Why has my Direct Debit amount changed?



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Direct Debit reviews are super complex – and a hot topic here at OVO!

Lots of things affect your review or payment amount, like how long you’ve been with us, your predicted energy use vs your actual use, and even the weather! To help you answer all your questions around Direct Debit reviews, we’ve created a topic just for that. Here’s a great page, packed with useful info on Direct Debit reviews which we think will be really helpful.

If you don't see an answer to your question, share it below so others can help you. Our moderators will also be on hand to step in if needed. So go ahead, get posting and sharing!


I'm really upset. I joined OVO in June 2017 when I was told my monthly usage would be £84, I gave a meter reading and signed up, then a month later I gave another meter reading. Just TWO WEEKS after that I got an email, which oddly ended up in my spam folder, telling me that despite being in credit I'd have to nearly double my monthly amount to £145 per month, which was based on my usage! It's summer, so no heating is on, so where is this "usage" coming from?! After just a month?!!! We switched to OVO because they were reasonable but I'm being asked for more than when I was with Npower! I only found this out when Ovo tried to take the last of my money out of my bank account, thanks a bunch for using my food shopping money for an account in credit! It's ridiculous to change my direct debit and say "if we don't hear from you we'll assume it's all fine" because it certainly isn't. I feel horribly conned after being told my monthly Ovo payment would be almost 100% less when I joined, less than 3 months ago, but now I'm told it needs to go up by so much. This is awful, absolutely awful and I will be making a formal complaint because this is an underhand way to get customers, by luring them in on a good deal to change the goalposts less than 3 months in. We are a normal family, who try to be economical with our energy but apparently being in credit doesn't count for keeping to the pre arranged deal.
Userlevel 1
I'm really upset. I joined OVO in June 2017 when I was told my monthly usage would be £84, I gave a meter reading and signed up,  then a month later I gave another meter reading. Just TWO WEEKS after that I got an email, which oddly ended up in my spam folder, telling me that despite being in credit I'd have to nearly double my monthly amount to £145 per month, which was based on my usage! It's summer, so no heating is on, so where is this "usage" coming from?! After just a month?!!! We switched to OVO because they were reasonable but I'm being asked for more than when I was with Npower! I only found this out when Ovo tried to take the last of my money out of my bank account, thanks a bunch for using my food shopping money for an account in credit! It's ridiculous to change my direct debit and say "if we don't hear from you we'll assume it's all fine" because it certainly isn't. I feel horribly conned after being told my monthly Ovo payment would be almost 100% less when I joined, less than 3 months ago, but now I'm told it needs to go up by so much. This is awful, absolutely awful and I will be making a formal complaint because this is an underhand way to get customers, by luring them in on a good deal to change the goalposts less than 3 months in. We are a normal family, who try to be economical with our energy but apparently being in credit doesn't count for keeping to the pre arranged deal.
I wonder if Ovo have a bug in their algorithm for predicting usage and direct debits? My direct debit has been bumped up by 35% in August supposedly based on my predicted usage. I am £233 in credit, and the statement predicts my yearly usage at £1451 (which seems about right).
1451 would be covered by payments of £120 a month, and I am now being charged 147 a month, despite being £233 in credit. What is going on?
If it is really true that I get 5% interest on the credit (tax free?), then this would beat bank saving accounts, so perhaps it doesn't matter in the long run, but the calculation does seem strange.
Been with ovo since april was happy with with the £64 er month direct debit but ovo have increased this mow in july to 89 a increase of £25 per month meaning I will have paid £990 in this 12 months when with the previouse supplier was £557 for 12 months they have increased the direct debit while we were away on holiday I was under the impression they suggest a figure not just send a email and do it I have complained but not had a answer as yet have no idea where they come to the figure of £950 they expect me to use anyone else had this experience.

I have had a similar experience I joined after being quoted £56 per month, I have been asked to raise the amount on a few occasions, I am now paying £85 a month and have just been asked to raise it again. My husband and I are retired and live in a small 2 bedroom semi detached house, our usage has basically not altered so how could you have got this so wrong. I never had this problem with N Power, they just reviewed our payments every year, not every month that OVO seems to do. The increases were always minimal not the large amounts OVO are requesting. It's good to see that we're not the only ones suffering with this problem.



Direct Debit reviews are super complex – and a hot topic here at OVO!

Lots of things affect your review or payment amount, like how long you’ve been with us, your predicted energy use vs your actual use, and even the weather! To help you answer all your questions around Direct Debit reviews, we’ve created a topic just for that. Here’s a great page, packed with useful info on Direct Debit reviews which we think will be really helpful.

