You often read about suppliers of energy and various other household needs being rated the best/worst in their fields however you never really find out about how they have got to that point.
Well I’m going to share a little story, grab a cuppa as its going to be a long one!
It’s very rare that I have a full-blown complaint on here (I can only think of Beefeater and Littlewoods) but I am getting no where with Npower and have to get it off my chest!
We switched to Npower back in October 2012 from EDF on the promise of better service and cheaper energy, to be honest at this point we had never had a problem with EDF but cheaper gas and electric was a huge pull.
On joining them I set up a direct debit to be taken to cover the quarterly bills, Npower suggested and set this at £88 a month. Considering no one is home during the day due to work and we only have a 2 bed bungalow, I though this would more than cover the cost of my bill.
Whenever we had someone knock at the door or a letter come through I gave them the meter readings they requested.
Moving into 2013 I noticed we hadn’t received a bill and contacted them around July time to be told one would be generated in the coming months and not to worry just keep paying, which we did.
Again they were contacted in October/November and after several hours on the phone and calls back and forth I was told there was a major issue with the billing system and unfortunately it was affecting our account and it would be resolved asap and a bill would come out.
Fast forward again….
We finally got our bill on the 2nd February 2014 dated 22 October 2012 to 4 November 2013 for just over £1300 (then my direct debit taken off) then on the 17th February they did a bill for 22 October 2012 to 7 February 2014 which came in at over £1500!
After the first bill I phoned and complained that it was unacceptable to suddenly bill like that especially 3 months after the bill date plus on that they wanted to increase my direct debit from £88.07 to £157.00. It was explained that I would not be changing the direct debit until the bill was up to date (hence the 2nd bill) but they advised they couldn’t stop it going out 3 WEEKS BEFORE IT WENT OUT
Which meant I was needing to find double the direct debit in a month where I was 2 weeks short in salary due to a job change, thanks Npower, just the stress I needed!
In the end I found a way to pay the £157 then it was reset to £117 as apparently I owed them over £400… this comes from the bill being 16 months old and us coming off our tariff and not going on to a new one – obviously we were unaware of the costs etc. of this due to no bill.
Then in April to add insult to injury they took £193 out of my bank with no warning, 3 days before we flew out on holiday! This resulted in yet more phone calls, me having to call my bank and recall the direct debit and so on. When I spoke to the complaints team they couldn’t understand why it had happened…
Eventually in April I had a call from the executive complaints team to ask for the meeting readings as per some agreement they are unable to bill back more than 12 months if its their error. I didn’t have the meter readings on me but asked them to ring back the next day for them and they did.
I was advised the bill would be ready in about 10 working days (maybe a few extra due to the bank holiday) which was fine.
By the 19th May still no bill so I rang, eventually the correct department called me to say my bill had not been produced due to not having my meter readings… yeah I know…
So the next day they were due to ring me back for these, which they didn’t so I called them with the details and was told I would get a call back later in the day (this was a Monday) and I didn’t, so I called for an update on Friday and the team were busy so I was told I’d get a call back that day… surprise surprise I didn’t.
I called the next day to be told they were closed I would get a call back on Tuesday as it was bank holiday, I waited and what do you think happened? Oh they never called that’s right.
I also had a contact to say I’d hear today between 10-6 but to be honest I’m not expecting it.
So where do I stand? Well they have had £1713.05 of our money so far and yet they still have failed to bill me for the last 12 months as they should, I’ve also had 3 reminders that I owe them £311.53 as they no longer can get the direct debit… I wonder why that is ?!
I am now also holding payments to them until they can sort it out!
If we do not have our bill sorted by the end of this week I have no choice but to take them to Ofgem, they are breaching Energy Retail Association (ERA) Code of Practice for Accurate Bills.
Over the last few months I estimate I’ve spent well over 20 hours on the phone to them, countless meter readings and yet I’m getting no where. Not to mention the stress of the direct debit saga and continuing reminders that I owe them money.
Npower if you actually got your act together I’m pretty sure in the 12 months you can bill me, I’ve overpaid and you owe me money.
I wonder if I can claim interest plus the admin charges you warned me about for the outstanding balance? Not to mention the time its taken plus phone calls?
As soon as this is resolved I will be switching and be warned if you’re considering switching to them, it is at your own risk!
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