Southern Electric - great to do business with as long as you have your husband's permission

(50 Posts)
TCOB Wed 18-Sep-13 10:50:04

Totally raging so at great risk of being incoherent but will do my best...just had a conversation with Southern Electric in which, despite being the only person who has ever had dealings with them, despite them never having had contact with my DH EVER, they have defaulted by account into the name Mr TCOB and will not speak to me without my husband's permission. I am furious. Furious. And I know this is standard practice. But I am still left knowing that in 2013 I have to get my husband's permission before I am spoken to, NOT because he is the account holder (which I would totally understand) but because by mistake or default they have conveyed power to him because he is a man. He's baffled and appalled too. I know this is not earth-shattering but it is insidious and has infuriated me.

filee777 Wed 18-Sep-13 10:50:52

Idiots! Complain

filee777 Wed 18-Sep-13 10:51:30

Or pretend you have a lesbian wife and though married there is no 'mr' that'll teach them!

TCOB Wed 18-Sep-13 11:00:22

filee77 grin Would have been a far cooler retort than the incoherent rage I spouted. I'm busy on the complaint front now and DH is well and truly on board.

kim147 Wed 18-Sep-13 11:10:03

Just ring up and explain you are your DH but he's undergoing gender reassignment. No one will question that - but they might be impressed by the voice grin

Poledra Wed 18-Sep-13 11:12:55

Let Everydaysexism know - they might Tweet it...

I have a joint account with DH and the bank called yesterday to speak with him about changing our account. FFS.

And don't get me started with British Gas and how they treated me...

It's not uncommon, sadly.

ChunkyPickle Wed 18-Sep-13 11:27:42

I just queried my mortgage provider to check my interest rate, and the reply came back to Mr Pickle.

The mortgage is in my name only, the related accounts are in my name only, there is no Mr Pickle (well, except my Dad and brother who don't live with me)

We trust these people with our important, confidential, financial information, and they can't get our gender correct. It's not just misogyny, it's incompetence (and yes, I'm moving mortgage provider asap)

flatmum Wed 18-Sep-13 11:30:32

this makes me furious and I will not hold an account with anyone who does this.

flatmum Wed 18-Sep-13 11:40:00

this makes me furious and I will not hold an account with anyone who does this.

TCOB Wed 18-Sep-13 12:08:55

Poledra - great idea - will do.

Thank you for the responses. The mortgage one is breathtaking, chunky - yes, these are only relatively 'small' things but they are indicators of some kind of contempt.

Sky told me that my husband would be very angry with me if I cancelled Sky Sports. I cancelled the whole package. Wankers!

I had this earlier in the year with many utility companies. My ex husband and I were often joint names on accounts as Mr Smith and Ms Very. there is not always enough room for both names, but payment at the time was from a joint account. When ex left I had to transfer accounts over to sole names or in 1 case I changed the bank account from which DD payments were made. . many insisted on getting ex to agree and most took the opportunity to rack up the monthly DD. I have advised all of them that as a direct consequence of their behaviour towards me and the lack of support provided I WILL be changing to alternative suppliers. I will be unable to recommend as well. I was apoplectic with rage.

TCOB Thu 19-Sep-13 19:02:42

very and monkey I'm discovering this is pretty standard and I am raging about it now. Awaiting SE's response and if they mention data protection I think I will explode...

MikeLitoris Thu 19-Sep-13 19:12:54

Was the account always in your name or his?

And of course they will quote dpa. If your not named on account they cannot discuss the account without the account holder, if they are male or female is irrelevant.

MikeLitoris Thu 19-Sep-13 19:23:47

Is the account in Mr first name surname or Mr surname?

Tbh it sounds like a mistake. Pain in the Arse but just a mistake.

TCOB Thu 19-Sep-13 19:30:50

The account is not in Mr TCOB's name, nor ever has been. If he was the account holder I would fully understand. All contact has been with me, and as far as SE are concerned he might not exist.

BasilBabyEater Thu 19-Sep-13 20:51:20

"Interesting" posting name MikeLitoris.


I see the fuckwits are still at it then.

They tried this with me a few years ago. DP had a debt with them at his old house. He was moving in with me and was trying to settle the rather large final bill.
They told him that they would put in a pre payment meter and take the debt that way. He told them they can't as the account and house was in my name.
They told him to 'be a man and put me in my place. He was Man of the House now!'

I took the phone and told them that they could fuck right off if they were getting my energy account and cancelled my switch back to EDF.
They rang a few days later to ask why I wasn't changing and when I told them, they said I was 'probably a man hating feminist who deserved to be alone'!!!

