Two years ago Thames Water – unilaterally and without notice – decided that the residential rental property we lived in until this August was a commercial one and transferred our account to Castle Water. We were told that it was our new provider, but not the reason behind it.
Since our direct debit was also automatically transferred, we continued to pay and didn’t think further about it. It was only when I notified Castle Water we were moving that I found out they thought we were a commercial customer. We are a family of two adults and a baby.
After receiving assurances that the mistake would be rectified and that Thames would claim the money we’ve paid to Castle, we received two bills for almost £1,000 from Thames Water.
We have not received any refunds from Castle Water so this would mean paying for our water twice. I have also sent an inquiry to the Consumer Council for Water but have received no reply yet. Our first complaint was in mid July 2019 and I haven’t heard from Thames Water for at least two weeks.
GC, London SW6
You are one of many unwittingly caught up in the acquisition of Thames Water’s (supposed) business accounts by Castle Water, which describes itself as a dedicated water retailer to business customers. Castle Water started in Scotland, but has since bought up a number of other water businesses across the UK. Clearly the reason for the transfer of accounts was not clearly communicated in your case.
Our intervention seems to have broken the logjam. Thames Water says an admin error meant your property was listed as being non-household rather than domestic so when it sold the non-household customer base to Castle Water you were switched, too.
Thames insists: “We’re sorry for any confusion but are investigating how this has occurred. We are working with Castle Water and the customer to ensure they’re not left out of pocket.”
Castle Water has now refunded you £818 – based on its tariff – but the bill from Thames Water was £874.
Thames Water is, in the meantime, offering you an instalment plan. The Consumer Council for Water says Castle Water has remained above the industry average for complaints over the last 18 months.
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