Complaints we can’t help with

We're here to help with any issues involving a water company or retailer but sometimes we can't provide all the help you need. We provide free advice and support.

Examples of issue we can’t help you with

This list doesn’t cover every problem, and there might be other situations where we can’t assist. If you’re not sure or have a problem not on this list, please contact us for more guidance.

If you plan to make a claim against a water company or retailer, it’s crucial to clearly reference the claim with as much detail and evidence as possible.

As customer service specialists without legal training or expertise in loss adjustment, our team can’t assist in preparing your claim against the water company. If you need guidance on how to do this, you might consider seeking legal advice. The Citizens Advice Bureau or your home insurers may be able to provide information on the process.

Your water company may install meters in your area as part of its water resource management program. If the company is in an area with water shortages, they are allowed to put in water meters as part of this plan. CCW cannot challenge the water company to remove the water meter.

For more information, you can check your company’s website or visit these resources:

A CCJ (County Court Judgment) is a type of court order in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland that may be registered against you if you fail to repay money you owe. This can have a significant impact on your credit score and your ability to borrow money in the future.

If you have a CCJ related to a water bill, it’s essential that you seek legal advice. The National Debtline can provide free advice and support.

CCW cannot challenge the water company or the County Court to remove a CCJ because the court’s decision is final.

In the event of a cyber-attack or data breach involving your personal data, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is the appropriate authority to assess the impact.

Additionally, you may consider seeking independent legal advice for further assistance.

If you have concerns about a Freedom of Information (FOI) or Subject Access Request (SAR) from your water company, please start by contacting your company. If further issues arise, you can reach out to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

If you have a problem with your landlord that has nothing to do with water or sewage services, you’ll likely need to get help from other places or talk to a legal expert. This could be for issues like arguing about who’s responsible for the water bill, fixing leaky water pipes, or installing a water meter.

You can get advice for problems with landlords from places like the Citizens Advice Bureau and Shelter, which is a charity that helps with housing problems.

Tenants who have rented for 6 months or longer and are in charge of paying the water bills can ask to have a water meter installed at the property. We suggest that both the tenant and the landlord discuss this before going ahead.

For more information, you can check out this Parliamentary research briefing.

While we can guide you through the complaints process, we’re not able to provide legal advice. We recommend seeking counsel from a legal professional.

The Law Society can help you find a solicitor, and Legal Aid may be able to provide assistance if you can’t afford one.

While we can help with issues related to water company assets, we can’t assist with problems related to your private plumbing.

In most cases, the pipes beyond your home’s external stop tap or water meter belong to you, not the water company. These are called private supply pipes, and once they enter your property, they become part of your internal plumbing. That means it’s your responsibility to maintain them.

This responsibility includes dealing with leaks and water pressure problems. We suggest contacting your water supplier first to see if they can help, or you can hire a qualified plumber of your choice. You can find information on finding a qualified Plumbing and Heating Engineer on the WaterSafe website.

Ofwat has more information about who’s responsible for pipework.

Responsibility for sewer and drain systems is shared among property owners, water and sewerage companies, local authorities, and the Highways Agency.

For detailed information about pipe responsibility, you can refer to ‘Responsibility for pipes and pumping stations’ on Ofwat’s website.

Water companies should maintain current maps of the sewers they are responsible for, but they may not always have records for pipes on private land. Typically, pipes within an individual property’s boundary are the responsibility of the property owner for upkeep.

In some cases, the responsibility for certain pumping stations lies with the landowners, not the water company.

When it comes to private drainage issues involving drains (serving a single property) and gullies (for rainwater removal), the property owner is responsible, and this falls outside the jurisdiction of the water company and us.

However, if you are unsure, it’s often best to contact your water company first. They can offer guidance, and after a site visit, determine if the matter is within their responsibility or direct you to a drainage professional.

If there’s a problem with rainwater pipes or gullies on your property, it’s your responsibility to sort it out. They are not something the water company or we can help with.

For issues concerning private water supplies, such as a well or a private water company, these are typically managed by the local authorities.

For more information on the regulations and standards that apply to private water supplies, you may refer to the Drinking Water Inspectorate or consult your local council’s environmental health department.

Rateable Value is a fixed water price for some properties when they don’t have a water meter. It was set in 1990 based on factors like location and amenities, and you can’t change it or dispute it.

To switch from Rateable Value, you need to get a water meter. We can’t help with Rateable Value.

The government still uses the 1990 Rateable Value and not council tax bands. Even if your council tax band changes, your Rateable Value stays the same.

For some properties built between April 1990 and March 2000, there may be a fixed charge set by Ofwat based on the average bill cost in your area.

If there’s a difference in charges between metered and unmetered water, you won’t get a refund. To learn more about getting a water meter, contact your water company directly.

A number of water companies are installing remote read meters as part of their metering programme. These emit radio signals in the UHF range. These signals have the same properties as television, radio and mobile phone transmissions; they can pass through obstructions including people.

The power level of the signals is far too low to cause any damage given current knowledge and scientific thinking. The meters will contribute to the level of background radiation in the areas they are installed but that contribution is dwarfed by those due to other sources such as television, radio, mobile phones, wireless computer connections etc.

UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) published a report on smart meters, which you may be interested to read.

CCW has not seen any evidence to cause us concerns about the types of meters that water companies are using.

If you believe you have suffered or will suffer harm from wireless transmissions you may wish to take professional health or legal advice on the matter.

As a first port of call, you may wish to discuss the safety of wireless transmissions with UKHSA. You can contact them at:

10 South Colonnade
E14 4PU

Email: [email protected]
Telephone: 020 7654 8000

If you have any issues that you want to raise about the performance of water companies, it should be raised with the company directly in the first instance.

If you are still concerned that the issue remains unresolved, depending on the issue contact:

We might not be able to help with problems related to how a water company or retailer runs its business or makes decisions, as that’s usually beyond our control.

For more information, you can get in touch with your water company directly.

We can help raise your concerns about water quality, but it’s the job of the water company or the Drinking Water Inspectorate to investigate and fix any problems. The Drinking Water Inspectorate is in charge of making sure drinking water is safe in England and Wales, and they have the expertise to help.

Some people get their water or sewerage services from someone other than the water company. This is called water resale, and there are rules about it in the UK.

If you think you’re being charged too much for water, you should get advice. The rules for water resale are made by Ofwat, the water services regulation authority.

We handle issues with water and sewerage companies in England and Wales.

If you’re outside England and Wales, get in touch with your local authority or water regulator. In Scotland, it’s the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO), and in Northern Ireland, it’s the Consumer Council for Northern Ireland.

If you have water problems in other countries or regions, please get in touch with the appropriate local authorities or regulatory bodies.

If a water company takes you to court, it’s important to act quickly and take it seriously. You should talk to a lawyer right away to know your rights and how to deal with the situation.

You might be able to get free or low-cost legal help, depending on your situation. To find out more about this, you can visit the Legal Aid website.

Do you still need to make a complaint?

Contact us