Energy suppliers could send debt collectors if you do not pay bills

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The UK is in the midst of a cost of living crisis which is partially caused by the exponential rise in energy bills. While the Government’s energy price guarantee is set to cap the average household bill at £2,500, this is still a significant rise of 27 percent. As a result, Don’t Pay UK remains in the public consciousness and is encouraging people to pledge to their energy bill strike campaign, however, experts are warning suppliers could call debt collectors on households who choose to do this.

Currently, 180,000 individuals have said they will not pay their energy bills until they are brought down to an affordable level.

Don’t Pay UK has said a strike could take place if the organisation reaches 1 million pledges in the coming months.

However, there are consequences for households who choose to not pay their gas and electricity bills.

Notably, someone’s credit score will be affected if suppliers choose to take action on those who opt to not pay.

READ MORE: Entirely free way to save £195 a year on your energy bills – clever money saving hack

This would affect an individual’s ability to get a mortgage or loan from their bank, and trap them in a difficult situation.

There are multiple penalties which could be enforced against households if people choose to join the Don’t Pay UK campaign.

These include:

  • Late Payment Fee – These will be recorded on the credit report. Fees depend on the supplier.
  • A Default – These will have a serious impact on your credit score if you miss multiple monthly payments. Providers could switch households o a prepayment metre as a result
  • Debt collectors: Providers could pass on household debt to a collection agency, apply to the court to deduct the necessary funds from your wages or benefits, or in some circumstances, send bailiffs to your home.

James Gibson, the financial Expert at Debt Support Centre, broke down the financial risks posed by not paying energy bills.

Mr Gibson said: “‘We understand that life is financially challenging for many, and with the October price cap rise, joining the Don’t Pay UK campaign feels like a way to send a strong message to the government about our struggles.

“However, there might be better ways to deal with our energy-related debts that wouldn’t damage our credit files.

“There are schemes, grants, and benefits available from energy suppliers and the government to help people through these challenging times.

“We suggest seeing if you qualify for these solutions before considering not paying your bills.

“Failing that, many charities and debt help companies can help you find a less drastic solution to your financial problems.”

Despite this warning, Mr Gibson cited his sympathy for the Don’t Pay UK campaign’s aims while believing they could “harm” households long-term.

He added: “If you feel that you still want to be heard by the Government, continue to support the Don’t Pay campaign in spirit and sign as many petitions as you can put your hands on.

“We would recommend that protecting your financial future should remain a top priority.

“The energy and cost of living crisis should pass, but damaged credit could harm people long after things have improved.’

Anyone looking for further guidance on managing their energy costs can check out the impact of the Debt Support Centre blog.

The average household energy bill in the UK will rise by around 27 percent as of October 1, 2022.

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