United Utilities owes Kingsmead a refund

Northwich Guardian: Water giant owes Kingsmead Water giant owes Kingsmead

RESIDENTS in Kingsmead say they are owed more than £1million from United Utilities after years of paying for services the water giant has not provided.

The company has been charging households for taking away rainwater since Kingsmead was built around 18 years ago, despite all surface water running to a filtration unit it did not own.

Bill Simpson, a former parish councillor who has lived in Kingsmead for 17 years, said: “What we were concerned about as a parish council is that we were all being charged for processing surface water using a system and infrastructure that United Utilities did not own.

“Kingsmead residents have been charged, according to my calculations, something in excess of £1million.”

Bill was chairman of Kingsmead Parish Council when it was discovered that United Utilities had not adopted the filtration unit.

United Utilities admitted liability to the council in June, agreeing that it should not have been charging residents for the removal of surface water before October 24, 2013, when it finally adopted the unit.

A spokesman for United Utilities said: "We are aware of the historical issues relating to charging for surface water drainage on the Kingsmead estate and are in the process of reimbursing customers.

“The Parish Council has been updated on this issue and we have been working with them on the planned resolution, which includes refunds for customers affected.

"We have written to customers this week to let them know the latest situation and to invite them to a planned drop-in session we'll be holding to answer any questions they have.

“Customers don’t need to do anything to receive this refund – we will be sending this to our customers in the coming weeks.”

But Bill, who estimates he has paid more than £1,000 in surface water charges, said it is not enough.

“The amount of money they’re proposing to pay out amounts to less than the interest they’ve earned on the money they’ve taken,” he said.

“I’ve been offered £220 and I don’t think this is on.”

• The United Utilities bus will be at Sir John Deane’s College tonight and tomorrow from 6.30pm to 8.30pm.

Comments (22)

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1:39pm Tue 1 Jul 14

WHS says...

Now you know that privatisation is not the GREAT IDEA Maggie said it was! All our Utilities rob us blind, they need nationalising again ASAP. And you can include the Railways in that too.
WHS.
Now you know that privatisation is not the GREAT IDEA Maggie said it was! All our Utilities rob us blind, they need nationalising again ASAP. And you can include the Railways in that too. WHS. WHS
  • Score: -5

10:13pm Tue 1 Jul 14

hectorplain says...

I'm not a legal expert by any means but it is my understanding of the law that if you over-charge someone (even in error) then you are legally (as well as morally) obliged to refund the coinage.

I hope this has clarified the situation for you, as I am not a lawyer I will not be sending you a bill for £300 for my time plus £100 for the letter plus vat at the current rate.
I'm not a legal expert by any means but it is my understanding of the law that if you over-charge someone (even in error) then you are legally (as well as morally) obliged to refund the coinage. I hope this has clarified the situation for you, as I am not a lawyer I will not be sending you a bill for £300 for my time plus £100 for the letter plus vat at the current rate. hectorplain
  • Score: 5

10:34pm Tue 1 Jul 14

hectorplain says...

I do wish that people would refrain from posting meaningless comments on this notice board.

Unless you have something worthy or of particular note to impart then you would be better saving you ink.
I do wish that people would refrain from posting meaningless comments on this notice board. Unless you have something worthy or of particular note to impart then you would be better saving you ink. hectorplain
  • Score: 6

10:34am Wed 2 Jul 14

L Byrne says...

I suggest that each householder affected make a claim through the Small Claims Court. This is easy and cheap to do and does not involve solicitors. It can be done Online.
Perhaps it could be coordinated by the Parish Council.

Note the weasel words of the United Utilities spokesman who carefully avoids saying the FULL compensation will be paid.
I suggest that each householder affected make a claim through the Small Claims Court. This is easy and cheap to do and does not involve solicitors. It can be done Online. Perhaps it could be coordinated by the Parish Council. Note the weasel words of the United Utilities spokesman who carefully avoids saying the FULL compensation will be paid. L Byrne
  • Score: -3

12:48pm Wed 2 Jul 14

MrT1976 says...

hectorplain wrote:
I'm not a legal expert by any means but it is my understanding of the law that if you over-charge someone (even in error) then you are legally (as well as morally) obliged to refund the coinage.

