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Independent door-to-door callers - where do they come from?

  • 20 June 2018
  • 9 replies
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Userlevel 1
Twice I've had callers who want to check if I'm paying too much for gas and electric. I told them I paid £104 a month for both utilities combined but didn't tell them it was Ovo. They both looked astounded that I'm paying so much. The last caller I eventually told I was with Ovo. He saw it was one of the firms he was representing, "checked my account" and said I was currently on the best tariff for my area. He also said I was on the Economy 7 tariff of which I was unaware.

The amount I'm paying has always been quoted on the Internet as the national average. So why were they so amazed initially.? Is this just part of the sales pitch? There may be a company that offers a slightly cheaper tariff but I'm currently nearly £600 in credit on my account for which Ovo pays me 5% interest. That's about 10 times what my bank pays on my ISA account. Plus I can contact Ovo quite easily on the phone.

So who pays these firms that knock on your day telling you're paying too much?
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Best answer by Nancy_OVO 21 June 2018, 13:45

Hi @Yorick,

OVO doesn't directly employ any door to door sales representatives. It sounds like they may have been working for a third party broker. These brokers will represent a large number of energy suppliers, but will work for an independent company.

I can't account for their reactions - perhaps it was part of the sales pitch! We're happy to have open and honest discussions about price at OVO, and definitely don't have any tricks like this up our sleeves to persuade potential customers to sign up!

Hope this helps,
Nancy
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9 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +3
Alas, poor @Yorick, I fear they may be out of work actors, chosen for their ability to feign surprise 😛
Userlevel 1
I'm willing to bet these people have never been on a stage in their lives. You just used this opportunity to make a silly joke. I can see through you, Transparent. (Now we're even).
Userlevel 7
Badge +3
i had the same problem when a visited OVO HQ about six weeks ago. I hadn't pre-booked to see a named person, so I asked the Receptionist to send an Internal Notification to the Moderators to tell them a Transparent Ninja was in the foyer.

After a minute typing on her keyboard, she said they couldn't see me! 😛
Userlevel 1
Transparent, I've heard all these jokes before. I used to be a stand-up comedian. Please go and annoy somebody else. I'm hoping that Ovo can tell me if these callers are a government sponsored agency or a firm like Go Compare. And do they really have access to my details on their computer ?
Userlevel 6
Badge +4
Hi @Yorick,

OVO doesn't directly employ any door to door sales representatives. It sounds like they may have been working for a third party broker. These brokers will represent a large number of energy suppliers, but will work for an independent company.

I can't account for their reactions - perhaps it was part of the sales pitch! We're happy to have open and honest discussions about price at OVO, and definitely don't have any tricks like this up our sleeves to persuade potential customers to sign up!

Hope this helps,
Nancy
Userlevel 7
Badge +3
Apologies @Yorick, I hadn't intended to be that annoying. :(

Further to what @Nancy_OVO has just written, I have checked OVO's Privacy Statement. Whilst they are permitted to provide "our" customer data to 3rd parties for the purposes of marketing, I would be very surprised if they ever supplied details of our individual current tariffs and contracts because that would be too useful to a competitor!

For that reason I'm 80% sure that the Rep didn't "check your account" and would have no idea whether you were on Economy-7.

The best he could've done was to use his notes/laptop to check/compare against the alternative suppliers which he represented. Since the price of gas/electric varies geographically, he could also correctly state that you were on the best deal "for your area". But I'm sure he knew what the area rates were before he doorstepped you.

In theory he could've told you that you weren't on the best tariff, because many OVO customers could get a lower-rate by switching to OVO's sister company, Lumo. But since that's online-only, he'd get no commission for telling you that!
Userlevel 1
Thanks, Transparent. I'd never even heard of Lumo. If they're online only, how does that differ from Ovo if I have a Smart meter and get my account notifications via email? Would I save much by transferring? Do they have a free call number if I need to contact them? I'd appreciate any advice.
Userlevel 7
Badge +3
@Yorick - most of us get to see a price comparison with Lumo on our OVO Statements, page 1.

OVO are required by Ofgem to provide this comparison, even though many OVO Customers don't match the eligibility criteria! This regulation came about after a spat between British Gas and the Regulator, who insisted they must show a comparison with Sainsbury's Energy (a Centrica subsiduary)

On my latest Statement from OVO, following the mandatory price comparison, is the following paragraph:

Some of these tariffs may be provided by Lumo Energy - a sister brand of OVO Energy (OVO). You will be required to manage your account entirely via their smartphone app. This tariff is only available if you don't already have a smart meter, and agree to have one installed. If you want to move to one of these tariffs you'll need to initiate the switch yourself via their website (www.lumoapp.co.uk) or smartphone app. The switch will take an average of 21 days to occur.

There may also be exit fees from your existing OVO contract too.

There's a Forum discussion of Lumo Energy here which has further comment from fellow users who investigated the switching criteria.
Userlevel 1
I've done some research online and discovered we can't join Lumo if we already have a Smart meter.

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