Why give a corporation access to your bank account when you can pay while retaining control yourself?

I have been looking at conversations concerning direct debits and many customers are being charged overly high rates.

What do you expect if you hand control of your bank account over to a corporation that is only interested in maximising its profits?

I pay by standing order. This lets me remain in control of my bank account and if I need to adjust the amount I can do it whenever I want.

There is no need to hand your bank account over to be unfairly over charged.

OVO continually pressurise me through texts, mobile calls, and emails. They can be quite threatening. I've complained about this more than once but nothing has changed because it's all automated but the initial mindset of OVO is unethical.

Now I just ignore them.

10 replies

Userlevel 6
Badge +4
Hi @Ether,

Sorry to hear you've been finding our communications threatening. That's certainly not our intention!

If you're on a fixed price plan, then part of this contract is agreeing to pay by Direct Debit. This may be why we're getting in touch with you. We do also need to make sure that your payments are covering your monthly usage, which is why we might review your Direct Debit amount occasionally. We're always happy to have a chat about this though, and agree on something that suits you.

Alternatively you may be on our variable tariff, which doesn't require a Direct Debit setting up. If that's the case, we can put a note on your account to make sure you don't get any communications from us asking you to set one up. If we need t odo this, please give us a ring (0330 303 5063), drop us an email (hello@ovoenergy.com) or send us a message on Facebook with your account number, full name and DoB.

I'm not on a fixed tariff.
I have emailed my complaint about being harassed, I have talked to customer support more than once about being harassed because I won't set up a direct debit.
Even customer support said there is nothing they can do because the harassment is automated.
The last email I got was threatening me with debt collection agencies!
Nothing has made any difference. I have received a text today about not having a direct debit. I'm sick to death of it.
Only being able to get a fixed tariff if you consent to a direct debit is pure blackmail and unethical.
Corporate entities like OVO make me sick. They are unethical, immoral and self-serving.
I didn't ask to be with them, I was dumped here by OFCOM or whoever dealt with Economy Energy's collapse.
I don't think I will be staying once EE's mess is sorted out.
Userlevel 7
Badge +3
Hi @Ether

I really appreciate hearing this feedback.

I was at OVO's Bristol HQ last week with a group of other customers. We had lunch with the Customer Services Manager and discussed a number of issues which we felt could done better. He was very much in listening mode and the session was useful.

It hadn't occurred to me that a customer on the variable tariff would still be sent reminders about Direct Debits. And the email about debt collection was clearly unwarranted. It you wish to ignore communications about DDs then that should be the end of it!

This can be addressed, and obviously should be.

If it can go wrong for you, then there's a risk it could happen to others.

OVO decided to ditch their use of a 3rd party to handle customer accounts and billing about 18 months ago. They have created their own in-house system using a large team of programmers in London. I suspect that the mistaken email you received was generated by an error within that new customer accounts code.

@Nancy_OVO is this actually an issue to take to CS, or should it be reported to Customer Billing as a possible flag being set wrongly within the code?
Hi TN.

I think a lot of the problem is the fact that it's an automated system.

Like one of the CS guys said, "I can bring it up at one of our meetings but whether it actually gets dealt with by anyone further up the chain is another matter".

Corporations love to automate things but customers actually will always prefer to deal with a real person rather than a piece of soulless software no matter how well it's programmed or coded.

I'm dreading it when AI takes over because AI is actually the definition of evil.

Anything without a soul is evil.

We think we have come a long way technologically but we are actually regressing, again!

I'm glad I'm not going to be on this planet for much longer, I've been here almost sixty years and watched humanity deteriorate considerably over that time.

It won't be the first time a so called highly advanced civilisation spectacularly implodes, there is physical evidence of this happening in the deep past all over the world.

I'm probably delving too deep considering it's about a direct debit but it triggered me!
Userlevel 7
Badge +3
That's interesting @Ether but it's still human beings who design and configure this technology - and with that comes moral responsibility.

I think the Directors of OVO would be aghast to hear that one of their automated systems contained a software error which generated letters threatening debt collection to a customer under these circumstances.

However, here on the Forum you're talking with real human beings... and that includes that team of Moderators who care.

The comment you quoted from a CS Team Member isn't great is it?!
"I can bring it up at one of our meetings but whether it actually gets dealt with by anyone further up the chain is another matter".

I can assure you that if his comment got escalated to the manager, Justin, who I met over lunch last week, then it will get acted on.

And I'm equally confident that @Nancy_OVO will take up this issue and push it across to the right team of programmers.

OVO will not allow their internal software to generate correspondence threatening debt collection just because someone isn't paying by DD. That algorithm is simply flawed. There must be a genuine debt being left on the account unaddressed before such a letter could be sent.
Userlevel 7
Badge +2
Hi @Ether interesting views on this subject.

I think some perspective is required on this one, yes I agree if you feel you are being harassed that is not good and as @Nancy_OVO said, certainly not the intention we have here. I guess the process we have in place is designed to encourage customers to set up a Direct Debit if they don't have one in place, as this then allows a lot of customers to budget, but also means we can support them with Direct Debit reviews to ensure they are actually paying enough to cover what they are using. Ultimately OVO has to buy the gas and electric to then be able to supply it to you, so if a customer is using more than expected, they need to be paying for it.

Great if you choose to manage your account by paying by standing order, and I assume you pay enough each month to cover what you actually use, but would be good to know this as customers will not, or definitely should not, get any comms about debt collection agencies etc, if you are not in debt with us. We will not chase customers for money, if they don't actually owe us anything.

It's a difficult process as customers that don't have a Direct Debit in place even on a variable tariff, are not all as on it as you in terms of making sure they are paying their bills, hence the emails from us trying to promote the benefit of being on Direct Debit. For those customers that "forget" to pay, it costs us as a business a lot of time and money chasing, costs we don't want to pass onto the rest of our customers!!

I'll send you a private message to get some details, so I can pass them to the billing team, to see if we can stop these emails coming to you.

I wish I'd kept the email that mentioned debt collection agencies. It was a soft threat, definitely designed to intimidate.

A lot of people would be worried and feel that they had to or ought to have a direct debit even though it's not mandatory for variable tariffs.

I'm sure its a commonly generated email, you have probably seen it.

Yes I am up to date and in credit last time I looked. It only takes a couple of minutes to adjust the amount on a standing order and I check my OVO account regularly to ensure I don't fall behind.
Userlevel 7
Badge +2
Sorry if you felt the email came across that way @Ether, definitely like to look into that as we'd only send debt or chase letters for customers that haven't paid their bills on time, so seems odd you'd get one if you are paying on time every month.

As I said, I sent you a private message asking for some details so we can take a look, but not had a response from you yet.

Hi Darren

What do you mean by "private message" as I haven't seen an email from you.

Where would I find your message if it's not an email?
Userlevel 7
Badge +2
Hi @Ether if you find your profile, top right of this page, and click on it, you'll see a menu which as a section called private messages.

You should have received an email notification to advise that you had a message from me, but it may have gone into your spam or junk folder if you haven't seen it.