Scottish Power tale of woe

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Energy
16 replies 1.8K views
zeewarzeewar Forumite
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edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Energy
I think I will have most people beat on poor customer service from Scottish Power.

I used to be with Scottish power when I lived in Maidstone, I left the property closed the account, paid the final bill (think they actually owed me money, which they paid) in May 2014. Nothing too bad there and all payments to Scottish Power stopped. Anyway I moved into rented accommodation in London which was supplied by British Gas, although there was no gas supply it was an all electric supplied flat. Being that I wanted to keep my bills down I looked online for who could supply me with electricity the cheapest and it came back with Scottish Power. Well having just recently been with them I thought that was fine and opened a new account with them in August 2014. What a mistake to make!

Unfortunately due to the landlord of the flat getting into problems with his mortgage company I handed in my notice at the flat and left there in mid December 2014 and rang Scottish Power to cancel my account with them. I moved in with my partner so didn't need them to continue being my supplier as my partner was with other companies so closed the account, or so I thought.

Scottish Power did say that it may take a month to get the final bill sorted so I left the direct debit in place as I was expecting a small rebate from Scottish Power. In March 2015 I notice that I had a direct Debit to Scottish power, So I ring them and they advise me that I am paying for the gas and electric for the property in Maidstone! I challenge this and eventually they decide that the accounts have been linked and I am still paying for the property in London. They apologise and promise to get it sorted and it will take 10 working days. After a couple of weeks I check my account to find they have again taken money from my account and in addition they have taken a second amount (IE I am paying more than twice what they were charging me when I lived in the flat in London). Now maybe I should have cancelled the direct debit but as I was in the process of sorting out a mortgage so I could buy a property I really didn't want an automated note from Scottish power to affect my credit rating.

I rang back and again had the same issues with Scottish Power telling me that I was being charged for the property in Maidstone, then told I was being charged for the property in London, but the best one was when they changed their mind and told me they were charging me for my partners property which they didn't even supply. I got told oh don't worry we will close the accounts and refund your money (by this time they were charging me 3 times as much per month as when I had been living in London). Again you will have to wait for 10 working days before you see anything in your account.

That was mid April, since then every two weeks or so I ring up go through the same lengthy discussion, point out that they are still withdrawing money, haven't closed my account, get told we will sort it but it takes 10 days. At the end May while I am very patient I was to put it mildly very upset with them. They put me through to what appeared to be their accounts team. I had their staff member plus their supervisor discussing the problem and trying to sort it out. They said that the issue was that while my account had been closed the billing account had not been closed correctly and this was why there were issues. After speaking to them for about an hour (most calls during this time were taking between 30minutes and an hour each time), see if you can guess what I was told. Yep its all sorted you will have to wait 10 days for your refund.

If you have read this far you can possibly guess what happens next. In early June Scottish power withdraw nearly £500 from my account. Incandescent might have been an appropriate adjective at this point. I had had enough and no matter if it did affect my credit rating I was going to cancel the direct debit. I rang Scottish power, they apologised they said the payment of £500 was for Gas for the property in London between December 2014 and June 2015, I pointed out there wasnt even a gas meter let alone any gas appliances in that flat so where they had got a meter reading from?

I was put through to their complaints department (something I really should have done earlier), told that I had someone personally looking into it and would be my contact to give me updates, and given a reference number for me to quote in future calls (a bit ominous). We agreed they would ring me 5 days later and agreed a rough time. Guess if I got that call? If you guessed I didn't you were right.

I just rang them 9 days after my call where I was put through to their complaints department, still no idea when someone will ring me back and now its with this specific person I cant get the customer help to discuss my case beyond "I am so sorry for your bad experience" and "it will have to wait until they ring you back" all they can do is email this person asking them to contact me.

So does anyone have any suggestions what I should do now and can anyone beat that experience?
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Replies

  • CardewCardew Forumite
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    Stop ringing and start writing!


