MSE News: Spark to give £250K to Citizens Advice after 'serious breaches'

in Energy
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An Ofgem investigation found that Spark Energy breached switching rules and complaints handling regulations...
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Spark to give £250K to Citizens Advice after 'serious breaches'

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  • aldreddaldredd Forumite
    925 Posts
    I was with Spark for about 4 weeks - enough to put me off for life. A 'computer glitch' (a failure to create a proper process, more like) meant that when my first & final bill was generated, it was backdated to the date my account had actually closed - meaning it was deemed overdue from day 1 and passed to a debt collection agency. Cue call after call of harassment until they pulled their fingers out and sorted it.
    Tried complaining in writing, but they just couldn't see what my fussing was about.
  • edited 16 February 2015 at 6:19PM
    jamesdjamesd Forumite
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    edited 16 February 2015 at 6:19PM
    I'm puzzled about why about 10.5 times as much per capita is being paid to CA Scotland as to CA England and Wales. Did Spark mistreat 10.5 times as many customers in Scotland as the rest of Great Britain? If not, what's the reason for the huge discrepancy in per-capita benefit from the payment?

    Population of Scotland: 5.3 million, Wales 3.1 million, England 53.0 million, all 2011.

    Here's the notice of decision from Ofgem. The decision provides no indication that I could see of a geographic distinction in which customers were affected such that 10.5 times as many were affected in Scotland as in England and Wales. The document provides the following contact information for complaints and I suggest that both consumers and MSE complain about what appears initially to be a blatantly discriminatory decision:

    "1.9. Any written representation or objection with respect to the proposed penalty must be received by Martin Campbell at Ofgem ([email protected]) or Ofgem, 3rd Floor, Cornerstone, 107 West Regent Street, Glasgow, G2 2BA by 5.00pm on 16 March 2015.
    1.10. Any representations or objections received may be published on the Ofgem website. Should you wish for your response or part of your response to remain confidential, please indicate this clearly and give reasons for this request. Any such requests will be considered by Ofgem on a case by case basis.
    "

    If you contact Ofgem please take care not to harass or in any way behave improperly towards the gentleman concerned. He's simply their designated contact for complaints about this, not someone deserving of abuse. Please just stick to the facts and basis for your contact and/or complaint.
  • Butterfly_BrainButterfly_Brain Forumite
    8.9K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts I've been Money Tipped! Post of the Month
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    Renationalise!
    Blessed are the cracked for they are the ones that let in the light
    C.R.A.P R.O.L.L.Z. Member #35 Butterfly Brain + OH - Foraging Fixers
    Not Buying it 2015!
  • CrabmanCrabman Forumite
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    Spark Energy are useless, they lie to customers and to the Ombudsman and sadly as they are in a position to cover up and destroy evidence that could prove otherwise, they get away with it.

    It's a shame Ofgem couldn't simply close Spark Energy down.

    Interesting comment by jamesd relating to the payment discrepancy...
    I'm a Board Guide on the Savings & Investments, ISAs & Tax-free Savings, Public Transport & Cycling, Motoring and Parking Fines, Tickets & Parking Boards. I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly. Board Guides are not moderators & don't read every post. If you spot a contentious or illegal post then please report it to [email protected] (it's not part of my role to deal with this). Views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.com

  • Spark Energy really are hopeless and the fine is very richly deserved.

    They get many of their customers through 'letting agents' and when my son rented a flat in London through agents, Ludlow Thompson (another useless bunch) buried deep in the small print was that ALL energy would now be supplied by Spark Energy - a tasty commission having been paid to the agents.

    Trying to move to a 'normal' supplier proved fruitless and their Customer Service Agents were a joke, as I disputed one bill to be told it must be correct as it was an 'actual estimate' - as I remarked, it's either an actual meter reading, or an estimate.

    Finally kicked them into touch when my son moved out but not before a £2500 bill (for Jun-Jan) was reduced to the correct figure after we provided digital images of the 2 meters - they had never ever been near the meters so could not dispute the readings and this was finally sorted after I spoke with a person who wanted to resolve the issue.

    If ever MSE tip Spark Energy as an option give a very wide berth.

    Spark Energy deal in the very fluid rental market and I am sure many customers use the energy and then just disappear which might explain their attitude and some very high prices!
  • Spark Energy have still not got their act together. I left them last NOVEMBER and am still waiting a refund of my credit balance (nearly £400).
  • rosie383rosie383 Forumite
    5K Posts
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    For anyone affected by this, go onto BBC radio iplayer and listen again to 'You and Yours' from today as they were discussing Spark. The featured guy had got a bill for over £300 when in fact he had used £10 worth of energy. There was also talk of having to change tariff before 42 days of the contract had elapsed or they automatically switched customers to a tariff costing twice as much. I think that was the gist anyway. I couldn't hear it all properly.
    Father Ted: Now concentrate this time, Dougal. These
    (he points to some plastic cows on the table) are very small; those (pointing at some cows out of the window) are far away...
    :D:D:D
  • Hi. I'm with Spark Energy in this moment, and today got an email about new annual bill, I got really surprised when I discovered that I'm £450 in credit! Is there anything I can do to reduce this in-credit balance? After reading your stories I rather get it sorted until I'm still with them.
    Regards
    Jocker01
  • cklasscklass Forumite
    216 Posts
    You should request a refund:
    If a credit has accumulated and a customer asks for it back, suppliers must refund it. If the supplier thinks the credit should be withheld, the reasons why must be clearly explained but customers can challenge this.

    http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/utilities/lower-energy-direct-debits

    Such a large credit balance suggests your direct debit is much higher than it needs to be, so you should also request that they adjust it according to your actual usage.
  • CrabmanCrabman Forumite
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    Spark Energy have still not got their act together. I left them last NOVEMBER and am still waiting a refund of my credit balance (nearly £400).

    You should make a formal complaint to them and then escalate it to the Ombudsman. For that timescale I would ask for interest on the amount owing.

    Spark Energy have been known to continue claiming direct debit payments when they know they are no longer supplying energy and the customer is in credit. I just wonder how many customers have had money stolen in this manner and not just by Spark.
    I'm a Board Guide on the Savings & Investments, ISAs & Tax-free Savings, Public Transport & Cycling, Motoring and Parking Fines, Tickets & Parking Boards. I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly. Board Guides are not moderators & don't read every post. If you spot a contentious or illegal post then please report it to [email protected] (it's not part of my role to deal with this). Views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.com

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