A family has been left traumatised after an energy supplier broke into a family home and changed the locks without the owner’s knowledge after a former tenant had failed to pay a £227 bill.
James Mant, 44, and Victoria Parsons, 41, revealed they felt ‘violated’ after what felt like a burglary.
The angry couple filed a claim against Scottish Power after a year-long struggle to resolve the issue over their Whiteley home.
Having moved into the five-bedroom property 12 months ago, the couple received several letters from the energy firm chasing payments for electricity bills.
But despite explaining to Scottish Power several times that the £227.34 bill was owed by a previous tenant, a debt recovery firm still went to the couple’s home on December 6 to change the locks.
A door was left damaged while the couple’s eight-year-old Springer Spaniel, Oscar, was dumped outside.
A prepaid gas meter was installed during the break-in – even though Scottish Power hadn’t supplied gas to the home since 2015.
‘It has been absolutely disgusting the way we have been treated,’ James said. ‘It has been a catalogue of incompetencies from the start. I’ve been burgled before and this feels exactly the same. We feel violated. To make matters worse they even picked up our dog and left him outside. He’s a very nervous dog and this has made him even worse.
‘The problem with the big companies is that no one takes ownership and just passes the buck. We even tried to pay the money that was owed several times but Scottish Power would not take it.
‘We have since had an apology from Scottish Power but we haven’t had one from the debt recovery firm Richburns, though I’m not surprised by that one bit.
‘Scottish Power have admitted trespassing but I want to make sure the same does not happen to other people so I’m going to court in Portsmouth to make sure no one else is duped into falsely issuing warrants against other people.’
The couple have launched a £7,000 claim against Scottish Power after compiling a list of the financial impact.
They have received £5,666 from the company.
Scottish Power has admitted a notice should have been sent via recorded delivery to the company which managed the rental for the previous tenant or addressed its letters to the ‘current owner/occupier’.