I hope this has clarified the situation for you, as I am not a lawyer I will not be sending you a bill for £300 for my time plus £100 for the letter plus vat at the current rate.
Are you sure?? You seem to be an expert on everything else!
[quote][p][bold]hectorplain[/bold] wrote: I'm not a legal expert by any means but it is my understanding of the law that if you over-charge someone (even in error) then you are legally (as well as morally) obliged to refund the coinage. I hope this has clarified the situation for you, as I am not a lawyer I will not be sending you a bill for £300 for my time plus £100 for the letter plus vat at the current rate.[/p][/quote]Are you sure?? You seem to be an expert on everything else! MrT1976
  • Score: 5

2:59pm Wed 2 Jul 14

n00btastica says...

I have lived on Kingsmead for 14 years and have paid, year year, the surface water standing charge. UU have offered 6 years back payment with no interest and a (in my opinion) incorrect assessment of a split between surface and highways water. They are trying to wriggle out of paying back the monies they have taken from residents, in error, for a service they have not provided. I would like to see what would happen if the shoe was on the other foor and we owed UU money. There is (as has been mentioned) a moral issue here as well as a legal one.
I have lived on Kingsmead for 14 years and have paid, year year, the surface water standing charge. UU have offered 6 years back payment with no interest and a (in my opinion) incorrect assessment of a split between surface and highways water. They are trying to wriggle out of paying back the monies they have taken from residents, in error, for a service they have not provided. I would like to see what would happen if the shoe was on the other foor and we owed UU money. There is (as has been mentioned) a moral issue here as well as a legal one. n00btastica
  • Score: 5

7:11pm Wed 2 Jul 14

William39 says...

I have been a resident at Kingsmead in the same property for 17 years.
UU's offer of 6 years refund is an insult and morally indefensible.
I have been a resident at Kingsmead in the same property for 17 years. UU's offer of 6 years refund is an insult and morally indefensible. William39
  • Score: 3

7:27pm Wed 2 Jul 14

justme80 says...

Whilst I do feel for everyone affected you need to take a balance look at this.
If you had a service that UU were not aware of the most that they could charge you for is the past 6 years (this is the law). I guess that UU have said that they were not aware that they didn't take the water away (quite a large area the north west) and so they have stopped the charges as soon as they could have? They will then also give you the over payments back for the time that they are legally required too.
The other side to this after having a look around the OFWAT website is that they have to treat all of their customers the same. This means if they give everyone in Kingsmead all of their money back past 6 years they will have to do that to everyone else who has ever claimed!!!!
Whilst I do feel for everyone affected you need to take a balance look at this. If you had a service that UU were not aware of the most that they could charge you for is the past 6 years (this is the law). I guess that UU have said that they were not aware that they didn't take the water away (quite a large area the north west) and so they have stopped the charges as soon as they could have? They will then also give you the over payments back for the time that they are legally required too. The other side to this after having a look around the OFWAT website is that they have to treat all of their customers the same. This means if they give everyone in Kingsmead all of their money back past 6 years they will have to do that to everyone else who has ever claimed!!!! justme80
  • Score: -3

8:16pm Wed 2 Jul 14

n00btastica says...

I take it you are referring to the limitation act 1980. I also believe they are citing this but also need to consider the 1986 amendment, the Latent Damage act, which they conveniently decide to ignore

The 1980 act also, technically, refers to debtors, which he Kingsmead residents aren't

Regardless if their legal obligation, again, they should consider their moral obligations

They have been taking this money from each and every household, wrongfully, for over 13 years. That money has gone into their banks and to their shareholders - what about the people they wrongfully took the money from, what do they count for?

