Anyone else had issues agreeing a Direct Debit amount that stays in place via OVO Customer Services?


Marched - Moved against our will to OVO from SSE and put on a ridiculously high DD.  When reduction requested, told by OVO that credit had to be at least 1 month’s DD at all times - lie number 1. 

End of May, finally got OVO to agree to a reduced DD - was actually offered a lower one but both sides agreed on a monthly figure  - confirmation email received following day.  

Following week, OVO send an email stating that the DD is too low and has to be increased from 1st July.  Emailed back same day saying DD will remain as is and referring them back to telephone call.

Yesterday, get a response from OVO agreeing DD will remain as is and 3 month exemption from review has been placed on account.

Today get an email from OVO stating DD has been amended AS WE DIDN’T GET BACK TO THEM, and it has actually been increased to a higher amount than they stated it would.

Cancelled DD.  Am currently writing a complaint asking for a full explanation, a full apology and compensation for their complete lack of competence.

Anyone else had the same really shambolic level of customer service? 

 


13 replies

Userlevel 7
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Am happy on the whole with the level of service i have had from OVO, so for me they haven't been shambolic. 

However there has been a few cases on this forum related to the freezing of direct debits. It is up to you but i would be wary about cancelling a direct debit as it may have knock on effects you then unfortunately have to spend time sorting out. 

 

 

You can be wary as much as you want.

I won't accept the shoddy 'service' OVO offer. 

Userlevel 7
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You can be wary as much as you want.

I won't accept the shoddy 'service' OVO offer. 

Hi @auntysassy 

Totally up to you. 

If you want any help or have any questions feel free to ask. There are a few of us on this forum who sometimes try and help with issues. We don't work for OVO. Appreciate you may not like some or all of the suggestions though.

Hope you get things sorted. 

Userlevel 7
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I also want to chip in here as well. Oh, and like @Jeffus , I am one of the forum volunteers. Neither of us work for OVO but we are trusted to be able to help out on this forum.

I’ve found OVO’s UK based Support Team to be amazingly good - especially compared to the India/Bangladesh/Philippines based call centres SSE had a habit of using when I was supplied by them between 2018 and late 2020. I actually figured out that after OVO bought out SSE Energy Services they’d eventually merge SSE’s side of things into OVO, so I effectively jumped the queue by switching manually way before they’d even started to migrate anyone. The fact that I have experience of both sides also works to my advantage because I know both platforms extremely well.

However, I do echo Jeffus’s warning regarding cancelling the Direct Debit. OVO requires you to keep one active if you’re on a fixed rate tariff and you will almost certainly be asked to re-instate it to remain on the tariff. If you refuse, there is a possibility you will be ejected from the tariff and forced to surf the variable rate tariffs. I don’t know exactly how OVO will handle this, but you will need to discuss that with them to find a solution.

As for my Direct Debit, I actually deliberately choose to overpay by more than 100% of what I should be paying and this is a personal choice. OVO has actually warned me not to increase my payments any further or make any further manual payments - and in fact the system keeps trying to reduce my Direct Debit, but I keep overriding it because I’m happy as I am. In actual fact, my fixed rate deal is pretty cheap so my £40 a month payments more than crush every single bill I get. It’s an example of how the system actually does work - and no… OVO does not just keep bumping up DD payments just to claw in more cash (not that they can use it anyway). There really is a safety measure in place to stop the system automatically pushing it up for people who actually do pay more than what’s needed!

Similar experience, I didn’t ask to be moved from SSE to OVO. I was paying £67 @ month with SSE. On June 2nd OVO said it would increase this to £99 and on June 12th wrote again saying it would increase to £101. What happened between June 2 and June 12  to cause this additional increase?  I can’t get in contact with anyone from OVO and the feedback function doesn’t work

Userlevel 6
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Yes, I had a similar experience here. I appreciate that everybody wants to set DD a bit higher to ward of risks of non-payment or rising prices. But mine was just calculated wrong, and this discussion has been going on for 4 months now without a resolution. The computer seems to be very quick to put up DD, but the process to keep it down is much slower, and consumes insane amounts of time. 

