Scottish Power Direct Debit Problem

Last post Sun, Feb 22 2009, 4:57 PM by BREWERDAVE1. 12 replies.
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  •  Sun, Feb 22 2009, 4:57 PM

    Re: Scottish Power Direct Debit Problem

    Conmankiller - thankyou - it appears from the reply to your email and comments made by others, that SP are NOT allowing for seasonal variation - the problem with that, as far as I am concerned, is that I'm on a fixed price 1 year deal ending 3rd September - I fully intend to switch to another deal then and I don't want to be owed a lot of money.When I migrated from SWALEC previously I was owed £162 which took 2 months to get back! I fully expect to be in credit on my existing DD by end of August (unless we have a particularly cold Summer)
    • Post Points: 5
  •  Sun, Feb 22 2009, 3:40 PM

    Re: Scottish Power Direct Debit Problem

    <BLOCKQUOTE>BREWERDAVE1 - Have others actually got responses thru this route and if so, have you succeeded in stopping the increased DD?</BLOCKQUOTE>

    I have, after two or three broadsides back & forth telling them I would simply switch to a cheaper supplier and informing them I had instructed my bank not to pay their new revised DD, without my express written permission, SP wanted to up it to £100.50 without adequate justification or reasoning to support their desire.. !. See below :

    Dear Mr conmankiller

    Thank you for your email.

    I have reset your direct debit to £78.30 as requested. Please be advised that your direct debit is assessed every 3 months and if your account goes into arrears we will have to increase your payments.

    Kind regards,

    Simon Robinson
    e-Contact Centre

    • Post Points: 50
  •  Sun, Feb 22 2009, 1:24 PM

    Re: Scottish Power Direct Debit Problem

    Good news!

    Persist enough and you can get your way.

    I have sent a few choice e-mails and have recevied one back accepting they have based their assumptions on one winter quarter and will reduce my DD bill accordingly back to original amount.

    Although this is realistically a temporary repreive as this will all probably happen again next quarter if this cold weather persists.

    Anyway I am leaving and going back to EDF anyway as the utlity checkers now say they are cheaper and I know for a fact their customer service is friendlier and they have real phone numbers with real people on the end!

    On Zippers comment - I hear what you say but when I was last with SP they refused to budge on the increase to the DD and my only recourse after esculation and threats was to cancel it. I thought I was master of my own DD but that is not the case with SP who if they decide they want an increase will put it through even if you refuse. So it is not quite so simple as saying no.

    Obviously the best news would be for ALL these companies to reduce prices. They have put them up by an average of 40% last year supposidly on the back of rising oil prices but they have not put them down or by marginal amounts even though oil prices crashed and the world appears to be in recession. They are now saying that due to fluctuations in the 2010 trade price they may have to raise prices again - are they taking the biscuit!

    Its interesting to note that the only two to put prices down are the two that are British owned. The foregin ones have not dropped prices. And interestingly enough NPower and EDF (German and French resperctively) have NOT raised their prices in their home countries at all last year when we had 40% rises - how does that work?

    Con merchants the lot of them - no better than the bankers - string them all up.

    • Post Points: 5
  •  Sun, Feb 22 2009, 1:12 PM

    Re: Scottish Power Direct Debit Problem

    Their web site says quite clearly that the aim is to average payments across the year!!!!

    • Post Points: 20
  •  Sun, Feb 22 2009, 12:45 PM

    Re: Scottish Power Direct Debit Problem

    I have just gone through the same DD increase thing again with them after having given them my latest readings. There is little point in arguing your case with the person who answers the phone initially. Explain your situation and ask for the complaint to be &quot;escalated&quot;. You will be put through to someone else who will explain the &quot;Company Line&quot; which is that they want to recover the any outstanding debit balance, and will look at the DD again next time around. This policy is totally different to that of the majority of other Energy Suppliers who look at your annual consumption, project the total costs for the year and divide by 12, which spreads you costs evenly through the year and means that you and they will be in a debit or credit situation at different times of the year but it should all balance out at the end of the 12 months. NOT SO with Scottish Power. Their DD system is really just a quarterly payment on demand paid monthly, which is not made clear in any of the literature that they have.

    How do you over come this? Simply refuse to accept their revised assessment and insist on maintaining your original DD. Obviously if you know that your consumption is higher than in previous years you will need to be realistic and possibly agree a slight increase or you will end up owing them. You will need to do some research into previous levels of consumption. I have kept accurate records for years of both gas and electricity usage, a bit anal you might say, but it certainly paid off as I was able to argue my case with years of average consumption proving my point.

    They do answer emails, but you will not get the answer you want so you will have to persist and speak to someone as I have detailed above. Good Luck and just remember you have got this to look forward to every 3 months. Don't let the b......s grind you down.

