Why has my Direct Debit amount changed?



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On January 1st 2016 or there about, I was told by ovo that they I would be paying £67 per month if I joined them; I was very happy. In November 2016 it went up to £75 per month; still not bad but no what I was promised. The very next January 2017 it went up to £109! What is going on? Is it the usual story, tell them a lie and then reel them in, then hit them with the real bill. My "smart meter" tells me that I'm in debt to the tune of : Electricity £205.69 and Gas £415.14 a total of £620.83. I have tried to understand the damned thing but am still confused! How can it save me energy and money, the price is going up and being 70 and born into a house with only gas and no electricity, I have always economised. Who pays for these complex meters, the customer I would think.
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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.

Thanks for commenting @JohnL. We have a handy OVO Answers link here: https://www.ovoenergy.com/help/direct-debit-review which explains Direct Debit reviews in much more detail.

When your contract expired, you’ll have rolled onto our Simpler tariff. This is a variable tariff that doesn’t have any leavings fees. We wouldn't have been able to fix you into a new tariff without going through the renewals process with you (either online or over the phone).

If you remain concerned about this, please send me a private message so I can look into this in more detail.

Lucy
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Hey @Mikes245,

Have you seen your bills decrease over the last three months since you had the double glazing installed? The Direct Debit reviews essentially aim to have your account at a £0 balance when your contract ends (more info can be found here: https://www.ovoenergy.com/help/direct-debit-review).

You may still need to increase your Direct Debit but make sure you’ve been billed to actual readings not estimates, to ensure the proposed increase is accurate.

@JohnL raises a good point. If you decide to keep your Direct Debit as it is, if there is any outstanding debt amount on your account, this will need to be paid off should you wish to switch suppliers, keep your Direct Debit the same etc. 🙂

As we've got a topic on this already, I've moved your comment onto this thread so other customers can help out too.

Lucy
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On January 1st 2016 or there about, I was told by ovo that they I would be paying £67 per month if I joined them; I was very happy. In November 2016 it went up to £75 per month; still not bad but no what I was promised. The very next January 2017 it went up to £109! What is going on? Is it the usual story, tell them a lie and then reel them in, then hit them with the real bill. My "smart meter" tells me that I'm in debt to the tune of : Electricity £205.69 and Gas £415.14 a total of £620.83. I have tried to understand the damned thing but am still confused! How can it save me energy and money, the price is going up and being 70 and born into a house with only gas and no electricity, I have always economised. Who pays for these complex meters, the customer I would think.

Hey cawapiie,

I’ve moved your topic onto this thread as we have a topic about Direct Debits that are full of other users comments which I hope you’ll find helpful.

By the sounds of it, your Direct Debit has increased as your usage has increased. The advantage of having smart meters means we’ll always bill you to accurate readings. If there is a debt amount showing, this is likely to be reflective of your current account balance but double check your bills to make sure you’ve been billed to actual readings.

Lucy
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About 6 months ago, I rang OVO to say that my home was probably going to be unoccupied for a year. The person I spoke to suggested reducing my payments to £20 per month but I went for £40. Because I wasn't at home, I couldn't give meter readings and so OVO used their own estimates, based on the previous year, rather than those for an empty house. Then, based on their own fictional estimates, they said I wasn't paying enough and upped my monthly direct debits to £67 for a fridge freezer and nothing else.

I am actually back at home now after 6 months but it means that the usage graphs and the month-on-month %s are unusable. Even when you give an actual reading that is much lower than the previous month's estimate, they do not revise the earlier estimate - why not?

I spoke to an OVO advisor about 18 months ago who said the usage graphs were being worked on, but nothing seems to have changed. You either need to revise earlier estimated readings in the light of later actual ones or, if you do not want to amend the earlier estimates, then you need to allow negative usage.
Having only been with OVO for around five months and already £177-87 in credit am somewhat disturbed by OVO's intention to increase my monthly direct debit from £95 per month to £154, an increase of 62%!! how can this be justified, bearing in mind that OVO's estimate of my usage as so far been far in excess of that actually used .
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I've just had a letter telling me my DD is to be increased by 25%! Checking online confirms this cannot be reduced.
I have Projected my consumption based on 5 or more years records of our non-standard SD cottage and this will mean a year end credit balance of over £200. Can't object to the interest generated but I object to the loss of control of my finances.
Also I notice that my meter readings, supplied monthly, are being adjusted upwards to increase the balance in my account. Has anyone else observed this practice?
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Despite always being in credit, last year it ended up over £300, paying at OVOs recommended DD amount. I am now being asked to increase my current DD by 25%.
I cannot find in the contract where it states I must be in a credit of their choosing or any credit for that matter. I am responsible enough to increase my payments if required.
I'm curious about this language of "ending the contract in debt"? If I owe money, demonstrate that I owe you the money and I'll pay it at the end - after you've provided the goods and services, not before?