If you don't see an answer to your question, share it below so others can help you. Our moderators will also be on hand to step in if needed. So go ahead, get posting and sharing!


I'm really upset. I joined OVO in June 2017 when I was told my monthly usage would be £84, I gave a meter reading and signed up, then a month later I gave another meter reading. Just TWO WEEKS after that I got an email, which oddly ended up in my spam folder, telling me that despite being in credit I'd have to nearly double my monthly amount to £145 per month, which was based on my usage! It's summer, so no heating is on, so where is this "usage" coming from?! After just a month?!!! We switched to OVO because they were reasonable but I'm being asked for more than when I was with Npower! I only found this out when Ovo tried to take the last of my money out of my bank account, thanks a bunch for using my food shopping money for an account in credit! It's ridiculous to change my direct debit and say "if we don't hear from you we'll assume it's all fine" because it certainly isn't. I feel horribly conned after being told my monthly Ovo payment would be almost 100% less when I joined, less than 3 months ago, but now I'm told it needs to go up by so much. This is awful, absolutely awful and I will be making a formal complaint because this is an underhand way to get customers, by luring them in on a good deal to change the goalposts less than 3 months in. We are a normal family, who try to be economical with our energy but apparently being in credit doesn't count for keeping to the pre arranged deal.


A similar thing has happened to me, I was paying £75 a month with NPower, Ovo quoted me £56 with which I was pleased so changed to them, after a few increases within a short time I'm now paying £85 and have just had a request to raise it again! I'm not happy.
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I came to OVO from First Utility whom I had been with for years so smart meters were nothing new and I understand how they work.
Why can't I have an option to pay my bill in full at the end of every month? (like First Utility) No monthly direct debit that changes without any reason.
I was over a £150 in credit paying 90/month and bills of around £60/month so why suddenly increase my DD to £104/month?
I am now £275 in credit, it's just crazy and makes no sense.

I can logon every day if I want and monitor my usage and see the predicted monthly cost so budgeting is simple and if my bill comes to £65 then you take £65 from my bank, how hard can it be?
Userlevel 7
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Hi everyone

Wow this topic is certainly generating some good conversation around direct debits. Appreciate it’s not all positive, but I’m hoping we can highlight some of the reasons that you are getting communications from us about reviewing the amount you are paying even when you are in credit.

OVO work in contracts and we focus on this from sign up, through your journey with us to the end of it. Most of us are used to seeing our account balances going into debt through the winter, then into credit over summer, makes sense as you are using more in the winter, and then less in the summer.

When we look at a 12 month period from when you sign up, we try to estimate based on previous usage, the amount you usually pay per month and how big a property you live, how much energy you are likely to use. Some of this will vary of course, everyone’s situation is a bit different. This does however mean that some of the direct debit amounts you sign up to may change over the course of your contract. For example if you used more over winter than we expected due to a longer cold spell as you will have used more energy than we thought you would during the 12 month period, this is energy you needed to use, therefore you need to pay for it.

We also see situations where customers are in credit and getting a direct debit review There’s often good reason for this, we have a handy topic that covers just that here.

Giving us regular meter readings are super helpful. This way we know exactly how much energy you are actually using. If you have a smart meter, then we should be receiving very regular readings from you to ensure your bills and usage are being recorded correctly.

Be interesting to see if this makes a bit more sense, if there is anything you are still confused about, get posting and together we can support each other and answer some more of your questions.

Darran
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The first line of this thread from OVO "Direct Debit reviews are super complex".

Having smart meters gives OVO accurate meter reads and I can logon and see what my usage is and the costs of that usage every day if required, also an estimate which is accurate enough to tell me how my usage compares with last month and a projected cost at month end.
So why not get rid of the "super complex" direct debit reviews for those who want it and charge what is actually used at the end of the month?

The options for accounts could be as follows.

1) PAYG

2) Pay monthly. using a fixed direct debit (direct debit amount may change over time and
without warning)

3) Pay monthly full bill. Pay the full bill by variable direct debit at the end of every month in full.

Option 3 would obviously suit me and from OVO's point of view could be 100% automatic as the system just bills me for my usage and doesn't have to do the "super complex" bit so it must be cheaper to process.
OK - next puzzle on this topic!

My statement for August reports a credit of £86-71, but when I go to myOvo, it states that my credit balance is £233-71. The first figure is the given reason that my direct debit was increased (not enough credit), so what is the "credit balance" shown on top of my MyOvo page, and why are these different?
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Some great feedback @Delboy, thanks for sharing with us! We want to try and make things as easy as possible for our customers so any feedback we get helps us do this. We cannot promise to change/fix everything overnight but it all helps.