    • Post Points: 50
  •  Sun, Feb 22 2009, 12:09 PM

    Re: Scottish Power Direct Debit Problem

    Have a current problem with Scottish Power re DD on my fixed dual fuel 1 year deal.
    I put my meter readings in last weekend as required; got an email telling me that they were increasing my DD by £31 pm !! When I looked at the latest online bill they had actually based it on estimated figs that were way more than mine!! Don't know what happened to my readings.Also my DD comes out a couple of days after the bill so effectively I am always comparing an extr months usage vs payment.
    I have now reinput my meter readings - I got a message saying that my revised bill would be available in 3 days time;I also emailed Cust Services objecting strongly to the increased DD;as per others I have detailed usage figs. going back over 10 years.
    I am now just waiting for a reply to the email.Have others actuallygot responses thru this route and if so, have you succeeded in stopping the increased DD?
    • Post Points: 35
  •  Wed, Feb 11 2009, 2:45 PM

    Re: Scottish Power Direct Debit Problem

    Oh another tip that worked for me regarding the telephone contact. I got the same cuttting you off without the option of waiting - is it me or is it that they are understaffed or realise that customer apathy will mean they will merely accept the change?- sinister Hmm, anyhow there are alternative numbers to contact Scottish power on a variety of issues try the following website and they didn't cut me off and furthermore the response time seemed quicker - it worked for me!

    www.saynoto 0870.com



    • Post Points: 20
  •  Wed, Feb 11 2009, 2:36 PM

    Re: Scottish Power Direct Debit Problem

    Oh this sounds so familiar!

    Generally I've been pleased with Scottish power and combined with my own energy saving measures and recording and submitting monthly readings without fail I didn't have a problem.

    Then they say much the same we need to raise your direct debit to meet the winter demands. I'm aware I can't cut back further and the debt was for £34 total. I did demand to speak to a supervisor and ask for them to take a look back on my previous readings and credit level. I also emphasised in the current market and financial mess the UK finds itself in they would be getting more angry calls on this issue then of course the prices of energy at least in the short term look like falling - stating they surely must follow marker trends-In short firm but polite I offered to pay my deficit off BUT not to raise DD which they agreed to. HOWEVER watch this space my fingers are poised on the change supplier soon button once the market levels out. Still wouldn't go to Brit Gas though -however cheap their Customer services stink!



    • Post Points: 5
  •  Wed, Feb 11 2009, 1:45 PM

    Re: Scottish Power Direct Debit Problem

    Hi Zipper.

    I have been stung twice by Scottish Power now.

    About 2 years ago I was with them and they did the increase of DD on me. In fact they wanted to go from £75 to £155 so a 100% increase. Admittidly there was a £200 debt for the year, but I was paying that as a one off extra charge. They refused to change the £150 amount during numerous phone calls - even though it is my bank account and DD - The only way I could stop it was to cancel the DD altogether, at which point they put me on the dearer pay quarterly tarif. There was no negotiation they were rude ignorant and arrogant when I dealt with them.

    Subsequently i moved to EDF on a capped rate - had a good service and no problems. Foolishly when the capped rate ended I looked on an internet comparison site that said Scottish Power better and I moved back in November 08.

    They have just sent an email saying my DD has to go up from £80 to £133 and increase of 66% based ONLY on my winter quarter (which is obviously the worst). Can you contact them, oh no they now have no telephone number listed on the website (other than emergency ) and if you ring the number on the literature they tell you they are overwhelimingly busy and cut you off.

    Therefore I have been given a fait accompli email forcing a rise of 66% with no way of discussing this - as the email is a non response one. I have to email customer services in the mean time they will charge me more. My only option is to cancel the DD again and go through the familiar loop.

    DO NOT touch this company - any company that increases your bills based on flimsy evidence without discussing it is cowardly. Also any company that HIDES its telephone numbers to avoid contact is similarly charged.

    • Post Points: 5
  •  Sat, Nov 29 2008, 7:18 AM

    Re: Scottish Power Direct Debit Problem

    Hi Mr Spock

    Just a little more info. You indicated that utility companies would have no history of a new transferring customer however, all the utility supply companies have access to customers usage history. In the case of gas it is available from Transco and I also know there is a similar system for Electricity. In fact Scottish confirmed that they had interrogated the system to get this info in order to confirm my calculations. So there is no excuse for utility supply companies to base their calculations on a short term reading. I can guarantee that they would not do this in low usage quarter!

    Any way problem is now resolved, and I have to say that their customer service department responded very promptly which is definite plus point and bodes well for the future.

    • Post Points: 20
  •  Fri, Nov 28 2008, 7:18 AM

    Re: Scottish Power Direct Debit Scam

    Hi Mr Spock,

    You make a fair point, but the originally agreed DD was based on figures for previous full years usage, and to re-assess the DD based on 80 days usage in a semi winter quarter is bound to throw up this sort of problem. The fact that it is a fixed rate makes it easier to forward calculate.

