Solved

Why have OVO taken over a supply of my property when I didn't request this?


ive found out today that OVO have taken over the supply of a rental property i own without authority, providing fictitious meter readings to E-on.

E-on, equally incompetent, cant tell me who instigated this but as i’m the bill payer and i havent so it amounts to fraud and identity theft. 

Ovo are shut  - sound like a great scam going on here OVO - identify vacant letting properties, take control on an unknown tariff and give fictitious readings to the outgoing supplier. send the bills at an inflated tariff to a vacant property. Sharp practices which i shall be taking up with the ombudsman

icon

Best answer by Jequinlan 29 August 2020, 14:49

View original

25 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

Updated on 18/10/21 by Jess_OVO

 

I’m really  sorry to hear that your supply has been unexpectedly switched to OVO.  This is likely an ‘erroneous transfer’ (ET). 

An ET refers to when a property has been switched by mistake.

This can happen for the following reasons:

 

  • There’s a mistake on the national gas/electricity database (either with your address or meter details)
  • There’s been a human or systems error when switching
  • You details have been used fraudulently to switch
  • As an energy customer, you’re protected if this happens and retain the right to be with your preferred supplier. More info here.


How would I spot this?


- You might receive an email or letter from your current supplier saying “Sorry to hear you’re leaving”, but you don’t want to leave
- You receive your welcome letter from a new supplier and notice your address/details are wrong
- You receive a final bill

How can it be resolved?

 

  • Either one of the suppliers can get in touch with the other to advise of the ET
  • We will confirm some information so we can make sure we’re taking the right steps
  • You’ll be transferred back to the right supplier, which can take around 12 weeks
  • Your Direct Debit with your correct supplier will continue
  • The correct supplier will bill you for the ET period once the process is complete
  • If you need to contact us, see our call and web chat details here
  • You can also see our full complaints procedure, which includes the steps you’d need to take before referring the issue to the Ombudsman, here.

 

 

It also appears that our gas service has been ‘appropriated’ by OVO without authority and there is no correspondence at the property whatsoever from you.

I’m taking this fraud very seriously. at best its bad practice, at worst its identity theft underway in which case i will involve the police as OVO have been complicit.

no response

still no response from the moderator

is this scam why ovo were fined nearly £9m recently?

Userlevel 7

Oh dear, not good to read this thread, @OVO Crooks - as it was a bank holiday weekend, me and our mods were having a well deserved break from the latest topic activity. We’re back now!

 

I’ll edit @Jequinlan’s reply to add more info, but first impressions of this is that it’s not a ‘scam’, but possibly an ‘erroneous transfer’ (ET).  More info on this page

 

To sort this, just approach Eon, confirm that you didn’t request this switch to OVO, and they will either 

 

  • Block the switch, by ‘objecting’ to it (only available as an option up to a certain period pre switch data). OR
  • Start the process of returning the supply to them as an official ET, without you having to pay OVO at all. 

Reach out to them directly to work out which option is best

Amazing job of brushing this off as not being a scam - it quite clearly is and your apathetic unconcerned response does little for my confidence in a business that has just been fined £8.9m 

I cant block the switch as it has already happened

I have no paperwork from ovo at all and I want to know how this switch was instigated 

Im amazed that you have made no effort to contact me to resolve this. 

I have ‘reached out’ to Eon - equally unhelpful and cant tell me who instigated the switch as it would be triggered by OVO. So come on OVO, who gave authority to move supply 

my supply and provided fictitious meter readings?

 

And Tim, thanks for your congratulatory email for my contributions. What a complete farce   

 

and to answer your standard email - no this hasnt been resolved to my satisfaction

Userlevel 7

OK @OVO Crooks I can totally get that you’re probably a bit miffed at this. I think I would be too. It’s only because I know the industry and that this is unfortunately not that uncommon. Neither is it un-fixable, assuming my hunch that it’s an ET is correct. 

 

There is a chance that you were hacked, or your details stolen somehow, and someone has fraudulently signed you up to OVO in your name. This seems unlikely though. If you reach out to us directly, we can confirm if your details are on the OVO account (they probably aren’t yours, but a neighbour). We’re on FacebookTwitter and our Help Centre has online chat! Then we’ll contact the person who did want to switch to us (it’s this person who we emailed, as it's this person who we think we took over). 

 

I have no paperwork from ovo at all and I want to know how this switch was instigated 

 

 

To repeated the info above to answer this question:

 

An ‘erroneous transfer’ (or ET) refers to when a property has been switched by mistake.

