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The distressed unwell disabled pensioner terrorised by Shell Energy

By John Donovan

On 16 December 2019, we published extracts from emails that a distressed terrorised pensioner “John” sent to Shell Energy. The self-explanatory extracts are republished below.

Printed in red italics is the latest update from John following a decision just reached by the Energy Ombudsman.

Other equally pissed off customers of Shell Energy – there are hoards of them – may be interested in his insight gained from actually filing an official complaint with the supposedly independent regulator. 

John may be willing to share his entire horror story once the dust has settled over the latest Energy Ombudsman verdict. 

Although my complaint had to be upheld by the Energy Ombudsman, I can confirm what others have said about the process being biased towards the energy company. However,  I cannot comment upon the assertion that this is because the energy companies fund the Ombudsman.

Shell Energy knew every word of my complaint and saw every piece of evidence I had submitted. However, from what the Ombudsman said in the appeal decision, it became apparent that Shell had provided evidence which had been withheld from me. In their defence, Shell confirmed the history of the matter and made no attempt to contradict my complaint. However, despite irrefutable evidence of the fact that Shell had overcharged £820 (4399kWh) due to their entirely dishonest and fictitious meter reading, Shell continued to insist that their charge was correct.

When I appealed the Ombudsman’s original decision, I became aware of the fact that Shell had already appealed, but neither Shell or the Ombudsman had the courtesy or correctness to inform me beforehand.

Shell eventually had to admit their dishonesty by conceding that they had used an “estimated” opening meter reading instead of the correct figure provided (evidenced with a photograph) by me. However, the so-called “goodwill” awarded by the Ombudsman which I prefer to call compensation did not reflect the true extent of the consequences Shell has caused.

The fact is that the Ombudsman investigation must be flawed and biased towards the energy company when not all the evidence is made known to the complainant. Therefore, if the evidence is one-sided and concealed,  the complainant must always be disadvantaged by not being allowed to respond to the energy companies unknown evidence.

EXTRACTS FROM EMAIL CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN “JOHN” AND SHELL ENERGY 

TO SHELL ENERGY ON 25/09/19

If you and/or (REDACTED) send any correspondence in order to obtain a court warrant (to use forced entry or not) in the name of the previous occupier, M/s (REDACTED), thereby knowingly depriving me of advanced notice of any court proceedings, this shall be regarded as fraud, which is a criminal offence.

You should know that I am a Pensioner, vulnerable, disabled and in poor health, which is the my reason for requesting a visit from one of your own staff by appointment.

TO SHELL ENERGY ON 04/10/19

After all, I would remind you that you can unlawfully send three big men to threaten to smash down my front door to force entry, so I am sure you can send someone from your own staff to mutually resolve the issues which are as much in your interests as it is mine.

TO SHELL ENERGY ON 04/10/19

With regard to your veiled threat that “you will have a large bill produced from when you moved in until present.” I would respectfulness draw your attention to Ofgem’s advice as per the the document just forwarded.

I reiterate that I am prepared and in fact, very willing to help you resolve this matter, but I must say that the use of illegal, improper tactics and/or unreasonableness will not assist the situation or encourage my cooperation.

TO SHELL ENERGY ON 11/10/19

You refer to “confusion” which you will now be fully aware is entirely your company’s fault and although you have repeatedly appologized, this in no way absolves you from the extreme inconvenience and stress you have caused, which is also ongoing

When the Bailiff’s you employed said the warrant authorised them to force entry and I confirmed that M/s (REDACTED) was no longer resident, they continued to threaten to break down the door as they claimed the warrant was in the name of the occupier. I believe that was totally untrue and dishonest of them to make such improper and unlawful threats. Now you appear to be threatening me in a similar manner, which is causing further unnecessary stress.

TO SHELL ENERGY ON 15/10/19

The delays you cause, create more upset, anxiety and stress than should be necessary. In spite of your repeated appolgies, you continue to disregard our feelings, and your responsibilities as in fact your company have done consistently throughout this entire matter, which is completely unfair and unreasonably. Appologies are worthless, all we want is a fair, urgent resolution, including a compensation allowance for your company’s atrocious incompentences and failings, now and historically.

At this stage, I will repeat and emphasize that this entire state of affairs can only be attributed to ineptitude and gross incompetence solely accountable to your company. This incidently can easily be substatiated, if necessitated by your threatened further legal action…

Being registered members and signatories to Ofgem’s code of conduct, you of all people must know the rules and moreover, your clear binding obligations. Your attempt to mislead in this respect alone, is nothing short of a disgrace. In fact, I regard it as deliberate deception and tantamount to trickery and fraud.

For that very reason, any further flood of questioning, aimed to procastrinate, confuse events, threats of legal proceedings, warrants, lies by yourselves and/or your debt collecting agents etc will no longer be entertained, and in fact, will immediately be reported to the appropriate authorities, without further reference toyou.

The time has now come for YOU to start co-operating, please STOP the threats and now begin to make amends for creating this disgraceful state of affairs.

