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Why am I being forced to change my Direct Debit?


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Anyone else being forced to change their direct debit due to 'impending debt'?
Apparently OVO don't think my current direct debit level will cover the final amount owing for the year, so they've already sent me two letters from their Collections Department, talking about 'how much debt' they think I will have if I don't rectify my payment. Bear in mind I haven't missed a payment and have been pretty good at giving monthly readings, so I'm not in 'debt', as they so succinctly put it, they just think I will be, despite the 'shortfall' being quite manageable.
OK, so I acquiesce to this veiled threat from Collections and attempt to increase my direct debit payment. But it turns out I can't choose what that level is, they decide based on what they think I'm going to owe.
This would be great, however their projections for what they think my overall useage will be have been found to be wildly inaccurate.

OVO, I'm a grown-ass man, I think I should be allowed to decide whether I think I need to change my direct debit payment and to which level - or, conversely, receive a bill at the end of the year to cover any shortfall - it should be my choice.

Undoubtedly you will come back and regale us with the usual corporate flannel - 'well we do this to protect the customer form big bills', 'we've only got your best interests at heart', 'some people don't like being surprised by a big bill at the end of the year'.

I've got to say, I switched from British Gas for a similar reason (and received a massive payment at the end for their continued incompetence regarding estimated bills), but my experience thus far has not been much better, which is a damning endictment given the corporate ineptitude that British Gas display daily.

As an aside, the app is still rubbish. You've been trying to fix the thing for months now, to no avail. Maybe funnel some resources in to interface management as opposed to haranguing customers for mythical debt.
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Best answer by Lucy_OVO 17 August 2017, 17:51

Anyone else being forced to change their direct debit due to 'impending debt'?
Apparently OVO don't think my current direct debit level will cover the final amount owing for the year, so they've already sent me two letters from their Collections Department, talking about 'how much debt' they think I will have if I don't rectify my payment. Bear in mind I haven't missed a payment and have been pretty good at giving monthly readings, so I'm not in 'debt', as they so succinctly put it, they just think I will be, despite the 'shortfall' being quite manageable.
OK, so I acquiesce to this veiled threat from Collections and attempt to increase my direct debit payment. But it turns out I can't choose what that level is, they decide based on what they think I'm going to owe.
This would be great, however their projections for what they think my overall useage will be have been found to be wildly inaccurate.

OVO, I'm a grown-ass man, I think I should be allowed to decide whether I think I need to change my direct debit payment and to which level - or, conversely, receive a bill at the end of the year to cover any shortfall - it should be my choice.

Undoubtedly you will come back and regale us with the usual corporate flannel - 'well we do this to protect the customer form big bills', 'we've only got your best interests at heart', 'some people don't like being surprised by a big bill at the end of the year'.

I've got to say, I switched from British Gas for a similar reason (and received a massive payment at the end for their continued incompetence regarding estimated bills), but my experience thus far has not been much better, which is a damning endictment given the corporate ineptitude that British Gas display daily.

As an aside, the app is still rubbish. You've been trying to fix the thing for months now, to no avail. Maybe funnel some resources in to interface management as opposed to haranguing customers for mythical debt.


Hey GTurner,

We use the information you give us when you join OVO to make a prediction of your energy use for the entire year. This can include information like the size of your home or how much energy you used in it previously. The cost of this energy is evenly split into your monthly Direct Debit transfers.

If your account doesn’t have an arrears balance, and is one month in credit, we’ll be more than happy to discuss a more appropriate Direct Debit amount with you, to suit what you feel comfortable with. We also have a handy link that explains Direct Debit reviews in a bit more detail here: https://www.ovoenergy.com/help/direct-debit-review.

You can change your Direct Debit amount on My OVO, just head to My Payments.

Thanks,
Lucy
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58 replies

Userlevel 6
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Hi @SEdwards welcome to the forum and thank you for posting.

You raise various points some of which i am not able to shed much light on but fear not, you're in the right place!

Re the debt collectors letters being sent, i assume as you're a pay monthly customer you are required to maintain a months credit on the account at all times. If this isnt the case then the system would automatically generate the letters you have had. I note you've attempted to increase your direct debit amount but the computer says no..

My best advise given you've emailed and not had a reply would be to drop either @Emma_OVO @Tim_OVO or @Lucy_OVO a private message including your full name, address, date of birth, ovo account number, the amount you'd like to increase your direct debit payments to along with issues youve had with using the app, whoever you message will do their upmost to put this right for you when they receive your message. They will also be able to look at your projected statements that you have mentioned are inaccurate.

I hooe this helps please do let us know how you get on.
Ovo has just unilaterally increased my monthly direct debit by 35% for no obvious reason, when I am well in credit, and without any notice or letter. I am attempting to find out why!
Userlevel 6
Badge +4
Ovo has just unilaterally increased my monthly direct debit by 35% for no obvious reason, when I am well in credit, and without any notice or letter. I am attempting to find out why!

