AUG-19

COUNCIL TAX

FIX-UP

The GREAT Energy FIX-UP

 
     
 

 

Comparison websites like 'confused.com' are as much a fix-up as the energy companies they compare – for one thing they charge the outfits listed, so some outfits won’t be there, and for another: instead of showing a simple graph for comparison, as below for instance, they ask difficult questions about consumption.

They also fail to inform on a company's past levels of changes in tariffs/charges. Probably the most reliable comparison-site is Citizens Advice? I know one thing, though: that energy retailers are collectively operating a scam.... after-all, they exist first of all to supply profit to shareholders.... providing energy is a secondary obligation. Their key trick is end-dates to tariffs when they bump-up the price - hoping the customer will fail either to notice or to bother with the hassle of seeking a better deal. And the bump-up is usually BIG, so to avoid a rip-off one has to switch.... but then you notice they've been overcharging - they always insist on a larger Direct-Debit than necessary - and you're £100s+ in credit.

At this point the outfit refuses to accept your 'final-reading' and insists on a 'dated reading' (presumably, a photo of the meter with a post-it note showing the date?) or that the new company must supply it (which they fail to do... why should they bother?). With these demands unfulfilled the old company insists on their estimate: that you owe them vastly more than according to the final reading.... and so it goes-on. You just have to 'hold-your-ground'.

Being a 'difficult' customer, and perhaps unlike most people having nothing better to do (at least: for an hour or two once a year or so), I keep a close eye on all this. Which means I notice and avoid both the swindle and the hassle in this inherently deceptive system of charging. For instance, as a tariff gets near its end-date; and when I think the amount of credit will cover slightly less than up to that date, I cancel the direct debit. The bank website only allows cancelling, not (for some weird reason?) to alter the amount.

Then the outfit emails a complaint, which I respond to by telling them why I've cancelled. I present them with the final reading which, as I say, they invariably refuse to accept. Then the £20 or so that I actually owe lingers.... sometimes I eventually get a correct bill, which I pay straight away.


The thing is: how many people bother with all this - or how many bother to look-up the new prices - each time the tariff changes, as they would if buying ANYTHING else?

And then drawing a graph, say, (as above) price-per-day vertical - units-consumed horizontal.... so one can see immediately the best deal out of several chosen from what look favourable at-a-glance on the comparison site. The cost saving can be, as the ads say, considerable - it's about the only accurate detail the ads contain. It can be several hundred quid a year: maybe as much as £30 or £50 a month.... yet many people who'd quibble about the odd few quid for anything else, obliviously let this slide, not realising they're victim to a MASSIVE swindle: ie, consumers who are too busy or not sharp-witted enough to notice, are losing-out on a HUGE scale.

 

No wonder there's so many companies constantly leaping onto the bandwagon.... from the profit they make selling-on energy: they pay shareholders, fund call-centre's and staff to run them and all the associated admin, then advertise through those 'comparison' sites to get customers...

... the cheapest outfits have to then attract enough customers who ignore the first tariff end-date bump-up in price.... NEVER forgetting their principal mandate: to maximise profit. I wonder, if all those outfits' profits and costs were added up, what would it come to each year: £1bn, £2bn...? 

They're only admin outfits after all.... who 'bargain' (or make some 'arrangement') with wholesale suppliers, whose chief mandate likewise is to maximise profit (providing energy is secondary). Then they sell-on the energy to us gullible public who've been hoodwinked into electing a lousy BIG-corp-friendly goverment that allows these swindles to operate: creating 'scammer middle-men' methods for investors (mostly politicians and their City friends/sponsors) to remove money - mostly from the least aware (poorest) consumers of these essential services.

Now here's an idea: Why not nationalise the lot and remove the profit cream-off so we all get much cheaper energy instead of stuffing the pockets of millionaire sharks who 'invest' in this vast resource-wasting scam?  

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The GREAT Council Tax SCAM

AND MORE FOR THE ENERGY SHARKS

 

 
 

Here's the council-tax price bands randomly picked via google for Thurrock:

Valuation band Council tax 2018/19
Band A £1,018.14
Band B £1,187.83
Band C £1,357.52
Band D £1,527.21
Band E £1,866.59

So a 3-storey 4-bed terrace would probably be Band-D or E.... To give the Council the benefit of doubt, let's say it's E. There's a guy his wife and two, maybe three kids... maybe they're grown-up and in their 20s too? Either way they're forking-out £1866/year.

Now they decide to convert the house into 3 one (or two) bed flats: ground floor, first floor and a top floor. Let's again give the Council the benefit and say they're one-bed flats. The same family, possibly, could live there in separate flats, but whatever they do the council will now class the flats as Band-A where with one occupant the charge would be £755/year... so now the flats will give the council 3x£755=£2265 or £400/year extra.

And the chances are that the three occupants will be very poor to only be able to afford a one-bed flat and alone too. Whereas the family was probably quite well-off with a big house and could easily affort the tax, especially if the kids were working adults.

In addition, utilities will also be split so instead of single standing charges for water, gas and electicity, there's now three standing charges.... AND the occupants are probably struggling financially. So the poorer you are, folks, the more the Establishment shoves the knife in.... so it goes.

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The most pernicious aspect of Council Tax, in contrast to utilities, is that Council tactics to recover debt resemble the Gestapo of Nazi Germany:

First they send bailiffs to seize any property, which they flog-off at basement prices... then they chuck you onto the street. The only thing they don't do is beat you up or kill you, though death may soon follow for the most frail victims.