Warning over power supplier ruse on the phone

Mrs Downs Diary
Mrs Downs Diary

We have very nearly fallen victim to a clever phone hoax. The ruse began when a friendly phone enquiry, allegedly from our power supplier was answered by John.

He was asked why he had not replied to a letter from that company, to renew our energy contract.

John replied that he had not received such a letter. He was asked to check as the caller told him that the contract was up for renewal.

Now unlike me, John keeps all financial details and records in pristine order.

I am trusted to send in VAT details via the internet, but that is all. He has seen the chaos that is my filing box/bag/drawer/bin. John’s desk/ files /office are banned territory to me.

So, after a quick check he was able to reply that no such letter had arrived. Well, he was told, we can offer a better deal than the one you have, would you like to hear the new proposal.

Now bear in mind John is nobody’s fool. We are both used to bogus callers, many international, wanting to sell/research/try to grab our money. But this man had all the information of our power supply, serial number on our meter, what rate we were paying for our current supply and all financial details.

He appeared genuine and said he would put a new contract in the post.

A rather faded, poor quality photocopied contract, not from the new supplier but from an independent energy trading company, with incorrect details arrived. I obliged the company by telling them that they had our name wrong, but suspicio

ns tarted to niggle at this point. So we then contacted our bank, current supplier (with whom our contract still has months to run) and looked up the company apparently negotiating the contract renewal on the Internet.

Which company turned out to have gone bankrupt in that guise fairly recently. Explaining why the next contract arrived with a changed but similar trading name; but the same address.

By now we had password blocks put on our current supplier’s account and the bank alerted. Instead of a contract, a confirmation came through from our “new” suppliers. Our bank emailed to say that this company was trying to set up a direct debit. Bear in mind we had signed nothing.

A series of phone calls ensued from the new energy company.

We were told that we had a verbal contract. I was told they would not speak to me only John to discuss the matter ( bad move) and that they did not need any signatures at all. Unbelievable.

The situation has resolved. Eventually. We hope. A company trouble-shooter making a last attempt to enforce the contract admitted that we had been contacted by a broker acting to source them business.

She made no reply to my accusations that this broker and the company he worked for, had possibly acted fraudulently and that he had deliberately misled us.

They agreed to drop the matter. But be warned.