    From the conversation I had with them it appears that the model they use to work out the DD amount is based on the last quarters use, without any seasonal adjustment. This became clear when I actually worked through the figures that they were using, so the opposite problem might occur in a low usage quarter, but as you say they have no history so possibly understandable.

    My main objection was the way they handled my complaint and tried to say that I did not know what I was talking about. It was not until the conversation became extremely heated that they then escalated the complaint and I was transferred to a senior adviser who although he tried to push the same line, finally agreed with me.

    I have to say that if they had requested a reasonable increase in the first place of about 5% - 8% I would not have complained, but a 22% increase was out of order, and the fact that they then did precisely the same on my daughters account only made things worse.

    I have paid my energy bills on DD for many years, and have changed suppliers quite a few times, but this is the first time that I have had this level of problem, which I believe is more driven more by company policy than anticipated usage. All my previous suppliers, set their DD levels quite reasonably and sometimes I owed them a little and other times they owed me which is the way it should be.

    We are all going through difficult times financially, and I feel that Scottish Power may be trying to boost their income by increasing DD's in this way to balance their books at the customers expense - just my opinion!

    It is good to hear that you are happy with them, so maybe I will change my mind, but only time will tell.

    • Post Points: 5
  •  Thu, Nov 27 2008, 11:34 PM

    Re: Scottish Power Direct Debit Scam

    Hi Zipper,

    I have been with ScottishPower for many years, through one Capped or Fixed Rates, all being online and I have had no problems with them at all. Unlike other suppliers which I wont mention I honestly think ScottishPower are responsible with your payments,especially Online accounts, as it is your responsibility to ensure your account is accurate every 90 days and they ensure that your payment level is consistent with your recorded usage.

    What you highlight is that you are a new customer of theirs, and yes, you may keep accurate records, however, as a new customer to a new supplier, they will have very little usage history, i.e they wont know what your consumption this quarter is compared to last quarter, so yes their initial estimations may be out, however, I can assure you that once the picture builds their reassessments are accurate.

    Furthermore ScottishPower do also complete quarterly checks on your monthly direct debit payment, which I find very useful. Whose to blaim for this, well actually its us the customers, a couple of years ago Energywatch produced a report concerning direct debits in the supply market and their main complaint was suppliers do not accurately match customers usage to their payments, and this is what they said the customers want... This is true, some suppliers dont want to do this as they would rather reassess your payments once or maybe twice a year, but what you find is that through price changes, something we have more off recently, payments are not reassessed quickly enough, hence you begin to build up a debt.

    ScottishPower takes, yes maybe the unprecidented step, to review quarterly, however I imagine its only at their advantage as I can imagine they dont want to be writing to you to say, dear sir, as we only check your direct debit once a year you actually now owe us ......

    Finally at the end of the day, if your account is in credit, you can always ask for it back, as you say their not a bank and as you know with their online account billing, this is real time, (not provided by any other supplier) so you can keep very accurate checks on your consumption/payments and update your own readings as often as you like.....

    • Post Points: 20
  •  Thu, Nov 27 2008, 10:02 PM

    Scottish Power Direct Debit Problem

    I recently transferred from Atlantic to Scottish Power On-Line on a dual fuel fixed tariff. The transfer went smoothly, and all was well until just after 11 weeks I was asked to provide an on-line meter reading. After providing my reading, I received an Email 24 hours later advising me that &quot;to avoid underpayment&quot; they were going to increase my Direct Debit by £35 per month equivalent to 22% increase.

    I contacted Customer Services who tried to tell me that the increase was necessary based on my reported usage, and that I had to pay more in order to avoid going into excessive debt. I have kept very accurate records of my usage so I know what my average consumption is, and can compare my usage over any given time period, and I knew that they were trying it on. My complaint was escalated to a more senior adviser who tried to sell me the same line, but after considerable &quot;discussion&quot; and providing my historic data they re-calculated my payment which matched my previously agreed figure. They still did not want give in, but I insisted that they maintain my Direct Debit payment at the previously agreed level.

    If I had not challenged this increase I would have been in credit with them by about £400 over a 12 month period, which is money in their account earning interest for them. Not such a lot of money some may say, but imagine this multiplied by the many thousands of customers they have and see how this could add up to a very tidy sum.

    The whole point of a monthly DD payment is that you divide your costs equally over the year, so at times you will be in debit (over the winter period) and then in credit (over the summer period). This is a fair arrangement, however Scottish appear to want their customers to be in Credit all the time, so that they hold your money.

    I know that this is not an isolated case as my daughter changed to Scottish at the same time and precisely the same thing happened to her so BE WARNED. I fully expect another battle in 12 weeks time!

    • Post Points: 35