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Account closed then demand for money 6 months later!?


I moved house in March 2022, and sent photos of meter readings (twice) to close my account.  My account was in credit and for no reason given, Ovo was not able to process this until late May 2022.  
 

Suddenly, in June 2022 I received an email saying there was a “meter reading dispute” but again, no information given.  I don’t see how there could be a dispute when I sent photos of the meter.  I assumed this was a mistake and didn’t reply.  In September 2022 I got a demand for money, for a property that I hadn’t lived in for 6 months and since then have had demands for money, now threatening debt collectors

I opened a complaint on 13th June 2023 to ask for this to be resolved, and have had no response apart from a further demand for money today (17th July) so clearly the complaints process is not working

How can I get Ovo to address this ?

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Best answer by Abby_OVO 18 July 2023, 11:19

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Userlevel 5

Hey @mcpoland 

 

Sorry to hear about this.

 

Did you receive a final bill from OVO when moving? If there had been a credit after the final bill was calculated, any remaining credit would have been automatically refunded to you after the final bill was taken into consideration. I’d have a check on your account for any final bill.

 

Check out these helpful topics for more on this below:

 

 

 

It’ll be best to get in touch with the Support Team to discuss this matter as we don’t have access to accounts here at the Forum. They’ll be able to view the meter reading dispute and any other actions taken or required on the account.

Thanks for the info, appreciate it.

Thing is, my final bill was issued and a refund provided, so the account was closed.  But then it was unilaterally re-opened and the demand for money started!

I called the support team as you suggested and it turns out that my email to raise a complaint was received - and ignored!  This is appalling customer service behaviour, but how do I raise a separate complaint about that when my original complaint gets ignored?

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

Hi @mcpoland

I am just a customer like you. 

The clock is still ticking from the initial date you raised a complaint. 

OVO can't simply ignore the complaint or start the clock ticking from a later date. 

OVO have 8 weeks from the 13th June to resolve your complaint else you can go to the Energy Ombudsman for help. 

https://www.ombudsman-services.org/sectors/energy

I suspect you may need to get the Ombudsman involved now if ovo attempt to open a new read dispute as a read dispute takes so long to complete, unless OVO decide they won't attempt this and simply write off that demand.

It is unfortunate you didn't reply to the original read dispute from the new occupies of your home when they disputed the readings you gave. Impossible to know, but they may have also provided photos in the case. 

Hi Jeffus

 

thank you for your response, really appreciate it!  I will be involving the ombudsman as ignoring their own complaints procedure seems just so wrong.  I’m lucky I’m not a vulnerable person and the thought of OVO doing this to others who don’t have the ability to challenge this bad behaviour makes me cross.

To add to the story: I spoke to my former landlord about this and she told me that OVO had tried to bill her for the electricity usage while I was renting the flat - that I’d already paid for!  

UPDATE: I callled the complaints team yesterday for an update.  Turns out they had received my complaint email…. and ignored it.  No complaint file had been opened or any other action taken, just repeated demands to pay the bill.

Once the complaint was raised I was put back to the (basic) customer complaints team.  The call taker told me that the problem was, after my account had been settled, they decided that there had been an issue with the transfer of the accounts from SSE to OVO and that’s why I owed them money.  No additional information has been provided to back this up, it’s just what someone has added to my accounts, with no evidence 

Userlevel 5

Hi @mcpoland 

 

Sorry to hear about this, it sounds like you might’ve been affected by an issue with the meter readings we used to open your OVO account.

 

If you think there is an issue with this reading they’re now trying to use our Support Team should be able to help get things sorted, and explain what changed to cause the account to open back up. They may request another set of meter readings to help recalculate what the reading should’ve been around the date your account moved over. 

 

Depending the difference between the readings, we may need to get this verified by the energy industry  by following a process known as a ‘Read Dispute’ - you can read more about this here.

 

As Jeffus mentioned, it would have been handy if the Reading Dispute was addressed originally, and may even have been avoided, but as the disputed change may be over 12 months ago, the team may be able to look into  a write-off. 

 

What is a Backbill Write-Off? 

 

Where we've issued a backbill for usage over 12 months old, not covered by payments made at the time and the reason for the delay in this billing is not the customer's fault, we'll apply a write-off. This backbill write-off will be a credit applied to the account to cover the difference between the updated usage and the payments made at the time.

The main situations where we'll write off usage prior to 12 months ago are: 

  • We haven't billed the customer
  • We've billed an account but not for all usage at the property i.e. only one fuel was billed
  • We've billed the customer inaccurately due to a technical or administrative error
Userlevel 7
Badge +2

UPDATE: I callled the complaints team yesterday for an update.  Turns out they had received my complaint email…. and ignored it.  No complaint file had been opened or any other action taken, just repeated demands to pay the bill.

Once the complaint was raised I was put back to the (basic) customer complaints team.  The call taker told me that the problem was, after my account had been settled, they decided that there had been an issue with the transfer of the accounts from SSE to OVO and that’s why I owed them money.  No additional information has been provided to back this up, it’s just what someone has added to my accounts, with no evidence 

@mcpoland do you have the date you migrated from see to ovo?

I would ask for copies of evidence that they are yet to provide . That is not unreasonable. 

Am surprised that that a "meter reading dispute" was raised due to the sse to ovo migration by ovo or sse. I have personally never seen that but that doesnt mean it never happens. Customers usually see a Balance Adjustment on a bill in examples I have seen like this . Then a customer sometimes raises a "meter reading dispute" if they disagree. 

The whole situation seems strange to me from the limited information we obviously have. 

 

 

Userlevel 7
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Hi @mcpoland did you ever sort out your issue?

I left OVO in August 2023 and was issued a final bill and subsequently refunded the remaining credit on my account. Today, I’ve received another final bill with the closing balance revised so that my account is now in debit which appears to be because the previous refund was more than the new closing balance.

The opening balance of the original final bill matched the closing balance of the previous monthly bill, and the opening balance of that monthly bill matched the closing balance of the monthly bill before that and so on. I have each monthly bill saved from when it was emailed to me at the time. However, now when I access my online account, every single monthly bill does not match the monthly bill I was emailed at the appropriate time and all appear to have been revised in view of this new final bill I’ve received. I haven’t received any explanation as to why all the bills have changed. When I’ve contacted OVO, they can only say that my account owes the outstanding balance. Do I just pay this amount or can I dispute it? Any insight would be greatly appreciated!

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

Hi @cwebster17 , can you tell where the differences are between what you have recorded and what is now showing?

The key things will be any meter readings still available unless these have changed as well. 
OVO do have a habit of altering bills without updating the user. 
Hence this idea 

 

@BPLightlog thanks for your reply! After going through every bill I’ve found the error - I had a smart meter installed mid month and although the meter readings match up, the original bill seems to show a math error adding up the amount of energy used on the old meter and that on the new reading. This was then carried through every month since. So the new bill appears to be correct but would’ve been nice to have that explanation from OVO rather than having an unexplained bill show up. Thanks for your help anyway! 

Userlevel 7
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Just to point out that if the difference that’s just come to light dates from more than 12 months ago, you’re probably not liable for it. You can’t be charged for energy consumed but not billed more than a year ago: Back-billing explained | Ofgem  

Thanks @Firedog, I was hoping this would be the case but unfortunately the first wrong bill was 11 months ago 

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