    Under the Direct Debit guarantee with your bank, demand the bank refund all the disputed direct debits - why didn't you cancel them when you moved?
  • zeewarzeewar Forumite
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    I didn't cancel the Direct Debits because I was expecting a refund. Power companies tend to over estimate my usage. I don't know for certain now if I did owe or not money to Scottish power when I left the property in London. Certainly they now owe me due to the amount of money they have taken. I have told my bank that I am disputing the £500 they took out last month but they have told me that they may have to hold it back if Scottish power then dispute that they made a mistake. I expect Scottish Power to dispute it to be honest or at least their automatic systems to dispute it, but they may just add a rider to my credit rating when their automatic systems aren't able to take my money (because I have finally cancelled my Direct Debit with them).
  • CardewCardew Forumite
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    zeewar wrote: »
    I have told my bank that I am disputing the £500 they took out last month but they have told me that they may have to hold it back if Scottish power then dispute that they made a mistake.


    If that £500 was paid by Direct Debit then under the Direct Debit Guarantee your bank must refund you that sum by crediting your account.


    Any dispute over the validity of the £500 is between yourself and Scottish Power - your bank is not involved.
  • zeewarzeewar Forumite
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    I have done that and my bank have recredited my account. What they warned me is that they may have to put a hold on it if Scots power dispute it. So far I haven't heard anything but by now I don't trust them to get anything right.
  • zeewarzeewar Forumite
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    Latest update:

    No one rang me back at anytime last week despite the "email" that was allegedly sent asking someone to contact me about my complaint. So I rang this morning and spoke to Jim. He said its very complicated I will ring you back within 30 mins. After waiting 2 hours with no call back I rang back spoke to another guy, the call lasted 70 minutes. Upshot it looks like the maidstone address they closed down incorrectly, then when I rang again to query the issues this year someone then linked both the accounts and closed them as if I had moved out from both properties in December 2014 on the same day. So apparently this then restarted generating bills, but the money was going into a suspense account so wasn't registering on my closed accounts. I won't bore you with the random dates they kept coming up with as to when I moved in and out of properties, I was even told that it looked like I had manually paid them money in June of this year. This call lasted 70 minutes.
    The result of my call is they need to get the original final meter readings from April 2014. Do I still have them? Oddly no, so they will be trying to get the tapes of my call to them to get the final meter readings. How much of what I am told is correct I have no idea. So they have asked me to give them time to get the tapes, they have said they will ring me when they get them and it should be within 4 weeks. My suspicion is that I will be ringing them in 4 weeks time after they "forget" to ring me. If they havent sorted it then, I guess I will have to make a complaint to ofgem, does anyone know if they are any good? or would I be wasting my time. What other options do I have can I take them to the small claims court?
  • CardewCardew Forumite
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    You take a complaint to the Ombudsman.


    Personally I would send an email to SP formally submitting a complaint as this sets the clock running.


    Also tell your bank to look up the regulations for the Direct Debit guarantee - and apply them. They under no circumstances can send any money to SP even if events turned out that you did indeed owe them the money. The dispute is between you and SP and now nothing to do with your bank.
  • Cardew wrote: »
    Also tell your bank to look up the regulations for the Direct Debit guarantee - and apply them. They under no circumstances can send any money to SP even if events turned out that you did indeed owe them the money. The dispute is between you and SP and now nothing to do with your bank
    Yes - I don't recall the precise wording, but the direct debit guarantee specifically states that if any refund turns out to be wrong, then the dispute will be between the the supplier and the customer. The bank will not be involved.
    mad mocs - the pavement worrier
  • zeewarzeewar Forumite
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    I will go back to my bank then, as the customer service rep definitely told me differently. Many thanks for clarifying that for me.
    Do I still need to write a letter as Scots Power have given me a complaints reference number on the 20th June, would that not start the "clock" as well?
  • CardewCardew Forumite
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    zeewar wrote: »
    I will go back to my bank then, as the customer service rep definitely told me differently. Many thanks for clarifying that for me.
    Do I still need to write a letter as Scots Power have given me a complaints reference number on the 20th June, would that not start the "clock" as well?


    No need to write as they have given you a complaint number.
  • Wolf3Wolf3 Forumite
    216 Posts
    Scottish Power then have 8 weeks, 56 days, to resolve the complaint before you can take this complaint to the Ombudsman.

    So if the complaint was registered on the 20th June, Scottish Power have until the 15th August to try and sort out the complaint to your satisfaction
    If the complaint is not resolved to your satisfaction and either eight weeks have passed since the complaint was made, or it reaches a point of deadlock (where the energy company says it can do no more to resolve the complaint, whichever is sooner), you can ask Ombudsman Services: Energy to investigate. The energy company should write to you at eight weeks or deadlock to tell you how to do this.
    Quoted from the Ombudsman Services
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