I'm sure the result will be very little as they hide behind laws and a false front of "we only HAVE to give you 1 years, we are as a goodwill gesture giving you six" - well what about the people you have robbed for 13 years ?
I take it you are referring to the limitation act 1980. I also believe they are citing this but also need to consider the 1986 amendment, the Latent Damage act, which they conveniently decide to ignore The 1980 act also, technically, refers to debtors, which he Kingsmead residents aren't Regardless if their legal obligation, again, they should consider their moral obligations They have been taking this money from each and every household, wrongfully, for over 13 years. That money has gone into their banks and to their shareholders - what about the people they wrongfully took the money from, what do they count for? I'm sure the result will be very little as they hide behind laws and a false front of "we only HAVE to give you 1 years, we are as a goodwill gesture giving you six" - well what about the people you have robbed for 13 years ? n00btastica
  • Score: 6

9:30pm Wed 2 Jul 14

Capesthorne says...

As a resident of Kingsmead since 1999, I'm absolutely appalled at the cavalier attitude of UU PLC. They have fraudulently charged residents for a service that they have not been providing but are seeking to limit the amount they have to refund by hiding behind their charging policy.

I've had three pieces of correspondence from UU and in not one of them has the company apologised for the error & subsequent theft it has perpetrated since 1996.
If I was a buying a house on a new/recent development, I'd be ensuring that I was absolutely crystal clear about the status of the adoption of the water services from the developer. The bottom line is that if UU has not adopted the drainage system, especially the surface water drainage system, then you should not be paying UU for this service. If you do make contact with UU about any issues, they will be quick to point out that they are not responsible for un-adopted drainage systems but are quite happy to fraudulently charge unsuspecting residents. Watch out if you're buying a new house on developments in Hartford or Winnington as you may be being illegally charged as well.
As a resident of Kingsmead since 1999, I'm absolutely appalled at the cavalier attitude of UU PLC. They have fraudulently charged residents for a service that they have not been providing but are seeking to limit the amount they have to refund by hiding behind their charging policy. I've had three pieces of correspondence from UU and in not one of them has the company apologised for the error & subsequent theft it has perpetrated since 1996. If I was a buying a house on a new/recent development, I'd be ensuring that I was absolutely crystal clear about the status of the adoption of the water services from the developer. The bottom line is that if UU has not adopted the drainage system, especially the surface water drainage system, then you should not be paying UU for this service. If you do make contact with UU about any issues, they will be quick to point out that they are not responsible for un-adopted drainage systems but are quite happy to fraudulently charge unsuspecting residents. Watch out if you're buying a new house on developments in Hartford or Winnington as you may be being illegally charged as well. Capesthorne
  • Score: 5

9:53pm Wed 2 Jul 14

n00btastica says...

Indeed I'm on my second letter from (third letter and second phone call going to them tomorrow) - no apology, no remorse, no consideration for their customers.

An attempted smoke screen of haphazard and in some instances incorrect technical statements and references to non compatible policies and acts, for their benefits.

The simple fact of the matter this is all an attempt to limit refunds and protect shareholders and balance sheet profits

They are morally bereft and obvious care very little, if at all, about their customers with derogatory offers of refunds which (surprise surprise) their policy is not to even give interest on over their arbitrary 6 year period

Good show UU in how a monopoly service can walk all over it's paying customers without an ounce of respect or consideration - your bosses and shareholders will no doubt be thrilled
Indeed I'm on my second letter from (third letter and second phone call going to them tomorrow) - no apology, no remorse, no consideration for their customers. An attempted smoke screen of haphazard and in some instances incorrect technical statements and references to non compatible policies and acts, for their benefits. The simple fact of the matter this is all an attempt to limit refunds and protect shareholders and balance sheet profits They are morally bereft and obvious care very little, if at all, about their customers with derogatory offers of refunds which (surprise surprise) their policy is not to even give interest on over their arbitrary 6 year period Good show UU in how a monopoly service can walk all over it's paying customers without an ounce of respect or consideration - your bosses and shareholders will no doubt be thrilled n00btastica
  • Score: 3

10:32pm Wed 2 Jul 14

save with me says...

