Charity that helps so many people force to take its own advice

Photo Neil Cross
Katy Marshall, manager at Citizens Advice Ribble Valley helping people who are "digitally excluded'''
Photo Neil Cross Katy Marshall, manager at Citizens Advice Ribble Valley helping people who are "digitally excluded'''

A charity which offers help to people struggling with a range of issues has been forced to take its own advice after being landed with a £3,000 electricity bill and a mobile phone that would not work!

Now the Clitheroe based Citizens Advice Bureau want to get ther message across to the public they are here to help the numerous people who must be facing the same problems as it did.

Manager Katy Marshall said: “We want to reach people who most need this support, who are struggling with high bills and in particular those who are not internet savvy, those the government pompously calls “digitally excluded’’ which is normal if you are over working age or people who understandably don’t have internet access.”

Katy said the bureau wanted to help people with advice and assistance on switching energy suppliers after the bureau itself was landed with an electricity bill for £3,200.

Katy said: “What made it worse was they took the amount out of our account by direct debit which was a shock as this was a massive increase as our bill is usually around £500.”

After Katy investigated it turned out the bill had been drawn up on estimates and the company would not recognise the meter as the bureau tried to give readings from it. The issue was sorted after the energy company sent a representative and the bill was adjusted to a normal level.

Katy and the team faced another difficulty when the new mobile phone they bought would not work, as the office, a 200-year-old cottage in Parson Lane, is in a “dead zone’’ with thick walls.

Katy challenged the mobile phone company when it tried to charge the bureau a cancellation fee. But after Katy pointed out this was a breach of the supply of goods and services contract the company relented.

Katy said: ”After going through these experiences ourselves we want to help people who need us. We have learned that it is better to chop and change gas and electricty suppliers or you end up paying over the odds.’’

The CAB can be reached on 01200 428966.