Happy Endings

Throughout the year I sometime end a piece by saying ‘I’ll let you know how things turn out’ or ‘I’ll keep you updated’. Well, true to my word here are three such updates. One year ago an electricity bill arrived for the incredible amount of £1083 which simply had to be disputed. The power company didn’t like this, and so began six months of threats: some from call centres in South Africa, phone calls from collection agencies, more threats, and finally talk of involving the ombudsman. Eventually, having refused to give in and challenging the company to provide evidence of such an excessive charge they agreed to a total bill of £250. Imagine if this had gone unchallenged. The power company would have been £833 better off. The central point being, that all too often such bills remain unchallenged, so we really shouldn’t be too surprised at their vast annual profits. Then there was the touchy subject of the charges for parking ones car. ‘You wisely check the internet to see if there might be a free of charge car park in the vicinity. Result: you find ‘Parkopedia’ online, with ‘Helping You Park’ as their strap line. Your mood lifts: they list the Curry’s – Halfords car park on Hospital Road as being free of charge, Monday to Sunday 24 hours free parking. What you missed was the parking notice located on the left of the entrance. This is a car park being monitored by a company based in Kettering called Total Parking Solutions who say that the maximum stay on this site is two hours. Unfortunately, you overstayed your welcome by six minutes, triggering a response from TPS in the form of a ‘Charge Notice’ – basically an invoice, devoid of such words as parking ticket, fine or penalty’. Well, both companies got it completely wrong, with an apology being proffered by Parkopedia. TPS simply waived the £90 fee without comment or appropriate apology. Finally, we named our little dog Alfie!


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