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MoneySavingsExpert's 'Cheap Energy Club' isn't showing OVO. Any ideas why?


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I started planning for my upcoming fixed deal maturity today.  As part of that I have a look around and one of the resources is the MoneySavingExpert’s Cheap Energy Club.

Comparing tariffs I was surprised not to find my current supplier, so I clicked the toggle switch so as to show current supplier only.  OVO does not show!!  I clicked on reset filters, and tried again. Not there.  But OVO is mentioned in all of the preliminaries, and for example in the drop down list of who the big name suppliers are.

So where is OVO?

Any ideas anyone?

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Best answer by EverythingNeedsAUserName 15 July 2021, 10:21

This is an interesting one, and it seems like it comes down to who your current supplier is.

 

OVO do have relationships with Price Comparison websites like MSE, Uswitch, Moneysupermarket etc, which allow new customers to switch to OVO. However these relationships don't currently allow existing customers of OVO to view or switch to alternative OVO plans via the site. I’ve been advised that we’re currently looking into the benefits and  technical requirements to enable existing customers to make the switch via these partners though. 

 

 

I got a reply from Money Saving Expert which seems to confirm @Tim_OVO ‘s point. But that doesn't fit with their (MSE) faq: 'Will you only show me deals that make you money?
We will always compare and show you the whole of market, even if it doesn't make us money. But we won't be able to switch you to a provider we don't have a relationship with.' .

Reply received
"At the moment, OVO Energy hasn't made us aware of any tariffs available for existing customers to switch to through the club so we aren't able to display any OVO results for you. Sorry about that!”

I’m continuing to pursue it on the basis that this statement breaches their commitment to show the whole market. It doesn’t say “that part of the market with which we have an agreement”.

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Howdy @EverythingNeedsAUserName !

As far as I’m aware, these sorts of group switching schemes don’t always include every possible supplier, not least because it requires suppliers to be interested themselves and be willing to opt-in to being part of the scheme. As such, it’s possible that in some cases the best possible deal might not be “discovered” via group switching if the supplier with that deal has chosen not to be part of it. That’s why I always recommend to do your homework independently of the scheme as well, just in case.

However, I can’t speak officially on OVO’s behalf about this. But I can play a Joker Card and summon a Genie with my magic lamp. @Tim_OVO @Jess_OVO I command you! XD

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Yep I saw this topic yesterday, @EverythingNeedsAUserName and was a bit unclear how MSE’s ‘Cheap Energy Club’ works. This shows us:

 

 

So I’m not sure why you can’t see any OVO Plans. I’ll ask the question internally to see if this is anything our end. Otherwise, it’s one for Martin and the MSE team...

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Thanks Tim!

I’m actually surprised you didn’t spot the hidden reference to Knightmare that I dropped when I summoned you. :wink:

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That's the banner I'd seen. I've also asked the question on the MSE forum.

They're nowhere near as helpful as the only reply was "Just use Citizens Advice and 'Which? Switch' instead." 

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That's the banner I'd seen. I've also asked the question on the MSE forum.

They're nowhere near as helpful as the only reply was "Just use Citizens Advice and 'Which? Switch' instead." 

That’s rather… Unusual advice for them to have offered! I’ve always considered it worthwhile using the tools you’ve already got at your disposal before trying to find new ones - especially if your current toolkit is already doing the job properly. Man, that search system is absolutely terrible though - especially compared to the Algolia Search that inSided uses - and I can’t even find that thread. Got a link by any chance?

I will be honest in saying that this is one of the reasons why I do not participate in forums with such wide scopes like MSE. I find them too widely scoped and it gets kinda confusing if I’m jumping all over the place trying to help people out with tons of completely different questions across multiple different sectors (especially when the search features are horrible!). I prefer a more focused style such as being on the OVO Forum and the inSpired Community, not least because I can learn both of them much more easily.

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Ah ha! Found it in the end. https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/discussion/6280866/cheap-energy-club-where-is-my-current-supplier

But only because I’m seriously good at using the raw power of Google Search to its full potential.

