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  • FIRST POST
    • don9999
    • By don9999 29th Nov 17, 7:13 PM
    • 492Posts
    • 134Thanks
    don9999
    'Switching' is NOT as easy as Martin makes out
    • #1
    • 29th Nov 17, 7:13 PM
    'Switching' is NOT as easy as Martin makes out 29th Nov 17 at 7:13 PM
    Am I the ONLY person that thinks Martin (and many other financial commentators) are being rather dis-ingenuous when they keep saying that switching is 'EASY to do'.......?

    Don't get me wrong. I switch! Regularly. I also switch for both sets of parents. I am a keen money-saver and avid follower of this site and Martin.

    But....switching is NOT, I repeat, NOT easy !

    The latest newsletter repeats the same misnomer - that switching is easy.

    OK....the process of 'initiating the switch' IS dead simple. Takes a few minutes if you have the details to hand.
    But 'I' believe it is rather deceitful not to mention the difficulties that are often faced 'during' the switch.

    I can't be the only one that has problems. Even though a dual fuel switch is initiated on the same day, they rarely get processed at the same time. I receive numerous emails from the company (for gas and electricity separately, even if I am switching dual fuel) - welcoming me to the company, advising the switch is starting, maybe describing the process that will take place, various updates along the way etc. etc...Then, other emails from the previous company aknowledging the switch, but asking me to stay.

    Then you go on to trying to reconcile the old accounts. Again separately for gas and electricity. Often having to chase the old company to produce a final bill. Then dealing with the balancing debit/credit. Perhaps chasing the company for final bills and repayments etc...

    Meanwhile the date of the switch is some random point in the future - almost always different for gas and electricty (even with the same company).

    Numerous more emails. One to say that a DD has been set up (for the first fuel). Then a second to say a new DD (or a revised DD) for the second fuel.

    etc.etc......

    And there are many other pitfalls along the way!

    In theory, a switch 'should' be simple. Request the switch and give meter readings. Final bills automatically produced and settled. A new DD set up and new bills start. Seamless.

    In reality, it is nothing but.

    OK, I have had one switch that went relatively smoothly (despite the deluge of emails).

    But most take many weeks, sometimes months, and in one case a year!

    'I' will continue to switch, as I know the game, and am reasonably savvy in these matters.
    But for a newbie, or the elderly, or the weary, then if they have a bad switch process, they are going to get swamped along the process.

    I think more work has to go in to getting the whole process more streamlined, and automated.

    Just 'my' thoughts and experiences.
    Maybe I've just been unlucky.....lol...
    There are 10 types of people in the world. Those who understand binary, and those who don't!
Page 1
    • LABMAN
    • By LABMAN 29th Nov 17, 7:40 PM
    • 700 Posts
    • 1,160 Thanks
    LABMAN
    • #2
    • 29th Nov 17, 7:40 PM
    • #2
    • 29th Nov 17, 7:40 PM
    ....In theory, a switch 'should' be simple. Request the switch and give meter readings. Final bills automatically produced and settled. A new DD set up and new bills start. Seamless...
    Originally posted by don9999
    Is exactly how it's worked for me without any of the problems you describe in maybe a dozen or so switches. Not one single problem has been encountered.
    • bonus2010
    • By bonus2010 29th Nov 17, 7:49 PM
    • 118 Posts
    • 47 Thanks
    bonus2010
    • #3
    • 29th Nov 17, 7:49 PM
    • #3
    • 29th Nov 17, 7:49 PM
    You’re absolutely correct! I did a switch for my mother in 2014 from Scottish Power to nPower and it took 84 days… the electricity switched over ok within 25 days but it wasn’t until the 84th day the gas got switched over. The hassle:- all the phone calls to nPower to get it sorted… Not an easy--- or straight forward switchover

    At this very moment I’m switching from Scottish Power to Our Power…again the electricity switched over ok in 21 days but the gas didn’t. On phoning to find out the problem I discovered Scottish Power had rejected my gas application for reasons only known to them. I had to make an official complaint and it’s allegedly now re-scheduled for Dec 4th.. (that will then be 45 days) but you’re right a lot of hassle and not easy as many would like to claim.

