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  • FIRST POST
    • lifethrualens
    • By lifethrualens 15th Jun 17, 11:13 PM
    • 6Posts
    • 0Thanks
    lifethrualens
    Is it worth going to the Energy Ombudsman?
    • #1
    • 15th Jun 17, 11:13 PM
    Is it worth going to the Energy Ombudsman? 15th Jun 17 at 11:13 PM
    I've had issues with Scottish Power for the past while now relating to 2 complaints being raised. I apologise in advance for the lengthy post but feel I need to put this info down to get a proper idea of if it's worth taking to the Ombudsman.

    Initially, my Direct Debit was increased to £500 after a meter reading was entered (after paying £100ish for elec and gas in a one bedroom flat for 5 years and no change to usage). I of course went straight to them 30/1 to investigate and correct this. The initial few emails I received back were generic copy and paste responses advising me 'we regularly review your direct debit based on usage' etc rather than actually reading what my query was. I requested a few times for them to provide an explanation as to how they calculated the figure and they couldn't, though they did reduce it back to close to what it was previously. I raised concerns that their systems made the change automatically and there was no flag raised somewhere that this change was out of the ordinary and they couldn't provide me with any valid reason for the change. Eventually a complaint was raised for me (after I had to ask a few times) but the resolution was a generic sorry and I let the complaint be closed 22/3 as I couldn't be bothered fighting anymore and was just glad to have my Direct Debit corrected.

    A month or so later and I was moving out of the flat and back home to the parents (to save money) so I tried to close my account a number of times. I tried their website, mobile site and app (as the website instructed not to call to close) and none would let me complete this so I sent off an email request 13/4 which was the day I moved out the property. Having heard nothing after a few days I sent off a chaser email 17/4 along with closure details such as final readings and forwarding address. I received a generic response the same day, 'passed to relevant team, you'll hear within 5 days'. The next email I got was an amended statement, then an email 21/4 advised there was an error in closing, a 'specialist team' were looking at it and would update me, if there was no update in 28 days they'd contact me anyway etc. The next day 22/4 I received an email about my new Direct Debit plan which would start the following month (therefore meaning my next Direct Debit wouldn't be taken). I sent an email 5/5 about this (I should explain as I prefer email as it's documented rather than calls) and querying why it had now changed when I hadn't requested this and was trying to close my account (there was nothing to confirm this was part of the closure process, it appeared a new Direct Debit instruction had been set up which is what caused me to not pay in April - though this didn't count as a missed payment it did then further delay settling my final bill).

    I received a response 8/5 advising my account was still active (I know, that's the issue!) and asking for my closure details, so of course I replied 9/5 and requested at that stage for my issues to be escalated to the Complaints team.

    By 31/5 I hadn't heard any update from the 'specialist team' so off I emailed again, asking once more for a complaint to be raised, the response I received advised I would have an update in 48hours, which of course I didn't.

    A complaint was finally raised for me on 7/6, (which I saw via app only) but I had to chase for an update again. The following day 8/6 I received confirmation with my complaint reference, but heard nothing about the complaint until 12/6 when I finally had confirmation my account was closed with a small credit balance on my account. I was offered £20 and an apology for the service, again all very generic and standard. During all of my emails in both the previous complaint and this issue I emphasised how stressful and inconvenient this whole thing had been for me as well as how poor the service was. It wasn't just me impacted by not closing my account, it was the landlord of the property too (who had moved back in). I work in the customer service industry for a contact centre including dealing with complaints so I felt this was a pretty poor and insulting offer and apology, so I replied refusing the offer and requesting £100 (chancing my arm I know).

    The response I received today I feel was pretty harsh, they recognise the failure and that's why the goodwill was offered, but 'any such award is not based on any outside influence or factor such as stress, anxiety, consequential loss, the level of pay that a complainant might receive on an hourly basis or the value they place on their own time. The award intends to reflect the level of inconvenience and shortfalls in service only'.

    Now what I take from that is you as a customer don't matter, we think that the service you received isn't that bad, tough.

    They increased the goodwill offer to £40 and if I don't want to accept, we're in a Deadlock position and I can go to the Ombudsman.