@GTurner that is indeed a puzzle, however I'm not sure we have all the pieces just yet! Can you check MyOVO and see if we took a direct debit payment from you, between the date we sent your statement and when you checked your balance online? That could explain the jump in credit showing in your account versus the statement?

Darran
That seems to be the explanation - though the August direct debit is taken out on the same day as the August statement, and the payment quoted on the August statement is actually the July payment. I presume that means I am paying for power in advance of receiving it?

There is also a histogram showing usage throughout the year, which has 2 dotted line for monthly DD - top one is "your choice", and bottom one is "recommended". Seems that Ovo has changed my DD to the "your choice" (not my choice) figure, rather than the one that Ovo recommended!
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Hi @GTurner

Ok that definitely sounds like the reason for the difference in credit balances, the puzzle is coming together! And yes, you are paying in advance via the direct debit which is why we take a direct debit payment from you as soon as you sign up.

No need to worry however as we still work out over the 12 months what you are likely to use and then regularly review the amount to ensure we are on track to get you to a zero balance at the end of your 12 months so you are ready to renew again without having a large chunk of built up debt to pay off.

In regards to the usage graph, if it's showing that the OVO recommended amount is lower than your choice, you should be able to reduce your direct debit to that amount. Have you checked to see if you can do this?

Darran
Thanks for the clarification Darran.

In regards to the usage graph, if it's showing that the OVO recommended amount is lower than your choice, you should be able to reduce your direct debit to that amount. Have you checked to see if you can do this?

Yes - I am able to do that thanks.

Geoff
While I am generally very happy with OVO as a supplier, I do have issues with the modelling methods used to "predict" my usage for the coming year. I understand that there are many things that feed into cost and, therefore, the direct debits, but my usage pattern for this year, will, generally, be similar to last year's. When modelling my gas usage, for Sept and Oct 2017 you are forecasting approx 10x higher usage than last year and approx 1.5x for Nov and Dec 2017.

Consequently, your recommended direct debits (which don't seem to recognise balances in credit) are high, in my opinion - unless you know of impending gas price rises or very cold weather on the way?
I have been an Ovo customer for years ,last month my direct debit was increased without my knowledge to £116 per month even though I have only been using £65 per month of electric and gas. I am also £200 pound in credit. I manage everything meter readings etc online I have never been in debt only credit with this company. They refused to give my credit back unless I give more readings and wait another month. My direct debits are nearly twice as much as the energy used. I am really annoyed any fool can see that I am just building up credit. I always increase my direct debit during winter month's myself. The 3% we are supposed to receive while in credit I have never noticed on my statement.
Been with ovo since april was happy with with the £64 er month direct debit but ovo have increased this mow in july to 89 a increase of £25 per month meaning I will have paid £990 in this 12 months when with the previouse supplier was £557 for 12 months they have increased the direct debit while we were away on holiday I was under the impression they suggest a figure not just send a email and do it I have complained but not had a answer as yet have no idea where they come to the figure of £950 they expect me to use anyone else had this experience.

I have just had the same experience my direct debit was increased without my knowledge to twice the amount I am using plus I am £200 in credit. I am unable to change direct debit to lower amount in fact they are recommending £140 per month even though summer months have been around £60 mark. I have been with this company and was quite content but I don't want to be with a company that changes my direct debit without my knowledge and I have no control. I have never been in debt only credit with this company all the time I have been with them.


I have had a similar experience I joined after being quoted £56 per month, I have been asked to raise the amount on a few occasions, I am now paying £85 a month and have just been asked to raise it again. My husband and I are retired and live in a small 2 bedroom semi detached house, our usage has basically not altered so how could you have got this so wrong. I never had this problem with N Power, they just reviewed our payments every year, not every month that OVO seems to do. The increases were always minimal not the large amounts OVO are requesting. It's good to see that we're not the only ones suffering with this problem.
Something has to be done to warn people about this as it is fine promising 3% interest has anyone ever received it. I cannot see it on monthly statements how is it paid? Ovo have become like the big six I became a customer when they were just starting the change is obvious.
Example On my statements:

