How to not "Look after my bills"

in Energy
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AndysmithAndysmith Forumite
4 Posts
Fourth Anniversary First Post
MoneySaving Newbie
I signed up to Look after my bills to try and save some money on my electricity and gas but also to save the need for me to have to do it each year and keep things easy.
However, easy it has not been!  I filled in all the usual details, including the estimated usage in kWH for both gas and electricity.  Previously I was paying about £90 a month and was just coming to the end of a 1-year fixed rate good contract so seemed like a good time to change.
They sent me an email which, at the top said:
Great news I thought, money saved, leave it to them.
However when I looked at the direct debit information that came a few days later, it stated that the monthly payments were to be £124 a month.
This seemed somewhat baffling given I was promised an annual saving of £70.73.  When I queired this I did struggle to get a response, just the 'stock' answer of proces going up this year etc but nothing about how the £70 was supposed to materialise.  Only when I pushed this to a formal complaint did they explain the calculation.

The saving is calculated based on the difference between the rate that they have chosen and the rate if I stayed with my previous supplier.  Had I stayed with my previous supplier, obviously I would have been transferred to the horrific standard variable rate.  So the 'saving' was based on the difference between the new contract and the standard variable rate of the old supplier.

This makes sense but I think their practices are misleading.  The big headling in the email they send about the switch was all about the annual saving.  Buried at the bottom was the details of the direct debit (which I should have read earlier I admit) and buried in their website is how they calculate this.
My monthly repayments are up by £35 a month (39% increase!!!) but apparently there is a £70 saving.
I understand their calculations now but believe the emails they send are misleading for those who just want it done and perhaps dont look at the details of the calculations on their website.  The whole reason to go with them is to get them to do the detailed work!
Yes there will be a better saving for those moving from a standard variable rate but this misleading practice is not right for those who want to 'look after their bills'!
Would be interested in any comments on their methods of emailing 'savings'!
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Replies

  • edited 25 February at 9:48AM
    bagand96bagand96 Forumite
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    edited 25 February at 9:48AM
    1) Most (if not all) of the energy comparison sites work this way. If your fix was ending your energy rates would increase so it's not exactly a lie. Energy rates have seen fairly big increases recently. 

    2) Look after my bills are not the cheapest way. They will only move you to suppliers/deals they get commission for. Half an hour of your own time on a couple of comparison sites would have given you a much better idea of deals costs available. 
  • edited 25 February at 9:53AM
    matelodavematelodave Forumite
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    edited 25 February at 9:53AM
    I think the general consensus is that most people can do a lot better by doing it yourself but companies like LAMB will get you the best deal that gives them the biggest cut rather than the best for you.
    A lot of people also get locked into contracts with high exist fees which mean that it will cost them to escape if they discover a better deal. In the end, no one does "owt for nowt" so who do you think ends up paying LAMB for their services. 

    It's not everso difficult to sort it out yourself and you'll have a better idea of how your bills work than if you abdicate it to someone else.
    To comment on your assertion that they've fiddled the calculation, they are only doing what the OFGEM rules specify. ie that you'll be put onto your suppliers standard tariff at the end of your existing deal. That's why you need to do your own sums to work out how much you bills will actually cost rather than some notional saving




    Never under estimate the power of stupid people in large numbers
  • HasbeenHasbeen Forumite
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    Andysmith said:
    I signed up to Look after my bills to try and save some money on my electricity and gas but also to save the need for me to have to do it each year and keep things easy.
    However, easy it has not been!  I filled in all the usual details, including the estimated usage in kWH for both gas and electricity.  Previously I was paying about £90 a month and was just coming to the end of a 1-year fixed rate good contract so seemed like a good time to change.
    They sent me an email which, at the top said:
    Great news I thought, money saved, leave it to them.
    However when I looked at the direct debit information that came a few days later, it stated that the monthly payments were to be £124 a month.
    This seemed somewhat baffling given I was promised an annual saving of £70.73.  When I queired this I did struggle to get a response, just the 'stock' answer of proces going up this year etc but nothing about how the £70 was supposed to materialise.  Only when I pushed this to a formal complaint did they explain the calculation.

    The saving is calculated based on the difference between the rate that they have chosen and the rate if I stayed with my previous supplier.  Had I stayed with my previous supplier, obviously I would have been transferred to the horrific standard variable rate.  So the 'saving' was based on the difference between the new contract and the standard variable rate of the old supplier.