MeteorShower Thu 19-Sep-13 21:19:14

I used to live in a shared house and because nobody wanted the bills to be in their name, we gave the all utility companies a made up name. It was in fact the stupid poncey unnecessary and completely unrelated to reality house name, which was a feminine sounding one along the lines of Rose Cottage so we gave it the prefix of Ms.

Yet whenever they rang to sell us anything they would ask for Mr Cottage hmm

MikeLitoris Thu 19-Sep-13 21:20:54

Care to expand on your issues with my name basil?

BasilBabyEater Thu 19-Sep-13 21:21:36

No Mike I don't care to.


heidihole Thu 19-Sep-13 21:26:06

basil maybe you should move to netmums it's better for sensitive adults/children as they are more regulated and don't have free choice in usernames.

BasilBabyEater Thu 19-Sep-13 21:26:51

No thanks, I like it here.

Lovecat Fri 20-Sep-13 09:19:37

British Gas did this to me. DH was an impoverished student with no credit rating at all when we moved in together whereas I'd been paying my own way for the previous 4 years, so we just transferred the existing account in my name to our new joint address (I think they wanted to charge to change it, back in 1990).

Ffwd 7 years, DH decided to do a go compare thing and wanted to switch operators. He rang them up and BG told him (quite rightly) that they couldn't speak to him as the account was in my name. He said 'but I'm her husband' - and on just this (he could have been any random for all they knew), they changed all the details to HIS name and offered him a much lower rate, which he accepted, so we were f-ing well locked in for 5 years to a contract coming out of MY bank account in HIS name - and they refused to speak to ME about it because it was now in his name - I asked them how the fuck (or words to that effect) they could justify this when I was a customer of 11 years' standing and to change it back forthwith, they said they'd need HIS permission to do that! I asked where was MY permission when they'd changed it to his and they said that was ok because we were married (I nearly had an embolism at this point) - I pointed out how the bleeding hell did they know that without sight of a marriage certificate and did, in the end, get an apology and get it changed back. Bastards.

I've also been told that it's illegal for me to refer to myself as Ms when I'm married, by some eejit in a TV rental shop (now that is dating myself)...hmm

littleomar Fri 20-Sep-13 09:30:49

I have had many, many dealings with SSE over the last year. They were completely, utterly incompetent, which is why it took a year to actually get the account properly set up.


despite all the problems, everyone I spoke to was unfailingly nice and I never had this problem (account in my name, which isn't the same as husband's name, and payments coming out of joint account).

just sayin.

tethersend Fri 20-Sep-13 09:35:11

Whose name was the account in?

And why all the hmms to Mike, Basil? Are you new?

littleomar Fri 20-Sep-13 09:38:41

not sure if that was to me but account in both names (but I don't think they asked - just sort and account number)

tethersend Fri 20-Sep-13 09:39:56

Sorry little, I was asking the OP- I know she said that all dealings had been with her, but I wondered whose name the account was in.

Get a doctorate, even better get one for dh too - that really confuses them! Try tweeting them, it is outrageous customer (dis) service.

Meglet Fri 20-Sep-13 09:52:53

As an aside, SSE are hugely twonky to work for. They have staircase monitors and staff are given a warning if they don't hold the bannisters when walking between floors (I have a few friends who work there).

Talk about treating your staff like children. It would give me the rage.

kim147 Fri 20-Sep-13 10:14:29

Mikeclitoris is not new. I don't see why her name should cause offence, Basilbabyeater.

tethersend Fri 20-Sep-13 10:16:50

"They have staircase monitors and staff are given a warning if they don't hold the bannisters when walking between floors"


That is hilarious grin

BasilBabyEater Fri 20-Sep-13 10:35:21

Oh the name didn't cause offence, just suspicion.

Sorry Mike, had just been reading a thread with one of the usual suspects on it and was over-sensitised, apologies.

What's this business with bannisters? What sort of bannisters, you mean up and down the stairs? Are the warnings on loudspeakers? grin

mysterymeg Fri 20-Sep-13 11:39:49

Very similar thing happened to me recently on my home insurance - when I called to change my name on marriage they deleted me off the system! I started a thread - now to try doing a link! (Not done one before, bear with me).

mysterymeg Fri 20-Sep-13 11:42:12
Kamchatka Fri 20-Sep-13 11:44:16

Fucking hell, this thread is an education. Really, Lovecat?
Good god, how does this sort of shit complicate the lives of women trying to escape from abusive relationships? (For example, and never mind that it just SHOULD NOT HAPPEN in the first place.)

GirlWithTheDirtyShirt Fri 20-Sep-13 11:50:47

This happens to us all the time.

I've lost count of the companies but at the very least Southern Electric, British Gas, Virgin Media, Severn Trent, Bank of Scotland. They've all defaulted to my DP's name despite the fact that I've set up the accounts, I'm the I lay one who ever deals with them and they've got my signature on contracts etc.

Curiously, one of the ones who doesn't do this is the car dealership we bought our car from. They always write to me and call me when the service is due despite the fact that DP always takes it in. I wonder if they think I'm more likely to succumb to their attempts to upsell oil in the service...

Lovecat Fri 20-Sep-13 13:34:17

Really, Kamchatka. I got very shouty blush.

Like you say, can you imagine if you were fleeing DV/abuse and your husband just rang and got things changed into his name?

MikeLitoris Fri 20-Sep-13 13:45:06

As an aside, SSE are hugely twonky to work for. They have staircase monitors and staff are given a warning if they don't hold the bannisters when walking between floors (I have a few friends who work there).

Talk about treating your staff like children. It would give me the rage.

This is just the start of it lots more interesting safety policies that sse have, although they no longer do the stair monitors (camera instead)

basil no offence taken, I'm not sure this is the best place to post with this name grin

Kamchatka Fri 20-Sep-13 14:57:35

I don't blame you Lovecat.

I have just remembered that I opened a bank account last year, in my name with just me as account holder, only my details on the application. We have a joint account with the same bank so they hold data on both of us, but still, I was incensed when DH got a call on his mobile asking me to call the bank to clear up a tiny problem with MY account.

DH knew about my bank account. No secrets. BUT I made sure to tell them that if I had been opening the account to prepare to flee an abusive marriage I would have been fucked. All they could do was apologise but there was no explanation offered.

I took it at face value at the time but I can see now it's part of a much wider picture. There are no words really, this is beneath contempt and a HUGE issue, isn't it? How the FUCK can we fight this?

EeyoreIsh Fri 20-Sep-13 15:04:52

lloydstsb insurance changed it so that our contents insurance was in DH's name. Despite me setting it up with them and it coming out of my (not joint) account that's with lloyds.

cheeky buggers. I took my insurance business elsewhere.

On the plus side, ecotricity have never done this to me. But then they are the best electricity suppliers there are (thinks back to the gift hamper of chocolate I got when moving to them).

TCOB Fri 20-Sep-13 15:55:33

Sorry for not posting earlier - just catching up now. Just to be clear: I set up the account and had made payments so it should have been set up in my name. My issue is that not only did they ignore this and set it up in my husband's 'name' by which I mean Mr TCOB (they didn't have his first name as they had never dealt with him) but they then proceeded to go down the humiliating route of calling for his permission to talk to me. I sadly therefore have NOT had a good experience with them. Eye-opening to see the other probs others have had - and deeply depressing.

TCOB Fri 20-Sep-13 15:57:13

Ecotricity sounds like a promising contender... smile

grimbletart Fri 20-Sep-13 15:57:51

It's ubiquitous. DH and recently went away for a few days. I searched the web. I found the hotel. I booked it using my card for the deposit in my name. When we checked in, sure enough, they passed over the booking form in Mr Grimbletart's name. I am so old and so used to it now that I think "whatever".

British Gas did this to me too. DH has nada to do with any household bills, insurance, mortgage, etc.
I called them to complain, they did nothing, so I switched to E-on who always address me correctly.

eurochick Fri 20-Sep-13 16:00:19

I've had that as well grimble. I booked a holiday for us and paid for it using a credit card in my name. The hotel and transfer vouchers were in a sealed envelope addressed to him.

mistlethrush Fri 20-Sep-13 16:05:01

Banisters - funny - at school we were told (by the very proper head mistress) that we should only hold the banister if we were injured or otherwise unable to move up and downstairs safely without holding on grin

A friend at work was told by a double glazing company that they couldn't come and give her (the main wage earner and person that would be choosing, ordering and paying for the new windows) a quote for windows unless her husband was there too.

alexpolismum Sat 21-Sep-13 19:15:20

I have had this sort of thing happen to me too.

I went to the bank, where I happen to have a joint account with my husband, to open a separate account in my own name for a specific purpose. I went in by myself, I filled in the paperwork, they even photocopied MY passport.

And then of course when I received the first paperwork in the post I saw they had automatically opened it as a joint account, with DH as the leading name. I closed that account and the other joint account and took my business elsewhere. (Actually, I took it to the Bank of Cyprus, which has since turned out not to have been my best decision ever!)

HazleNutt Wed 25-Sep-13 12:41:18

Not only in the UK - I booked a holiday through a big German travel company (TUI). I booked, I paid, with my credit card. DH and DS were put down as additional passengers. Just got the vouchers, addressed to Mr John Smith, c/o Hazle Nutt and thanking Mr Smith for his business.

Of course if it would have been a surprise trip then that would be ruined. But more importantly, how difficult exactly is it to send the documents to the person who actually ordered them??

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now