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    • chaoticbaker
    • By chaoticbaker 10th Aug 18, 3:47 PM
    • 8Posts
    • 3Thanks
    chaoticbaker
    Spark Energy massive bill
    • #1
    • 10th Aug 18, 3:47 PM
    Spark Energy massive bill 10th Aug 18 at 3:47 PM
    Hi there

    I've been renting a flat for the past 4 years and have had the energy supplied by Spark Energy and paid for through a direct debit. A couple of months ago I started getting daily texts from Spark telling me that I owed them £1500. This came as a bit of a shock! I spoke to a customer service rep who said that it was probably a miscalculation as they hadn't had a meter reading for quite some time. After submitting the meter reading the bill came back as £1680!

    After looking into my current account I found that my direct debit had been cancelled in January this year. Spark say that this was probably done by mistake by my bank as I myself definitely did not cancel the direct debit. I then remembered that in February they had sent me texts telling me that I had to pay my outstanding balance of £36. At the time I had thought that this was strange because being signed up to a direct debit, I assumed that the necessary amount would be debited from my account autmatically. I made a one off payment of £36 and assumed that the matter was settled.

    When I first started receiving the new set of texts demanding £1500++ I at first thought there must be some device in the flat which had been sucking up vast amounts of power without me realising. However, on logging in to the online account and checking my balance I saw that, despite being on the direct debit scheme for 4 years, our account has been in a negative balance since the beginning of 2015. When in February they were sending texts to say that my account was owing £36, the online summary shows that the account was in fact at -£1050. Spark state that the direct debit is recalculated quarterly to adjust for any over/underuse of the electricity. However, this has not happened for our account and now means that I am liable for a huge bill which I do not have the money to pay immediately.

    I've spoken to their customer services team who have been pleasant enough but have basically said that I need to pay up.

    I'm upset about the whole situation. I know that I should have paid closer attention to my online account balance, however, as a direct debit customer who has been making regular payments I did not think that this could happen. Also, having received texts from them in February telling me that my balance was -£36 I thought it was safe to assume that my account was roughly in order and not £1000 in arrears.

    I'd like to know if there I anything that I can do to complain or if I just need to figure out how to pay the bill and get on with it. Any advice you could give me would be very gratefully received. Thank you!
Page 1
    • Robin9
    • By Robin9 10th Aug 18, 4:22 PM
    • 3,360 Posts
    • 2,189 Thanks
    Robin9
    • #2
    • 10th Aug 18, 4:22 PM
    • #2
    • 10th Aug 18, 4:22 PM
    Well you've got 7 lots of £36 to put towards the bill sat in your bank account as a starter.

    The £36 DD sounds like it was drastically under estimated as in the last 7 months alone your bill was over £600. How did the £36 come about - your assessment based on actual consumption or what the previous tenants aid they paid.?
    Never pay on an estimated bill
    • chaoticbaker
    • By chaoticbaker 10th Aug 18, 6:46 PM
    • 8 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    chaoticbaker
    • #3
    • 10th Aug 18, 6:46 PM
    • #3
    • 10th Aug 18, 6:46 PM
    Our regular direct debit was £96 but they then lowered it to £80 in August last year. I'd assumed at the time that was because we were using less energy in the Summer. But looking at the account it looks like we were at -£700.81 when they lowered the direct debit amount! The £36 in February was a one off payment on top of our regular direct debit at the time.
    • Robin9
    • By Robin9 10th Aug 18, 6:58 PM
    • 3,360 Posts
    • 2,189 Thanks
    Robin9
    • #4
    • 10th Aug 18, 6:58 PM
    • #4
    • 10th Aug 18, 6:58 PM
    So the DD that got "cancelled" was for £80 ?

    That means that you've got 7 lots of £80 to go towards the bill. I would certainly notice if my bank account had £560 extra in it.

