Printer Friendly

NPOWER'S 'THREATS FROM FAKE DEBT FIRM' Energy giant sent letters to customers.

Byline: GRAHAM HISCOTT Business Editor

BRITAIN'S most hated energy company has been sending customers demands from an invented firm of debt collectors.

Homes behind with their bills are being threatened with court action and the bailiffs in letters by a firm called Collections Direct.

But the debt collectors do not exist. Collections Direct is a name made-up by npower.

The revelation comes ahead of today's news that complaints against German-owned npower almost doubled in three months.

Consumers charity Citizens Advice discovered a 93 per cent rise in the number of moans about npower from December 2013 to the end of March 2014.

They increased from 306.8 for every 100,000 customers to 592.4.

Npower, whose chief executive is Paul Massara, was "firmly at rock bottom" in the complaints league. SSE was the least complained about, with 34 gripes per 100,000 customers.

The letters from npower, which made PS246million profit supplying homes and businesses last year, up 1.4 per cent on 2012, had the name Collec-tions Direct at the top in pink.

One example began with "Final Demand" in bold letters and went on to say: "It's a legal requirement to send you notice of an intended court summons before it's issued. This letter fulfils this requirement even if you don't actually read it." It warns court action could result in bailiffs being called in, attempts to recover the money from the person's wages or placing a charge on their home. Only at the bottom of the letter does it mention that Collections Direct is a trading name of npower.

HSBC, Lloyds, NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland along with the Student Loans Company have also sent letters from what appeared to be independent solicitors, when they are from the firms themselves.

Money Saving Expert com said a customer received a final demand from Collections Direct 16 months after they had switched to another supplier. The site's campaign manager Wendy Alcock said: "It's not surprising to see another complaint about npower's dealings with its customers. This is yet another example of how the energy provider needs to sharpen its game."

Npower insisted the letters were sent as a last resort. It said: "We use these letters after we have made four attempts to communicate with the customer, three of them using the npower logo and letterhead - the other by phone."

Npower's director of domestic business, Roger Hattam, said: "Since apologising to our customers in December, we have been working hard to fix our billing system issues. We have more to do but we're making progress."

93% increase in complaints made by customers against npower in the space of three months

PS246m npower profits from supplying energy to British homes last year, up 1.4% on 2012

I'm not surprised to see another complaint about npower WENDY ALCOCK on the use of a fake firm 93% increase in complaints made by customers against npower in the space of three months PS246m npower profits from supplying energy to British homes last year, up 1.4% on 2012


BOTTOM npower's boss Massara

LETTER Final demand from Collections Direct
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2014 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 10, 2014
Previous Article:Tory blame and shame.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters