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How can I cancel an accidental renewal caused by a bug on the online account?


Hi there. Has anyone else out there had the same experience as me. I was checking to see if my latest bill was available on the OVO app when I noticed they were offering me one and two year fixed deals. I innocently clicked on the link to see how much it would be, only to find that I was instantly signed up for a two-year fixed contract which I didn't want. I now have to go through the process of trying to get them to cancel it within 14 days. Is it just me that thinks this is outrageous. Surely there should be a minimum of two steps to allow you to first see the rates they are going to charge you so that you can decide whether it is something you want or not. I am absolutely horrified that OFGEN allows them to do it.

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Best answer by Jess_OVO 9 May 2022, 12:24

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This has just happened to me.  I didn’t even click on the link though - I did look at all the rates and when I checked around, there were advisors saying to stick to the variable account as you were protected with the price cap - so thought I would stick with that.  Have now sent off a few emails to them and will waste half my morning on Monday calling. I am furious with them also. Very bad practice.

Hi Louneleon, hopefully your email message is sufficient to cancel the contract, especially as they advise you that the phones are very busy just now. Everybody seems to be using covid as an excuse for bad service these days!!! If they don't remedy the problem pdq I'll be on to OFGEN about it. 

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Hiya!

Just stopping by as one of the forum volunteers.

Firstly, it may be worth me mentioning that if you’re currently on a variable rate tariff, making any changes to your plan will take effect immediately, although you retain the option of the cooldown period and can revert back fee-free within 14 days. You will need to do this by phone however, as OVO requires verbal consent to do this. Emails won’t usually be accepted.

It is intended that you get a chance to review your options first and this sounds more like a bug in the app than anything else. I’ll get @Tim_OVO and @Jess_OVO on the case with that one. However, if you did NOT receive an email confirmation of the tariff change AND the OVO Energy app isn’t showing any signs of your new tariff either on the home page or under Account > Plan, then your plan likely hasn’t been changed at all.

The best time to call is from Tuesday morning onwards. Calling on a Monday morning is the worst possible time because you will get snarled up with literally everyone else trying to call in at the first possible chance. I promise you that waiting until Tuesday is worth the wait, the queue will be much faster!

Also, please don’t send more than one email at once, sending several will only slow down the response time as they all then have to be read before you can get any reply to any of them.

As for staying variable? Personally… I’m not in agreement there. We’re at the point of diminishing returns because in about four and a half months time, the current price cap will expire and the rates will likely shoot up again. Going onto fixed rate now will lock in the agreed rate for far longer than any price cap ever will and may save you more money in the long run, even if it may seem more expensive initially. Now is the perfect time in my opinion to lock in a fixed rate, because the rates won’t exactly have changed much since April and it’s too soon for suppliers to start raising them ahead of the winter season yet.

Unfortunately, I cannot overpower the juggernaut that is Martin Lewis, but I would strongly encourage you to reconsider your options carefully before you commit to any further changes to your tariff.

I’d also like to give you a heads up that you cannot approach Ofgem regarding complaints. If you have a problem with your account, it’s best to check out https://help.ovoenergy.com first and contact the Support Team if you’re still stuck. If that fails to resolve your issue, the next step is the complaints process via https://ovoenergy.com/feedback but please give the main team a chance to solve the problem first as you may get lucky.

Only if that process fails you after eight weeks of raising the complaint or you get a deadlock letter from OVO, can you then escalate it further to the Energy Ombudsman. Ofgem has delegated complaints handling to the ombudsman, which is why you cannot go to Ofgem directly, otherwise you will be referred back to OVO.

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Just wanted to step in here to clarify, an accidental renewal can be cancelled via phone, email or webchat within the first two weeks of your new plan, @Robch and @Louneeleon.

 

It’s disappointing to hear you both found a technical issue with the online renewal feature, this is feedback I shall be passing on to the team. Once notified that you don’t wish to continue with the contract, our Support Team can easily get this reversed so I’m hoping you’ve both managed to get in touch. 

 

Let us know if you need any more help or advice here,

Hi Jess, thanks for the reassuring response. As I've already emailed the support team I'll wait for them to reply before doing anything else. With regard to the problem of the app not allowing me to review the offer prior to accepting it I trust this will be addressed by the development team.

