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New self-service reward - what's changing?


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What constitutes 'an emergency' in sending emails under the new self-serve rules?
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Best answer by Darran_OVO 20 September 2018, 10:28

Hi @Peterlynn

All the information you need is on this page here:

https://www.ovoenergy.com/help/self-service-reward

There is a link to the terms and conditions around what to do in an emergency.

The changes to the self service reward come into effect on 1st October.

Hope this helps.

Darran

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Userlevel 7
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Hi @Peterlynn

All the information you need is on this page here:

https://www.ovoenergy.com/help/self-service-reward

There is a link to the terms and conditions around what to do in an emergency.

The changes to the self service reward come into effect on 1st October.

Hope this helps.

Darran
Userlevel 3
Hello

I received the email from Ovo this morning about the changes to the terms and conditions relating to the discounts for managing your account online and have a few questions.

As I understand it the new reward will be credited every three months rather than monthly. So this will be £7.50 per fuel (£15 for gas and electricity) every 3 months? I assume it means my monthly bills will be £5 per month higher and I have to wait 3 months to get the credit.

As the new reward is credited three monthly how will this show on my statements- will it show as a separate statement or will it show on the statements for Jan/April/Jul/Oct?

In the terms and conditions it states

Self-serve and manage your account online. This includes having a valid email address at all times, receiving all communications electronically, and using our great online tools such as My OVO and the OVO Energy app where possible, instead of contacting us (whether by phone, email or otherwise) except in the case of an emergency.

What does "in the case of an emergency mean". If I have to contact OVO for something that cannot be answered in My Ovo eg incorrect bills, problems with direct debits or statements not being issued does that mean I loose the £15 for those 3 months?

Some more information on these changes would be useful and how OVO will decide if any contacts made are an "emergency" or not.
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Hi @Phil_H I have moved your post here as we have already had a question about this.

Hopefully the above should answer most of your questions, if not, please let us know and we will do our best to help.

Darran
Userlevel 3
Hello Darran

I am afraid this does not answer the question, I have already ready this which is why I was asking these questions.

1) As I understand it the new reward will be credited every three months rather than monthly. So this will be £7.50 per fuel (£15 for gas and electricity) every 3 months? I assume it means my monthly bills will be £5 per month higher and I have to wait 3 months to get the credit.

2) As the new reward is credited three monthly how will this show on my statements- will it show as a separate statement or will it show on the statements for Jan/April/Jul/Oct?


3) Ovo needs to clarify what an "emergency" is as in my question above? i.e.

What does "in the case of an emergency mean". If I have to contact OVO for something that cannot be answered in My Ovo eg incorrect bills, problems with direct debits or statements not being issued does that mean I loose the £15 for those 3 months?

Thanks

Phil
Userlevel 1
In the past, when I've had to contact OVO by phone, I've been impressed by their support, in contrast to the frustration generated usually when contacting energy companies. (Darran's glib answers seem at odds with this though.) This is why I've stuck with them when they ceased to be the cheapest energy supplier and so I feel I'm already effectively paying for support. If they are withdrawing this in the name of simplification, then there is no reason for me not to switch to a cheaper company at the end of my contract.
Userlevel 1
Does this mean I can send emails (and/or phone) OVO anytime up to 18/10/18 without penalty on the new Self-serve rules?
Userlevel 1
Thank you, SCR, for your response. You've put into words precisely what I was thinking.
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I have some sympathy for Ovo insofar as I expect a lot of folks on the "all online" tariffs just phone up Ovo when they have an issue, but given that Ovo are now the sole arbiter of whether we get our £60 a year or not, it leaves me feeling very uncomfortable. I expect customers will be frustrated and the ombudsman kept busy with this change over the coming months and years.

My fixed "deal" is up this time next year and Ovo's treatment of customers will be forefront of my mind (after tariffs).
Userlevel 3
Just another thought, does this change also mean if OVO does not pay me the reward for three months, and I then contact them to query this, I then loose the next three months reward as well???
Userlevel 4
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Phil_H wrote:

Just another thought, does this change also mean if OVO does not pay me the reward for three months, and I then contact them to query this, I then loose the next three months reward as well???



