SWALEC and the disappearing invoice

Forgive me Internet for it’s been a while since my last complaint. I recently moved house for work reasons and found the house in which I am now living had a pre-pay meter for gas and electric (the last tenant was a bill dodging scally by all accounts). Naturally I had no intention of being one of those ‘top-up-Tommies’ who scuttles down to Londis every week to put £10 on his ‘leccy card, so insisted the letting agent had the meters removed. They agreed, only I had to do it myself and present them with an invoice for reimbursement. Not a problem I thought, I’m a landlord myself so sounds reasonable.

Anyhow, I telephoned SWALEC, who controlled the electric, and asked about getting the chavmaster 2000 meter removed and a normal one put in. They said it was no problem, and could be done within a few days. Excellent, we’re onto a winner. I then asked about the invoice for the landlord. ‘No problem’ the girl said, we’ll get one sent out to you.

All seemed fine, dandy, ship-shape, Bristol fashion and every other naff phrase meant to express satisfaction with the circumstances. The meter was replaced, job done.

Several days went past. These days turned into a week, and no invoice. I telephoned SWALEC again, this time getting through to a Scottish call-centre rather than the Cardiff one to which I previously spoken (not sure if this relevant, just setting the scene) and a rather blunt chap told me they don’t do invoices.

Errrm… what now? I explained the situation, that I’d been told one would be sent out and why I needed it. He wasn’t having any of it; they don’t do ‘invoices’ or ‘bills’.

Despite my protestation that I had already been informed (before I signed up, funny that) that an invoice would be sent and that I needed one for the letting agent he just kept repeating ‘we don’t do them’. I then asked that I, as a landlord also, would need the bill or invoice in order to submit it for my self-assessment if it were my house, as my landlord will no doubt also need to do and, yep, he repeated again ‘we don’t do those’.

How are SWALEC allowed to take money for a service and not provide a receipt or payment or invoice when requested?

Finally a manager agreed to send me a letter detailing what I have paid for and what I paid, although it won’t include VAT as she can’t work that out so, if my landlord is VAT registered, they can’t claim that back.

You can get a bloody receipt at a car bot sale, never mind from one of the largest energy providers in the UK.

Worse yet, when I tweeted about the debacle as it was happening I received a reply from @SWALEC almost immediately. Seems if you have a problem you need to go public, rather than phone up to complain. Phone calls can be ignored. Anything you’re told can be denied. Twitter is the way forward.

Darren Jamieson, aka MrDaz, is the Technical Director and co-founder of Engage Web and has been working online in a career spanning two decades. His first website was built in 1998 and is still live today.

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