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OVO refusing to refund when I'm in credit - why?


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My account is over £1200 in credit, but when I have applied for a refund on line I'm being told I can't do this until further metre readings and the next statement. This isn't legal - anyone else had this problem?
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Best answer by Darran_OVO 9 August 2017, 11:52

Hi @Elaine

Welcome to the forum and posting your question here.

In all fairness, we are not simply refusing to issue a refund, but to ensure we are able to get your account balance up to date, we need meter readings from you, so we can calculate your actual balance. For example, you might be showing £1200 in credit, but you may have used more energy than your direct debit has been covering therefore once we have up to date readings, and update your bill, you might then be £1000 in credit. Same the other way, if you have used less, we might be able to issue a bigger refund for you.

So we can get this sorted for you, can you get your meter readings submitted online, then email hello@ovoenergy.com to confirm the photos of your meters (this is required for any refund over £599), your account number, full name and date of birth. We can then issue a new statement with your up to date balance and then process the correct refund amount.

We look forward to receiving this info so we can get this all sorted out for you.

Darran
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There may have been a bit of a longer wait than normal yesterday, @Ciurte daliana, this is often the case after a Bank Holiday, call queues are back to normal levels now, apologise for any inconvenience cause.

I've just checked and the current wait time to speak to an agent is under 8 mins, if you're prepared to hold great, if not you can use our call back feature, an agent will call you back. They'll be happy to help you with the refund request.

Hope this helps.
I been trying to call this number and nobody it’s answering..I understand you are busy but all the time when I call there 100 more people calling ? I already have 30 pounds extra charges on my mobile bill because of this calls ..I’m not planning to loose more money trying to fix this problem ..so better give me an option how I can solve this problem..
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Sorry to hear this, @Ciurte daliana. Take a look at the best answer for more help with this, you'll need to get in touch to get this sorted. I've checked and our wait times didn't exceed 30 minutes yesterday, please ensure you're calling the right number 0330 303 5063.

I wouldn't recommend cancelling your Direct Debit, this could affect your credit history.
Hi ..I’ve been trying for months now to get a refund as I have 600 pounds in my account ..all the time it’s saying the same thing to send my meters readings and wait for the next statement ..to be honest I kind of had enough of this ..I’ve been trying to call customer service and discuss this but I’ve been holding for 30 minutes and nobody answered cause apparently are so many calls ..if nothing will be done I will stop my direct debit for few months and when those 600 pounds are finish I will start again the direct debit .cause I’m not planning to loose those money ..
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Hi @richardo - I've moved your post over here where you can find more info on requesting a large refund.
Cannot use the automated refund procedure. I am a smart user and received an up to date statement on 12th April. This is a long standing issue - has it not been corrected because company policy demands manual intervention if the credit balance exceeds certain limits?
If so, the screen should state this to avoid user frustration.
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Ah, now I understand @Bhavani !

OK, so the problem stems from a failed communication in May'18 between Xoserve, who run the UK gas meter database, and either OVO or DCC (or both). DCC is the Goverment-owned Data Communications Company who handle all transmissions to/fro Smart Meters.

The failure of the Meter Notification system is extremely rare. However, in your case it has meant that OVO didn't have the authorisation to take readings from your newly-installed gas Smart Meter and apply them to your bill.

The problem has only come to light when you switched to a new Energy Supplier last month. The reason it got noticed is because the new Supplier will have attempted to notify Xoserve that they were taking over your gas meter, and this produced an error when they tried to serve the Notification on the old Supplier (OVO in this case).

OVO are quite correct in stating that they will need to use (some of) the amount by which you are in credit to pay the gas bill, which they must now work out. After all, you and they have a Legal Contract which allows this to happen.

Whatever you feel about this, it is important that OVO do assign this gas bill to you. Without there being an agreed final reading from OVO, it is impossible for Xoserve to receive the Notification that you are not in debt. And without that Notification, the switch to your new Supplier will fail.