    The money itself isn't so much the issue as the fact I feel brushed off as a customer and they don't think it's really wrong how many issues I've had and how they've dealt with it in the past almost 6 months. I understand how it work for the Financial Ombudsman but have no experience with the Energy Ombudsman, so would they scoff? Am I expecting too much?
Page 1
    • Cardew
    • By Cardew 16th Jun 17, 12:06 AM
    • 26,577 Posts
    • 12,808 Thanks
    Cardew
    • #2
    • 16th Jun 17, 12:06 AM
    • #2
    • 16th Jun 17, 12:06 AM
    Am I expecting too much?
    Originally posted by lifethrualens
    In a word - Yes!

    Going to the Ombudsman might raise the compensation to £50 after a lot of hassle.
    • Hengus
    • By Hengus 16th Jun 17, 9:27 AM
    • 3,717 Posts
    • 2,025 Thanks
    Hengus
    • #3
    • 16th Jun 17, 9:27 AM
    • #3
    • 16th Jun 17, 9:27 AM
    In a word - Yes!

    Going to the Ombudsman might raise the compensation to £50 after a lot of hassle.
    Originally posted by Cardew
    I agree with Cardew. You complain to the supplier, and wait 8 weeks before escalating the complaint to The EO. In my recent case, The EO then takes 10 weeks to reach a decision as the supplier just ignores the request for complaint details. The Decision is made and binding and the supplier then tries to have it reversed. Nothing happens for a month and the Enforcement Team charges the supplier another £100 and the wait continues. Nearly 6 months on, I am no further forward. I will keep with it as participation in the ADR process is a key element of a supplier's Licence to Supply.
  • scottishpower company representative
    • #4
    • 16th Jun 17, 10:30 AM
    • #4
    • 16th Jun 17, 10:30 AM
    I've had issues with Scottish Power for the past while now relating to 2 complaints being raised. I apologise in advance for the lengthy post but feel I need to put this info down to get a proper idea of if it's worth taking to the Ombudsman.

    Initially, my Direct Debit was increased to £500 after a meter reading was entered (after paying £100ish for elec and gas in a one bedroom flat for 5 years and no change to usage). I of course went straight to them 30/1 to investigate and correct this. The initial few emails I received back were generic copy and paste responses advising me 'we regularly review your direct debit based on usage' etc rather than actually reading what my query was. I requested a few times for them to provide an explanation as to how they calculated the figure and they couldn't, though they did reduce it back to close to what it was previously. I raised concerns that their systems made the change automatically and there was no flag raised somewhere that this change was out of the ordinary and they couldn't provide me with any valid reason for the change. Eventually a complaint was raised for me (after I had to ask a few times) but the resolution was a generic sorry and I let the complaint be closed 22/3 as I couldn't be bothered fighting anymore and was just glad to have my Direct Debit corrected.

    A month or so later and I was moving out of the flat and back home to the parents (to save money) so I tried to close my account a number of times. I tried their website, mobile site and app (as the website instructed not to call to close) and none would let me complete this so I sent off an email request 13/4 which was the day I moved out the property. Having heard nothing after a few days I sent off a chaser email 17/4 along with closure details such as final readings and forwarding address. I received a generic response the same day, 'passed to relevant team, you'll hear within 5 days'. The next email I got was an amended statement, then an email 21/4 advised there was an error in closing, a 'specialist team' were looking at it and would update me, if there was no update in 28 days they'd contact me anyway etc. The next day 22/4 I received an email about my new Direct Debit plan which would start the following month (therefore meaning my next Direct Debit wouldn't be taken). I sent an email 5/5 about this (I should explain as I prefer email as it's documented rather than calls) and querying why it had now changed when I hadn't requested this and was trying to close my account (there was nothing to confirm this was part of the closure process, it appeared a new Direct Debit instruction had been set up which is what caused me to not pay in April - though this didn't count as a missed payment it did then further delay settling my final bill).

    I received a response 8/5 advising my account was still active (I know, that's the issue!) and asking for my closure details, so of course I replied 9/5 and requested at that stage for my issues to be escalated to the Complaints team.

    By 31/5 I hadn't heard any update from the 'specialist team' so off I emailed again, asking once more for a complaint to be raised, the response I received advised I would have an update in 48hours, which of course I didn't.

