Roughly eighteen months ago, my energy supplier of the time (nPower, a company I’m epically happy to be rid of) sold their domestic customer base to eonNext – one of the few energy companies with a worse customer rating than nPower. (So, quite the achievement)
At the time, I had a credit balance with eOn, and expected that to go on the final bill. I was expecting that bill to happen within about two months, and pay any excess over the credit at that point. Except I didn’t hear anything from eonNext at all. I was still able to log in to the customer panel, but nothing else happened. So eventually I shrugged my shoulders and left them to their own devices.
Yesterday (June 2022, fifteen months after switching supplier!) I got a bill from eonNext, telling me what I owed them through to January 2021.
Thankfully, I remembered reading in the Guardian’s Consumer Champions pages about OfGem’s back-billing rules , which basically say that you can’t be billed for energy used more than 12 months ago if you’ve not been billed for it already (or informed by statement of account) . Within that information page, they also include a link to the Citizen’s Advice form letter for telling energy companies that they’re in the wrong – which is obviously extremely helpful!
So this morning I emailed eonNext back (I was going to phone, but decided it was better to have it all in writing) with my own adaptations of the form letter, and proposing that (as a compromise) they used the money I’d left in the account as a part-payment, and could then sod off for the rest. (I phrased it a bit nicer than that, but that was definitely the implication) Yes, I could’ve said “And I want that credit back as well”, but well, I haven’t had it for nearly a year and a half, so it doesn’t matter.
This afternoon I got a response from eonNext agreeing with me, wiping out the bill, and sending me a confirmation that my bill is now at zero. (I’ve printed both of those documents out, just in case they prove in future to still be fucking useless)
All told, that bit of knowledge/memory and research, and about half-an-hour’s effort (searching for the correct article, checking things out etc.) has saved me a couple of hundred quid. And that’s got to be a success by anyone’s standards.
Now we’re through all the crap of the Festering Season™ and New Year, it’s starting to feel like a return to a version of normality. Past today, people will be back to working ‘normally’ (albeit with the current ‘Work from home if you can’ ethos and so on) and schools will be open again so we’ll be back to more usual levels of traffic and the like.
Personally, I quite like this limbo time – the drive in to the office is quiet, the office itself is deathly, and it all suits me pretty well.
That said, though, I’ve found this year (and last year) that a limbo time within a Covid-driven limbo time is… a bit much. A step too far. I want to go back to a “normal” limbo rather than this weird fuckery.
Alongside all this, some of the other crap I’ve been dealing with in the background is finally approaching its conclusion, and while it’s not been openly affecting me, I’m also glad it’s nearly done. I’m being a bit enigmatic about it all because it’s now sub judice (and before anyone snarks, I’m the ‘victim’ in it, not the perpetrator!) but I’ll write a bit about it when I know more. The initial court appearance happens later this month, and once I know how the idiot pleads, I’ll be in a better position.
So… yeah, limbo appears to be (slowly) righting itself and becoming a bit more active again. I hope that continues to be the case…
It’s no secret that I tend to assume people with dashcams are usually shit drivers. Obviously that’s not always the case, but in my experience it’s predominantly true – as though there’s an attitude of “Well I’m perfect, and it’s all these other idiots on the road” or something.
I also know that it’s now far easier to upload one’s dashcam footage to report driving offences when the police haven’t been there.
What I do wonder is how many people self-incriminate on those uploads? For example, if one were to upload video of someone undertaking on a motorway, only for that footage to also show that the reporting driver had been middle-lane-hogging for the previous ten miles, and thus being at least a partial cause of said undertaking…
And no, this doesn’t involve my own driving. Just something I noticed occurring in front of me on the M1 this morning, and then started thinking about the extrapolations.
There are times where I really wonder about our legal system. Today is one of those days.
There’s this story on the BBC, about a driver who killed a cyclist while driving like an utter dickhead. He drove away from the crash – still driving like a dickhead, and nearly causing another crash as well – and sold the car (his girlfriend’s, so he wasn’t even legally able to sell it) that afternoon in order to try and avoid being caught/blamed/arrested.
That all failed, he was caught, and yesterday he plead guilty to a whole range of driving offences.
He pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving and has been sentenced to six years in prison.
He also pleaded guilty to causing death by driving whilst disqualified, causing death while uninsured, dangerous driving and two counts of leaving petrol stations without paying for fuel.
He’s never passed a driving test – indeed, he says he’s never even taken a driving test.
He’s been jailed for six years, which means he’ll likely be out in three. But that’s not where I wonder about the legal system. This is…
Dellaway has also been banned from driving for six years and was told he would have to take an extended driving test before being allowed on the road.
