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1 Apr 2022

'Why is my energy firm Ovo trying to collect a debt when I am in credit?'

Midnight feeds, nappy changes, and the inevitable sleep deprivation - becoming a new parent is tough enough without also being hounded for a debt you don't owe

Do you have a consumer problem you need to put right? Which? is here to help.

Dear Which?

A debt collection firm called IMFS is demanding we pay an outstanding balance of £58 on our energy bill.

We're getting phone calls and letters claiming we owed SSE this money, but we're Ovo customers. Our online Ovo account says we have £168 in credit.

I'm busy getting to grips with motherhood, this is all additional stress I could really do without, I don't know what to do.

How can I owe a debt I know nothing about?

Sara, Aylsham

Ease the squeeze on your household bills with our latest cost of living advice and tips

Put to Rights

Adam French, Which? Consumer rights expert saysu2026

Getting to grips with parenthood is hard enough, without getting hounded by a debt collection firm too.

You were a customer of the energy firm SSE was purchased by Ovo in January 2020, and its customers have been gradually moved across to the new owners.

Your account was moved to Ovo in November 2021.

We asked Ovo to explain how you could be in debt when your account clearly says you're in credit.

It told us it closed your SSE account based on an estimated reading and this debit balance was transferred over to your new account with OVO.

But two days later your final meter readings arrived which resulted in SSE issuing a new bill. A bill you had no idea existed until a debt collection firm began pursuing you.

An OVO Energy spokesperson said: 'we're very sorry to Mrs Brace for the experience she has received. To apologise, we have cleared the final balance as a goodwill gesture.'

Need to know

  • If you receive a debt collection call or letter a sensible first step is to check its validity with the company that claims you owe a debt. The Financial Conduct Authority's (FCA) guidelines say it is up to the debt collector to prove that you are the right person in regard to the debt and that the amount indicated is correct.
  • If you do owe money, debt charity StepChange advises that you can ask your creditors for breathing space, so they stop calling or writing to you while you deal with your debts.
  • Financial support is available. Check your energy company's code of practice to find out its policy on helping customers in difficult circumstances. Look in the help or FAQs section of its website, or phone the company. Many of the biggest energy companies have independent charitable trusts to give grants to some customers to help them pay for fuel arrears.

Get in touch

If you've got a problem you'd like us to solve email us at yourstory@which.co.uk.

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