Energy bill warning: Suppliers could send debt collectors to non-paying households | Personal finance | Finance

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The UK is in the midst of a cost of living crisis which is partly caused by exponentially rising energy bills. While the government’s energy price guarantee is expected to cap the average household bill at £2,500, this is still a significant 27% increase. As a result, Don’t Pay UK remains in the public consciousness and encourages people to engage in their campaign to strike energy bills, however, experts warn that suppliers could call household collectors who choose to do.

Currently, 180,000 people said they would not pay their energy bills until they were brought down to an affordable level.

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

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

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

READ MORE: Completely free way to save £195 a year on your energy bills – a nifty money-saving hack

This would affect an individual’s ability to obtain a mortgage or loan from their bank and trap them in a tight spot.

There are several penalties that could be applied against households if people choose to join the Don’t Pay UK campaign.

These include:

  • Late Payment Fees – These will be recorded on the credit report. Fees depend on the provider.
  • Default – These will have a serious impact on your credit score if you miss several monthly payments. As a result, providers could replace households with a prepaid meter
  • Collection agents: Suppliers could transfer the household debt to a collection agency, ask the court to deduct the necessary funds from your salary or benefits, or, in certain circumstances, send bailiffs to your home.

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James Gibson, the Debt Support Centre’s financial expert, explained the financial risks posed by non-payment of energy bills.

Mr Gibson said: “”We understand that life is financially difficult for many, and with the October price cap rising, joining the Don’t Pay UK campaign seems like a way to send a strong message to the government on our struggles.

“However, there might be better ways to manage our energy-related debts that won’t damage our credit records.

“There are programs, grants and benefits available from energy providers and government to help people through these difficult times.

READ MORE: Britons in the upper bracket can do 2 main things to reduce tax payments

“We suggest you see if you qualify for these solutions before you consider not paying your bills.

“Failing that, there are plenty of charities and debt relief companies that can help you find a less drastic solution to your financial problems.”

Despite the warning, Mr Gibson signaled sympathy for the Don’t Pay UK campaign’s aims while believing they could ‘harm’ households in the long run.

He added: “If you feel 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 possible.

“We recommend that protecting your financial future remains a top priority.

“The energy and cost-of-living crisis should pass, but damaged credit could hurt people long after things improve.”

Anyone looking for additional advice on managing their energy costs can check out the impact of the debt support center blog.

The average household energy bill in the UK will increase by around 27% from 1 October 2022.

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