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Sick of Sewage?

NEW: CANCEL FOR CLEAN WATER CAMPAIGN

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Sea Pollution

1,271

Sewage releases a day in the UK in 2023

Water

3.6 million

hours  of raw sewage released in 2023

River

11 billion

litres of raw sewage a year

Who are we?

We are a group of individuals who had enough of paying water companies to pollute our waterways and seas - so we stopped paying!

Raw sewage entered rivers and seas in England and Wales 825 times a day last year.

We say this is unacceptable.

As customers of monopolies we have no option to take our business elsewhere. 

What else can we do except stop paying for the wastewater treatment part of our bills?

Despite millions of pounds in penalties and criminal fines, the water companies in England and Wales continue to release untreated water into our waterways.

Why pay for a service we're not getting?

Enough is enough. 

If you are sick of sewage, you too can take a stand by choosing to withhold payment.

You will not be alone.

How Does It Work?

Our water bills are made up of two parts - payment for incoming water provision and payment for the treatment and responsible disposal of wastewater.

As we receive incoming water services we will continue to pay for this half of our bill.

But while the water companies serially dump raw sewage in our waterways we feel we have no option but to withhold payment for wastewater treatment services.

We are water customers from all over the country including Kent, Sussex, Hampshire, Devon, Lancashire and Yorkshire.

If you believe your water company is a serial offender you too can join us in this action.

Here is some advice:

1.Cancel your Direct Debit if you have one. This is easily done either online or via in-person banking, and there is no need to involve your water company in this initial step.

2. Make a complaint in writing to your water company. This need not be long - see the template email in Resources. Tell them you have cancelled your Direct Debit and request your bill to be sent by post and to let you know your when your bills will be issued. You will see on the bill how much you are charged for incoming water, and for wastewater, and thus can easily pay the former and withhold the latter. Insist in your communication that while you are disputing this part of your bill they should not chase you for payment or refer your case to a debt collection agency. According to the Consumer Council of Water (CCW) your water company is obliged to refrain from pursuing debt collection while the dispute about the accuracy of the bill is outstanding. (See FAQs for details). If your water company threatens debt recovery and ultimately court action, phone them and ask for your account to be put on hold while your complaint is ongoing with them and subsequent agencies. 

3. Your water company is legally obligated to respond within 10 days. If they do not, you may be entitled to compensation.

4. If you are not satisfied with their response, inform the water company that you intend to take your complaint to the Consumer Council of Water (CCW). This can be done through a simple form on their website.

5. If you are not satisfied with this response from the CCW you are entitled to apply for adjudication to the Dispute Resolution Ombudsman which is now only accessible through the CCW. This was a recent change - previously it was operated by the Water Redress Scheme but this no longer exists.

6. If you are not satisfied with this response you have the right to complain to OFWAT.

7. At the end of the process, if you feel obligated to pay, you can pay what you owe and then start your boycott all over again. Or, if at any time during the process you are offered, or negotiate a discount, feel free to take it. 

8. For those who do not feel they can go all the way and withhold payments, another option is to cancel the direct debit with your water company and instead pay by card over the phone - or by cheque in the post - as late as possible. 

9. Read on to ensure you are fully aware of the potential risks and considerations.

 

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Be Aware

It is important to note that withholding payment can impact credit ratings.

The following are some of the steps one water company has warned customers they can take against non-payment:

  1. Refer your account to a debt collection company – which may take legal action on the water company's behalf to recover the debt. (This will incur administration costs of at least £45.)   

  2. Take legal action – which might involve asking the court to instruct your employers to make deductions from your salary – plus legal costs.   

  3. Notify a credit reference agency – which means a default will be registered on your consumer credit file for the next 6 years.   

However, even in cases where the company has set a debt recovery company on to our boycotters, we have been able to persuade the debt recovery company to refer the account back to the water company rather than proceeding with a recovery.

Just be sure to...

Chatting Over Coffee
Writing
talking on phones

Check with other householders first

Make your complaint in writing

Keep talking to the
water company

Before you take action on your water bill check all the householders are comfortable with this action.

If you are a tenant please be aware that In some circumstances the owner of the property can be responsible for the bill jointly with the occupier, and the company might try to recover the money from the owner. 

You are entitled to complain to your water company about their conduct. You can do this on the phone but it is preferable to make the statement in writing - email is fine -so there is a record. 

If your account is referred to a debt collection agency, do not ignore their calls or emails. Contact the company straight away and tell them you have an outstanding complaint and the amount in question is disputed. Let them know you would like them to refer the account back to your water company while the complaint is outstanding and being investigated.

Ready to get going?

Water Bill Boycott Checklist

 ✅ Withhold payment for treatment of wastewater services to my water company while it pollutes and harms our coast and waterways.

✅ Continue paying for the incoming water services I am receiving. 

✅ Raise a complaint with my water provider to make clear my principled stand.

✅ Read all the risks outlined above in respect of withholding part of my bill.

 DISCLAIMER: We will not give your name to any third party. We are only collecting these details to track the scale of the boycott. We are not advising anyone to take this course of action, we are explaining the actions we have taken. If you choose to do the same, then you will not be alone.  If you are unable to pay your bill instead of disputing the amount on principle, speak directly to your provider to work out a payment plan. 

Please note that we cannot offer advice on individuals cases and will not respond to personal requests for advice.

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