    This makes sense but I think their practices are misleading.  The big headling in the email they send about the switch was all about the annual saving.  Buried at the bottom was the details of the direct debit (which I should have read earlier I admit) and buried in their website is how they calculate this.
    My monthly repayments are up by £35 a month (39% increase!!!) but apparently there is a £70 saving.
    I understand their calculations now but believe the emails they send are misleading for those who just want it done and perhaps dont look at the details of the calculations on their website.  The whole reason to go with them is to get them to do the detailed work!
    Yes there will be a better saving for those moving from a standard variable rate but this misleading practice is not right for those who want to 'look after their bills'!
    Would be interested in any comments on their methods of emailing 'savings'!
    Firstly posters here are advised not to use companys such as these.

    It is better to take control and do it your self.

    And why use annual estimates when you have actuals at the end of your year Fix?

    Always ignore the big headline large savings in £££s an look at the rates and standing charges of the tariffs.

    Use  CAB or Switch with Which sites.

    Input your ACTUAL usage and compare.

    See if it comes back with what fix my Bill's have advised?


    The world is not ruined by the wickedness of the wicked, but by the weakness of the good. Napoleon
  • dogshomedogshome Forumite
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    The quoted " Saving " being based on the assumption that the customer will drop onto their suppliers expensive SVT tariff when their current deal ends, is a policy decision by Ofgem the regulator, and is used by both the Comparison Sites and the Suppliers.

    However, Look after my Bills are pushing the envelope by using the formula, and at the same time promising the customer a cheaper supplier, but that is how they do business and what a lucrative business it is.

    Each time they move a customer they get a kick-back from the new supplier, how much is never revealed, but as suppliers will sometimes pay around £50 directly to a new customer for signing up - a £30 payment to LamB would seem likely, and LamB boast on TV Ads, that they have 500,000 customers.
    This will bring in an income of £15 million in a year, with another £15 million the following year when they have moved all the customers to yet another supplier - Not all suppliers will pay, so LamB only deal with those that do with no regard as to how good or bad the service is, and from reports on this forum, have Switched customers to suppliers who went broke a few weeks later..  .

  • brewerdavebrewerdave Forumite
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    L.A.M.B lost all credibility about 18 months ago ,when it emerged that they were switching customers en masse to Together Energy who, at the time , were having horrendous difficulties with coping with being the SOLR for customers of One Select (and apparently haven't got any better !!)
  • AndysmithAndysmith Forumite
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    Thanks all, I was always a bit dubious of them but now having done a lot of digging cant see the need to use them.  This is a shame as the concept of someone looking after bills for me was appealing but clearly too much to ask!
    I still think their headline of 'saving £70' is misleading, if the regulators were really keen it should be accompanied by a 'if you moved to your supplier's standard variable rate'.  Also, a statement to say 'your estimated annual bill will be going up by about £400' should be there as well
  • JJ_EganJJ_Egan Forumite
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    (I still think their headline of 'saving £70' is misleading, if the regulators were really keen it should be accompanied by a 'if you moved to your supplier's standard variable rate)

    Same with all the comparison sites for many it is very misleading and probably a third of posts on here are to do with users not understanding .
  • DolorDolor Forumite
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    Given that there are still 57% of consumers who have never switched and are on a SVT, it could be argued that the savings are accurate for the majority. I thought that there was an ongoing consultation to force suppliers to move consumers onto their cheapest tariff at the end of a contract period. I am not sure how this will work with exit fees and the rules of fixed contracts.
  • edited 25 February at 10:48AM
    FaceHeadFaceHead Forumite
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    edited 25 February at 10:48AM
    dogshome said:
    The quoted " Saving " being based on the assumption that the customer will drop onto their suppliers expensive SVT tariff when their current deal ends, is a policy decision by Ofgem the regulator, and is used by both the Comparison Sites and the Suppliers.



    This. It's prescribed wording which was first introduced in late 2013/early 2014, so it's used across all suppliers and comparison sites. Some of the suppliers at the time felt this measurement of 'saving' which is really cost-avoidance is misleading and refused to use the wording for a while. 

    Ofgem told them that they'd decided to "simplify" the market, the secretary of state (then Ed Davey) had signed it off, and they were to do what they were told or get fined. The suppliers all rolled over because obviously preventing customers from getting misled onto expensive tariffs when they can just point the finger at the regulator isn't their top priority. 

    You'll need to write to your MP or the new secretary of state on this one. 
  • HasbeenHasbeen Forumite
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    Would be Interesting to know if OP comes back. 

    What "savings"? in rates & sc the CAB or Which site gives them against LAMB

    The world is not ruined by the wickedness of the wicked, but by the weakness of the good. Napoleon
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