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How do I change the name on an OVO account following a death? - all other details unchanged.

  • 24 September 2021
  • 6 replies
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Just been looking at all the problems people report experiencing when dealing with grief of parent who was named as account holder dying. Why is it apparently so difficult and complicated to just change account holder name?

 

Question/situation:

My mother is named account holder (so as to qualify for winter fuel payment etc as was only in receipt of basic pension), HOWEVER I have ALWAYS paid bills by DDM from my bank account, email for account management is mine, contact phone number is mine. Current fixed rate plans run until March 2022. Mother dies and all I want is for account holder name to be changed to mine, NOTHING ELSE CHANGES - can this simple name change be done?    YES or NO

 

If NO then as as long as DWP are told of death so stop pension and age related payments seems to me simplest thing is do nothing (at least until plan comes up for renewal in Mar 22) and let account continue to run as it always has, because the last thing I need now is weeks/months of problems trying to get account name changed (especially as it took OVO over 5 months to get right tariff to display on IHD after new plan started in Mar 21!)

 

Thoughts?

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Best answer by Tim_OVO 27 September 2021, 11:49

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Good morning @Norman .

Thanks for asking this one, I think I understand what you’re asking about here. Please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong though.

Generally, if you need to change the account holder, the best way to do so is to close the existing account down completely so that the previous account holder is fully disassociated from the supply account and then opening up a new account in the name of the new account holder. This can usually be done via the Moving Home feature in MyOVO, but the Support Team can help you out if you get stuck. This is also the fastest way to handle this task.

The biggest reason for this is to ensure that the new account holder is not held liable for the actions of the previous one, such as paying off the bills from the old account (for which the previous account holder remains liable for if there’s still a bill that needs to be paid off). I think it also makes sure you’re not accidentally claiming things like the Warm Home Discount if you’re not eligible yourself but the previous account holder was.

I believe OVO has a very good process for handling bereavement and the Support Team can assist with closing down accounts and settling the bills if the account holder passes away. They can also make sure that any marketing preferences are fully disabled as well, to help reduce the amount of letters and emails that are sent out. I’ve also located an existing answer which may help you.

As for the DWP, the Tell Us Once service can be used to automatically notify most government departments and the local council in one go, by notifying a single entity which will handle the rest of the process on your behalf. It can’t be used to notify private companies like banks or energy suppliers, but it can make sure that things like benefits, tax credits, passports and driving licenses are cancelled in one go. Each organisation that subscribes to the service will then contact you with further instructions if needed.

I hope this answers your question, please let me know if you need help with anything else.

Thanks for reply, couple of points:

1. If old account has to be closed just to change name does this mean fixed plan ends and so 'new' Account holder has to renew on new rates (which are a lot more given recent world events and only going to rise further!)

2. How would OVO handle having to close one account and open another so as to just change account holder name when bank account, email, phone and address details are unchanged? Bet this would cause a system melt down which I'm sure would be a pain to sort.

3. Assume winter fuel allowance etc are triggered by dwp, so provided they have been notified of death then no risk of these being credited to account of deceased.

4. As I have always paid account, issue of being held liable for any prior bills is irrelevant, incidentally account is always maintained with credit balance of £200 - £300.

 

Given I have always been bill payer and this isn't changing my situation seems closer to someone getting married, divorced and just wants name changed on the system (would these events also trigger having to close and open a new account)?

 

Rather than open a can of worms now,  think I'll just leave things until next March when current plans end and worry about changing account name or switching supplier then (if any are still in business).

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No worries, I can try to answer some of those points based on what I know. However, the Support Team is probably able to advise you more accurately than I can based on your circumstances, since forum volunteers can’t access your account.