Yep. Sounds like using the phone is verboten. Unless it's an emergency. And Ovo decide whether it was or not and, in effect, charge us £15 for bothering them.
Userlevel 7
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Hey @Phil_H

Please see below. If anything is not clear please shout.

1, Yes, as this is only credited once every 3 months, you will in theory be paying the extra £5 per month until the end of the 3 months, when you will receive that back as a reward if you have followed the new self service reward. It's our way of saying thank you for managing your account online as you agreed to do when you signed up.

2, The reward amount will be added to your balance, every 3 months starting from the 1st Jan and every quarter from there through the year. If your contract started in February, the first quarter would be pro rated.

3, Emergencies are clarified in the terms an conditions, along with the details of what to do in an emergency.

@Rooty is right to a degree, we do have a lot of customers that agreed to manage their accounts online, however still call us for things they can do themselves online via the MyOVO account or find in OVO Help or on this forum. We are just trying to reinstate the reward to remind customers of this and ensure that our customers are following the rules that they agreed to when they signed up and wanted the discount. We offer that reward in good faith so we would hope customers would adhere to it.

If OVO have caused an issue, and its something that you physically cannot find information on or manage yourselves via your account, then we wouldn't revoke the reward for that.

Hope this helps.

Darran

**Edited point 2 as I've had an update on that to clarify
Userlevel 3
Hi Darren

The only thing I can see in the OVO terms and conditions that defines an emergency is section 23

23. Emergencies & safety

23.1 If you have a gas emergency, you must report it on 0800 111 999.

23.2 If you have an electricity emergency, you must report it to your local electricity distributor – their contact details are available here:

(a) https://www.boostpower.co.uk/terms/what-to-do-in-an-emergency for our prepayment meters; or

(b) https://www.ovoenergy.com/emergency for all other meters.

23.3 You must not use the supply in any way that endangers people or property, or that could interrupt the gas supply of any other property.

23.4 You must not tamper in any way with the supply or any equipment including devices that are provided to you in connection with the supply.

23.5 We can restrict the supply if we think you are using it in a way that is unsafe or if we are required to by any legal or other requirement that is binding on us.


However none of this relates to contacting OVO directly it all relates to contacting either the gas emergency number or your electricity distributor. So does that imply that there is no valid reason for contacting OVO if you have an online only account and do not want to loose the discount/reward?

Phil
Userlevel 7
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Peterlynn wrote:

Does this mean I can send emails (and/or phone) OVO anytime up to 18/10/18 without penalty on the new Self-serve rules?



Hey @Peterlynn as per the email we sent out about this, the new self service reward terms come into effect from the 1st October 2018.

@Phil_H in line with the above, the T&C's will be updated on the website on the 1st October, so please review them then to clarify your question above. Thank you for the feedback so far.
Userlevel 3
Hi Darran

Thanks for providing some clarification ie
Darran_OVO wrote:

Hey @Phil_H

If OVO have caused an issue, and its something that you physically cannot find information on or manage yourselves via your account, then we wouldn't revoke the reward for that.

Darran



and

Darran_OVO wrote:



@Phil_H in line with the above, the T&C's will be updated on the website on the 1st October, so please review them then to clarify your question above. Thank you for the feedback so far.



Based on what you have written above and to avoid confusion can I ask that the terms and conditions are modified eg

Self-serve and manage your account online. This includes having a valid email address at all times, receiving all communications electronically, and using our great online tools such as My OVO and the OVO Energy app where possible, instead of contacting us (whether by phone, email or otherwise) except in the case of (remove -emergency) (replace with- account issues that cannot be resolved using the online tools). - or words to this effect.

Thanks

Phil
Userlevel 1
To Darran, community manager, a very simple question to which I would like a straightforward one-word reply:

Can I phone OVO today about a matter that concerns me personally without incurring a penalty on the new Self-serve rules?
Userlevel 7
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Hi @Phil_H it absolutely will be updated from the 1st October when this comes into effect :)
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@Peterlynn

Technically, if we have given you the online discount as it stands today (which you would have signed up for when you joined) and what you want to call for you can manage online or find the answer online then no. However, until the 1st October 2018 you won't be penalised for that.

As I have said previously, the new rules do not come into effect until the 1st October.
Userlevel 1
So, if I were to ring OVO at the start of a quarter, would I have to wait till the bill at the end of a quarter to find out if OVO had deemed my question breached the online discount conditions?