    A complaint was finally raised for me on 7/6, (which I saw via app only) but I had to chase for an update again. The following day 8/6 I received confirmation with my complaint reference, but heard nothing about the complaint until 12/6 when I finally had confirmation my account was closed with a small credit balance on my account. I was offered £20 and an apology for the service, again all very generic and standard. During all of my emails in both the previous complaint and this issue I emphasised how stressful and inconvenient this whole thing had been for me as well as how poor the service was. It wasn't just me impacted by not closing my account, it was the landlord of the property too (who had moved back in). I work in the customer service industry for a contact centre including dealing with complaints so I felt this was a pretty poor and insulting offer and apology, so I replied refusing the offer and requesting £100 (chancing my arm I know).

    The response I received today I feel was pretty harsh, they recognise the failure and that's why the goodwill was offered, but 'any such award is not based on any outside influence or factor such as stress, anxiety, consequential loss, the level of pay that a complainant might receive on an hourly basis or the value they place on their own time. The award intends to reflect the level of inconvenience and shortfalls in service only'.

    Now what I take from that is you as a customer don't matter, we think that the service you received isn't that bad, tough.

    They increased the goodwill offer to £40 and if I don't want to accept, we're in a Deadlock position and I can go to the Ombudsman.

    The money itself isn't so much the issue as the fact I feel brushed off as a customer and they don't think it's really wrong how many issues I've had and how they've dealt with it in the past almost 6 months. I understand how it work for the Financial Ombudsman but have no experience with the Energy Ombudsman, so would they scoff? Am I expecting too much?
    Originally posted by lifethrualens



    Hi lifethrualens,

    I am very sorry to hear of the issues you have experienced and for the length of time taken to resolve this matter.

    So that I can arrange to get your complaint and offer of compensation investigated further for you, could you possibly please email your name, account number/complaint number and full address to social@scottishpower.com?

    Kind regards,
    Faye
    Official Company Representative
    I am the official company representative of Scottish Power. MSE has given permission for me to post in response to queries about the company, so that I can help solve issues. You can see my name on the companies with permission to post list. I am not allowed to tout for business at all. If you believe I am please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com This does NOT imply any form of approval of my company or its products by MSE"
    • footyguy
    • By footyguy 16th Jun 17, 12:44 PM
    • 3,310 Posts
    • 1,278 Thanks
    footyguy
    • #5
    • 16th Jun 17, 12:44 PM
    • #5
    • 16th Jun 17, 12:44 PM
    I've had issues with Scottish Power for the past while now relating to 2 complaints being raised. I apologise in advance for the lengthy post but feel I need to put this info down to get a proper idea of if it's worth taking to the Ombudsman.

    Initially, my Direct Debit was increased to £500 after a meter reading was entered (after paying £100ish for elec and gas in a one bedroom flat for 5 years and no change to usage). I of course went straight to them 30/1 to investigate and correct this. The initial few emails I received back were generic copy and paste responses advising me 'we regularly review your direct debit based on usage' etc rather than actually reading what my query was. I requested a few times for them to provide an explanation as to how they calculated the figure and they couldn't, though they did reduce it back to close to what it was previously. I raised concerns that their systems made the change automatically and there was no flag raised somewhere that this change was out of the ordinary and they couldn't provide me with any valid reason for the change. Eventually a complaint was raised for me (after I had to ask a few times) but the resolution was a generic sorry and I let the complaint be closed 22/3 as I couldn't be bothered fighting anymore and was just glad to have my Direct Debit corrected.

    A month or so later and I was moving out of the flat and back home to the parents (to save money) so I tried to close my account a number of times. I tried their website, mobile site and app (as the website instructed not to call to close) and none would let me complete this so I sent off an email request 13/4 which was the day I moved out the property. Having heard nothing after a few days I sent off a chaser email 17/4 along with closure details such as final readings and forwarding address. I received a generic response the same day, 'passed to relevant team, you'll hear within 5 days'. The next email I got was an amended statement, then an email 21/4 advised there was an error in closing, a 'specialist team' were looking at it and would update me, if there was no update in 28 days they'd contact me anyway etc. The next day 22/4 I received an email about my new Direct Debit plan which would start the following month (therefore meaning my next Direct Debit wouldn't be taken). I sent an email 5/5 about this (I should explain as I prefer email as it's documented rather than calls) and querying why it had now changed when I hadn't requested this and was trying to close my account (there was nothing to confirm this was part of the closure process, it appeared a new Direct Debit instruction had been set up which is what caused me to not pay in April - though this didn't count as a missed payment it did then further delay settling my final bill).

