Mum left fuming as bailiffs turn up over £16,500 gas bill despite not having a gas supply

Sarah Jackson, 52, from Merseyside, has slammed Scottish Power after being visited by bailiffs and threatened with court action over the unpaid bill, despite not having a gas supply

Sarah Jackson, 52, has been visited by bailiffs this week
Sarah Jackson, 52, has been visited by bailiffs this week

A mum was left furious after receiving a £16,500 gas bill for a property that doesn’t even have a gas supply.

Sarah Jackson, 52 was stunned when she received a bill from Scottish Power demanding she stumps up thousands of pounds – despite not being a customer

The mum from Merseyside now fears she could go bankrupt after bailiffs visited the company this week and been served with court action for the unpaid bills.

Sarah, who runs Liverpool furniture company Acclaim Furniture Components with her husband, Gary, 53, and their 22-year-old son, is now terrified that she will lose her livelihood.

The mum — who also battled a cancer scare last year — has spent the last year fighting the bill, and says her 20-year business will go bust if bailiffs repossess.

Sarah Jackson’s daughter Beth, who tweeted the firm


Jam Press/Sarah Jackson)

A letter from Debt Collectors


Jam Press/Sarah Jackson)

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“It’s absolutely ridiculous they can send round a bailiff but can’t manage to take our company off the bill,” Sarah, from Kirkby, said.

“I’ve spent hours and hours on the phone trying to explain myself. I had a cancer scare last year and was being sent to different hospitals and was trying not to get stressed.

“Having bailiffs come into the store doesn’t look good for the company. I don’t want our customers to talk and for word to spread the bailiffs are here.

“I’ve spent hours and hours talking to different people at Scottish Power, having to explain their own mistake.

“My days are wasted as nothing seems to change. If they keep pushing with this, they are going to destroy our family business.”

Sarah was first sent a wrongly-addressed £8,000 bill last February but initially dismissed it as an error.

Letters from Scottish Power in relation to Sarah Jackson’s alleged debt with them


Jam Press/Sarah Jackson)

Acclaim Furniture Components


Jam Press/Sarah Jackson)

After a couple more letters generically addressed to ‘Owner/Occupier’, a bailiff letter was issued to her company, which prompted Sarah to phone the firm.

Scottish Power sent a community liaison worker round, who Sarah claims confirmed there was no gas supply for her business and the family were told they would be removed from the system.

After dozens of phone calls — including a recent seven-hour call earlier this week — the business is still facing an invoice of £16,775.28 and has been threatened with court action by the bailiffs.

Sarah said: “When I opened the first letter last year, I thought ‘what?’ Then I realized it was a gas bill and there’s no gas on the premises.

The first bailiff turned up at the property in July 2021.

Sarah’s daughter, Beth, 29, decided to tweet Scottish Power to get their attention, which prompted them to send another community liaison officer round.

She tweeted the company, asking: “Why are the bailiffs turning up to collect a £16K gas debt on my business property that doesn’t have a gas supply? You have sent someone out to confirm it doesn’t have gas, yet you still sold the debt on that we don’t own?”

The tweet prompted the company to email Beth apologizing for the situation.

Sarah fears losing everything


Jam Press/Sarah Jackson)

A tweet between Sarah Jackson’s daughter Beth and Scottish Power


Jam Press/Sarah Jackson)

The company said a community liaison officer “had visited the estate previously, but had not been able to narrow it down due to the number of premises on the state” but assured Beth “there will be no more bailiff visits.”

However, the problem continued – as did the stress for Sarah and her family.

The company continued to send bills to the business, with the mum having a phone yet again to explain the situation.

Three months later, another email was sent on behalf of the Chief Executive’s office reassuring the family they would not be liable to pay.

The email states: “I can confirm there have been no new accounts created in yours or your Mothers name and the previous account is now showing as Owner/Occupier meaning you are not liable for any bills created.”

This week, in February 2022, the bailiffs turned up again, leaving a letter saying they will apply for a warrant to remove the gas supply.

Sarah said: “I don’t blame the bailiff as they are paid to collect the debt and don’t know what is going on.

“But I’ve run this business for 20 years. I have never not paid a bill. We have a good credit score because we’re so diligent.

“If we have to pay this Scottish Power we will have single-handedly destroyed this small family business.

“I phoned them up last week and the handler said they couldn’t speak to me because the top line said ‘Owner/Occupier’ and not my name.

“How can they send a bailiff round but refuse to speak to me about this ridiculous debt because I’m not on the top line?

“The other day I was phoning up from 8.30 am to 4 pm until I finally got through to someone.

“They told me Scottish Power closes the account but re-opens it and moves the debt across.

“I don’t know what else I can do. I just want it sorted.

“It has been almost a year of worry and stress.”

At her wits end, Sarah recently contacted the Facebook group Energy Bills, Advice and Energy Debts Community UK, founded by Gemma Hatvani and run by her and fellow admins such as Jo Stubbs.

Jo said: “I feel awful for Sarah, she has correctly been through the complaints process and as far as she was concerned this was dealt with.

“Things like this should not happen, it’s a waste of time and money for the bailiffs and undue stress to Sarah.

“We are pleased Sarah approached us for help and will continue to be there to help and support Sarah in any way we can.

Gemma, who used to work at E.ON, one of the top energy companies in the UK, added: “I’m really happy that as a dynamic group we are in the position to be able to help customers such as Sarah in their time of need.

“We pride ourselves on being honest and transparent, and will always be there to help people, especially during this crisis.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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