TO SHELL ENERGY ON 16/10/19

At last I seem to have someone who is willing to explain and answer “some” of my questions, instead of threatening me with Court Warrants and Bailiffs, which has frankly caused my wife and I to go into mental meltdown. You have no idea of the stress and consequences you have caused.

I have no wish to speak to you on the telephone, because I do not feel confident when you have proven that you don’t listen, just interrogate and adopt bullying tactics.

I have noted your confirmation that (REDACTED) are not in fact Enforcement Agents or bailiffs and therefore in light of the CAB advice it is evident that they and your company by association have committed a serious criminal offence.

I refer again to Ofgem’s code of conduct (to which I know you have subscribed)
that energy companies cannot backbill for more than 12 months. In light of your previous unethical and unlawful threats, I will not, personally answer anymore questions until I receive confirmation from you that you will abide to that rule.

TO SHELL ENERGY 31/10/19

Your repeated appologies for the stress and consequences you say you have caused us and moreover, your feeble and insincere assurances that you have our best interests at heart have patently proved worthless. To the contrary you have made absolutely no effort throughout to help our situation or reduce the emotional distress caused by yourselves. You have absolutely no conception of the severe suffering you have caused, needlessly increased by your deliberately prolonging this nightmare, leading to even more mental stress, anxiety and worry.

TO SHELL ENERGY ON 04/11/19

The officers stated that they held a magistrates court order which entitled forced entry by breaking down the door which was totally untrue. This disgonest and disgraceful behaviour must contravene all your indusries standards, especially when elderly, infirmed and disabled occupants are involved.

14/11/19

Email to Andy Eadle, Director of Customer Service, Shell Energy

In addition to all my other health issues, yesterday I was diagnosed with heart atrial fibrillation, likely to have been brought on by the stress and anxiety your company has caused and now I am having to take daily medication to reduce blood clotting to avoid posssible strokes.

The officers stated that they held a magistrates court order which entitled forced entry by breaking down the door which was totally untrue. This disgonest and disgraceful behaviour must contravene all your indusries standards, especially when elderly, infirmed and disabled occupants are involved.

TO SHELL ENERGY ON 22/11/19

This started with the awful, disgraceful visit and unlawful threats made by your debt collecting agents, (REDACTED) and subsequently continued with your inefficient and shameful behaviour, all of which has resulted in our extreme stress, anxiety (physically impacting upon our health and well being) and severe inconvenience since.

In conclusion, I offered you a final opportunity to resolve the complaint fairly and reasonably, particularly the matter of compensation and you have declined. Consequently, I shall now escalate the case to the Ombudsman, which I have already prepared ready for sending. I will also inform you when I have nominated and arranged a new energy supplier.

TO SHELL ENERGY ON 05/12/19

Despite your assurance, I have today received ab email from Octopus advising me that you have refused to allow the switch to them.

Consequently, I have sent a further complaint to the Ombudsman, asking them to instruct you to approve the switch without delay.

John kindly supplied a 74-page file of emails from which the following repeated apologies to him from Shell Energy are extracted:

26/09/19 APOLOGY FROM SHELL ENERGY

We would like to sincerely apologise for the poor level of service you’ve described in your email.

04/10/19 APOLOGY FROM SHELL ENERGY

Firstly, may I offer you my personal apologies for the poor level of service that you have described in your email. As your complaint case handler, it is now my responsibility to carry out a full investigation into the matters raised and provide you with a satisfactory resolution.

I am really sorry…

I am really sorry…

11/10/19 APOLOGY FROM SHELL ENERGY

I think there has been some confusion therefore Please accept my apologies…

Please accept my apologies for any inconvenience caused to you and if we can arrange to speak that would be great

16/10/19 APOLOGY FROM SHELL ENERGY

Thank you in advance and once again apologies for the confusion.

16/10/19 APOLOGY FROM SHELL ENERGY

I understand that you wish to speak with me in regards to the concerns you have raised. Firstly, I’d like to apologise for the poor service you have experienced to date.

22/10/19 APOLOGY FROM SHELL ENERGY

I’m very sorry for the stress and consequences we have caused.

30/10/19 APOLOGY FROM SHELL ENERGY

Once again please accept my apologies for any inconvenience cause to you by Shell energy.

13/11/19 APOLOGY FROM SHELL ENERGY

As a further apology, I would be willing to remove…

13/11/19 APOLOGY FROM SHELL ENERGY

Please accept my apologies for the delay.

Thank you for your patience and please accept my apologies for any inconvenience caused to you.

14/11/19 APOLOGY FROM SHELL ENERGY

I understand that there have been issues our side which I do apologise for…

14/11/19 APOLOGY FROM SHELL ENERGY

I am truly sorry for the poor service you have received to date.

20/11/19 APOLOGY FROM SHELL ENERGY

I’m very sorry…

21/11/19 APOLOGY FROM SHELL ENERGY

I am very sorry…

26/11/19 APOLOGY FROM SHELL ENERGY

I am really sorry that we were unable to resolve this for you and please accept my apologies for any inconvenience caused to you by Shell Energy.

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