Ex-customers of Extra Energy, who stopped trading in November, are furious after receiving letters that claim that they owe the former supplier money. This is Money can reveal.
Many have used social media to express their frustration about correspondence, claim they have no outstanding debts and have a final letter to prove it – and add that it is difficult to contact the company to set the record to put it right.
Although money is outstanding from some customers, the managers – PricewaterhouseCoopers – whose debt has been paid have admitted that some have been mistakenly contacted.
A number of Extra Energy customers have incorrectly received letters from collection agencies
One reader of this This money has even claimed that he himself received a letter from Extra Energy, not the managers, who called alarm bells because it no longer exists.
After the small supplier went bankrupt at the end of last year, its 108,000 domestic and 21,000 corporate customers were transferred to Scottish Power, one of the Big Six providers.
Scottish Power has agreed to honor all credits that Extra Energy customers had in their accounts with future energy bills.
However, the former supplier's administrators are now responsible for finding out outstanding balances that have not been paid – and they can use collection companies to do this.
Ofgem confirmed that Extra Energy managers have retained a number of Extra Energy employees to assist with the collection of outstanding debts.
A PwC spokesperson said: & # 39; We strive to work with customers to answer and resolve questions as quickly as possible.
& # 39; As managers of Extra Energy, we are obliged to collect debts from the company.
& # 39; We contact customers whose records indicate that there is an outstanding debt.
& # 39; We have been notified of a limited number of cases where people have already paid or disputed the outstanding amount.
& # 39; We are urgently investigating and resolving these cases and apologizing to those customers for any confusion or concern that has been caused.
& # 39; When customers dispute the debt or want to discuss their bills, we encourage them to contact our customer service about the numbers on the letters.
& # 39; We have prepared people to handle such questions as quickly as possible. & # 39;
A number of people went to social media to express frustration about receiving the letters. Many people claim that they cannot find their telephone number.
An Extra Energy customer said they have a & # 39; threatening & # 39; letter, although it has a final invoice
This user said that she had never used Extra energy and that the telephone number provided did not work
This customer expressed his frustration online after he could not reach the number
On the website, Who Called Me, which allows users to write comments about phone numbers to tell others if they are potential spam and scam calls, people have complained about the number they should call in the letters sent.
The number has an average speed of & # 39; dangerous & # 39; and many people indicate that they have been put on hold for a long time or have been cut off when calling the number in the letters.
A spokesperson for Ofgem said: & # 39; In the event that a failed supplier manager engages a debt collection agency to pursue debts, we recognize that under these circumstances there is a limited role for Ofgem, as this is beyond the scope of our regulatory mandate.
& # 39; However, if consumers believe they are being treated unfairly by a collection agency, they can file a complaint with professional bodies or trade associations (if the collection agency is a member).
& # 39; Alternatively, with Citizen & # 39; s Advice and then marketing standards, consumers can submit complaints about harassment. & # 39;
The Citizen & # 39; s Advice has provided information about what to do if you are harassed by a debt that you have already paid.
It said: & # 39; If you have paid the debt, it is best to call the creditor. It is also worth contacting your bank – to check whether the payment has been made to your creditor. & # 39;
In the situation where the creditor does not agree that you have paid your bills, the charity has advised: & You must collect as much evidence as possible to prove that you have paid the debt if the creditor does not agrees.
& # 39; Send a letter to the creditor that says you have paid and include your evidence. Ask them to put your case on hold while you send your evidence and they will investigate your case – they should do this if you ask. & # 39;
Extra Energy is just one of the small suppliers that have gone bankrupt recently, including Brilliant Energy, Spark Energy, Future Energy, National Gas and Power, Iresa Energy, Gen4U, Usio Energy, One Select, Our Power and Economy Energy.
Brilliant Energy customers have to deal with higher bills
Thousands of Brilliant Energy customers could pay up to £ 281 more for their gas and electricity bills after switching to SSE following the collapse of Brilliant Energy, according to the automatic switch service, weflip.
All 17,000 customers were transferred to the standard variable rate of SSE, which will rise to £ 1,253 on 1 April when the Ofgem price cap increase begins.
This means that households could pay £ 397 more for their annual energy bill compared to what they paid with Brilliant.
Under Ofgem's Supplier of Last Resort scheme, also known as the & # 39; safety net & # 39; All customers with a failed supplier are automatically moved to another supplier chosen by the regulator.
However, a problem with the switch is that some customers assume that their new rate will be the same as that of their previous supplier, which is not the case.
Fortunately, those who use SVT rates do not have to pay exit costs, so anyone with an SSE or who is on an SVT with a supplier can immediately switch to a better deal without any costs.
Sally Jaques, head of energy at weflip, said: “The regulator is always quick to step in and ensure that there is minimal disruption for the many thousands of customers who remain in the dark when an energy supplier goes bankrupt.
& # 39; However, the language used suggests that these customers can expect a competitive price agreement, and it is clear that this is not always the case. As is the case with Brilliant Energy shows, a worse deal could be waiting for them. & # 39;