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I’ve actually been reading through a bunch of threads over on the MSE Forums regarding that Cheap Energy Club (I’ve never used it by the way so I can’t speak from my own experience). There seems to be an awful lot of complaints about it not working properly and that it doesn’t always recommend what really is the best deal due to the algorithm favouring suppliers that have some kind of affiliate deal with MSE.

I can’t confirm or deny any of these claims and I prefer to remain neutral if don’t know the full story, but this may be worth bearing in mind if you do decide to use these kinds of services.

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Ah ha! Found it in the end. https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/discussion/6280866/cheap-energy-club-where-is-my-current-supplier

But only because I’m seriously good at using the raw power of Google Search to its full potential.

Congratulations. I was out walking when I posted this morning and only just back so couldn't post the link. As you've no doubt seen, it was a forumite who posted the 'interesting' response. 

I think since Martin moved on the site and forum has gone downhill. It's only one of the places I look at but it was the fact of OVO missing that made me look further. I find its also useful to check directly with a supplier web site.

For others reading, google search using for example  "site:forum.ovoenergy.com" is excellent. It works for Amazon too, 'cos their search is the absolute pits. 

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Yup, I completely agree with you there. Frankly, the only way that the MSE site and forum can realistically recover, would be for Martin Lewis to make a proper comeback on there and take control again. But I doubt that will happen because - in fairness to Martin - he is pretty busy with tons of stuff these days.

With that being said though, the best forum to get help with OVO specific stuff is almost always going to be the OVO Forum as we know this place better than anyone else and have the ability to call in help from internal teams via Tim and Jess where needed. You can’t do that elsewhere. :wink:

That “Forumite” tag seems to get handed out way too easily over there - in actual fact just posting literally one thing grants you “Forumite”. It’s effectively equivalent to the “New Member” rank that you get here, except for the snag of it sounding more powerful than it really is. I’d consider that to just be the default one that everyone gets unless you’re given something else. I will agree that the advice you got over there was definitely far below my own standards and certainly doesn’t answer the question very well. Sure, it would have answered a question like Which comparison website should I use? But you weren’t asking that question… Right?

I need to make sure I don’t get the book thrown at me by any legal teams anywhere, so I do need to mention that the next bit of this comment contains my personal opinions only and do not reflect those of OVO or MSE.

Having looked at some more resources, it appears that the MSE Cheap Energy Club is little more than a fancy front-end to a database of suppliers and tariffs, with a simple search engine under the hood that attempts to do a tiny bit of number crunching but otherwise just spits out a list of options based on what’s currently on the market that it knows about. I’m not really seeing much fancy magic going on here and I don’t think it’s any more powerful than basically any other comparison site. Plus, I’d rather have control of who my supplier is rather than leaving it to a computer. After all, I wouldn’t want to ring up who I think my supplier is only to find out my account has been closed because my custom has been shovelled off to some other completely random supplier without my knowledge.

I personally prefer to go direct where possible, not least because it cuts out the middleman and reduces the number of hoops you have to jump through. It also means that I get the true experience that my chosen (insert entity here) intends me to have, rather than it being hidden away by some other entity that simply pings a few API Calls. I’ve always said that the cheapest supplier isn’t always the best supplier - and I personally feel that OVO is one of the cheapest suppliers on the market that still remains within the range of suppliers where you get decent customer service. There’s not many suppliers cheaper than this level where you don’t risk terrible service after all!

Sure, OVO might not be THE cheapest supplier I could go with, but the customer service that I get is genuinely impressive and I wouldn’t want it any other way. In actual fact, @Tim_OVO has sometimes shown a brave face and has once or twice publicly offered goodwill gestures that were extremely risky and a pretty serious gamble right here on the forum. It’s not something he does very often, that’s for sure!

As for the search capability. I can tell you wish serious confidence that inSided made a really good decision to use Algolia Search to power the new search features on the platform. It’s so good I’d almost say it’s Google! When you compare it to the absolutely useless search features on certain other forum platforms and forum software like Khoros, Vanilla and vBulletin… You really do start to value the effort that’s gone into making it work great. I shouldn’t have to rely on Google to find stuff that’s meant to be searchable on-platform. MSE really needs to discuss that factor with Vanilla…

I’m sorry to say this, but my ultimate opinion is that the MSE Forum may well be a jack of all trades, but it is a master of none.