And then have to remember what had been discussed if I wanted to challenge the decision? This would be exactly the sort of hassle that no-one needs from an energy company.

Or, if you said immediately that the call wasn't allowable and I were the sort of person who rang energy companies for fun (which I'm not), why would I not then ring repeatedly for the rest of the quarter?
Userlevel 1
To Darran,

Thank you.
Userlevel 3
The more I think about this the more questions is raises…

I am on a fixed rate online tariff running for 2 years from mid November 2017 to mid November 2019. The new contract included the online discount of £30 per fuel per year – totaling £60 per year for gas and electricity in the contract.

Assuming I do not contact Ovo and I am entitled to the £60 for the second year of my contract running from November 2018 to November 2019 , the last discount would be applied on 1st Oct 2019. What happens to the discount I should get from 1st October 2019 to the end of my contract if I were to change tariff or move suppliers when the contract ends? If it is not applied pro-rata it means I am not getting the full £60 for the second year of my contract so does this mean that OVO are changing the terms I signed up to when taking on the 2 year contract which was supposed to be fixed for 2 years??

Also what happens to those starting a new customers with a new contract part way through a three monthly period, do they get the same discount?

It does not sound like this change has not been thought through- surely the 3 monthly dates should relate to the dates on your contract?


Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

Phil
Userlevel 1
Darran says that "a lot of customers" don't honour the on-line agreement. It might be useful to have this quantified - what percentage of customers do this; what percentage of calls aren't necessary; for those customers who do call unnecessarily, how many calls do they make in a year on average; are the number of clearly unnecessary calls more than offset by the number of calls where OVO are clearly in the wrong?
Userlevel 4
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I can perfectly see why Ovo implemented this. But it's been poorly thought out and the use of the word "reward" really irks. We are customers, not children to be pat on the head when we've "behaved" ourselves.

This policy is going to hurt Ovo in the long run, which is a shame because I've always found them proactive and helpful. The company already have an Ofgem investigation into their compliance with its obligations under their license (use Google to find out more if interested) and this is going to cause them a whole heap of further trouble in the long run. Just my opinion of course. :P
Userlevel 1
After Darran's latest reply to me, I am happy to say my query has been answered. I shall continue with OVO to the end of my contract and review the overall situation at that point. My last thoughts on this are if anybody has any worries about what may be considered an 'emergency' then you have a simple solution: Until the first of October you can make any phone calls or send emails you feel necessary to make things clear - these are guaranteed to be without penalty. The chap I dealt with was brilliant, he clarified that the queries I had could not be done online, so any communication I make on these subjects would be penalty-free. But don't forget, anything you ask from the first of October that could have been resolved online would still be penalised. I remain, for now, a happy OVO customer.
Userlevel 2
This appears to be a very sneaky change by Ovo.

I currently have a large credit on my account.
The amount I pay on my direct debit is less than Ovo's ridiculously high recommended amount. If I paid the recommended amount I would have a huge credit on my account.

With these changes Ovo are now removing my online discount!!!
Extremely angry customer - I'll be leaving. Will probably call every day as well as it looks like i'll be paying for the phone support anyway.
Userlevel 7
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Hi @graeme373 sorry to hear you feel that way.

Just to be clear, we are not removing the online discount, we are just changing the way we reward customers with it. Rather than giving customers a discount for managing their account online up front and hoping they will submit meter reads online, and only contact us when they really need it etc, we have changed the terms to make this a reward. So if a customer manages their account online and makes use of all the great online tools we have to self serve, plus keeps an active direct debit and valid email address, at the end of every quarter, you get a credit on your account which is the same value as the online discount used to be.

Good to hear that you are in credit, any recommendations on Direct Debit increases are based on where we think you will be at the end of the contract you signed up to. If the current amount you are paying each month, won't cover the total amount you will use over the term of your contract, we would e recommending you look at increasing it to ensure as we come into winter, you don't then move from credit into debt. We think it's best to give customers the heads up on this, than let them go through winter thinking they will have enough credit to come out the other side with a large debt.

Appreciate your feedback and comments, hope the above helps explains the changes we are making to the rewards we are offering.
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