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WA Business Collecting Debt from Landlord instead of Tenants

Discussion in 'Debt and Bankruptcy Law Forum' started by Doc, 8 July 2014.

  1. Doc

    Doc Member

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    I have rental properties. The tenants often change, move on and take the gas bottles to their new home. The supplier is waiting 9 -16 months, then billing me for the hire of the bottles. This has happened more than once. They (the gas retailer) have opened an account in my name, without my knowledge or consent, trying to recoup money owed to them by a third party (the tenants from 3 tenants ago). No letters, just a series of increasingly threatening invoices addressed to me at my tenants address. This has upset my current tenants who are now also being pursued for the debt by debt collectors and has been a very time consuming and aggravating process.

    I've been to the WA Department of Commerce who were unhelpful at first and referred me to the energy ombudsman after 14 days. The ombudsman referred me to the Dept of Commerce who are STILL saying it's not their area or yes we can help, depending on who you talk to. I'd like to start a group action or sue or whatever is needed to stop this company from doing this.

    Any suggestions most welcome....:)
     
  2. John R

    John R Well-Known Member

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    Hi @Doc,
    1. Which state/territory are you located in? (I assume WA)
    2. Does your agreement with each tenant clearly set out that they are responsible for connecting gas services in their name?
    3. Is the gas retailer/supplier regulated by the Energy Ombudsman or are they simply a reseller of gas?
    4. Have you sent a letter/email to the gas retailer/supplier setting out your position?
     
  3. Doc

    Doc Member

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    Thank you very much John,
    1. Yes, I'm in WA
    2. Yes, tenants pay for all consumables and yes to gas and gas cylinders.
    3. I contacted the energy ombudsman who say they don't cover issues with gas cylinders (I asked for that in writing, which they gave me), and was told it was the domain of the dept of commerce. I forwarded all details to the dept of commerce in WA and they have opened an enquiry.
    4. Yes, after advice from dept of commerce I wrote an email with my position stated in the body if the email as well as an an attachment. I also sent a hard copy via Australia post. I also called them at their call centre three times, asking questions and trying to have the situation resolved. I also supplied them with the current location and managing agent for the former tenants (whose debt it is).
    In return, over the following two weeks I received three more invoices/overdue notices.
     
  4. Doc

    Doc Member

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    They told me that this behavior is " a part of their process"
    That sounds to me like it happens a lot.
    I'd like to find out about a class action against them.
    Does anywone have any people I could contact for that?
    Don't make me call Erin Brockovich...;)
     

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