    I received a response 8/5 advising my account was still active (I know, that's the issue!) and asking for my closure details, so of course I replied 9/5 and requested at that stage for my issues to be escalated to the Complaints team.

    By 31/5 I hadn't heard any update from the 'specialist team' so off I emailed again, asking once more for a complaint to be raised, the response I received advised I would have an update in 48hours, which of course I didn't.

    A complaint was finally raised for me on 7/6, (which I saw via app only) but I had to chase for an update again. The following day 8/6 I received confirmation with my complaint reference, but heard nothing about the complaint until 12/6 when I finally had confirmation my account was closed with a small credit balance on my account. I was offered £20 and an apology for the service, again all very generic and standard. During all of my emails in both the previous complaint and this issue I emphasised how stressful and inconvenient this whole thing had been for me as well as how poor the service was. It wasn't just me impacted by not closing my account, it was the landlord of the property too (who had moved back in). I work in the customer service industry for a contact centre including dealing with complaints so I felt this was a pretty poor and insulting offer and apology, so I replied refusing the offer and requesting £100 (chancing my arm I know).

    The response I received today I feel was pretty harsh, they recognise the failure and that's why the goodwill was offered, but 'any such award is not based on any outside influence or factor such as stress, anxiety, consequential loss, the level of pay that a complainant might receive on an hourly basis or the value they place on their own time. The award intends to reflect the level of inconvenience and shortfalls in service only'.

    Now what I take from that is you as a customer don't matter, we think that the service you received isn't that bad, tough.

    They increased the goodwill offer to £40 and if I don't want to accept, we're in a Deadlock position and I can go to the Ombudsman.

    The money itself isn't so much the issue as the fact I feel brushed off as a customer and they don't think it's really wrong how many issues I've had and how they've dealt with it in the past almost 6 months. I understand how it work for the Financial Ombudsman but have no experience with the Energy Ombudsman, so would they scoff? Am I expecting too much?
    Originally posted by lifethrualens
    What is it you want as a resolution to your complaint.
    You say it is not about money, so what will you be asking the ombudsman for as a resolution to the complaint (if you take it to them)?

    You say "the fact I feel brushed off as a customer and they don't think it's really wrong how many issues I've had and how they've dealt with it in the past almost 6 months."

    So are you perhaps seeking a simple apology? If so, have you asked the supplier for one in full and final settlement of your complaint?
    • lifethrualens
    • By lifethrualens 20th Jun 17, 9:04 PM
    • 6 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    lifethrualens
    • #6
    • 20th Jun 17, 9:04 PM
    • #6
    • 20th Jun 17, 9:04 PM
    Thanks for the responses all. I think I was just particularly wound up after dealing with it for so long, and as footyguy said, what was it I was really after? I think I just wanted a bit more than the standard party line/apology, and for them to really acknowledge that the way I was treated as a customer was not on. I doubt I would get that from the Ombudsman. I just don't think it's right the way they've gone about things but I'm not going to change it.

    Similarly to my original complaint relating to the DD issue, I just want this over and done with now so I can move on, so I am going to accept their resolution and hopefully that will be the end of it.
    • Eggatha
    • By Eggatha 23rd Jun 17, 12:17 AM
    • 3 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Eggatha
    • #7
    • 23rd Jun 17, 12:17 AM
    Not in our experience
    • #7
    • 23rd Jun 17, 12:17 AM
    We've had a horrendous time with EON sending us a threatening letter about a bill we'd already paid over 3 years previously. Turned out (after many many hours of detective work on my part- they hadn't a clue how they'd messed up) to be their own 3 year old error, and even though we had letters from them to say that it was all paid up they still took the full disputed amount straight from our account.

    Case went to ombudsman, who ruled that it was merely a shortfall in customer service (rather than a breach of back-billing regulations and payment plan licensing standards) and offered £60 compensation (against a disputed payment of hundreds of pounds).

