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


Userlevel 1
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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Userlevel 1
How can you possibly justify that? The metre readings were given only four weeks ago, and ever since you have increased our direct debit you will see that we have been permanently in credit, and already had a refund of approx £400.
We would not only like an immediate refund but our direct debit lowered.
Userlevel 7
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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.
Userlevel 6
Badge +2
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
Userlevel 6
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Hi @Elaine

Meter readings are only valid in terms of processing a refund for 28 days so it may be you have just tipped over that, which is why, online, it stopped you applying.

There's no doubt based on what we know that you should be due a refund, providing you are paying enough on your direct debit to cover your usage over the course of your contract, and I don't see why we wouldn't be able to review your direct debit, so perhaps to help us get this resolved you can send me a PM with your full name, address and DOB. Account number would also help.

If you can send your meter readings along with photos of your meters, we will get right on this and sort it out for you.

I'll keep an eye out for that PM so we can jump straight on it.

Darran
The website seems to have all the excuses, I'm going around in circles whilst "computer says no!".

So very poor show from OVO, no response around this and no response to other queries.

My bill came through today, follows a meter reading 8 days ago - Computer says "YES!". It would have been easy for OVO to give some guidance on their process - meter reading, bill, refund application valid for X days....

Looks like I'm sorted. Hope this helps others ;)

Best regards,
Colin
Tim,

Surely OVO could tell customers what to do rather than leave it to some one else to work out... better still put it in the instructions with the refund button!

Poor Show OVO :@

regards,
Colin
Userlevel 7
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That sounds a nightmare, @jcr,

However, in order to help you get your claim processed, may I point out that OVO's reply to you is referring to two entirely separate databases.

The "National Database" is ECOES. This holds the Meter Numbers (MPRN) and locations of every meter in the country, regardless of your Energy Supplier.

When an engineer attends on-site and changes a meter, there is a process he/she must go through, not only to change the MPRN, but also to register the reading that was on the meter which has been removed. This process is regulated by Ofgem, and states time intervals during which an Objection can be raised either by your Energy Supplier or yourself.

I once had this go wrong when an engineer came to remove an Economy-7 meter and relocate the other one to a new position. As it happened the Meter which had been used for E-7 was the one he re-installed, but now designated for Standard Tariff. Thus he notified ECOES of an MPRN which was being removed from the registered location, whilst simultaneously sending notification of the same MPRN being re-located but staying at the registered location. Aaagh!

Worse still, by the time I received my next bill (28 days) and raised the Objection to the obviously incorrect amount, the old meter which he really had removed had been chucked in a pile of several hundred designated for scrap. So the precious reading on it was effectively lost.

From experience, I can recommend that you let this ECOES Notification Process play out within its designated timescales.

It is entirely separate to the Customer Database used internally by OVO from which your bills are generated.

I'm not wanting to stop you going ahead with a complaint to OVO. I just thought you'd be better off knowing the scope of the two different databases.

I hope it goes well for you.
Userlevel 7
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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.
My account is over £900 in credit and I have requested a refund (a few weeks ago) .
OVO claim my refund was actioned but it failed to appear in my account.
Despite repeated emails and requests for replies/sorting out, I am not getting anything from OVO other than a couple of emails promising to get back to me before the end of the day (of course - no response).

I am absolutely disgusted with OVO energy and cannot wait to move suppliers. However I DO want my hundreds and hundreds of ££ that's sat in my account back first.
How OVO state they will get back to me (time and time again) then totally ignore me is shocking.

Ofgem have rulings stating energy companies must issue refunds quickly, yet OVO seem to be ignoring this.
I hope to get this sorted ASAP, before I am forced to take my case to the Energy Ombudsman for advice.
ha, send an email!
I have sent numerous emails,
IF I get a reply its along the tune of "we will get back to you before the end of the day"
and then I get NO REPLY.
Or I send an email - no reply. again and again.
Even no reply to an email titled "COMPLAINT" three days ago.

Worst service yet.
I want my money back from my account.
For me - good news I hope, OVO contacted me by phone - my refund has now been processed and should be in my account in the next day or so.
The OVO representative I spoke with was very helpful and had spent time looking into my issues etc.
Not sure why my emails were not being replied to - but in the long run it seems I have been sorted out..


