here.

    Even if you didn't sign up to the contract you are liable for the debt as the occupier of the property. You are 'joint and severally liable', which means that nPower can enforce the debt against either of you or both of you. It isn't a credit agreement and the rules on presenting a signed contract generally do not apply.

    Unfortunately you paying the money to the other person doesn't stop you being liable to nPower. They can chase you for the debt (less any debt that was there before you moved in) and they probably will do because it is easier.

    What you should do is complain to nPower, explaining that you did not consent to be added to the contract and that you should not have been added. You should state that you have paid the debt to the other person, and provide proof of this. You should provide contact details for her, as best as you can, including mobile numebers and last known addresses.

    If nPower reject your complaints, you'll need to take it to the Ombudsman.

    However I think you are in a weak position and you might have to pay it. If you do have to pay it you'll have to sue your friend, but this will be hard if you don't know where she lives now.
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