This can happen for the following reasons:
- There’s a mistake on the national gas/electricity database (either with your address or meter details)
- There’s been a human or systems error when switching
- You details have been used fraudulently to switch
As an energy customer, you’re protected if this happens and retain the right to be with your preferred supplier. 

 

If you look, the first two bullet points are basically: you are switching, but this can be fixed without you having to do anything. We think we’re switching someone near that property, but it's actually your property. in short. 

 

Why not reach out to us directly instead? Confirm your details aren’t on the account, we will then reach out to the customer who lives near your property who did want to switch to OVO, and get them to confirm the supply number is wrong. BUT the quickest way for you is to confirm this to Eon so they can start the ET switch back. 

 

Again, no emails from us to you, as we likely don’t have your details on file. We would send an email to the person we think we’re taking over, asking them to check the supply details are correct. Also you should’ve got an email from Eon to confirm you were switching. Anyway these are easily missed.  

 

Let us know if this is an ET when you confirm. 

Yes i read the ‘eroneous transfer’ bit.

Sounds like a get out of jail free card for your sharp practices 

Why not reach out to us? i tried - you work monday to friday and were closed yesterday.

Ive wasted hours on the phone to eon already and will no doubt have to waste hours on the phone to you. Eon sent the transfer details to en empty rental property so i wasn’t notified

I will call you today and i want all the details of the instruction to transfer under GDPR

You are a regulated business - how can your processes be so lax? 

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

Hi @OVO Crooks  and thanks for raising this debacle. I have some observations which may prove useful.

1: It is not possible for OVO to have acquired your meter(s) solely by their own actions. All meter transfers are handled by the two national meter databases; that’s ECOES for electricity and Xoserve for gas. It is they who handle the switch process which includes a number of background checks and a set of timed Notifications involving both the Old Supplier and the Receiving Supplier.

 

2: I have previous experience of an erroneous transfer occurring, which resulted in my New Supplier taking over the gas meter of another property about half a mile from me. In effect I was being billed for gas at another house for a couple of months without that house-owner being aware that this was happening.

During the ensuing investigation by all parties, it transpired that the original error had been on the national Address-lookup database used by Royal Mail. This had a typo when entering a new address for a holiday-let.

All parties were very helpful in working together to get this corrected and trying to reduce the chance of it happening again. No one tried the blame the others and I received apologies and letters thanking me for helping them in the investigation.

Such situations have been instrumental over the years in helping ECOES and Xoserve to tighten up their procedures.

 

3: You state that you “have no paperwork from OVO”.

That’s interesting. So there remains the possibility that this is a fraud being perpetrated by a third-party, unknown to OVO. You might want to consider this when choosing your Forum ID. OVO may also be a victim here.

 

4: I have twice found myself in a situation where my meters were taken over by a third-party. You might wonder why on earth they would want to do so!

I’m obviously not going to explain how the fraud works here on an open website. However, it was unfortunate that the utility company did not change its procedures on the first occasion. My utility account was merely being used by the fraudster in a much bigger criminal action. I suffered no personal financial loss from either of these instances, and was offered compensation in addition.

1: It is not possible for OVO to have acquired your meter(s) solely by their own actions.

They have been estimated according to Eon. The meter is insode the house.

What background checks have ovo undertaken?

timed Notifications were sent to an empty property

there is no correspondence from OVO to state that the supply is being adopted. 

 

2: All parties have been very UNHELPFUL

I have had a threat of legal action from Eon

Do you think ovo have been helpful - i still haven’t had a proper explanation from OVO about the circumstances that have led to this or who authorised the transfer. Do you perhaps think you should try and make contact with me outside a forum?

Do i blame OVO for instigating a transfer from a party that wasnt the bill payer? yes i do.

What proof have you used to adopt this? - the transfer was instigated by OVO, meter readings werent provided hence why Eon have used estimated values. How can OVO accept a transfer without the actual readings?      

I suspect fines of £8.9m also help tighten up shoddy procedures as well. 

 

3: You state that you “have no paperwork from OVO”.

That’s interesting. So there remains the possibility that this is a fraud being perpetrated by a third-party, unknown to OVO. You might want to consider this when choosing your Forum ID - really? so far you have provided me with a list of unhelpful observations that have done nothing to suggest that there is anything other than sharp practices going on here. do you think OVO have acted correctly here Tim? If so then please set out the procedures for validation required for account moving and lets see if OVO have followed them. Somewhere in that process there should be authority from the bill payer. where is that?

 

OVO may also be a victim here - and how exactly do you work that out? OVO have accepted an instruction to transfer a service from a party that is not the existing liable party. what checks have been used to verify and validate this? As i say in the original post, at best its poor practice at worst OVO have been complicit in fraud because they have failed to follow proper procedures. 

