Does anyone know how deemed contract works for water supply companies?

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evildrome

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I have a small Industrial unit in the old Rolls Royce building at Hillington, Glasgow. About two years ago I was approached by a water supply company who have been appointed to me by Scottish Water.

They're looking for payment going back to 2015.

Apparently they (Scottish Water) sent me a letter addressed to 'owner / occupier' at my unit address, which I wouldn't have received because we have a central mailbox for the building subdivided by occupier name & business name.

Deemed contract seems to be some way to make you have a contract without signing for one.

As far as I was aware I was on the landlords supply but then we all had to sign new leases with him in 2015 & he was pretty sketchy about why.

Scottish Water have only two responsibilities, 1) contact the customer 2) assign a supply company.

They admit that they did not send a follow up letter or make any other attempt to contact me.

Their own market code says they should send a registered mail letter, which might have worked as the postie would have needed to ask around.

They could have simply visited me I suppose.

Anyway, I guess what I'm asking is can they enforce their contract based on a half hearted attempt to contact me ?

Given that they haven't pressed their case for two years I'm guessing they know they're onto a sticky wicket or they'd have had a DCA onto me within a couple of months.
 

Terry - Somerset

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Do you have your own water meter or is the supply split between several users.

Both your old lease and current lease should (I assume) deal with the issue of who pays which bills and if there is only one meter in the building, how the costs are divided.

Deemed contracts normally apply if you move into a building before signing up to a new supply. This is reasonable - it is preferable for power or water supply to be available immediately rather than delayed by admin. They are enforecable.

This may not apply in your case if you were in the building before 2015 - 6 years ago! If you have no separate meter, and/or the lease is silent about who pays, you could simply stonewall in the hope they decide not to pursue the costs which they seem to have handled poorly.

You may even have a claim on the landlord if they failed to alert you to the changed arrangments on signing an new lease.

If, in reality, knew you were underpaying, it is really down to concience, size of bill, depth of pockets and whether trying to argue the case is worth the hassle.
 

evildrome

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I've been in the same premises since... 2010 ish.

I don't have a water meter. Which is another bone of contention.

When they created the supply point they should have fitted a meter but they didn't.

According to the market code all supplies must be metered unless there are exceptional circumstances.

If they persist, I'm going to tell them they don't have a valid contract because they did not take 'reasonable steps' to inform me that one existed.

Sending a single, partially addressed 2nd class letter is not 'reasonable steps'.

I am on and was on the SAA valuation rolls which are available online. A simple 30 second check would verify my name, company name & status as occupant, at which point a correctly addressed, recorded delivery letter could have been sent.

How hard is that ?

Its just laziness on their part to send out a bunch of letters and then shout "tough titty" when unsuspecting customers get landed with 4 years worth of bills payable immediately.

I'm having none of it.
 

xraymtb

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A word of caution - I'm not saying you are wrong in any of the above but I used to work in the utilities industry and have first hand experience of a similar situation going to the courts.

The end result was simply that 'by using the supply you have accepted the deemed contract and therefore are liable for the charges'. All other complaints were thrown out based on that one decision. Simply put they knew they had to pay somebody and by making no attempt to determine who that was and make those payments they cant then complain when the bill arrives.

Deemed contracts are essential to providing an uninterrupted supply to properties. Without them, every time you moved premises all elec/gas/water supplies could be cut-off and it could take weeks to get things reinstated (and potentially at the owner/occupiers cost).

Your situation may be different as you were an existing occupier but I would very carefully check the contracts you signed in 2015 before you decide to escalate the situation and potentially make things worse.
 

Droogs

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No meter then impossible to prove any water has in fact been used by you as impossible to say who has and how much. Offer a nominal fee and insist on a meter for your premises only to be installed.
 

MARK.B.

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How many other units in your building ? if more than just you have they had similar requests for back payments ?
 
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