My DD has suddenly had to increase by 50% also following a sudden £300 mystery debit in July, so I am a little miffed at the moment.
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Hey @SCR- if the property is vacant, I’m afraid there’s nothing we can do to stop estimate readings being provided if no one is there. These estimated readings are based on historical information so we’re not able to based them on if the property is vacant. As soon as you are able to provide some up to date readings, this will correct any inaccurate estimates that have been used.

If you need me to remove these estimates from your account, I’d be happy to look into this for you. Just drop me a private message with your name, DoB and OVO account number.

@phillip verhamme- First of all, welcome to OVO! It’s great to hear that you’re already in credit. The proposed increase will be based on what we’ve projected you’ll use over the year, and will work towards leaving you with a £0 credit balance. If you’ve been billed to estimates though, this increase may not be accurate.. The best thing to do is to provide us with readings each month so we can ensure you’re billing is correct.

@Hellovo- If you’ve calculated that you’ll have a credit balance of £200 at the end of your contract if you increase your Direct Debit, I’d be happy to look into this further for you. Just drop me a private message with your name, DoB and OVO account number. You’re also seeing the readings (either actual or estimates) increase each month as you’re using energy.

@Rob_ - You may find this OVO answers link helpful: https://www.ovoenergy.com/help/direct-debit-review, but if you’d also like me to take a look at the specifics on your account, feel free to send me a private message with the info I advised @Hellovo.

Lucy
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Despite always being in credit, last year it ended up over £300, paying at OVOs recommended DD amount. I am now being asked to increase my current DD by 25%.
I cannot find in the contract where it states I must be in a credit of their choosing or any credit for that matter. I am responsible enough to increase my payments if required.


Hey Pat Moore,

In our terms and conditions, for Pay monthly customers, it states that you pay for your supply in advance each month by Direct Debit. This means that we’d expect our customers to have the equivalent to one's months Direct Debit in their account at all times.

If you’re being asked to increase your Direct Debit, there can be a number of different reasons for this. I’ve moved your topic onto this thread so you can check out the other comments for more information.

Hope this helps,
Lucy
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Is the estimated bill shown on the smart meter the amount estimated for our usage for the current year? If so, it shows less than we will be paying, so why the requested increase in monthly DD?
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Is the estimated bill shown on the smart meter the amount estimated for our usage for the current year? If so, it shows less than we will be paying, so why the requested increase in monthly DD?

The estimated usage section on the In Home Display (IHD) isn’t the most reliable projection/indicator of your usage. I’d be happy to look over your statements though and get you an estimated annual consumption figure if you’d like? Just pop me a private message with your name, DoB and OVO account number.

Lucy
My direct debit for 2016 was £72.00 a month.(which covered my usage)Then with no warning I'm asked to increase my direct to £96.00 a month for 2017.(Extra £24.00 a month,!!!!).
No information received to say there had been a price increase.Now today I've just received another e-mail saying Ovo recommend I
Increase my direct debit again.Im on my bike.!!
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@Simon Templer

Welcome to the forum. I have moved your question over here as we have a load of information and customer comments about direct debits and why they change that might help answer your questions.

Have a read through and comment below if you need any other support or have any other questions.

Darran
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.

Thanks for commenting @JohnL. We have a handy OVO Answers link here: https://www.ovoenergy.com/help/direct-debit-review which explains Direct Debit reviews in much more detail.

When your contract expired, you’ll have rolled onto our Simpler tariff. This is a variable tariff that doesn’t have any leavings fees. We wouldn't have been able to fix you into a new tariff without going through the renewals process with you (either online or over the phone).

If you remain concerned about this, please send me a private message so I can look into this in more detail.

Lucy
My direct debit for 2016 was £72.00 a month.(which covered my usage)Then with no warning I'm asked to increase my direct to £96.00 a month for 2017.(Extra £24.00 a month,!!!!).
No information received to say there had been a price increase.Now today I've just received another e-mail saying Ovo recommend I
Increase my direct debit again.Im on my bike.!!
.Thought I'd found a good and honest power company but they are just like the rest pull them in with a cheap tariff and then hit them hard.(What a shower).!!!
I've been receiving requests to increase my direct debit for a few months now, I spoke to customer services in June to explain I have had an entire new heating system and smart meters fitted in February and my bills had been fluctuating massively for the months after they were fitted (e.g. £25 one month then £200 the next). I was told this can happen with the smart meters and to let it run it's course and the estimated level of my direct debit would adjust and OVO wouldn't increase it just yet.

