First Utility’s service is less than first-class in bill dispute

A disputed final meter reading led to a lengthy and unpleasant disagreement over a bill

I want to complain about the way I have been treated by First Utility since my father’s death on 17 February. I have twice phoned and explained that his account should be put on hold as there is an ongoing dispute over a bill of £216.15, but the situation is still not resolved. I have now received an unpleasant email saying that the account has been taken over by a credit agency, and a letter requesting urgent payment. LC, Southampton

This is a convoluted case that could have been resolved quickly and easily by First Utility had it dealt with the bill issue at the time it arose in November 2011, when your late father moved home. Instead, the problems with the bill (caused by a disputed final meter reading) were exacerbated by your father’s death, which meant it had to be dealt with by the executor of his estate, leading to further breakdowns in communication and unwanted hassle at a sensitive time. After some nudging from me, First Utility has decided to clear the balance in full, though it has not issued an apology.

You can email Mark King at your.problems@observer.co.uk or write to Mark King, Your Problems, The Observer, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Please include a phone number and an address.

Mark King

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