On the plus side, the refund process works quite well, but it defeats the purpose of just having a constant amount going out every month. 

Userlevel 7
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Similar experience, I didn’t ask to be moved from SSE to OVO. I was paying £67 @ month with SSE. On June 2nd OVO said it would increase this to £99 and on June 12th wrote again saying it would increase to £101. What happened between June 2 and June 12  to cause this additional increase?  I can’t get in contact with anyone from OVO and the feedback function doesn’t work

The feedback tool on the right hand side of every page is not intended to be a complaint or contact us tool. Clicking it while on this forum for example, gets this result.

On the help centre, you get this one.

Meanwhile, on the homepage of MyOVO, you get this one.

 

That tool is intended to provide general website feedback more than anything else and your responses go to the relevant team behind that part of the platform/services (such as Tim in the case of the forum). The Support Team and Complaints Team do NOT receive those comments directly.

If you wish to make a complaint regarding your account, the actual Feedback tool you’re after is the Complaints Process at https://ovoenergy.com/feedback .

However, I would encourage you to try using the Message Us button at https://help.ovoenergy.com first - you’ll often get through this way a lot faster than via any other method, usually within 90 seconds or so.

Userlevel 7
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Yes, I had a similar experience here. I appreciate that everybody wants to set DD a bit higher to ward of risks of non-payment or rising prices. But mine was just calculated wrong, and this discussion has been going on for 4 months now without a resolution. The computer seems to be very quick to put up DD, but the process to keep it down is much slower, and consumes insane amounts of time. 

On the plus side, the refund process works quite well, but it defeats the purpose of just having a constant amount going out every month. 

 

I feel as if there’s a justified reason for the system being slower to drop payments than to raise them. Raising them sooner prevents the account going into debt as easily, but dropping payments too rapidly increases the risk of an account going into debt.

Let me put this into perspective using another angle. The Discourse forum software has a sort of ranking system called Trust Levels that has some pretty clever features that make sense when used properly. The idea is to not give new members too much power immediately in order to limit the damage to themselves or the community, but slowly unlock more power as the user gains experience. For example, at Trust Level 0 you can’t send a PM to anyone else (useful to prevent PM spam!) but you can reply to threads. Once you get to Trust Level 1, you can start using features like the PM system and a few of the most strict moderation limits are lifted.

Once you get to Trust Level 3, you must remain sufficiently active on the community in order to maintain your status, otherwise you drop back down to TL2 automatically. The idea is to avoid inactive users keeping overpowered permissions forever, because that otherwise becomes a security risk.

However, after you gain TL3 there’s a mechanism to avoid you constantly see-sawing between TL2 and TL3, after you get promoted to TL3 you are automatically protected from being demoted for two weeks. If you’re still active enough, you keep the status. But if you vanish in that time, you’ll get demoted at some point after the grace period expires. The whole idea is to reduce the risk and noise of a see-saw effect and it works pretty well.

I see the same concept with what OVO is doing. It seems to me that OVO is trying to avoid a constant swing of payments going up and down. Is it a perfect system? Nope! Definitely not perfect now and definitely won’t ever be perfect for everyone. But is it better than the other scenario? Almost certainly.

In my experience, it’s ultimately better to let the account run on autopilot than to manually keep forcing things in a particular direction. Most of the time, the supplier has it figured out better than the customer, but if you really think the autopilot has gone wrong, the best solution is always the easiest… Talk to your supplier and work with them on a fix.

Userlevel 3

I have had a ‘rocky’ relationship with OVO support since I moved over from SSE at the end of April. To be fair to the ladies whom I have spoken to by phone, they have all been extremely polite and respectful. Unfortunately, following an initial mistake on my behalf - I accidentally signed myself up to a fixed plan - the battle to get my account moved back to the variable rate was not smooth, with mistakes made at OVO’s end, including being charged 2 exit fees despite still being within the cooling down period.

Now, to add insult to injury, my billing history has frozen at the point when I was moved back to variable. The new usage and standing charges are not showing on my account and apparently I will have to wait until the end of July for it to hopefully sort itself out. Thankfully, I have an IHD and am keeping a record of readings.