 

4: I have twice found myself in a situation where my meters were taken over by a third-party. You might wonder why on earth they would want to do so!

Im not stupid Tim i understand why someone is building  a paper trail so that they can perpetrate further fraud. 

I am very glad that you didn’t suffer any loss so is that meant to appease me from being very annoyed about the fact that it happened at all? I cannot possibly know at this stage whether there is a wider fraud going on however ovo have been complicit in accepting transfer instructions from a party that didnt have authority to do so.

You have a duty of care in accepting transfers and clearly your checks are insufficient.     

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

Erm, @OVO Crooks … I’m not Tim! On this Forum all OVO staff are identifiable by having _OVO as their ID suffix.

I am a fellow consumer, like yourself.

I have had similar experiences to you and have come to appreciate how the system operates. I am sharing that historical experience here in the hope that you too can find a resolution.

From what you have written, I can’t see how you anticipate resolutions from either OVO or Eon. You won’t have the case accepted by the Office of the Energy Ombudsman unless you have evidence of having completed the relevant Complaints Procedure.

You appear to be a customer of Eon because you have no contract with OVO and no payment system in place. Therefore it is Eon’s Complaints Procedure (PDF) which needs to be followed.

Erm, @OVO Crooks … I’m not Tim! On this Forum all OVO staff are identifiable by having _OVO as their ID suffix.

I am a fellow consumer, like yourself.

I have had similar experiences to you and have come to appreciate how the system operates. I am sharing that historical experience here in the hope that you too can find a resolution.

From what you have written, I can’t see how you anticipate resolutions from either OVO or Eon. You won’t have the case accepted by the Office of the Energy Ombudsman unless you have evidence of having completed the relevant Complaints Procedure.

You appear to be a customer of Eon because you have no contract with OVO and no payment system in place. Therefore it is Eon’s Complaints Procedure (PDF) which needs to be followed.

Thanks for the response. 

Eon have washed their hands of it on the basis that the request to change has been triggered by OVO, even though Eon cant tell me any info that OVO provided. The whole system is a farce 

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

Well this is easy… if Eon and you have exhausted their Complaints Service then you’ve reached the Deadlock status which enables the Energy Ombudsman to pick up the case. Just make sure you provide the dates to prove this.

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

@Transparent beat me to it... @OVO Crooks indeed this is where if Eon are not interested AND you have all the formal process notes including complaint number etc and dates and times you will need to submit to the ombudsman but they will demand a lot of detailed information (and that's only fair!) For all this.

You will need the Eon letter stating they have exhausted the process and your next letter is to take to Ombudsman (I believe they will also have supplied a leaflet on how to raise to the Ombudsman)

If you do not have these details I am afraid it is back to Eon.

@Transparent beat me to it... @OVO Crooks indeed this is where if Eon are not interested AND you have all the formal process notes including complaint number etc and dates and times you will need to submit to the ombudsman but they will demand a lot of detailed information (and that's only fair!) For all this.

You will need the Eon letter stating they have exhausted the process and your next letter is to take to Ombudsman (I believe they will also have supplied a leaflet on how to raise to the Ombudsman)

If you do not have these details I am afraid it is back to Eon.

Thanks. i’ll go back to eon but part of this process is to establish how OVO obtained the account information without authority. Despite trying numerous times to speak to OVO already today i still haven’t managed to get through - nice to be cut-off though by the call handler though….  

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

@OVO Crooks If you want that specifc information then my suggestion (and this applies to any and all companies) is to raise a specific “Subject Access Request” which is available to you courtesy of the Data Protection act 2018. The Details on how to do this are here:

https://www.ovoenergy.com/privacy-policy#Our-contact-details (Basically email making it clear it is a SUBJECT ACCESS REQUEST) to hello@ovoenergy.com and I would copy in  dataprotection@ovoenergy.com as you are concerned there has been a breach.

They will need to prove your identity beforehand so please be prepared to provide for example driving licence or passport being most common to do this.

 

You should then have your answer within 28 days, but make sure it is clearly expressed as a Subject access Request and is very specific as to what you need to know.

 

This is the correct Process for OVO to provide you this detail (IF it has been provided by EON - you may want to launch a similar one to EON!)

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

I don’t think you actually need the Deadlock letter any more @Jequinlan - merely show that you’ve been the relevant time (usually 8 weeks) within the published Complaints Procedure .

I’ve found the staff at the Office of the Energy Ombudsman to be excellent. They are very polite and take care to explain what’s going on.