I have been a resident since Jan 97. Moved to this house in Oct 2001. My bills bear no resemblance to the letter 'explaining' the mistake and when I went to query this the poor guy those responsible had sent to the UU bus had no idea. They are totally inept. If this was a smaller company people would be shouting theft/fraud. I would like to see what happened if it was the other way around!
I have been a resident since Jan 97. Moved to this house in Oct 2001. My bills bear no resemblance to the letter 'explaining' the mistake and when I went to query this the poor guy those responsible had sent to the UU bus had no idea. They are totally inept. If this was a smaller company people would be shouting theft/fraud. I would like to see what happened if it was the other way around! save with me
  • Score: 2

11:17pm Wed 2 Jul 14

quayle73 says...

We get bills through the door and we trust the people sending them, that we are paying the correct amounts for the correct jobs being done. Having being owed a lot more than £220 I am disgusted that UU did not offer a full refund. It is our money and as a community we will fight for it.
We get bills through the door and we trust the people sending them, that we are paying the correct amounts for the correct jobs being done. Having being owed a lot more than £220 I am disgusted that UU did not offer a full refund. It is our money and as a community we will fight for it. quayle73
  • Score: 5

7:08am Thu 3 Jul 14

CReed50 says...

UU openly admit that they have taken money from me for 12 years and are willing to let me have half of it back. Where else in life can you admit to theft and get away with not giving it all back. Forget the legal niceties THEFT is THEFT and they should have decency to admit it and give me and all the other residents all the money as well as interest that they have earned with our money.
UU openly admit that they have taken money from me for 12 years and are willing to let me have half of it back. Where else in life can you admit to theft and get away with not giving it all back. Forget the legal niceties THEFT is THEFT and they should have decency to admit it and give me and all the other residents all the money as well as interest that they have earned with our money. CReed50
  • Score: 5

10:11am Thu 3 Jul 14

L Byrne says...

UU will be confident about getting away with their heist because it believes that residents will act as individuals rather than as a group and it will be able to bully or con them into submission. History shows that their judgement is probably correct.

There is no doubt that UU should pay full compensation, lost interest on money taken and costs incurred in recovering it.
UU will be confident about getting away with their heist because it believes that residents will act as individuals rather than as a group and it will be able to bully or con them into submission. History shows that their judgement is probably correct. There is no doubt that UU should pay full compensation, lost interest on money taken and costs incurred in recovering it. L Byrne
  • Score: 4

10:44am Thu 3 Jul 14

Pauljs says...

As a resident who bought a house on the very first phase of the development I have seen lots of changes and plenty of **** ups. It seems to me that UU are expecting the residents to quitely accept what they are offered ( 6 years of partial repayment) and then scurry off to their house to spend their wind fall on a Domino's pizza and that will be that.
UU have been charging residents for a service they have not been providing. It is their responsibility to refund all of the monies that have been taken in error. If they had discover that they had under charged we would all be having to pay up the missed charges to the maximum degree.
Some times you have to kick up a fuss to get the right and just outcome and this is one of those times.
Residents of Kingsmead unite !
As a resident who bought a house on the very first phase of the development I have seen lots of changes and plenty of **** ups. It seems to me that UU are expecting the residents to quitely accept what they are offered ( 6 years of partial repayment) and then scurry off to their house to spend their wind fall on a Domino's pizza and that will be that. UU have been charging residents for a service they have not been providing. It is their responsibility to refund all of the monies that have been taken in error. If they had discover that they had under charged we would all be having to pay up the missed charges to the maximum degree. Some times you have to kick up a fuss to get the right and just outcome and this is one of those times. Residents of Kingsmead unite ! Pauljs
  • Score: 4

12:24pm Thu 3 Jul 14

marziman says...