Regards

Rob

Hi Jess,

many thanks for the reply.  As I have emailed the tram regarding this I will await a response- my contract does not end until 28th June, so it’s not yet changed anyway.  Hopefully this glitch will be rectified.

 

Louise 

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Every valid bug report raised on the forum gets passed on to the right teams. Whether it's posted by myself using my template, a forum volunteer helping someone out or a member like yourselves flagging up an issue, it all gets passed on.

In some cases, one of us might ask for some extra info before getting Tim or Jess involved as that can sometimes help to locate the bug. This one might take a few weeks to fully resolve, but no doubt you’ll get an update to the app with the fix sooner or later. It may also be noted in the update notes as well.

If I spot anything, I’ll try to come back to this thread.

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Last Wednesday, 25th May, I made a mistake and signed up for a 1 Year Fixed Plan. Immediately, I phoned Ovo, who said that a manager would cancel it. Two days later, I was assured that the plan was cancelled and the move back to Variable was showing as pending. 

Now, over a week later, I am still showing as being on the Fixed Plan, and Ovo is closed. They won’t open again until Monday, and I am worried that I won’t be put back on the variable Plan in time, and will ahve to pay exit fees. 

Any advice would be most gratefully received.

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Hi @rjsimmonds ,

From my understanding, this should still be possible fee-free, on the basis you made the initial request within the 14-day cooling off period even if you request it again. If you still get stuck, the process at https://ovoenergy.com/feedback should get things sorted out.

You might want to consider going back to a fixed plan before September though, as the next variable rate price cap is likely to shoot up significantly compared to what the current one is at.

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Thank you. I am planning on fixing nearer the time, but suddenly my costs have got up approximately £7 per week and I would rather fix nearer the time. I did try emailing earlier, but got an automated message saying that they would get back to me in 5 working days, which is past the deadline.

I guess it’s just ‘wait and see’ now, until next week, but thank you for replying.

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That’s not a problem either. :)

The fact that you sent the email in during the cooling-off period is what counts. Even if it takes a while for OVO to pick it up, the request will be backdated based on the timestamp of the email. As long as you sent it before the 14 days ran out, you should be good.

Hi

My old plan came to an end in May and I was quite happy for now to stay on the default variable tariff. Now I have had an Email stating that I will be moved to a 1 year fixed rate. They have also hiked up the DD payment to match the new increase above the capped variable rate.

Surely this is wrong without my permission?

Thanks

Alex

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Hi @Alsgsi2 ,

I’m Blastoise186, one of the forum volunteers here. Just so you’re aware, I’m unable to access your account or make any changes per the house rules.

I don’t think this would have happened automatically. OVO requires your explicit consent to set up or renew a fixed rate deal of any kind and the billing platform does not have the capability to renew tariffs automatically - and more than likely never will. I suspect either yourself or someone with access to your account may have renewed your contract without you realising. You may want to ask around the family to see if anyone did that.

It is also worth noting that fixed rate deals are not affected by the Ofgem Default Tariff Cap or any kind of price caps. Suppliers can charge any rates they choose for a fixed rate deal on the basis you know what you’re agreeing to in advance. The price cap that’s most widely advertised is also just the national average and is not the de facto price cap for absolutely everyone in the UK.

You do have options though. If you call the Support Team on 0330 303 5063 within 14 days of receiving that email, they can cancel the fixed rate deal and investigate what happened.

Thanks for your reply.

There is only one person who could consent to a fixed rate and that is me…

I have checked out the deals on offer in the past and certainly have not consented to a new fixed rate. Ofgem for me on Monday. BTW the online billing platform is truly up the spout, mines been frozen for days so this automatic move to a fixed rate doesn't surprise me.

Regards

Alex

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You’re welcome.

The frozen account issue is already under investigation for another member and I think the Tech Team will likely apply a fix for everyone who might be affected once they’ve got one ready.

However, I will notify the forum moderators @Tim_OVO and @Jess_OVO that you might also be affected. Please hang in there for a bit as they’re not usually around on the weekends.

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I'm wondering if you fell victim to the fix with one click button in a renewal email that other forum members have mentioned as being rather too easy to click without realising?

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I'm wondering if you fell victim to the fix with one click button in a renewal email that other forum members have mentioned as being rather too easy to click without realising?