Hi @GTurner welcome to the forum and thanks for posting, if you've reached out to the OVO customer care team and jot reoslved this please follow the above steps and one of the moderators can check things out for you.
Userlevel 5
Badge +2
Anyone else being forced to change their direct debit due to 'impending debt'?
Apparently OVO don't think my current direct debit level will cover the final amount owing for the year, so they've already sent me two letters from their Collections Department, talking about 'how much debt' they think I will have if I don't rectify my payment. Bear in mind I haven't missed a payment and have been pretty good at giving monthly readings, so I'm not in 'debt', as they so succinctly put it, they just think I will be, despite the 'shortfall' being quite manageable.
OK, so I acquiesce to this veiled threat from Collections and attempt to increase my direct debit payment. But it turns out I can't choose what that level is, they decide based on what they think I'm going to owe.
This would be great, however their projections for what they think my overall useage will be have been found to be wildly inaccurate.

OVO, I'm a grown-ass man, I think I should be allowed to decide whether I think I need to change my direct debit payment and to which level - or, conversely, receive a bill at the end of the year to cover any shortfall - it should be my choice.

Undoubtedly you will come back and regale us with the usual corporate flannel - 'well we do this to protect the customer form big bills', 'we've only got your best interests at heart', 'some people don't like being surprised by a big bill at the end of the year'.

I've got to say, I switched from British Gas for a similar reason (and received a massive payment at the end for their continued incompetence regarding estimated bills), but my experience thus far has not been much better, which is a damning endictment given the corporate ineptitude that British Gas display daily.

As an aside, the app is still rubbish. You've been trying to fix the thing for months now, to no avail. Maybe funnel some resources in to interface management as opposed to haranguing customers for mythical debt.


Hey GTurner,

We use the information you give us when you join OVO to make a prediction of your energy use for the entire year. This can include information like the size of your home or how much energy you used in it previously. The cost of this energy is evenly split into your monthly Direct Debit transfers.

If your account doesn’t have an arrears balance, and is one month in credit, we’ll be more than happy to discuss a more appropriate Direct Debit amount with you, to suit what you feel comfortable with. We also have a handy link that explains Direct Debit reviews in a bit more detail here: https://www.ovoenergy.com/help/direct-debit-review.

You can change your Direct Debit amount on My OVO, just head to My Payments.

Thanks,
Lucy
I am £33.75 in credit yet OVO want to double my direct debit seems a bit strange.
Hey @idleburger

I've moved your query into this topic as it falls under the same category and you can have a read through other comments.

It sounds like we've calculated that you're account won't be in credit come the end of your contract, although you're in credit at the moment. We try to spread the annual costs over the months so you're not left in a debit balance in winter when you're using more or left with a debt at the end of your contract.

Hope this helps,
Emma
Like to vent my disgust as expected a bland corporate reply still 6 months to go to bye bye times😀
It's a shame to hear that, @idleburger

If you'd like me to take a look into your account and review your payments, send me a PM with your full name, DoB and account number.

Thanks,
Emma
Thanks I'm out drowning my sorrows will contact OVO next week. 🤗
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Mmmm these problems seem to echo BG way of operating, whom I'm currently with ! Was thinking of changing to OVO. I hope these are isolated cases ?
It's great to hear you're looking to switch to OVO, @Steveo

We'd never ask customers to over pay for the sake of it and only increase customers Direct Debit's when it doesn't cover their monthly bills and they're account is in arrears.

If we think a customer is going to end their contract in a debit balance, we'll contact them to advise of this and suggest they increase their Direct Debit at that point to ensure they end their contract at a £0 balance.

Having said all of this, a lot of customers like to pay more than necessary to make use of the 3 - 5% interest reward!

Hope this helps,
Emma
Pinch of salt required. Ovo reckon my annual energy bill would be in the region if £1200, I am over £80 in credit and have been told that my DD will increase to £160 per month. Mathematics par excellance.

Roll on contract exit day.
Hey @idleburger

As Emma mentioned, we'd be happy to take a look your account and review your payments - if you feel it isn't quite adding up. Just send me a PM with your full name, DoB and account number.

Thanks,
Emily
I an very unhappy with the service as I have tried to find out what my usage for both gas and electricity has been since I joined you as prior to having a smart meter installed you estimated my bills. Before I agree to put my direct debit payments up I want to know exactly how much I have used and spent.

I feel this is bullying tactics to send letters saying that you will put up my direct debit but cannot provide me with the information that I require to make a decision as to whether or not I need to increase the current amount I pay,

I have been able to see the usage since I had a smart meter installed but nothing prior to that - how do I know what has been used.