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

@Transparent thanks i guess it just helps speed up the process of checking it has really been deadlocked. For reference the section below copied from thier own site.

"

What is a deadlock letter?

If your provider can’t do anything else to assist with your complaint, you may receive a letter or email from them stating this. This is called a ‘deadlock letter’. The letter will tell you that you can now contact Ombudsman Services and will include our contact details. You must escalate your complaint within 12 months of receiving the letter."

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

Technically that’s still correct. A customer is entitled to request a Deadlock Letter/Email from their Supplier. In this case, since they’ve already issued a legal threat, I doubt that the Energy Ombudsman is going to quibble!

The crucial point is the evidence that the Complaints Procedure has been followed. That’s why I always recommend the use of email, rather than telephone, for any complaints.

If the legal threat has been made for non-payment, rather than as a result of a complaint, then that’s insufficient to go to the Ombudsman.

@OVO Crooks- we’re making sure this is clear because others will read this Topic in future and they need to be sure of the correct process. You may already know all this of course.

Userlevel 7

Some good advice above. 

 

I still don’t think advising customers to raise issues with the Energy Ombudsman is in their interest, unless things really are deadlocked and you’ve been treated unfairly. It takes a long time doing it this way, and a ‘fair result’ is what you can hope for at the end. You’re more likely to get a fair result with the supplier, in much less time. So, speaking of which:

 

@OVO Crooks have we even established that any of your account details are associated with the account OVO has made? At this point, the more likely scenario (an ET) is that we have an account with a different customer, but with your supply numbers (MPAN and/or MPRN). In which case (once confirmed) we can return the supply to Eon, you won’t have to deal with us, or pay us, and Eon will bill you as if you never left. I’d also recommend confirming the database details, as maybe it’s too similar to a neighbour of yours, hence the error. 

 

I’m not sure why you had issues on the phone today. It’s likely that a 3-day bank holiday weekend has meant the phone lines are busy. I can see our web chat team had a 6 minute average wait today. Why not try them tomorrow here? We’ll get there, this is a common process, not that it’s any less frustrating or dysfunctional from a consumer perspective! 

So after a 25 minute wait I was told by OVO energy that it wasn’t them and it was spark energy - part of the same company but a different ‘help’ number. 
 

this is despite Eon stating that the database lists the new provider as OVO 

having spent another 30 minutes waiting for spark energy to answer I’ve been told that the transfer was instigatated by the letting agents - swetenhams. 
 

swetenhams get kick backs for switching people to OVO/spark. In this instance they have done so without authority. OVO/spark have accepted the exchange of service provision from a letting agent without authority. 
 

im waiting for an explanation from swetenhams. 
 

spark/OVO has nothing to say about authority - just that the request came from swetenhams. 
 

spark/OVO - you need to tighten your procedures. 

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

@OVO Crooks often letting agents are entitled to do this to unlet properties under contractual agreement with the owner, it is often the case in rentals this occurs totally legally.

@OVO Crooks often letting agents are entitled to do this to unlet properties under contractual agreement with the owner, it is often the case in rentals this occurs totally legally.

no they are not entitled to do this under the agreement is signed with them and i would be Very surprised if they are able to do so without drawing this to their clients attention.  if the agent can arbitrarily decide to switch without involving the client then this should be an issue for the regulator. do you think this is a fair practice?   

i accept that if they sign up a tenant and offer the tenant an incentivised package with their chosen energy partner then its fair game. in this instance the property is still vacant and the agents have switched without authority or notification but will have benefited from an introduction fee.

The agents are there to represent my interests, not just to make a buck with their energy partners. 

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

Hi again @OVO Crooks. I’m glad to see this is beginning to get sorted.

Your letting agents don’t come out of this smelling of roses, do they?

We hadn’t realised that it was E.on who had identified OVO as the new Supplier. You can actually check this for yourself.

Gas meters are easier because Find My Supplier will give you direct access to a record on the Xoserve database.

Your Supplier for electricity can be identified by you visiting the website of your regional Distribution Network Operator.

So, for example, for customers in London & SE England, the DNO is UK Power Networks whose supplier identification page is here. If you’re in a region managed by Western Power Distribution, then the equivalent page is this one.

Whilst it is true that OVO Energy have taken over Spark, it is operated as a separate business with its own tariff structures and marketing strategy.

Although this Forum is provided by OVO, you can still post here to ask for help regardless of who is your Supplier. But next time, could you please try to avoid offloading such a diatribe on us at the start of a Bank Holiday weekend?! :slight_smile:

We are just ordinary citizens like yourself.

We receive no pay or reward for sharing our knowledge here.

Reply