Other transactions
OVO Interest Reward £0.40 credit
Your online discount £4.86 credit
OVO Foundation Donation £0.25 debit
I have always provided a meter reading, as I have signed up for a 2 year fixed rate contract. Within 3 months, I have had an increase in my direct debit of £28, which is an incredibly high increase. Whilst I would have been happy for the payment to increase by £14, making it a nice round figure of £100 per month, an increase of that is excessive I feel. I was not able to adjust my direct debit to the amount I wanted to pay, as OVO wanted to take the extra money at my next payment date, then reduce the amount to £103, which was still not acceptable to me. I'm prepared to pay the shortfall of £200 by internet banking, which will make me way over 1 month in credit, with a possibility of reinstating the direct debit to a reasonable amount. Please advise and give me your internet banking details so I can get this payment made. Once this is done, I may be prepared to pay by direct debit, but will cancel it again in the instance that it is increased by your company to an unreasonable amount. Thank you.
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Hi @ElsieG welcome to the forum, thanks for joining the OVO family.

Firstly may i apologise for the issues you've had with your direct debit.

Given you'd like to make a payment my advise would be to contact the ovo cutomer care team and they can process this payment for you (or guide you how to online)

In relation to the increase it could be the forecast means your monthly cost has risen and given the contract to maintain a months balance at all times on PAYM has resulted in the increase. Nevertheless when you make contact with the ovo team to make the payment ask they review and see if they can agree the £100 a month you have requested.

Hope this helps
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I have been an Ovo customer for years ,last month my direct debit was increased without my knowledge to £116 per month even though I have only been using £65 per month of electric and gas. I am also £200 pound in credit. I manage everything meter readings etc online I have never been in debt only credit with this company. They refused to give my credit back unless I give more readings and wait another month. My direct debits are nearly twice as much as the energy used. I am really annoyed any fool can see that I am just building up credit. I always increase my direct debit during winter month's myself. The 3% we are supposed to receive while in credit I have never noticed on my statement.

Hi @ANNA MARIA

I've moved this comment to our Direct Debit review topic, so it's all in the same place.

Check out the first comment of this topic for more info on the thought process involved in a Direct Debit review. The link included is great also. To make it easier, here's that link again: https://www.ovoenergy.com/help/direct-debit-review.

In your case (with such a large credit balance) you must use a lot of energy during the winter, making us predict a debit balance by your contract end date. However I think this is worth a double check. I'll PM you shortly to get some details.

Thanks,
Tim
Userlevel 5
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I have always provided a meter reading, as I have signed up for a 2 year fixed rate contract. Within 3 months, I have had an increase in my direct debit of £28, which is an incredibly high increase. Whilst I would have been happy for the payment to increase by £14, making it a nice round figure of £100 per month, an increase of that is excessive I feel. I was not able to adjust my direct debit to the amount I wanted to pay, as OVO wanted to take the extra money at my next payment date, then reduce the amount to £103, which was still not acceptable to me. I'm prepared to pay the shortfall of £200 by internet banking, which will make me way over 1 month in credit, with a possibility of reinstating the direct debit to a reasonable amount. Please advise and give me your internet banking details so I can get this payment made. Once this is done, I may be prepared to pay by direct debit, but will cancel it again in the instance that it is increased by your company to an unreasonable amount. Thank you.

Hey ElsieG,

Thanks for getting in touch. We have a really handy OVO Answers article which explains all about Direct Debit reviews here: https://www.ovoenergy.com/help/direct-debit-review.

You’ve mentioned that you had a shortfall of £200 on your account which is likely to have caused your Direct Debit to be reviewed and increased. It would be great if you could make a one off payment to clear this so we can reinstate your Direct Debit. You can make a payment via your My OVO account (https://my.ovoenergy.com/login) but you’ll need to speak to our Customer Care team to reinstate your Direct Debit (0330 303 5063).

I've also moved this topic onto our current Direct Debit thread that we have so other users can provide support too.

Hope this helps - any other questions, fire them our way!

Lucy
Just received notification to increase my direct debit level. Given that in past three months we have fitted double glazing my hope and assumption is that our consumption will decline hopefully by a substantial amount. In the circumstances surely we should wait and see how much energy we consume during the coming winter.
I have just been asked for a significant increase on my £145 DD. Even thought in credit by £150 and not using gas at all in summer. Very disappointed but even more so that having joined in Jan 2016 I thought my 12 month contract had ended in Jan 2017, but no, I automatically started a 'new' 12 month contract which attracts a £60 early termination fee. Very disappointed in OVO and this DD experience seems to be common. This new contract was imply not clear, so maybe others should check if they are considering leaving.
I would not bet on it. OVO prices seem to have rocketed up. You could risk it but be prepared to pay off any debit on the account if needed.

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