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If you pay your own bills, you’ve probably had a falling out with a utility company at one point or another. This was my second dispute with British Gas (BG). The first time I paid all monies off just for peace of mind, but this time I was determined to fight them. I couldn’t keep being cheated by this so-called noble company.
So the story is, I left my property in August last year and I had paid all my bills frequently and on time each month. On leaving I received a final bill statement which should’ve been for the month of August only however, they were charging me from May to November.
Naturally I opened a dispute and lodged a complaint against them. After several back and forths with them promising to rectify the issue, they always came back with the wrong dates. Again if you’ve ever called BG, you know you can stay on the phone for up to an hour even before you are attended to. At this point, I was tired of the whole process and decided to just ignore them. After all, I didn’t have the time or patience for their incompetence.
Fast forward to this year March when I started an application for a mortgage. Not knowing BG had sent my details off to a debt collector and this had in turn affected my credit score. Not only was my mortgage application turned down but, I was even denied an Argos card! Argos card!
For someone who has several credit cards with no debt whatsoever (except student finance naturally), it came as a shock to the system. I had NEVER been in this position before.
My Two Learning Points
Firstly, credit scores do matter. Try to pay off any debt as soon as possible or at least have a payment plan with the debtor before they send you to debt collectors because this can affect you greatly.
Secondly, do not just ignore matters regarding your finances or credit. In my case, I had all the email correspondence to prove that I had been in communication with BG and that they just kept messing up the final bill.
I was prepared to take this fight all the way to the end and I kept a log of every conversation with them and all my previous payments. However, in the end, their incompetence had a great knock-on effect on my life and plans therein.
Had I not ignored them and dealt with them accordingly – yes this includes going along with the back and forth – it would have saved me a great deal.
Am I saying you should give up in a fight against a utility company? No. All I’m saying is that if you’re planning to go head-to-head with one, make sure you keep on top of it. Constantly call messages, and make them aware that you’re still in the fight if not then give up and pay what they say you owe. Or else this could really affect your credit score and in turn affect your loan, investment, and mortgage opportunities.
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