    Personally, I believe there should be a penalty charge of £50 per day for each supplier when exceeding a reasonable 21 day switch over schedule as promised to their customers and it should be regulated by ofgem.
    Last edited by bonus2010; 29-11-2017 at 7:53 PM.
    • Hengus
    • By Hengus 29th Nov 17, 8:16 PM
    • 4,650 Posts
    • 2,822 Thanks
    Hengus
    • #4
    • 29th Nov 17, 8:16 PM
    • #4
    • 29th Nov 17, 8:16 PM

    Personally, I believe there should be a penalty charge of £50 per day for each supplier when exceeding a reasonable 21 day switch over schedule as promised to their customers and it should be regulated by ofgem.
    Originally posted by bonus2010
    The Licence stipulation is 35 days from receipt of an application to switch (this includes the 14 day cooling off period). Seventeen day switching is still a voluntary code. The problem is that suppliers have little to do with the actual transfer process. There are a myriad of interlocking agencies that have to join the dots. FWiW, lawyers make £Ms arguing about what is reasonable in contract terms and what isnít.
    • bonus2010
    • By bonus2010 29th Nov 17, 8:27 PM
    • 118 Posts
    • 47 Thanks
    bonus2010
    • #5
    • 29th Nov 17, 8:27 PM
    • #5
    • 29th Nov 17, 8:27 PM
    The Licence stipulation is 35 days from receipt of an application to switch (this includes the 14 day cooling off period). Seventeen day switching is still a voluntary code. The problem is that suppliers have little to do with the actual transfer process. There are a myriad of interlocking agencies that have to join the dots. FWiW, lawyers make £Ms arguing about what is reasonable in contract terms and what isnít.
    Originally posted by Hengus
    Thanks. Good information.. ScottishPower does make a 'guarantee' claim that on their website that they will complete switch over in 21 days...so, if its not possible then they're deliberately misleading people. Yeah I know it's unrealistic to expect £50/day penalties but my point was more there has to be something to enforce reasonable switch over times if ofgem are genuinely wanting consumers to engage in the market. In my case SP had no good reason to reject my gas application and I suspect it was more due to their incompetence and neglect.
    • Hengus
    • By Hengus 30th Nov 17, 8:33 AM
    • 4,650 Posts
    • 2,822 Thanks
    Hengus
    • #6
    • 30th Nov 17, 8:33 AM
    • #6
    • 30th Nov 17, 8:33 AM
    Thanks. Good information.. ScottishPower does make a 'guarantee' claim that on their website that they will complete switch over in 21 days...so, if its not possible then they're deliberately misleading people. Yeah I know it's unrealistic to expect £50/day penalties but my point was more there has to be something to enforce reasonable switch over times if ofgem are genuinely wanting consumers to engage in the market. In my case SP had no good reason to reject my gas application and I suspect it was more due to their incompetence and neglect.
    Originally posted by bonus2010
    \
    No Regulator is going to agree to a £50 a day compensation payment for a delayed switch given the financial disadvantage to consumers of a delay is in pence per day not £s. There are already remedies for poor customer service via the supplier's complaints procedure and The Energy Ombudsman. I have switched many times over the past few years (4 times this year already) and I have only had one transfer go sour due to a computer glitch. As I was a returning customer, the supplier's computer assumed (wrongly) that I was already on supply and it cancelled the transfer. I was more than adequately compensated.