    Do you not look at your online account, read your meters, look at your bank statement ?
    Never pay on an estimated bill
    • dogshome
    • By dogshome 11th Aug 18, 7:30 AM
    • 3,098 Posts
    • 1,586 Thanks
    dogshome
    • #5
    • 11th Aug 18, 7:30 AM
    • #5
    • 11th Aug 18, 7:30 AM
    The only mention of a 'Bill' in the OP's post, is the £1680 one received after giving a meter reading.


    Texted demands for money mean nothing unless they relate to a previously issued Bill.- There could be grounds for involving the Back-Billing code if no actual bills were issued for 12 months or more
    • Spark Energy: Jenny
      Verified User verified user
    • By Spark Energy: Jenny Verified User verified user 11th Aug 18, 9:48 AM
    • 189 Posts
    • 52 Thanks
    Spark Energy: Jenny
    • #6
    • 11th Aug 18, 9:48 AM
    • #6
    • 11th Aug 18, 9:48 AM
    Hi chaoticbaker

    If you'd like me to take a look at this for you, drop me a line to the email address given in my profile.

    I'd need confirmation of your full name, your supply address and your MSE screen name.

    Hope to hear from you soon.

    Kind regards

    Jenny
    Customer Relations Manager
    Official Company Representative
    I am the official company representative of Spark Energy. MSE has given permission for me to post in response to queries about the company, so that I can help solve issues. You can see my name on the companies with permission to post list. I am not allowed to tout for business at all. If you believe I am please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com This does NOT imply any form of approval of my company or its products by MSE"
    • chaoticbaker
    • By chaoticbaker 28th Aug 18, 6:05 PM
    • 8 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    chaoticbaker
    • #7
    • 28th Aug 18, 6:05 PM
    • #7
    • 28th Aug 18, 6:05 PM
    Hi Jenny

    Thanks for your message. I sent an email to the address in your profile as you advised but I haven't heard anything back. Would you mind looking into it for me please?

    Thanks
    • matelodave
    • By matelodave 28th Aug 18, 6:25 PM
    • 3,985 Posts
    • 2,530 Thanks
    matelodave
    • #8
    • 28th Aug 18, 6:25 PM
    • #8
    • 28th Aug 18, 6:25 PM
    I agree with Robin (#4 above). Had you checked your bank account, read your meters or even put some effort into checking your bills/on-line account you would have been aware that something had gone awry quite a few months ago.

    I'm sure that most of us would also have noticed an extra £80 a month floating about in our accounts so you should have quite a few bob in there to go towards your outstanding debt.

    Hopefully you'll try a bit harder into keeping an eye on your money and your bills in the future.
    Love makes the world go round - beer make it go round even faster
    Look after our planet - it's the only one with beer
    • macman
    • By macman 28th Aug 18, 6:37 PM
    • 42,793 Posts
    • 18,040 Thanks
    macman
    • #9
    • 28th Aug 18, 6:37 PM
    • #9
    • 28th Aug 18, 6:37 PM
    You are quite correct in thinking that you use much less energy in summer (assuming that you heat by electricity). But the whole point of a fixed monthly DD is to even out your payments year-round, so you don't get hit with big winter bills. The DD amount is set at the annual cost divided by 12. So your account may be in debit in the winter, but in credit in the summer, but will balance out, if correctly set at the start.
    £36 wouldn't even cover your ongoing usage, let alone any arrears.
    No free lunch, and no free laptop
    • welshmoneylover
    • By welshmoneylover 28th Aug 18, 7:15 PM
    • 2,830 Posts
    • 3,734 Thanks
    welshmoneylover
    Hi there

    I've been renting a flat for the past 4 years and have had the energy supplied by Spark Energy and paid for through a direct debit. A couple of months ago I started getting daily texts from Spark telling me that I owed them £1500. This came as a bit of a shock! I spoke to a customer service rep who said that it was probably a miscalculation as they hadn't had a meter reading for quite some time. After submitting the meter reading the bill came back as £1680!

