Switching to Sainsburys - my nightmare

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Energy
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akkersakkers Forumite
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edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Energy
I saw a special offer on uSwitch and switched to Sainsburys through uSwitch website. The special offer was for 12 months ending 31 Aug 2016.
The switch went ok and I received all paperwork on-line and through post. Then I got a letter from Sainsburys stating that my switch-over date was set at 27th Aug. I then received a letter from old supplier stating that my switch-over date was 28th Aug. Then another letter from Sainsburys stating the date to be 3rd Sept and then 7th Sept.
I submitted the meter readings to both suppliers for 28th Aug but I had no acknowledgments. I tried calling Sainsburys but could not get through; there was a 15mins waiting time. I filled in an online enquiry which was to be answered within 5 days - I got no reply. Eventually, I submitted the readings for 7th Sept to Sainsburys as well, on-line. But none of the readings are showing as being accepted on my account on-line.
On 21st Sept, the supplier took money from my account through the existing direct debit. I called them and complained; they said that Sainsburys had not supplied them with readings; it was their call.
I called Saindbury's and eventually got through after waiting 10-15 mins. Spoke to them and explained the mess. They said that readings had not been agreed with old supplier. 'Agreed???' I asked. I had submitted the readings for 28 Aug and then for 7th Sept, the readings that I had take on the days. Why do they have to 'agree' on other readings. Why did'nt they sand a person around to take actual readings if they dont believe me. Anyway this person gave me lot of jibbrish about supply lines and meter readings which I did not understand nor believe. Anyway, it was to be sorted asap and the switch-over date would be 7th sept.
Now I have had old supplier take money for sept and Sainsburys also taking money for this month. I am some way above budget and have had to borrow money from relatives to cover this. Further, it looks like the switch over date will now be 7th Sept and I will have lost 7 days of the special offer.
I am still not sure what is happening and have no idea when this is going to be sorted.
What a nightmare. So much for the Govt's promise of swift switch-overs!
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Replies

  • edited 28 September 2015 at 2:55PM
    modsandmockersmodsandmockers Forumite
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    edited 28 September 2015 at 2:55PM
    If I were you, I would call my bank and ask them to recall, under the terms of the DD guarantee, at least the payment which the old supplier has taken and, unless Sainsbury's gave 10 days notice in advance of the upcoming payment and it's precise amount, then I would recall that one as well. Ask the bank to open an instant savings account and put the money in there instead - it'll stop you spending it on something else. Email the old supplier to inform them what you have done and why, and don't let them have any more money until they have produced an accurate final bill using the same end meter reading as Sainsbury's start meter reading. Don't waste any more time phoning either of them - just send them lots of emails so that they can't accuse you of trying to avoid payment. If by next month, you are still not satisfied that the switch has taken place properly, I would start recalling the Sainsbury's DD payments as well - if they can't work out for themselves which of them is supplying you, then how can you be expected to know?

    ps - at the end of the day it doesn't really matter how long the suppliers take to organise the switch, just so long as you only pay for what you have used and have been putting the money aside in the meantime. If the suppliers start getting heavy, lodge a formal complaint with both of them.
    mad mocs - the pavement worrier
  • akkersakkers Forumite
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    I have already cancelled the DD with the old supplier. So at least they wont be able to draw any more money.
  • SystemSystem Forumite
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    OP - all readings that you provide have to go to a third party (data collectors) for adjudication. There is then a process that allows the new and old supplier to raise a dispute. I have just had a delayed switch and the agreed gas reading is 105C3Ms different from the reading that I provided. As it is within limits, both suppliers use this figure for closing and opening readings. I should reach the agreed figure about mid- November. In truth, the difference in cost to me is in pence.
  • akkersakkers Forumite
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    When I spoke to the Sainsburys person over the phone, he gave me all this speel about 'meter reading windows', 'supply line' and other jibbrish. I told him that I thought he was taking the mickey by using these complicated terms.
  • SystemSystem Forumite
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    akkers wrote: »
    When I spoke to the Sainsburys person over the phone, he gave me all this speel about 'meter reading windows', 'supply line' and other jibbrish. I told him that I thought he was taking the mickey by using these complicated terms.

    We are all guilty of slipping into business-speak from time to time. The reason that meter readings go to a third party is because it isn't unknown for customers to lie: particularly, if there has been a significant increase in the price of energy. When CS use the would 'agree' it just means that the gaining supplier has passed them an industry checked/estimated reading and both the gaining and losing supplier have accepted it for billing purposes. There is no reason for you, as the customer, to be concerned.
  • akkersakkers Forumite
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    Yes but if they don't believe the customer then why not send someone out to actually read the meter rather than go this prolonged procedure of 'agree' and disagree.
  • SystemSystem Forumite
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    akkers wrote: »
    Yes but if they don't believe the customer then why not send someone out to actually read the meter rather than go this prolonged procedure of 'agree' and disagree.

    Simple - a meter reader costs them, and us, money. Energy suppliers are only required to read meters once every two years: British Gas has a derogation that allows them to defer for 5 years. Using a third party to moderate a meter reading covers both a delayed switch and incorrect meter reading provided by the customer. The data collectors have up to 70 years of historical data for every property in the Country. You are not paying for the same energy twice so nobody is losing out by very much. In some cases the customer actually gains.
  • D_M_ED_M_E Forumite
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    Originally posted by Hengus - "The data collectors have up to 70 years of historical data for every property in the Country. "

    Yes, that's all very well, but what is not taken into account is if the property is sold or rented and the new owners/occupiers use far less energy than the previous occupiers/tenants.

    In my case, my annual usage is approximately 20% of the previous occupier's annual usage and I am in the process of disputing the old supplier's estimated final reading - they've not used actual photographed readings - which equates to 9 months of my actual usage and I was only with them for a few weeks.
  • SystemSystem Forumite
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    I am still struggling to see why this is a nightmare? The two suppliers have agree a meter reading. You may well end up paying the old supplier for energy that you haven't used. You will NOT pay the new supplier anything for kWhs until your meter passes the agreed reading. You will only pay the daily standing charge. Yes, it is annoying and it can causes issues if you switch again today but it is hardly a nightmare. I think that the dispute limit for gas is 109C3Ms - this equates to about £48. The actual difference is minimal. I am in this situation at the moment. I will not pay mu supplier for any kWhs of gas until the middle of next month.
  • akkersakkers Forumite
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    Its a nightmare that that I am stuck in a limbo. The old supplier withdrew money through DD and so did the new supplier. So in effect I have paid double in sept. Hopefuly I will get a refund later but its left me in a budgetary mess for the month. Moreover, trying to contact Sainsbury's via telephone or email has literally been a nightmare.
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