Now, I’m sorry, but if someone has already shown that they’re quite willing to drive without passing a test, what on earth makes them think that a prison sentence is going to change him enough that he takes a driving test when he comes out, let alone an extended one?
Come to that, what on earth makes them think that being banned from driving will stop him from being back on the roads as soon as he’s out of prison?
As regular readers know, in August 2012 I was declared bankrupt. No fun, but well, I’m not going to rehash old ground on that score.
In February 2013, I opened a basic current account with Barclays, having explained my ongoing bankruptcy and telling them that as time went on, I would want/hope/expect to be able to rebuild my credit score etc. with Barclays. I was told that was no problem, that once the bankruptcy was discharged (which happened in August 2013, fact fans) I could start to rebuild, and could regularly check whether my account was suitable for an upgrade to a ‘proper’ (my word, not theirs) current account, with overdraft facility etc., and continue to rebuild my fiscal profile.
I’ve done that, and always been declined. Frustrating, but I kind-of understand why, with it being on the record, and the changing risk-profiles etc.
Three weeks ago – after three and a half years with Barclays, still on the basic account – I tried again, and was automatically declined, the classic “computer says no”, but decided to take it further. Spoke to a ‘lending manager’, who went through an appeal process and promised I’d be called back in the next 48 hours. Nothing for two weeks.
So last week, I went in again, having made an appointment to see the manager. I ended up dealing with an assistant manager at the branch, and he let slip that Barclays have a “six years from discharge” rule, so that I have no chance of a ‘proper’ current account until 2019. I will automatically be declined until that time – something that no-one at Barclays has mentioned at any time until last week. Even that ‘lending manager’ didn’t mention it, let alone the people I’ve seen before each time I’ve done this process.
I think it’s pretty shocking (and pretty cuntish – so absolutely standard for Barclays) to have a policy in place that makes no recognition of a customer’s good standing, lack of debt etc. for seven years (one year of the bankruptcy, and six after discharge) before even being considered.
It’s worth noting that I’m not actually looking for any credit – I’d like to be *able* to have an overdraft, but I don’t actually want one (if that makes sense) I’ve offered several solutions, including monthly or quarterly account reviews where I go into branch, and would be happy to do this. But Barclays simply say “Nope. Not happening”
I wouldn’t mind as much if Barclays had been honest at any point, and said “You can have a basic account, but no chance of anything else“. I’d be OK with that. I wouldn’t necessarily have gone with them, but I’d have understood their process. Instead, it’s been three-and-a-half years of being lied to, of making pointless appointments to go in and see if the account is ready to be upgraded, and now feels more like they’re just doing it to take the piss and have a laugh at my expense.
I’ve complained formally to Barclays, which should be entertaining. (I was promised a callback for last Tuesday which still hasn’t happened, so I’m not holding out any expectations of professionalism or competence from them) I’m waiting to see what happens with that, but I expect there to be no resolution, at which point it’ll go further and end up with the Financial Ombudsman. Again, entertaining.
But I’m also taking it up with a few other places – including consumer-rights places, and Advertising Standards, as Barclays keep on bleating on about how they’re so great, so fair, so “future of banking”. When really, it turns out that (unsurprisingly) they’re just lying cunts who couldn’t give a rat’s fuck about people.
In the car I hired last weekend, it had a load of built-in tech – Ford’s Sync system – that was quite interesting, not least for the fact that it worked really nicely and easily. Connecting my phone to the car was a doddle, the satnav worked well (and better than my usual stand-alone device in several ways) and it all just seemed pretty easy.
However. It’s obvious that it was designed for a standard “family car” scenario, rather than a vehicle that would be hired to many different users. Which makes sense, but leads to an interesting longer-term problem…
Basically, people are lazy – and don’t think about their data. So the convenience of connecting one’s phone to the car system for hands-free calls etc is great, as is the simple download of the phone’s address book to the system. But if you then don’t delete it when you take the car back to the hire place, it’s all available to the next user. The same applies to the satnav system – ‘recent destinations’ is a goldmine of activity, right down to house number and location. (And I suspect, with a bit of work, one could connect the destination to a phone number in that downloaded phonebook)
It just interests me, how little people care (or understand) about their information. I cleared down the whole car system before I returned it, which took less than five minutes all told. So it’s not much work, but it’s still work, which most people don’t seem willing to undertake.
I’ve suggested to the hire company that it should perhaps be part of the car sanitising process when it’s returned (or before it’s hired back out, whichever) although I realise that makes it more hassle for them, and there’s a lot of different setups in the various cars.
Of course, it’d be better if people cleaned up after themselves – or the car tech had a “forget everything” button/process (although that would still be too much effort for most people) that did the job. But that won’t happen until people realise how important this shit can be, and sadly that tends to only happen by negative paths/occurrences/events, and will always be learned too late.