OK... so that's the technical part of the process. There remains the matter of the failure which occurred in May last year. Even if the error is due to Xoserve or DCC, you have no Contract with them. So your sole right to complain is against OVO.

Have a look at their Complaints Procedure and decide if you wish to go down that route.

And please feel free to ask for further advice or clarification if you need it.
Hi @Transparent my contract started on 30 January 2018 and ended on 22 February 2019. Smart meter was installed on 11 May 2018. According to OVO there are no statements for Gas reading. My contract was a combined energy bill and set at estimated usage of both gas and electricity. My readings show our usage has been less than the estimate. I switched providers on 22nd February 2019. OVO has taken money both in Feb and March 2019. I have now cancelled my DD. My account shows I am in credit. But the billing department has not sent the final statement as there is confusion from OVO's side as to why they did not provide gas statements too!
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Hi @Bhavani

I don't have enough information to give you a complete answer. You don't say for example when your Contract started, nor when the Smart Meters were installed. Perhaps you could fill out your Forum Profile page, which is where I first look for these details.

However... it is quite normal for there to be a delay of 4-6 weeks between a Smart Meter installation and OVO being able to receive correct data from them. So the first Statement you receive after that date is when OVO will be able to see whether your payments match the energy you have used.

In the meantime, your account is on "Billing Suspension". I have written more about this process on another Topic here.
I was advised by OVO to set up combined energy bill with £74 monthly DD. They also fitted a smart meter. Now I am in credit with £533 plus owing to me and they are saying that OVO did not create a statement for Gas usage. And the money that shows as in credit will be used to pay for Gas. This again will take up to two weeks. With all the advanced technology at their fingertips how can OVO make such claims. They also took two months payments even after I switched providers. Interestingly enough now that I have cancelled my DD , the refund page states since I don't have a DD set up with OVO they cannot refund! This is a case of egg and chicken. OVO get your act together. Don't rip off unsuspecting customers.
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Hi @Helonearth

So first let me point out that Ofgem guidelines state that a reasonable amount for an Energy Supplier to hold in credit in your account is the same as you are paying by Direct Debit. This is particularly relevant at this time of year when the largest energy bills are being issued.

Assuming that you have not attempted to request that your credit be lower than this amount, then this is a classic instruction to send by email: hello@ovoenergy.com

You should put the word Complaint in the subject line and at the start of the message text. You will not lose any financial benefit for a complaint.

The Complaint is, of course, that the App isn't permitting you to request that you are refunded a proportion of what OVO are holding as a credit in your account.

Under OVO's Complaints Procedure, you will receive a response within 5 working days.

OVO have always scored very highly for complaints handling. They are audited on this by Ofgem. So I'd be very surprised if you needed to move to the next stage of the Procedure.
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Hi @Helonearth,

I've moved your post onto this topic where you can find more information about how to get a refund.

Cheers
I keep trying to apply for a refund on the app but it keeps refusing me even though I'm almost 1k in credit. If I contact them by phone, I lose my interest. It's very annoying.
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@ashbycj @jamescathycoleman

You can cancel your Direct Debit instruction if we're nolonger your supplier. You may get an automated email stating that it's been cancelled, but you can ignore this.

We've been extremely busy recently due to the collapse of Economy Energy, and taking on their customers. This has meant we've been inundated with contact from these customers and it's pushed our call wait times and email response times up. I'm sorry you've been on the receiving end of this. It's not representative of our usual service, and everyone here has been working flat out to get back to everyone that needs our help.

If you did want to call the team today, wait times are currently around 15 minutes, which is still a little higher than average but a lot lower than it has been. Alternatively, you can contact the team on Facebook/Twitter and send them a message with your account number, full name and DoB.

@MrBoy have a look at this topic's 'best answer' - it will outline what needs to be in place for a refund - basically an up to date balance to readings! More info here!

Cheers
My account is over a grand in credit - which was rather a surprise to find out! My DD is £200 a month and I was really pleased to see an automated "get a refund" option instead of having to phone up. But when I clicked it I was told I had to wait for my next bill, to know if a refund was possible.