I hope OVO can improve some areas of their communications for the future



ha, send an email!
I have sent numerous emails,
IF I get a reply its along the tune of "we will get back to you before the end of the day"
and then I get NO REPLY.
Or I send an email - no reply. again and again.
Even no reply to an email titled "COMPLAINT" three days ago.

Worst service yet.
I want my money back from my account.
Userlevel 7
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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.
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!
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
Userlevel 7
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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!
Userlevel 5
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i have a large credit balance which is seven times my direct debit and have requested a refund which was declined.Informed that I have to send a meter reading even though I have a smart meter.When I go to readings page I am told that I do not have to send a meter reading as I have a smart meter.How on earth do I get my money back?????????????????????????

I’ve moved your topic over here so that other users have great visibility of our advice.

If you have a smart meter, we should be able to get a reading for you and refund you. If it’s for a large amount, our Customer Care team will need to help you with this as you won’t be able to raise it via My OVO.

For more infromation on our refund policy, check out our terms and conditions here: https://www.ovoenergy.com/refund-policy.

Lucy
Userlevel 5
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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.
Userlevel 6
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My bill came through today, follows a meter reading 8 days ago - Computer says "YES!". It would have been easy for OVO to give some guidance on their process - meter reading, bill, refund application valid for X days....

Looks like I'm sorted. Hope this helps others ;)


Good to hear this refund was sorted, @Slurp

I'll pass on your feedback that we need to make it clearer to submit a recent reading for a bill, before a refund is possible.

Tim
Userlevel 6
Badge +2
My account is over £900 in credit and I have requested a refund (a few weeks ago). OVO claim my refund was actioned but it failed to appear in my account.

Not good to hear @Ready to move - if we've 'actioned' that refund, we would have done all we can to get it to your bank. Either way this needs checking and our forum users aren't really able to help. Send over a message on Facebook or Twitter, or email us from the registered email address: hello@ovoenergy.com - ETA for an email reply is around 48 hours!
i have a large credit balance which is seven times my direct debit and have requested a refund which was declined.Informed that I have to send a meter reading even though I have a smart meter.When I go to readings page I am told that I do not have to send a meter reading as I have a smart meter.How on earth do I get my money back?????????????????????????
Userlevel 5
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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!
Whilst not as big a sum, I've a similar problem.

The website seems to have all the excuses, I'm going around in circles whilst "computer says no!".

"Your Direct Debit has just been updated..."
"We need a new reading..."
"Try again on your next statement..."

Your need to exceed 1 months credit - last time I looked £248 exceeds £64... based on October, that's over 180 days usage.

Even now we've slipped to November and the goal post move, I'm still exceeding what's in your policy. What's wrong?

:?
Userlevel 7
Badge +2
Hi @Ready to move,

Once you've formally entered the Complaints Procedure (which you have), you will get a response within 5 days. Usually this response is that the issue actually gets sorted, rather than just an acknowledgement.

On the rare occasions that the matter goes beyond 5 days, you can initiate the next stage of complaint by writing another email re-stating the matter which is outstanding. OVO (as any other Energy Supplier) have 8 weeks to resolve it.

You need write no more than that. This Procedure has been checked as complient according to Ofgem rules. You are not required to engage in protracted dialogue. You did exactly the right thing by heading your email "Complaint".

I would be very surprised if OVO don't resolve this one at the first hurdle.
I have £2800 credit and a direct debit of £215. Two weeks ago I had a smart meter installed. Despite this the OVO app would not allow me to request a refund or reduce the direct debit. After a forty minute phone call OVO customer service finally agreed to process a refund. At first they told me that it would take 28 days for their “national database” to be updated with the old meter readings taken by the engineer who installed the smart meter. I pointed out that in this day and age most companies could update their database inside 28 seconds never mind 28 days. Then they asked me to submit photos of a “white tag or a yellow sticker” that the engineer should have attached to the new smart meter. Needless to say no such tag or sticker is present. A cynic could be forgiven for thinking that OVO trot out these excuses deliberately to delay refunds. Either way, the refund process is shambolic. I’m considering moving suppliers as I don’t want to go through this again. Oh, before I forget, according to OVO it will take 14 days to process the payment. Do they really expect people to believe this?
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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