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Trying to reduce energy costs ended up costing me money.

LAST September, I was called out of the blue by Green Streak Energy in Swansea. It offered to reduce energy costs, replace the boiler, find a window company ("at a fraction of the market price"), and help with water bills for PS299.99.

IN ASSOCIATION I agreed and signed the letter of authority. It sent someone to survey our house. He advised us on water rates. Our boiler was new anyway, and the window quotes were higher than local suppliers.

I don't think I got good value for money so I chalked it up to experience. But in February, it took another PS299.99 from my HSBC account.

I complained and Green Streak said the withdrawal was "an error on our part" and would be corrected.

WITH The error was not reversed. There were excuses such as "we have changed our bank" when I phoned almost daily (on a pricey 0843 line).

I asked the bank to step in. HSBC refunded my money but soon afterwards, the bank changed its mind as Green Streak argued I had signed "a letter of authority".

Since then, while it continued to promise the money, I haven't had anything other than excuses of "the cheque must have been lost in the post" variety.

What can I do? Helen H GREEN Streak has now shut down and cannot be contacted so its terms and conditions statement that "all refunds will be made within 14 days" cannot be tested.

Nor can anyone question an unusual clause stating if it found you cheaper car insurance, electricity or gas ,"reasonable in the opinion of the company", and you went elsewhere, it could bill for lost commission had "the client accepted that offer in line with the company's advice".

You accept the first PS299.99 has gone. You want to know why HSBC changed its mind on second amount. We contacted the bank.

It said: "Thank you for bringing this case to our attention. Having reviewed the case it is now clear that the the second payment, which was put forward under a different company name, was a duplicate and unfortunately the chargeback was not processed correctly.

"We apologise to our customer, have re-credited the money to the account and have offered compensation for any inconvenience this has caused. We have also addressed the matter with the member of staff involved."

HSBC will pay you PS100 compensation, which you have accepted.

CAPTION(S):

Offers of cheaper energy bills can be tempting

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Aug 1, 2016
Words:412
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