As a Kingsmead resident for 13 years, I must say that the initial response from United Utilities was chaotic. The initial customer service team put in place to help residents and answer queries, to put it mildly, were ill informed and made matters worse by making statements which did not stand up to scrutiny. Rather than addressing concerns and anger over their stance, it made things worse. The residents of Kingsmead decided that as well as individually making their views known, and querying their own position, they would speak with a unified response via a petition. This has now been signed by hundreds of residents and they are still signing as I write. The petition makes the simple assertion that that residents do not accept the initial offer United Utilities have made, and rather, want a full refund for all payments made since their occupancy began plus interest. I am confident UU now know the strength of feeling of Kingsmead residents in this matter, and now have the opportunity to do the right thing and fulfil their moral obligations.
As a Kingsmead resident for 13 years, I must say that the initial response from United Utilities was chaotic. The initial customer service team put in place to help residents and answer queries, to put it mildly, were ill informed and made matters worse by making statements which did not stand up to scrutiny. Rather than addressing concerns and anger over their stance, it made things worse. The residents of Kingsmead decided that as well as individually making their views known, and querying their own position, they would speak with a unified response via a petition. This has now been signed by hundreds of residents and they are still signing as I write. The petition makes the simple assertion that that residents do not accept the initial offer United Utilities have made, and rather, want a full refund for all payments made since their occupancy began plus interest. I am confident UU now know the strength of feeling of Kingsmead residents in this matter, and now have the opportunity to do the right thing and fulfil their moral obligations. marziman
  • Score: 5

2:35pm Thu 3 Jul 14

ILovegreen says...

It is a disgrace how they have taken our money off us for 16 years, then offer us 6 years' money back when they should give us the full 16 years plus statutory interest (8%). Otherwise this is theft!
It is a disgrace how they have taken our money off us for 16 years, then offer us 6 years' money back when they should give us the full 16 years plus statutory interest (8%). Otherwise this is theft! ILovegreen
  • Score: 6

3:02pm Thu 3 Jul 14

splodge999 says...

As a Kingsmead resident I am appalled by UU's moral stance on this. They aren't disputing that it's our money - they are just choosing not to give it back to us! I'm sure if we owed them money it would be a very different story!! Come on United Utilities, do the right thing!
As a Kingsmead resident I am appalled by UU's moral stance on this. They aren't disputing that it's our money - they are just choosing not to give it back to us! I'm sure if we owed them money it would be a very different story!! Come on United Utilities, do the right thing! splodge999
  • Score: 3

7:09pm Thu 3 Jul 14

Kathiharb says...

It is disgraceful that UU are offering 6 years refunds, I have been here for over 15 years , I want a refund for all the money that I have paid to them, just as UU would want any money owing to them to be paid. Kingsmead residents are united on this, do the right thing UU
It is disgraceful that UU are offering 6 years refunds, I have been here for over 15 years , I want a refund for all the money that I have paid to them, just as UU would want any money owing to them to be paid. Kingsmead residents are united on this, do the right thing UU Kathiharb
  • Score: 1

10:34am Fri 4 Jul 14

hectorplain says...

Render unto Ceasar what is his.

Are you morally bankrupt?

Hand back that money, you did not have to treat the rain water!

I think its a disgrace.
Render unto Ceasar what is his. Are you morally bankrupt? Hand back that money, you did not have to treat the rain water! I think its a disgrace. hectorplain
  • Score: 12

12:36pm Fri 4 Jul 14

n00btastica says...

Well, despite three letters and a phone call to escallate my complaint and reject their petty and derogatory offer of a partial 6 year refund UU have ignored this and I yesterday received a cheque for £220.60

No UU, I want the full 13 years, with interest
Well, despite three letters and a phone call to escallate my complaint and reject their petty and derogatory offer of a partial 6 year refund UU have ignored this and I yesterday received a cheque for £220.60 No UU, I want the full 13 years, with interest n00btastica
  • Score: 4
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