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I’m back @EverythingNeedsAUserName, and enjoyed reading up on your observations about MSE forum and internal search vs Google search. I’ll send another reply which I hope we can use as the ‘best answer’ for this thread. 

 

:)

Userlevel 7

This is an interesting one, and it seems like it comes down to who your current supplier is.

 

OVO do have relationships with Price Comparison websites like MSE, Uswitch, Moneysupermarket etc, which allow new customers to switch to OVO. However these relationships don't currently allow existing customers of OVO to view or switch to alternative OVO plans via the site. I’ve been advised that we’re currently looking into the benefits and  technical requirements to enable existing customers to make the switch via these partners though. 

 

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Hi @Tim_OVO for me the issue is that MSE claims to be different because they include the whole market, whether or not they have a deal with that supplier. That was their original customer-led not supplier-led ethos. Many of their links do not include any affiliate payment. It should not matter a jot whether OVO has a 'relationship' with MSE. 

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Interesting for sure! I think that would need to be asked directly with MSE or on their forum.

 

I’ve got this advice internally from the team responsible. My understanding, all be it a potentially wrong one, is that MSE’s ‘Cheaper energy club’ is a broker, and would take a commission for any switch initiated via their site, with any of the suppliers who have agreed. 

 

Keen to hear their side so keep us updated if you hear anything. 

 

ps, fancy joining an online ‘Ask me anything’ with our director of corporate affairs? 

 

 

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It seems as if the other thread on the MSE Forum has picked up some more attention by other members. I’m not sure if you’re allowed to post links to this forum over there though. I know Tim is cool with links to MSE and the MSE Forum being posted here as long as they’re in-context, but not sure about the other direction. Let me check that!

EDIT: Yup, it looks like that’s ok with MSE as well, based on the MSE Forum Rules. A single link to this thread that’s in context should be fine if you want to post one.

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Interesting for sure! I think that would need to be asked directly with MSE or on their forum.

 

I’ve got this advice internally from the team responsible. My understanding, all be it a potentially wrong one, is that MSE’s ‘Cheaper energy club’ is a broker, and would take a commission for any switch initiated via their site, with any of the suppliers who have agreed. 

 

Keen to hear their side so keep us updated if you hear anything. 

 

ps, fancy joining an online ‘Ask me anything’ with our director of corporate affairs? 

 

 

You'll not be surprised to learn that I emailed MSE on Wednesday, when I also submitted my first question for the AME. 

Userlevel 5
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This is an interesting one, and it seems like it comes down to who your current supplier is.

 

OVO do have relationships with Price Comparison websites like MSE, Uswitch, Moneysupermarket etc, which allow new customers to switch to OVO. However these relationships don't currently allow existing customers of OVO to view or switch to alternative OVO plans via the site. I’ve been advised that we’re currently looking into the benefits and  technical requirements to enable existing customers to make the switch via these partners though. 

 

 

I got a reply from Money Saving Expert which seems to confirm @Tim_OVO ‘s point. But that doesn't fit with their (MSE) faq: 'Will you only show me deals that make you money?
We will always compare and show you the whole of market, even if it doesn't make us money. But we won't be able to switch you to a provider we don't have a relationship with.' .

Reply received
"At the moment, OVO Energy hasn't made us aware of any tariffs available for existing customers to switch to through the club so we aren't able to display any OVO results for you. Sorry about that!”

I’m continuing to pursue it on the basis that this statement breaches their commitment to show the whole market. It doesn’t say “that part of the market with which we have an agreement”.

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I agree that this is basically false advertising on their part if I’m being honest. You should NOT claim to do X thing if you can’t actually do that. Not unless you want regulators such as the Advertising Standards Authority throwing the book at you…

What many people don’t realise is that I can see through generic boilerplate replies and identify cases where something being said isn’t really answering the question properly - the reply from MSE definitely feels copy/paste to me. But I’ll let you score a Best Answer there @EverythingNeedsAUserName . It’s only fair that someone other than me gets a chance! XD

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