Given the amount of credit and the fact you have nearly 2 years' history with me as a customer, you must be able to do better projections. I mean it would be nice when you send me a yearly statement to advise me what my DD should be as well, but the legislation doesn't yet make providers do this.

I was also interested that I can change my DD online (again, great thankyou) but the highest I can set is £82, less than half what I currently pay.

Finally, there was a note in the app about a 4% interest rate. Does that mean I'm actually earning 4% on my £1000 - if that's true it's better than I can find in a bank and I should try and overpay even more!!
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Hi @jamescathycoleman - oh no! This doesn't sound at all good.

But, can I also point out that leaving six posts in ten minutes on the same subject across the Forum now makes it quite difficult for Members like myself to respond.

I have been in precisely the same situation as you... but for 8 months. This was due to Extra Energy (now ceased trading) having failed to correctly notify ECOES, the National Meter Database, that they had taken over as my energy supplier. So I now understand quite a lot about how the system works.

It is entirely the responsibility of the Receiving Supplier to handle all aspects of the Switch Process. If it's going wrong, then your right to complain is through them. If they fail to address your complaint and remedy the situation, then it is they who you take to the Energy Ombudsman.

There are a number of stages involved in the Switch Process. These involve a set of Notifications being passed via ECOES to both the Receiving and Relinquishing Suppliers. At each stage there are timescales by which the Suppliers must object, or else accept the Notification. The process is designed to ensure that the correct meter reference number (MPRN) and the correct reading is agreed by all parties.

If you add together all the time-frames then the Switch Process can take 6 weeks. You will know that it has concluded because the Relinquishing Supplier (OVO in your case) will send you a Final Bill, which is marked as such.

If you leave your Direct Debit open at the bank, then it is inevitable that there will be at least one further monthly amount taken by the Relinquishing Supplier. This is quite normal.

Most Customers do leave the DD "live" because this is the quickest way to receive the credit back from the Relinquishing Supplier. But that's entirely your choice.

If you left OVO in December, and it's now 5th Feb, then I don't think there's anything unusual about what's happening...

... except that you are attempting to be in direct contact with OVO Customer Services.

Nothing that you've written suggests to me that OVO's response is "extremely poor" as you have suggested. They are operating within the regulations laid down by Ofgem, by whom they are regulated.
Consider yourself lucky. I left OVO in December with an account £480 in credit. Each month since they have continued to take money by Direct Debit and so I am now £750 in credit. I can't get them to answer the phone or email.

This part of the OVO service is extremely poor and I would recommend anyone else to avoid OVO like the plague!
My electric and gas deal has come to an end. I have chosen to transfer to Avro. The electric has gone through but OVO are refusing to transfer the gas.
I have submitted meter readings every month
I am £500 in credit which I can't get refunded despite having up to date statements and meter readings
I am getting no replies to emails or complaint forms and have been left hanging on the phone for hours
Not sure what my choices are now
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Hello @leigh202 May I please bring some clarity to what you have written.

Firstly, it is the responsibility of the Receiving Supplier to handle all aspects of the switch process. They are contracted to you to undertake this properly and you are therefore able to take action against them if the process fails.

It is entirely the role of the Receiving Supplier to ensure that meter readings are supplied to ECOES - the central meter database. ECOES send Notification to the Relinquishing Supplier. There are several stages to the Notification Process in order to ensure
  • that the correct Meter Ref Number has been identified for that address
  • that you do not have outstanding debts involved
  • that the meter reading(s) are within a window of credibility
These processes have strict time-frames for their completion, during which it is possible that an extra Direct Debit payment leaves your bank account. However, this too must be refunded promptly at completion of the switch process... up to 5 weeks or so.

You have no recourse to take action against the Relinquishing Supplier. Any communications you have with them may result in delays.

Ofgem are the Industry Regulator. They are concerned with creating and enforcing the rules to which companies must comply within the Energy Sector. Ofgem would never be involved with end-customers.