    After looking into my current account I found that my direct debit had been cancelled in January this year. Spark say that this was probably done by mistake by my bank as I myself definitely did not cancel the direct debit. I then remembered that in February they had sent me texts telling me that I had to pay my outstanding balance of £36. At the time I had thought that this was strange because being signed up to a direct debit, I assumed that the necessary amount would be debited from my account autmatically. I made a one off payment of £36 and assumed that the matter was settled.

    When I first started receiving the new set of texts demanding £1500++ I at first thought there must be some device in the flat which had been sucking up vast amounts of power without me realising. However, on logging in to the online account and checking my balance I saw that, despite being on the direct debit scheme for 4 years, our account has been in a negative balance since the beginning of 2015. When in February they were sending texts to say that my account was owing £36, the online summary shows that the account was in fact at -£1050. Spark state that the direct debit is recalculated quarterly to adjust for any over/underuse of the electricity. However, this has not happened for our account and now means that I am liable for a huge bill which I do not have the money to pay immediately.

    I've spoken to their customer services team who have been pleasant enough but have basically said that I need to pay up.

    I'm upset about the whole situation. I know that I should have paid closer attention to my online account balance, however, as a direct debit customer who has been making regular payments I did not think that this could happen.
    Originally posted by chaoticbaker
    But you weren’t a DD customer as it had been cancelled earlier in the year,,, probably due to insufficient funds.

    Did you not notice the payments weren’t being taken?
    Be happy, it's the greatest wealth
    • chaoticbaker
    • By chaoticbaker 14th Sep 18, 3:08 PM
    • 8 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    chaoticbaker
    I know it's a big sin to resurrect dead threads, however, I've had a resolution to this and thought it was worth posting as it might be useful to others.

    I spoke to 3 separate people at Spark over the phone who were all lovely but all basically said that I would have to pay the massive energy bill. After Jenny from Spark got in contact through this thread I sent her an email detailing the issue. Within a couple of days she replied and informed me that the billing information I was seeing on my online account was all incorrect. She had the bill recalculated and it came out to £471.63 (from a previous total of >£1600). She then issued a credit of £75 to cover for the inconvenience.

    I still don't really understand what happened but I'm obviously very relieved that I've settled the account for an amount that is roughly what I was expecting to pay for the missed months. Jenny was very helpful so I'm glad this forum exists as I'm not sure what I would have done otherwise.
    • Spark Energy: Jenny
      Verified User verified user
    • By Spark Energy: Jenny Verified User verified user 14th Sep 18, 3:12 PM
    • 189 Posts
    • 52 Thanks
    Spark Energy: Jenny
    Hi chaoticbaker

    Thank you so much for coming back to update the thread.

    I am really pleased to see your feedback. It's made my day!

    If at any point you want to come back and get more clarification on what's gone wrong, you just need to pop me an email or call using the number at the bottom of one of the emails I've sent you.

    Have a great weekend.

    Kind regards

    Jenny
    Official Company Representative
    I am the official company representative of Spark Energy. MSE has given permission for me to post in response to queries about the company, so that I can help solve issues. You can see my name on the companies with permission to post list. I am not allowed to tout for business at all. If you believe I am please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com This does NOT imply any form of approval of my company or its products by MSE"
    • chrisw99
    • By chrisw99 14th Sep 18, 4:12 PM
    • 324 Posts
    • 194 Thanks
    chrisw99
    I know it's a big sin to resurrect dead threads, however, I've had a resolution to this and thought it was worth posting as it might be useful to others.
    Originally posted by chaoticbaker
    It's not a sin if the original thread starter closes it off with a summary at all. I wish more people would do it, nothing worse than reading a long thread then finding out the OP never updated it and you have no idea if things got sorted..
    • Robin9
    • By Robin9 14th Sep 18, 4:21 PM
    • 3,360 Posts
    • 2,189 Thanks
    Robin9
    Also delighted to see a proper outcome.

    What is worrying is that some people would not question the bill and even when they do they have to be persistent like chaoiticbaker and ignore 3 duff call centre operators until they get hold of the Jenny's of this world.
    Never pay on an estimated bill
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