  1. I think there’s two options available. The Support Team can either help to close the account completely and settle the bill (which can also trigger a final refund if there’s anything left after that) or you can take over the account completely. Doing the latter option may require you to take out a new plan, but the Support Team can discuss your options so you can decide on what to do. They’ll be here to offer you as much help as you need, so please feel free to talk this through with them as much as you need to
  2. This shouldn’t be a problem in the majority of cases, but OVO is pretty good at fixing issues that crop up. I suspect the fact that MyOVO has full support for multiple accounts on the same email address might help as well.
  3. Yes, that should be the case. Tell Us Once will make sure the DWP is notified along with almost all other relevant government departments/organisations and the local council. If anything gets paid anyway, I think there’s probably a way for you to arrange a repayment to send it back - I know there’s definitely a way to do this if you want to voluntarily repay benefits that you don’t want for any reason (such as if you decide that you don’t need the money anymore and want to also cancel the benefit)
  4. That should be fine then. As long as the bills are paid that’s the main thing.

When it comes to name changes, the only cases that I can think of which don’t require a full account reset (i.e. closing the existing account and opening a new one), would be things like you changing your own name via a deed poll, getting married/divorced or basically anything where it’s still the same person in every way except for them changing their own name (like changing their own surname from Smith to Johnson for example). If a different person intends to take control of the account and the existing account holder is no longer going to be on the account, this usually requires a full account reset. There might be other edge cases, but I don’t know of any that I’ve not mentioned.

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Hi @Norman - there are three entirely separate events which could prevent OVO responding as you’d like to your request.

1: Their internal Billing System is unable to accept modifications to the ‘set’ parameters once the contract is ‘live’. That’s a software issue and could be resolved at some future point.

2: They are constrained by the terms of their licence from Ofgem - the industry regulator. There are clear rules for handling customer accounts, and fines if the Energy Supplier is seen to be in breach of their obligations.

3: It is an anti-fraud measure, designed to prevent identity theft.

This third possibility is a serious problem for energy and water utility companies. I’m not going to explain here on an open Forum why or how fraudsters take this action. But it has happened to me twice due to lack of proper procedures by the (same) company! :scream:

Thank you for comments. Given hellish few months and all the problems existing and new customers report on this forum and social media about ovo systems and procedures I've decided easiest thing for me (and that's all I'm concerned about) is do nothing and continue to let the account run and administer as I have for last x years and worry about changing name on account next March when current plan ends. 

 

No reply needed, happy for this matter to be closed on forum posts.

Userlevel 7

Hi @Norman,

 

Thanks for outlining your situation so clearly, I’m very sorry to hear about this bereavement. We’ll want to make any process is as quick and easy as possible during this difficult time. 

 

What to do if the account holder passes away

 

If a friend or family member has recently passed away, you may consider seeking advice and support from the Citizens Advice, who are a friendly and well informed bunch, able to help with energy and non energy related actions. 

 

If the person that recently passed way had an OVO account, our customer service team are here to support you. They'll work with you to transfer ownership of the account or to settle and close it, depending on the circumstances.

 

When you're ready, please get in touch to let us know the date the account holder passed away. You can reach us on 0330 303 5063 (Monday to Friday 8am-6pm).

If you’re the executor of the estate, you can help us by gathering the following details before you call:

 

  • The date the person passed away
  • Your contact details
  • Your bank details, if you plan to take over the account
  • Meter readings

 

If you're not the executor of the estate, you can still let us know the account holder has passed away - either by phone on 0330 303 5063 (Monday to Friday 8am-6pm) or online chat. We'll then need to arrange to talk to the executor of the estate – so if you can, please let us know their contact details when you get in touch.

 

 Changes that may happen

 

If you’re taking over the account and you weren’t previously named on the account, you may have a new account created, with new online account login details and a new plan. All of this can be discussed with the agent you speak to. Details of our plans here 

 

If you’re named on the account (for example as a secondary contact), you will simply need to call us when you’re free, provide 3 bits of account info for security, notify us of the bereavement and that you’re taking over financial responsibility as an executor of the account holder. 

 

Our Support team will be able to confirm if you’re a secondary contact when you contact them, which is best done over the phone due to the verbal permissions required when taking over financial responsibility: 0330 303 5063.

 

Hope this helps,
Tim

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