It really would be good if OVO changed this as has been mentioned before, especially with such a large difference between fixed and variable rates at the moment 

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I'm wondering if you fell victim to the fix with one click button in a renewal email that other forum members have mentioned as being rather too easy to click without realising?

That seems like an odd strategy. Some virus scanners will try the links in an email to check that they are safe. Can OVO deal with that properly? 

Thanks for the replies...all I know is that I have never clicked on a link to renew for a fixed rate. All I have ever done is looked at the fixed tariff rates. How many people must this have happened to? Surely I cant be the only one!

Going to wait until tomorrow to see if I get any response from the Emails that I`ve sent, after that I`m taking this further.

They are extremely quick at upping the DD and charging the new rate!

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I'm wondering if you fell victim to the fix with one click button in a renewal email that other forum members have mentioned as being rather too easy to click without realising?

That seems like an odd strategy. Some virus scanners will try the links in an email to check that they are safe. Can OVO deal with that properly? 

That’s a legacy technique that only terrible AV vendors like Norton, McAfee, Avira, AVG and Avast still rely on - it really doesn’t work as well as it was ever supposed to. Plus, that technique is completely useless if you’re using a webmail client like the web version of Gmail or Hotmail for example.

All the decent vendors like Bitdefender, Kaspersky, Sophos and Malwarebytes dropped it a long time ago, in favour of other techniques like having a massive blacklist/whitelist mechanism and real-time traffic analysis. I’ll spare you the technical details, but their methods are a LOT more reliable and catch more stuff than simply trying to scan links in emails. You can avoid issues like that by considering switching AV vendor to one of those four.

The few remaining vendors that still do it are either the terrible ones that you shouldn’t be using anyway, or they’re crumby ancient business security solutions like Websense that haven’t been upgraded in forever (seriously, if you’re using one of those PLEASE do both me and you a favour and upgrade or replace it!).

Either way, they’ll usually do the scans in a way that shouldn’t result in anything being triggered, otherwise it’d mess up all sorts of stuff like password reset links. So OVO shouldn’t really need to make any changes to fix broken AV products. And to be brutally honest, if you’re using an Anti-Virus product that behaves that way, that’s kinda your problem to fix rather than OVO’s. At least in my opinion anyway.

Ultimately, it's also pretty much impossible for websites to know whose fingers are at the keyboard, or whether a human or robot clicked a particular link from an email. Based on what I know, I don't think there's much OVO can do to fix that sort of thing and as a result, no realistic way to protect the platform from phantom clicks by Anti-Virus products. 

I have some other thoughts about this however, but I cannot publish them publicly at this time as I’m going to have to be under NDA about them for the time being.

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I’m so sorry to hear of your unexpected renewal, @Alsgsi2.

 

Just to clarify, we’d normally need you to confirm that you’d like to go ahead before signing up to a new fixed plan so I’m wondering if you might have inadvertently clicked renew when browsing the options available. We’ve had reports of similar accidental online renewals so it would be helpful to know if you’ve logged in to your online account or OVO App (download for Android or iOS) so we can flag this to the tech team.

 

Either way as you’ve got a 14 day cooling-off window we’d recommend reaching out to the Support Team to cancel this new plan, if you’re happy to stay on the variable plan. There’ll be no exit fees applied and you’re able to choose a fixed plan in future, if you decide to.

You are insulting my intelligence if you think I inadvertently click on links. Even if that was so, it should not be possible just with a single click. If you are saying that it only takes one click to sign up to a new plan then this is close to entrapment. There should be a process after the renew now link. 

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As mentioned in my previous reply, my thoughts on the matter have been submitted to OVO privately via secure channels. I’m not in a position to reveal further details because I consider them under NDA at this time.

I’m afraid for the time being, I will also need to withdraw from threads like this one until after I hear back from OVO.

Ok.. so, after finally getting through on the phone, they have put me back on the plan that I was on previously. However, they are now charging me an exit fee of £60 for exiting the fixed term plan even though I did not consent to going on it in the first place, plus it was inside the cooling off period!!🤣 

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Ok.. so, after finally getting through on the phone, they have put me back on the plan that I was on previously. However, they are now charging me an exit fee of £60 for exiting the fixed term plan even though I did not consent to going on it in the first place, plus it was inside the cooling off period!!🤣 

What is the date on the original email you got to say you were being put onto a fixed rate plan? 

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