Mid Wales

'Cruel' firm sends bailiffs to wrong house over £4k debt

Les Gornall
Image caption Les Gornall said three years of having the wrong bills sent to them was stressful

A couple have labelled an energy company "cruel" after it sent bailiffs to their home for unpaid £4,300 bills that were not meant for them.

Les and Jane Gornall, of Aberystwyth were sent letters from Scottish Power, despite telling the firm they were British Gas customers.

They said it caused distress at a time when Mrs Gornall was diagnosed with cancer and their grandson with leukaemia.

The firm apologised for the mix-up.

Scottish Power also said it would compensate the couple for the stress caused.

The ordeal began in 2014 when Mr and Mrs Gornall decided to shop around for a better energy deal after being with British Gas for 10 years.

The couple told BBC Wales' X-Ray programme they decided to get their electricity and gas from Scottish Power instead - but the switch did not go smoothly.

Image caption Jane Gornall was dealing with the bills while battling cancer

They have pay as you go prepayment meters in their house, operated by top up cards for both gas and electricity.

After waiting for the necessary gas card from Scottish Power for several weeks, they decided to cancel their new account and remain with British Gas.

Scottish Power sent them a gas bill, so they contacted the company and told staff they were British Gas prepayment customers.

However, Scottish Power kept sending bills despite being repeatedly told the couple were not customers.

In 2015, Mrs Gornall was diagnosed with cancer and the couple's grandson was diagnosed with leukaemia.

At a time when they were under enormous personal strain, the bills from Scottish Power continued to arrive.

Mrs Gornall said: "I just didn't know how they could be so cruel."

Then in 2016, bailiffs visited the Gornall's home.

"That's when you think 'oh my god this is serious'... this really affected us. It just makes you feel so low," said Mrs Gornall.

After X-Ray contacted Scottish Power, it admitted there had been a mix-up, saying the serial number of the meter had been recorded incorrectly and the bills for £4,300 were meant for another property.

The company "sincerely apologised" and said it would compensate the couple for the stress and inconvenience.

  • X-Ray, BBC One Wales, 19:30 GMT on Friday 17 March. Also available on BBC iPlayer.

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