A story illustrating the insane injustice of the ARMS two tier tariff, aspiring to be in the style of Kafka:
Once upon a time, a couple moved to a faraway country. The country was beautiful with a beauty that caught at their hearts as they enjoyed it in the mostly beautiful weather.
They lived in rented accommodation and paid their landlord money towards their utility bills.For some unknown reason, they were not allowed to be the account holders of the utility bill.
Months rolled by and their landlord asked for more and more money towards their bills. The couple gave more and more. Still it was not enough.
The couple asked to see the bill. They saw that the number of residents listed was zero. They asked whether increasing the number of residents to two would make a difference.
“No”, replied the landlord without any hesitation.
They saw HOUSEHOLD RATE next to Consumer scheme and felt reassured.
More months rolled by and more money went towards their utility bills. One fine day, the couple saw some information on a social media site that immediately caught their attention:
HOUSEHOLD RATE: Number of residents = 0
INHABITED RATE: Number of residents ≠ 0.
They decided to phone the sole utility company in the country, LEGS (Leading Extortion Gains Specialists) to find out more.
“I’m sorry; we cannot give you any information on the bill because of the Data Protection Act. You are not the account holders.”
The couple decided to visit the LEGS office. Again they were told that they could not be given any information. They asked to see the manager.
Days later, the manager turned up.
“I can confirm that you are on the HOUSEHOLD RATE where the number of residents = 0.”
“What is the difference?”
“Well, the HOUSEHOLD RATE is for empty properties or summer residences. The INHABITED RATE is for your main residence.”
“And are they the same price?”
“No, seeing as you are not going to spend much time, if any, in your second home or summer residence, the HOUSEHOLD RATE is much more expensive.”
“Ah, that explains it”, exclaimed the couple. “Sir, we have been resident at No. 10, Parallel Dimension Street, Jupiter, for 3 years and we can prove it. We are entitled to a refund. We have been over charged.”
“LEGS don’t do refunds. Who’s to say you didn’t choose to be on the HOUSEHOLD RATE? But, look here, we can give you this form to give to your landlord. He will hopefully give you permission to get the much cheaper INHABITED RATE.”
“But we’re not invisible. How can we have lived in a property for 3 years and be billed as if we weren’t living there?"
“Oh yes, you can. You need the landlord’s permission to be made visible.”
Dejected, the couple returned home. They decided to look for another rental property where the landlord would not deceive them and where they could enjoy the INHABITED RATE.
However, the next day they felt more positive. Surely the LEGS CEO would be more reasonable?
So they wrote a letter explaining the situation. The reply came quite quickly.
I’m afraid LEGS cannot give you a refund. Legal notice A#345*@@ and Legal notice W#456*@@ say that LEGS is not authorized to bill at the INHABITED RATE without the permission of the landlord.
This hit the couple hard. But they bounced back and looked up the country’s constitution. And there in all its glory was Article BGFDS123 of Chapter JHF345: “no law shall make any provision that is discriminatory either of itself or in its effect.”
Surely, this would do the trick?
One hundred years later, the story continues…