I'll include the full email chain further down but for now here's a TL;DR summary:
Sunday 13th (Me): Enquired about a referral reward given that I referred my mother but she then switched via uswitch and not via the referral link
Monday 14th (OVO): (so pretty quick response): Apology email received, OVO unable to help as referral rewards are dealt with by a third party which rely on switching via the email link provided.
Fair enough I thought, however...
Monday 14th (Me): Thanked OVO for quick response and accepted that no referral reward was forthcoming. However, I did point out that the only reason my mother had not switched via the link was due to the linked page not allowing her to properly describe her current electricity supplier account, and that being a non-savvy pensioner and seeing that the uswitch account DID allow her to enter her correct details, she thought that meant that she couldn't switch via the link. I asked for OVO's response to this, i.e. misleading and incorrect info on a linked page potentially putting off customers, especially older or less confident computer users.
Since then, 4 days ago... nothing. Got the usual "Your email will be responded to within 48 hours" nonsense but as we are at virtually double that timescale I'm not holding my breath.
Can people see why I am suspicious?
Here's the full email conversation with confidential info blanked:
Sent: 13 August 2017 11:56
Subject: Referring my mother :-)
Earlier today I referred my mother to OVO (email address -------------) as she has been thinking of switching from her old electricity supplier (E.on) and I had been giving her glowing reports of how good I have found you since joining (my account number is ------ and I live at ---------).
I explained to her that she could possibly save £300 by switching, and all she needed to do was click the link she was sent via email and follow that through. I also told her that if she didn't believe the amount of savings she would get she could check on uswitch or a similar comparison site.
Well, the good news is that my sales pitch worked and you now have a new customer: Mrs -------- of ---------. Hurrah!
The bad news (for me and her, not for you!) is that instead of switching via the link in her referral email, she switched via the link on uswitch instead... which means (I assume) that it won't count as a referral and we've both therefore missed out on our £25 M&S (for her) and Amazon (for me) gift cards.
Bummer (silly mum!).
Hence the reason for this email. Given that I hope you can confirm everything I've said above (i.e. she was referred by me, her son, and has switched to you with the details listed), what are the chances that you can forgive her state of confusion re. which link to click and issue the gift cards anyway? Pretty please?
If you need any more verification from either of us please let me know. I'm not trying to scam you (you can check everything I've said so far easily), and I did an excellent job of acting as a proxy salesman for you, so can me and my mum pleeeease have our referral rewards?
Thanks in advance for making allowances for a daft non-computer-savvy OAP and her scrounger of a son
OVO account number --------
From: Hello from Ovo
Sent: 14 August 2017 14:58
Subject: RE: Referring my mother :-)
Thank you for getting in touch.
I really appreciate that there has obviously been a mix up or confusion regarding a link sent to your mother. Unfortunately, the refer a friend system that we use will automatically recognise that your mums sign up was done through a broker (i.e.uswitch) and will fail the voucher referral.
There is no way that I could manually issue the vouchers to you as it's done through an external company that will only take sign up directly through us.
I'm really sorry that there is nothing we can do at this point. However, depending on how soon your mothers account is switching, you may have time to cancel and start again, through the direct link, therefore gaining the vouchers.
I hope this helps,
Sent: 14 August 2017 15:17
Subject: RE: Referring my mother :-)
Thank you for the response, and I appreciate that there is no chance of a referral bonus for either of us now, but I would like to point something out that I wasn't aware of when I sent the last email.
It turns out that I did my mother a disservice - she DID click the referral link. However, she informs me that she didn't go through with switching via that method because when entering her details the only options it gave her for describing her current payment method was either regular direct debit or prepayment.
She doesn't pay via either method (at least until now). For her entire life to date she has received quarterly bills which she has paid on receipt. On seeing that she could not choose that as an option after clicking the referral link, she (quite reasonably) assumed that she was not able to proceed with switching that way.
She then went back to uswitch, which she had only used initially to check prices, and when she clicked the link THERE it gave her the option to say that she paid for her electricity manually on receipt of her bill every quarter.
As a result, she reached the conclusion that ONLY uswitch would allow her to switch suppliers, since the OVO link (as mentioned above) didn't given her the option of specifying that she currently paid bills on demand.
This seems a perfectly reasonable conclusion for her to reach, given that she is not at all internet savvy and this is the first time she has switched any utilities.
In conclusion, this reply is not some backdoor way of trying to still get a referral reward, as I fully understand that your hands are tied there. However, this IS a heads-up for you to look at and hopefully revise your referral link process. Not giving the option to choose what I suspect is still a fairly common billing method among potential switchers is not only poor customer service, it is surely resulting in lost custom particularly among elderly or less confident customers.
Like I said above, I'm no longer interested in any referral rewards - I am, however, extremely interested in how you will respond to the situation I have described in this reply.
Since then... not a peep
Best answer by Lucy_OVO
Really sorry to hear that you’ve not had a reply to the email that you sent. I’m also a bit baffled as to why you wouldn’t have received a response, as this was sent to the correct email address. Feel free to send a message to us via Facebook, Twitter or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you wanted us to chase this up for you.
I’ve queried this with the guys who run the website as I myself am slightly unsure (I know this used to be an option). When I have an update for you, I’ll be back in touch to let you know.