A quick bit of googling told me a few choice details about my current tormentors. Their accents are possibly not Mancunian but Lancastrian it seems and closer to Fleetwood. Rather than feeling lost and alone, I thought it should be brought to the attention of all small businesses that this is a well known issue.
I found an extremely useful site which brings together information on Energy Search and BES Utilities under one big scamming umbrella and explains the links between the two and gives a voice to people who have been duped by the meter registrations department and Energy Search and its many trading names and found themselves with unnecessary and exorbitant utility contracts (usually with BES Utilities Ltd). Pop over to http://0lly.uk/ and find some very interesting stories.
I was cheered to discover that BES Utilities Ltd have recently been stung with nearly a million pound “Financial Penalty” to include compensation payments. Ofgem report link here
Checking out the BBC5 report on them http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01ghlwp it gave me a bit more background and the association of Andy Pilley wo is both Chairman of Fleetwood FC and BES Utilities Ltd. It was a bit of a shocker – (he did of course object to this broadcast but his objections were not upheld by ofcom) http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/enforcement/broadcast-bulletins/obb216/obb216.pdf
I did find a mention of this on a Fleetwood FC fansite, but this quickly degenerated into a discussion of what they might like to do to Carole Vordeman, and a nice little video clip of some bouncing breasts – so I don’t think that the fan base are too concerned that their club has been funded by £4m from Pilley, which may or may not have been associated with income from a company just found to be ripping off small businesses, or that there may be a drying up of funds now Andy & Co have to pay up a million quid thanks to Ofgem. Either way – knowledge is power and the more people who hear about them, the fewer people that will suffer.
Yesterday, I had a couple of calls from Energy Search, telling me I was in new premises and needed to register my meter. Looks like I am back on their target list. One of the happy bunch seemed to think I was lying when I told him I wasn’t, apparently it must be true because it was on “Datafeed”. I asked the poor unfortunate to furnish me with copies of my records, as under the Data Protection Act I am entitled to request copies of any files held on me. He decided to ask his line manager, but didn’t put me on hold.
Frankly, I hope he doesn’t last there, because it was excruciating to hear the aggressive and personal response he got from his colleague, he may have been a bit dopey to believe all the guff he was spouting, but no one should be abused in the work place by their own line manager!.
Today when Natalie called she also decided to consult her manager – without using the hold button, and I heard her being told to “get rid of her”. Meanwhile I could hear some other victim being told they had to register their meter by law.
I guess it might take a while to get the new “meter registrations team” bedded in?
This mornings call was from Natalie, from the meter registrations team at Energy Search. I was earnestly assured that I had recently moved premises and that my meter wasn’t registered. I asked her where she had got this information from, and apparently it was from “the main system”. Her pretty little Mancunian accent assured me that all energy suppliers use “The main System”. it lists all of the commercial premises and shows when a meter isn’t registered.
I asked her who owned this “Main System”. Se didn’t know. Did she think it was a government owned system? If all of the energy companies were working together on it surely there should be some umbrella company responsible for it?. I explained to Natalie we were going to have to get to the bottom of this as who ever owned the main sytem and was responsible for the data on it, had got it wrong. This was what the data protection act was designed for – we needed to find out who was providing my erroneous data and to get them to put it right.
She was starting to get a bit shirty, so I came clean and told her that I had come across her lot before and that there have been prosecutions for mis-selling energy by dodgy means, and in many cases, employers argue that some of the fraudulent techniques used are not their policy or training but the work of their employees. Thus putting the individuals in the frame for fraud. I suggested she got out of their quick whilst the going was good – as it was only a matter of time before this operation went belly up too. I asked did she really go to her careers advisor and tell them she dreamed of a life in telesales? Trying to trick small business owners into unnecessary and expensive energy accounts by telling them they were unregistered or paying premium rates, when they had no evidence of this? Perhaps there was something else she could do? maybe something that contributed to society? Something worthwhile? She told me she was very happy in her job, and didn’t want to leave. So, when Energy search are investigated I look forward to seeing Natalie’s name in the list of people knowingly committing fraud.
As my family and friends, customers and colleagues will probably know, there is a naughty group of boys and girls in Manchester who scam small businesses into signing up to expensive electricity accounts, by “registering their meter” when they move to a new premises.
Last year I couldn’t beat them so I joined them by creating some fun out of the calls, and finally, after this blog was published and a disclaimer produced on the website of a bone fide professional company called Commercial Utilities, they retreated back into the woodwork and left me alone. BUT I now discover that they had simply risen like the phoenix from the ashes. (Ashes being an interesting idea as I heard from an ex employee that tells me that the scammers are rewarded with a line of coke when they reach target).
They are now calling themselves Energy Search, still doing the meter registration scam and after two calls yesterday and one this morning, it seems they are back on my case. Here we go again.
At this point I should make it clear that the boys and girls who have been entertaining us from Commercial Utilities are not related at all, to a bone fide organisation, called Commercial Utilities in Bedfordshire, who are very tired of all this nonsense being done in their name. I now have the details of the call centre believed to be housing “Kieran Just Kieran” and his 3 million suspect telesales colleagues and I have whizzed off a letter to their MD demanding to be removed from their database.
As for the long suffering real Commercial Utilities in Bedfordshire, they are collecting data to sort out the rogue ones, so if you are reading this because you are having trouble with the Meter Registration Department, pop over to http://www.commercialutilities.co.uk and sign their petition.
If you just want a giggle scroll through my posts which are copies of my facebook statuses over the past couple of days whilst I have been having fun with the rogue Commercial Utility boys and girls.
I am very disappointed in Callum, hanging up after just 57 seconds, I was just getting into my stride on how the shop was entirely powered by magic.
Not to worry, Shona has called back, she told me that I am being silly and live in fairy tale land, and that my shop cannot possibly run on magic and the heating be powered by a dragon. She is clearly a muggle if she thinks that I can get gas from a dragon! She said I wasn’t being helpful and I was rude, calling her a muggle, so I asked if she had been to Hogwarts which apparently she had not, so I rest my case, muggle, I did ask if she was from the ministry of magic trying to trick me, she didn’t deny that she was from the ministry, but said “we aren’t trying to trick anyone madam”.
Interestingly, this afternoon the mancunian boys and girls are claiming to be from the registrations department at energy search. Another non existent company based in Manchester with the same script.
I shared this mornings cuppa with a return call from Matt Davis. This six minute and 51 second call was far more pleasant than his previous calls, and given the frequency of his calls and his claim to not remember me, either he is stalking me or he has a lot of odd and disgruntled conversations, so mine didn’t stand out. We got into a discussion about staff training, and established exactly where the knowledge gap is in the operatives, regarding this national database on which my details seem to reside and that I wish them to be removed from. It took me back to my old days in University seminars, as I started to hear the penny clatter on his desk as it dropped and he realised he has been fed and was repeating a load of gonads. Maybe he is a bright boy after all. I have asked him to get his training department to call me next time so I can give them a few pointers. When he hung up, he was very polite and wished me a nice day!