What happens if you don't pay your bill

If you are unable to pay your bill, call us immediately on 03456 043 772 and we’ll see how we can help.
In many cases, we’ll be able to arrange a payment plan so that your bill is more manageable for you. However, we are unable to reduce the amount you will have to pay.

What actions we take if you do not pay your bill

If you do not pay your bill or do not follow your payment plan, we will try to contact you by phone or letter and give you seven days’ notice to make payment. How many bills you miss until we contact you is dependent on what type of account you have. 

We may have to take one of the following actions if you don’t contact us or make the required payments for your plan:

A debt relief order is given when you don't have to make payments to wards most types of debt included in your debt relief orders and usually lasts a year unless your situation improves.

The official receiver will usually contact us to tell us about your debt relief order (DRO). However, if you receive a reminder from us, you should contact us with details of the DRO in case we haven't been notified yet. 

An individual voluntary arrangement is a legally binding agreement between yourself and your creditors to pay back your debts over a period of time.

Your appointed insolvency practitioner will usually contact us to tell us about your individual voluntary arrangement (IVA). However, if you receive a reminder from us, you should contact us with the details of the IVA in case we haven't been notified yet. 

Once we know about your DRO or IVA, we will provide you with a new account (if applicable), and write or call you to tell you.

If you receive a county court claim

If you as a customer do not pay your bill, after following a process where we have issued you reminders / letters and we have tried to contact yourself, we then take you to court if there’s been no response or payment.

Details are sent to the court, who issue a claim pack to the customer for the debt owed (plus additional costs and fees we incur).

The claim form sent to you will provide you with various options and what to do next, including:

Following the issue of the claim, we will then obtain a county court judgement against the customer. From that point we can then take enforcement measures in order to collect the debt.

If you’re employed this may involve your employer being asked to make deductions from your wages. 

For homeowners, we can ask for a charge to be registered against your property that would need to be paid before you could re-mortgage or sell.

We can also pass your account for High Court Enforcement, where a warrant will be obtained allowing an Enforcement Officer to visit your home and take goods to the value of the warrant.

High Court enforcement is a method of recovering a judgment debt. Your account will be transferred from the County Court to the High Court.  The High Court will then provide a ‘Writ of Control’. This is a warrant which is then sent to High Court Enforcement Officers who will visit your home and take goods to the value of the warrant.

As one of our key commitments we want to be a company you can trust, it’s important to us that all of our customers are treated fairly, including when we are recovering unpaid bills. The Enforcement Conduct Board has been established to ensure that those subject to enforcement action in England & Wales are treated fairly and provides independent oversight of the enforcement industry, with a special regard for those experiencing financial difficulty or other vulnerable circumstances.

Whilst most of our customers pay their charges on time, we do employ enforcement agents for a small proportion of overdue accounts. It is important that the organisations we work with uphold our values of fairness and trust, and therefore, we will be requiring all enforcement agencies that work on our behalf to be accredited by the Enforcement Conduct Board.

Can I repay the debt directly if High Court Enforcement has been instructed?

Any offers of payment, either by instalments or lump-sum settlement, must be made directly to the officers who will seek instructions from us. You should note that the debt will increase once the officers have been instructed as additional High Court fees incurred will be added.

We cannot discuss repayment with you directly once the High Court Enforcement Officers have been instructed.

Why we charge court fees and interest

We pay a fee to the court to issue the claim when we have not been able to come to a payment arrangement. This fee is added to the total debt outstanding as part of the claim. The amount of costs and fees we can charge is determined by the Lord Chancellor and not by Severn Trent Water Ltd.  

We are also permitted to add interest to a claim in accordance with Section 69 of the County Court Act 1984. This is applied from the date that the charges were due for payment up to the claim issue date. The claim issue date is the date when the court send the claim pack to the customer for the amount of money we claim you owe.

What you need to do with the claim pack

You can admit the claim in full or partially. If you admit the claim in full you will need to make full payment or make an offer to pay via instalments.

You can ask for a payment arrangement to pay it off over a period of time. This will give you the opportunity to complete an income / expenditure form, showing why you can afford the amount you are offering to pay.

You need to complete the admission form to do this. 

If you think only some of the debt is payable due to a dispute in the length of time we billed you or the debt is shared with someone else etc you need to complete both the admission form and the defence and counterclaim form.

We will then review this case by case.

If you don’t believe you owe the debt, you need to complete and return the defence and counterclaim form.

We will review the reasons why you believe you do not owe the amount and if we agree with yourselves, we will withdraw the claim and tell the court we no longer wish to proceed.

We have to follow the court process and timescales to try and resolve the situation but ultimately it can end up in a hearing before a judge where both sides present their case for the judge to make a ruling.

If we believe the claim is still valid, we will provide you with the reasons why followed by a mediation process prior to a hearing taking place.

We recommend contacting one of the following organisations or seeking your own legal advice: