A TAMWORTH pensioner has won something of a victory after a dispute over a “move out fee” on his electricity bill – but only after some pretty powerful help from others.
When they moved house from Kootingal to Tamworth three weeks ago, retiree Jim Wilson said he and wife Linda received a final bill on the property and was furious to discover an extra charge of $96.80.
The charge was called a “move-out fee” and Mr Wilson said he contacted Origin and queried the amount, but was told they were unable to help him.
Mr Wilson complained to heavyweight radio host John Laws, and says that Mr Laws told him the charge was a “load of rot”.
Known as “the man with the golden microphone”, Mr Laws is famous for taking on battles with big companies.
“He said to me, how can a company charge you to move out of your own house,” Mr Wilson said.
The Wilsons noticed the charge after the electricity bill rose by $200 from the last quarter.
“I was very unhappy about it, I just thought what kind of ridiculous charge is this,” he said.
Origin was then contacted by the Laws show producers and received the answer Mr Wilson could not.
Contacted by The Leader, an Origin spokesperson explained it as a charge from electricity provider Essential Energy to manage the customer’s move and passed on by Origin.
However the spokesperson did say the Wilson move out fee was double the normal amount of $48.40 and along with giving an apology to Mr Wilson, they would be rectifying the problem.
Mr Wilson said he wanted to publicise his consumer case to make other pensioners aware of the charges – so they didn’t go unnoticed by some people who could least afford paying more.
“Every day something is going up in price,” Mr Wilson said.
Mr Wilson said he had since moved to a different electricity company and had rung Origin to tell them that he wouldn’t be using their services anymore.
“I told them it’s a typical old rip-the-Aussie-off-scam and hung up on them,” Mr Wilson said.