PLEASE RESPOND AS SOON AS POSSIBLE I WOULD RING YOU BUT CANNOT FIND A TELEPHONE NUMBER THAT I CAN CONTACT YOU ON. PLENTY OF LETTERS BUT NO TELEPHONE NUMBER - WHERE IS YOUR CUSTOMER SERVICE AND CUSTOMER SATISFACTION.
Userlevel 6
Badge +2
I an very unhappy with the service as I have tried to find out what my usage for both gas and electricity has been since I joined you as prior to having a smart meter installed you estimated my bills. Before I agree to put my direct debit payments up I want to know exactly how much I have used and spent.

I feel this is bullying tactics to send letters saying that you will put up my direct debit but cannot provide me with the information that I require to make a decision as to whether or not I need to increase the current amount I pay,

I have been able to see the usage since I had a smart meter installed but nothing prior to that - how do I know what has been used.

PLEASE RESPOND AS SOON AS POSSIBLE I WOULD RING YOU BUT CANNOT FIND A TELEPHONE NUMBER THAT I CAN CONTACT YOU ON. PLENTY OF LETTERS BUT NO TELEPHONE NUMBER - WHERE IS YOUR CUSTOMER SERVICE AND CUSTOMER SATISFACTION.


Hi @s.butler and thanks for posting on the forum! I've moved your query to another topic on Direct Debit changes - check out the best answer for more info.

Any other PAYM users have any advice on this: @Ste2317 @sam_cat @Emma_G :?

Tim
Hi @s.butler,

Phone numbers for Ovo (from the website, complaints page) are:
- If you pay monthly: 0330 303 5063.
- If you Pay As You Go: 0330 102 7517.

They are available 8am and 8pm Monday - Thursday, 8am - 6pm on Fridays, and 9am -
5pm on Saturdays.

Hope this helps
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Are your customers services / complaints etc UK based ?
I believe that the OVO customer services team are based in the UK in Bristol. Hopefully a member of the OVO team can confirm.
OVO kept asking me to take money back from my account so I did a refund. Now all I get is threats to increase payments. My current situation is that I am over 1 month in advance still and according to their own calculations I will be at the end of whatever year I am in. I don't like this tactic. It feels like pressure to top up their own bank accounts. I have also installed new heating systems that are far better than what was there at over £3500 so I want to see what happens before I change anything again.
Not loving OVO so much this year and as a senior member of Which I will be reporting this behaviour very shortly. I am certainly not the only one on this merry-go-round.
Userlevel 1
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I agree with the comments above. Pay monthly customers are going to desert in droves rather than put up with this treatment.
Userlevel 6
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Hi @Hellovo

Sorry to hear you are not happy with how your direct debit has been reviewed so far. We can definitely have a look into this to see if there is any issue or explanation as to why to try and help.

If you PM one of the moderators with your details, full name, address, DoB and email address, we will be happy to take a look and try and help explain in more detail whats going on.

This also applies to anyone else in the same boat.

Thanks

Darran
Ovo currently has more than £500 of our money, we use 10-25% less energy than estimates every month and have done for 2 years. On the predicted energy use, it is well above our usage for each month. We have never been below £200 above what we used in our account meaning OVO always owes us 2 months + worth of payments. Yet I have received 4 emails in the last 2 weeks telling me if I don't increase the direct debit you will do it for us. You currently have more money of ours than we spent in the period of Oct til March on energy last year. How can we possibly need to increase the direct debit? I'm beginning to think OVO have seen a fall in profits and are trying to mask it by making everyone drastically overpay!

Our estimated bill for a year is £1200, and thats with estimates that we are always under in terms of usage ... we pay £100 a month. Why does it need to be increased to £130? The mathematics isn't even close. We are estimated to use £1200, we consistently use less than the estimates, yet you want £1560!!! Why? Our total energy use for the contract prior to this contract was £1052. Have prices really increased by 50% because our usage has been less every month so far during this contract than it was during the corresponding months in the last contract period, according to the smart meter?

If a forced change goes through, leaving us £30 a month less to spend on food, and resulting in a ridiculous amount of money owed to us in spring, then at the end of the contract we will be talking with our feet. We went with Ovo because they were different to the major energy companies ... we have no desire to stay with Ovo if they are becoming like them!
I'm about £182 in credit and Ovo recommended that I reduce my monthly direct debit by £25. So it doesn't seem like they're trying to milk all their customers at all.
@Kaladin

Ovo OWE US £500 and yet they want to increase our direct debit ... explain to me why when we only spend £1000 a year on energy. Also, how is it fair that they are lowering yours when they have less of your money than they have of ours. We have never gone above estimated usage, and are consistently up to 25% below estimated usage each month. We have never been in a situation where our balance was below £200. So why do they need to increase our direct debit by 30% per month? If they are not milking customers then they must simply be incompetent!
@mrsir30

I'm not sure how they work it out, but I agree it sounds like they shouldn't be increasing your direct debit nonetheless. If I were you I would definitely be calling them to enquire.

Wish you the best.

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