    It doesn't sit right with me that EON can get around the back-billing regulations - and therefore sting consumers with enormous bills and debt recovery threats years down the line- simply by being financially incompetent, and the ombudsman is willing to brush this off so lightly.
    • footyguy
    • By footyguy 24th Jun 17, 12:00 PM
    • 3,310 Posts
    • 1,278 Thanks
    footyguy
    • #8
    • 24th Jun 17, 12:00 PM
    • #8
    • 24th Jun 17, 12:00 PM
    We've had a horrendous time with EON sending us a threatening letter about a bill we'd already paid over 3 years previously. Turned out (after many many hours of detective work on my part- they hadn't a clue how they'd messed up) to be their own 3 year old error, and even though we had letters from them to say that it was all paid up they still took the full disputed amount straight from our account.

    Case went to ombudsman, who ruled that it was merely a shortfall in customer service (rather than a breach of back-billing regulations and payment plan licensing standards) and offered £60 compensation (against a disputed payment of hundreds of pounds).

    It doesn't sit right with me that EON can get around the back-billing regulations - and therefore sting consumers with enormous bills and debt recovery threats years down the line- simply by being financially incompetent, and the ombudsman is willing to brush this off so lightly.
    Originally posted by Eggatha

    Did you accept the resolution proposed by the ombudsman service?

    If not, what are your plans to resolve the matter???
    • Eggatha
    • By Eggatha 25th Jun 17, 9:13 PM
    • 3 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Eggatha
    • #9
    • 25th Jun 17, 9:13 PM
    • #9
    • 25th Jun 17, 9:13 PM
    No, we rejected it.

    I feel strongly that the regulatory authorities should be treating the energy suppliers' accounting failures in the same way that they treat back-billing, in that it should form part of the agreement to limit the chargeable time period to 12 months. I don't accept the ombudsman's decision that there's nothing they can do to stop EON giving receipts for bill payments, then sending threatening letters several years later demanding payment because they've mucked up the payment processing, then taking payment without permission- it's apparently just a shortfall in customer service.

    My position is that it's both a breach of the code of practice (as all accounts are supposed to be reviewed every 12 months, which should unearth errors like this if done properly), and possibly also a breach of the licensing standards, in that suppliers are supposed to offer payment plans, which EON did not do. My next step will be to report to OFGEM- I know that they don't over-rule the ombudsman or intervene in individual cases, therefore we've lost both the disputed money and the small amount of compensation directed by the ombudsman,but I do think EON's licence adherence and poor accounting practices need to be investigated. I've also joined this site to try to find out how widespread this is , and once I've figured out forum navigation will post an EON- specific thread about it.
    • Hengus
    • By Hengus 25th Jun 17, 9:40 PM
    • 3,717 Posts
    • 2,025 Thanks
    Hengus
    No, we rejected it.

    I feel strongly that the regulatory authorities should be treating the energy suppliers' accounting failures in the same way that they treat back-billing, in that it should form part of the agreement to limit the chargeable time period to 12 months. I don't accept the ombudsman's decision that there's nothing they can do to stop EON giving receipts for bill payments, then sending threatening letters several years later demanding payment because they've mucked up the payment processing, then taking payment without permission- it's apparently just a shortfall in customer service.

    My position is that it's both a breach of the code of practice (as all accounts are supposed to be reviewed every 12 months, which should unearth errors like this if done properly), and possibly also a breach of the licensing standards, in that suppliers are supposed to offer payment plans, which EON did not do. My next step will be to report to OFGEM- I know that they don't over-rule the ombudsman or intervene in individual cases, therefore we've lost both the disputed money and the small amount of compensation directed by the ombudsman,but I do think EON's licence adherence and poor accounting practices need to be investigated. I've also joined this site to try to find out how widespread this is , and once I've figured out forum navigation will post an EON- specific thread about it.
    Originally posted by Eggatha
    Sadly, reporting them to Ofgem will be a complete waste of your time as you agreed to take the matter to arbitration. As you have rejected The Ombudsman's decision your sole option is legal action against the supplier. Rejection of a decision means that neither the supplier nor The Ombudsman are required to discuss the complaint with you again. The supplier is now effectively off the hook.

    Ofgem will not investigate individual complaints; they will though place on record all alleged breaches of Licence obligations. You will need to look carefully at the detail of the supply Licence to determine which, if any, of the Licence conditions you feel the supplier has breached. You will only receive a polite non-committal reply.
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