    It is also worth remembering that all actions have consequences. Ten years ago, I could travel by train to London in 2 hours. Now the shortest journey is timetabled at 2hrs 15 mins. Why - because operators now have to pay compensation for delays so they have built 'contingency' into their timetables.
    • House Martin
    • By House Martin 30th Nov 17, 12:39 PM
    • 731 Posts
    • 630 Thanks
    House Martin
    • #7
    • 30th Nov 17, 12:39 PM
    • #7
    • 30th Nov 17, 12:39 PM
    You are spot on.For the first time I have had to sort British Gas out because when I switched to Ebico Zero no standing charge tariff they carried on billing me for all the time after the switch had officially gone through in July.
    Just received a cheque yesterday with an apology and a "hope to see you back "..
    They will definitely see me back just as soon as OFGEM reverse the silly rule stopping BG offering better "no frills " tariffs with Sainsburys Energy.
    Think I ve made a mistake with Eon who will be at me to fit the worlds worst smart meter, the Secure Liberty meters.These meters cause problems when switching to other suppliers.I wont be staying with Eon after the years fix ends so I wont be in the position I hope, of actually refusing their idea of a smart meter which will go against my principles of fully accepting smart meters.
    • Doshwaster
    • By Doshwaster 30th Nov 17, 12:49 PM
    • 4,760 Posts
    • 3,883 Thanks
    Doshwaster
    • #8
    • 30th Nov 17, 12:49 PM
    • #8
    • 30th Nov 17, 12:49 PM
    Is exactly how it's worked for me without any of the problems you describe in maybe a dozen or so switches. Not one single problem has been encountered.
    Originally posted by LABMAN
    The switching process itself is simple- the only problem I've had is it taking far too long which is enough to put a lot of people off. It was quicker to remortage my house than switch energy supplier. When all that is changing is the bill provider there's no reason why everything shouldn't be transferred within a few days.
    • badmemory
    • By badmemory 30th Nov 17, 5:52 PM
    • 1,058 Posts
    • 1,117 Thanks
    badmemory
    • #9
    • 30th Nov 17, 5:52 PM
    • #9
    • 30th Nov 17, 5:52 PM
    When smart meters actually work (maybe by generation 3) it ought to be possible to switch completely in 15 days. 14 days cooling off then switch the next day, no messing with electric this month & gas next either. I'm prepared to bet that they will come up with some excuse to stop that from happening though!
    • worried jim
    • By worried jim 30th Nov 17, 5:55 PM
    • 8,768 Posts
    • 13,384 Thanks
    worried jim
    I’ve switched every year for a decade, not one issue. Quite often do it from a bar on holiday.
    "Only two things are infinite-the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not so sure about the universe"
    Albert Einstein
    • Hengus
    • By Hengus 30th Nov 17, 6:35 PM
    • 4,650 Posts
    • 2,822 Thanks
    Hengus
    When smart meters actually work (maybe by generation 3) it ought to be possible to switch completely in 15 days. 14 days cooling off then switch the next day, no messing with electric this month & gas next either. I'm prepared to bet that they will come up with some excuse to stop that from happening though!
    Originally posted by badmemory
    Ofgem is looking to move to one day switching with the cooling off period coming after the transfer has gone through.
    Last edited by Hengus; 30-11-2017 at 7:26 PM.
    • nic_c
    • By nic_c 30th Nov 17, 8:20 PM
    • 1,123 Posts
    • 640 Thanks
    nic_c
    You don't say who you have switched to. Some, but not all comply with the switch guarantee. The ones I have used have and they went through fine. I think some people get too caught up of thinking everything is instant.
    • spiro
    • By spiro 2nd Dec 17, 8:20 AM
    • 5,861 Posts
    • 2,818 Thanks
    spiro
    When you do a dual fuel switch you are actually doing 2 switches, 1 per fuel. The systems/processes are totally different for the 2 fuels hence 2 lots of comms etc.
    In electricity there are 9 organistions involved for a single switch.
    OFGEM are looking at 'faster and more reliable switching', the term same/next day has been dropped.
    IT Consultant in the utilities industry specialising in the retail electricity market.

    4 Credit Card and 1 Loan PPI claims settled for £26k, 1 rejected (Opus).
    • Hengus
    • By Hengus 2nd Dec 17, 9:15 AM
    • 4,650 Posts
    • 2,822 Thanks
    Hengus
    OFGEM are looking at 'faster and more reliable switching', the term same/next day has been dropped.
    Originally posted by spiro
    I wasn't aware of that - thank you. It begs the question though whether any of Ofgem's past changes to switching, simpler/fairer tariffs etc will stand the test of time? Ofgem seems to have gone into complete meltdown since the release of the CMA report.
    • glen.dewhirst
    • By glen.dewhirst 4th Dec 17, 3:35 PM
    • 2 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    glen.dewhirst
    I agree about problems having switched before, my recent switch involved bills been sent to me on many occasions from SSE for gas and electricity even though Iím on a prepayment meter and pay in advance, eventually this was sorted but it took a couple of months. I also had problems with the incorrect tariff set for my electricity once switched I.E paying too much, this took several weeks to sort out with EDF Energy. My gas tariff with Cardiff energy was also set wrong (Set too high on meter) and after a couple of months and many emails and phone conversations this has still not been rectified although after a new card was sent the tariff went to a lower rate than it should be. As a prepayment customer I feel there are many pitfalls in place when switching energy supply and can actually see many people being ripped off if they are not aware of tariff and standing charges that should be set on your meter correctly. I believe that people on prepayment meters are exploited by energy companies because they are more vulnerable.
    • bertiewhite
    • By bertiewhite 4th Dec 17, 3:57 PM
    • 728 Posts
    • 768 Thanks
    bertiewhite
    I can only speak for electricity but I switched from Swalec to NPower at the beginning of August.

    By the 24th Aug, I was switched to NPower and on 8th Sept, I had my final bill from Swalec and a refund paid into my bank.

    Couldn't be simpler.
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