The smart metering seems to have levelled out now which is good. I am still getting requests to increase my direct debit. Is there anyway to explain that I have gone from a 30+yr old heating system (floor standing heat exchanger boiler and hot water tank with no insulation) to the most high tech Vaillant boiler with smart thermostat (Nest) and so my use will be lower this winter?? I'm sure if someone understands this they can model my predicted use better. I have never been anywhere near a £0 balance, for the last 18 months I've always built up more and more credit and even to the point of taking £150 back just to keep the level of credit down a bit.
letter sent to say you were increasing my direct debit without my say so i am £194 in credit you have no right to say you will ajust my payments without my consent.
It appears from varying comments on the forum that OVO currently have a policy to "review" their customers Direct Debits. No harm in that if you get it right.

I too was subject to this review with a "recommendation" that I should increase my Direct Debit by 96%. Granted I was only in credit by £5 on my account. The recommendation appeared online on My OVO (I was prompted by email to have a look) and I then received two letters within a week of each other, the second of which undertook to "take care of it" since I hadn't updated by Direct Debit.

I could not adjust the "recommended" monthly Direct Debit amount on My OVO - it was a simple "accept" or "decline" the 96% increase. I declined.

Based on OVO's own estimated usage of energy on my OVO statement if I amended the Direct Debit to the recommended amount I would have overpaid approximately £720 over 12 months. Whilst I have considered using OVO as an alternative to a Bank or Building Society with their 5% interest on creditor balances there is a limit on how much I care to "invest" each month.

I sent an email to OVO providing the information and I received a phone call the same day, agreeing to the lower monthly amount I had suggested would cover the estimated annual cost (which was similar to the past 12 months actual cost as recorded on my OVO statement).

My Direct Debit has reduced in the past prompted by OVO and I have received a partial refund of money which had built up in credit. It has not changed since and I was perfectly happy to increase it back to the former level based on realistic estimates. Why a 96% increase was "recommended" I have no idea.

Whoever devised the computer programme to review Direct Debits has got it badly wrong (upsetting customers in the process). As others have suggested the data is there for many customers from My OVO and via SMART meters although I'm not convinced with how smart the latter actually are.

My advice is to take note of any communications and contact OVO by email if you're not satisfied with their recommendations. I spent time I could have done without dealing with the matter but it is now resolved. It would be preferable if the option had been given to amend the Direct Debit amount on My OVO to a figure of my own choice at the review, rather than only a "recommended" figure which was clearly incorrect. I'm sure that was possible previously?
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letter sent to say you were increasing my direct debit without my say so i am £194 in credit you have no right to say you will ajust my payments without my consent.

Hi @harvey31 @bill Rethink and thanks for posting!

Can any other user who've had a Direct Debit review chip in with some advice - @GTurner @certanti :?

Tim
I recalculated, based on last year’s usage, and rang customer services - they saw the error in their predictions and wen along with my figures, as I was £359 in credit.
Not a happy customer.

Have receive an email to state that my direct debit is being increased to £210 (from £60). I understand I was £199 in debt (but believe that is due to your low initial quotes to entice customers).

For the past several months I have been paying £60 direct debit and topping up £40 (total £100) My statement are around £80.

I understand that my direct debit amount would need to be amended; however £210 per month seems excessive; I will probably look at changing suppliers at this rate - surely this is the point of smart meters to bill people accurately??
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Not a happy customer.

Have receive an email to state that my direct debit is being increased to £210 (from £60). I understand I was £199 in debt (but believe that is due to your low initial quotes to entice customers).

For the past several months I have been paying £60 direct debit and topping up £40 (total £100) My statement are around £80.

I understand that my direct debit amount would need to be amended; however £210 per month seems excessive; I will probably look at changing suppliers at this rate - surely this is the point of smart meters to bill people accurately??


Hey 4ll4n,

The quote that you originally got would have been based on the information you provided at the point of sign up. Your unit rates and standing charge won't have changed during your contract. If you’ve built up a debt of £199, this is likely to be due to your usage.

We’d be more than happy to look at this for you to see if we can calculate a more accurate Direct Debit amount. If you’d like us to, please send me a PM with your name, DoB and OVO account number.

Lucy
Adjusting the DD is all very well but there does not seem to be any flexibility in the system.

We have an AGA which means that during the summer when the AGA is off we use MORE electricity for cooking, water heating and (given our weather) drying clothes. However, once the weather turns colder we revert to the AGA for these activities.

OVO increased our DD in the summer by a huge amount and even though we explained the situation to them there was no room for flexibility, even though as a long-standing customer our usage history showed all the above.

We are now in the position of building up a large credit again. The only advantage is that we get more interest on this than we would in the bank so not all bad news!!
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This situation regarding Direct Debits is getting ridiculous.
Please give me the option to pay my bill in full at the end of the month.
I do not want to keep £500.00 of MY money in YOUR bank account regardless of the interest you pay me which amounts to a few pence in reality.

I think this business practice of increasing DD's when the evidence is available to show no increase is required is wrong and should be outlawed, you won't listen to your customers as this thread shows so I will be leaving you when my contract ends.

I would leave sooner but I'm not paying you £60.00 for the privilege.

Del.

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