I was with SSE for several years and never had a single problem with that company. I suppose that I shall have to put this down to ‘migration teething problems’ but I am not happy.

Userlevel 2

I was with Scottish Power for three years as when I moved into my present house they were the supplier . They were pretty bad and after lots of ups and downs with them  even though I had just fixed for another year with them, I don’t know why I did that ! Kept thinking it will sort itself out eventually. I paid to come out of contract and decided to go with Ovo . I was with them in 2017 in my old house and never had a problem . 
And I’m very glad I did I find customer service very helpful and I can always get through to them after maybe a little wait. And I find the forum very good. All in all I don’t understand all these customers that have problems because when I have explained a issue I have it is always dealt with courteously and efficiently. I would recommend this company to anyone thinking of changing supplier. 

Userlevel 1

Unfortunately I must agree with the original post.

I have been with OVO at my current address since I moved in 2016 and was with them for several years at my previous address.

Customer service used to be excellent on the rare occasion I needed to contact them.

However, lately it has been a constant battle to get anything done and I have wasted hours trying to get incessant DD increases stopped, a complaint raised and factually correct information provided over the phone.

I often feel for the poor advisers who answer the phones as the problems are not usually of their causing but they get the brunt of the customer’s ire.

OVO need to sort out their processes, have a look at how well they follow their own standards and sort out their seriously sub-standard systems (I speak from about 40 years IT experience).

I am just going to post my sorry saga on the forum but it is similar to MrPuds experience above.

Userlevel 7
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I have had a ‘rocky’ relationship with OVO support since I moved over from SSE at the end of April. To be fair to the ladies whom I have spoken to by phone, they have all been extremely polite and respectful. Unfortunately, following an initial mistake on my behalf - I accidentally signed myself up to a fixed plan - the battle to get my account moved back to the variable rate was not smooth, with mistakes made at OVO’s end, including being charged 2 exit fees despite still being within the cooling down period.

Now, to add insult to injury, my billing history has frozen at the point when I was moved back to variable. The new usage and standing charges are not showing on my account and apparently I will have to wait until the end of July for it to hopefully sort itself out. Thankfully, I have an IHD and am keeping a record of readings.

I was with SSE for several years and never had a single problem with that company. I suppose that I shall have to put this down to ‘migration teething problems’ but I am not happy.

Hi @rjsimmonds 

My bill also stopped updating when I went from an OVO fixed rate to the variable rate plan. I was never with SSE. 

The actual bill was fine at the end of the billing period, and the subsequent bill is updating fine.

So it is possible there is a temporary issue with a small number of customers unrelated to the SSE migration.

At least it looks like the bill is ok at the end of the period. 

I used the usage page when the bill was not updating to keep an eye on things. 

Hope it all works out. In have found OVO generally good, although there are things that could be better. 

 

Userlevel 7
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Similar experience, I didn’t ask to be moved from SSE to OVO. I was paying £67 @ month with SSE. On June 2nd OVO said it would increase this to £99 and on June 12th wrote again saying it would increase to £101. What happened between June 2 and June 12  to cause this additional increase?  I can’t get in contact with anyone from OVO and the feedback function doesn’t work

Hi @noelcn101

I don't work for OVO, so this is just some info in case it helps. 

There are two basic reasons your direct debit may have gone up. Firstly your tariff may have increased recently (for example if you are on the price capped plan), secondly if it looks like you may use more energy than OVO originally forecast. 

The OVO forecast tool is pretty good in my experience but can take a bit of time to settle down i remember. I have been with OVO just over a year. The forecast tool does update the minimum direct debit more frequently than you will have been use to. You may have found in the past updates were only ever every 3 months with other suppliers. It does take a bit of getting use to. Generally i prefer to know earlier whether i am on track. Am sure there are more tweaks OVO could make over time to increase the accuracy of the forecast so it works even better for everyone. 

The price cap tariff went up in April so if you are on the price cap plan this may be part of the reason for the original increase. 

Does that background info help? 

What date did you move to OVO and what plan are you on? 

Hope it all works out. In have found OVO generally good, although there are things that could be better. 

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