Your new Supplier (who you don't mention by name unfortunately) will have a published Complaints Procedure, usually available to download from their website. This will have been checked by Ofgem to ensure it fulfills the regulations. If I had told me who that Supplier is, then I would've posted the link to their Complaints Procedure here.

The Complaints Procedure should be followed... and only that Procedure. You should not be required to engage in any further dialogue or action.

The Procedure might have two or three steps, but no more. Most customers fail at the first hurdle, by not identifying to the Supplier that they are invoking a complaint! Thus the dialogue drags on, whilst the Supplier doesn't even yet have an (electronic) flag set to show that there is a Complaint in progress!

Typically the 1st stage of a Complaints Procedure must result in a formal response to you within 3 to 5 days. OVO's Procedure has 5-days stipulated.

The maximum time interval from you initiating the complaint to the end of the last stage is 8 weeks. After that, the internal Complaints Procedure is exhausted and you have reached what is called Deadlock. If you request it, your Supplier must provide you with a written Notice to state that Deadlock has been reached.

If you do not have a satisfactory response from your Receiving Supplier, or Deadlock is reached, then you may take your case to the Office of the Energy Ombudsman.

So... let's pause there and allow you to check where in this process you think you are!
left ovo end of august still waiting for my £80 i was in credit.say they didnt receive final reading off new supplier,phoneed them it was sent in october ,now there blaming ofgem its at a stage 4 whatever that means,theyve never kept us informed of anything thats going on so much for customer services wouldnt recommend ovo to anybody total disgrace
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Ah @dougieboy1 This is more easily resolved than you might think!

It's not just your Energy Suppliers who keep records of Meters and Readings. There's a National Database called ECOES, which handles the data between suppliers whenever you switch.

The switch-process itself is meant to resolve such issues as you have. The Receiving Supplier makes the request to ECOES for your meter(s) together with the readings you take, and they notify the Relinquishing Supplier. There is then a couple of days wait whilst the Relinquishing Supplier can file a Notification if they believe something is amiss.

In your case it appears that this wasn't done.

However, there's still a record of what data was sent to/fro ECOES when you switched, and OVO can check against this.

Simply email hello@ovoenergy.com with what you've told us above. Give it a sensible Subject line, such as "Complaint: Incorrect bills, based on erroneous meter readings" and provide as much info as you can about the readings when you switched and when you notified the previous supplier.

I've had a similar situation with a previous supplier who "lost" a reading when exchanging a faulty meter. There are procedures for dealing with such matters, because it's possible to estimate reasonably accurately, based on the known facts at the time.

Because yours will be a Complaint, you will receive a first response within 5 days. It may of course take a little longer if ECOES or OVO need to request data from the previous supplier.
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Hey @dougieboy1 - I've moved your topic onto this one where you should be able to find the information you need. Check out Darran's answer at the top!
I see lots of similar questions. I started my account in Jan of this year. I am currently £1000 ish in credit. My usage graph only shows from Jan-March usage this yer everything else is zero.

I do provide meter readings via the internet.

When i switched over from my previous provider. I had at one stage switched over my economy and normal readings. The original provider never sorted that out despite 5 or 6 requests. I have been providing the reading correctly all year here even thogh OVO keeps aksing me have i got them the wrong way round because my other provider sent the wrong readings over. I notified OVO of this on transfer

How do i sort this out given i am owed almost £100 and it is nearly time for renewal and i cant renew if i dont know what i actually spend...
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I've moved your query over here @ckemp as Darran's answer at the top (check out 'best answer') should help answer this for you.
I am £600 in credit but my request for refund is continually declined despite giving meter readings and receiving a statement within the stated 28 day period.
I am apparently receiving 5% interest on my credit which is great but seems more than most bank accounts unless high interest account that doesn't allow instant access. Is this the reason for declining my request? The advice on the website states that I should be able to receive a refund!
Is there any advice as my meter reading always receives a message stating that it it seems low?
I have sent photos of the meters previously.

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