Friday, 9 January 2015

The Npower saga continues

So it turns out that Npower informed the ombudsman that they had complied with the order on November 27th.  They said:
In accordance with the remedy I can confirm that we have
  • Credited account for missed discounts.
  • Credited disputed amount to the account to clear balance.
  • Credited your account as a gesture of goodwill.
  • Refunded remaining credit by cheque, you will receive this in the post in the next 7-10 working days.
  • Please accept my apologies for the delay in issuing you with a correct statement and for the issues surrounding your discount.
Except I haven't received the letter or the cheque and Npower's customer services have confirmed that no cheque has been sent out.  They do claim to have complied with the resolution by crediting my (closed) Npower account, even though they have completely failed to send me an actual refund!

So as far as I can tell, Npower acknowledged the Ombudsman's orders, decided not to comply and then lied to the Ombudsman to say they had complied.  At least, I can't think of any other reason of saying "we have" complied instead of "we will" comply if they hadn't actually already done it.

So to recap, here's why I'm never going to do business with Npower again:
  1. They never actually sent me any kind of contract when I opened an account with them.
  2. In January 2013 they put me on the wrong tariff... of course they didn't actually tell me this immediately.
  3. They set up the direct debit but didn't actually withdraw any funds from it... and again, I didn't get informed of this immediately, and hadn't noticed.
  4. In July 2013 I got my first bill, which came as a shock since it was for a more expensive tariff and none of it had been paid by the direct debit they were supposed to be using.
  5. Their complaints people initially said that (i) yes they had screwed up and put me on a more expensive tariff, (ii) no they weren't going to fix it or refund me because their internal systems wouldn't let them, (iii) the direct debit not being used was clearly my fault as apparently the customer is responsible for checking their bank account every month to make sure Npower have done their job correctly.  After some argument they agreed that I could cancel my direct debit until things got resolved so I didn't have to over-pay them.
  6. They said they would call me back within 10 days... they didn't.
  7. They started sending me nastygrams because I hadn't paid the overbilled account (for which my complaint was still being "processed").
  8. They informed me that I wouldn't get my direct debit discount since I had cancelled my direct debit (with their permission).  Eventually they agreed I could have it.  I paid off the hundreds of pounds of debt that had been racked up by their failure to use the direct debit.
  9. In January 2014 I found that they had "forgotten" to apply my direct debit discount.  I called them and they confirmed it had been forgotten and said they had now credited it to my account but I would need to wait 6 months for my next bill for it to be applied.
  10. In May 2014 I got a demand to pay hundreds of pounds within 9 days... Yet again they had decided to simply stop using the direct debit for no reason, and waited until this had been going on for months before informing me with a "pay within 9 days or else" nastygram.
  11. The still hadn't credited the direct debit discount that they said they had in January... they said it was still being "processed" - apparently it takes 6 months to "process" a credit.
  12. They now swore blind that I wasn't due a direct debit discount at all, despite having previously said that they had credited it.
  13. I raised a formal complaint with Npower and got a automated reply saying they would get back to me within 10 days.
  14. They didn't get back to me at all, and in fact ignored all my further attempts to raise a complaint too.
  15. They started sending increasingly threatening nastygrams because I refused to pay the overbilled amount.
  16. The debt collection department said they couldn't do anything to stop legal action and that I would need to raise a complaint about the disputed amount.  When I pointed out I had tried to raise a complaint and had been repeatedly ignored, I was told that I should probably raise a complaint about that (!)
  17. I referred the whole thing over to the Energy Ombudsman, who quickly decided on a "remedy" and ordered Npower to comply by December 24th.  Npower sent a response to the Ombudsman to say they had complied on November 27th.
  18. Part of the resolution (which Npower told the Ombudsman had been actioned) was to send me a refund.  Npower have confirmed to me that this was never done.
  19. Npower still claim they complied with the Ombudsman's orders on time, even though they also confirm that they never sent the refund (!).
  20. They don't really seem to be in a rush to fix things - apparently I have to wait another 10 days for them to send a cheque because they can't do a bank transfer.  So assuming they actually manage to do what they say they're doing (which would surprise me, given everything else that's happened), that means I'll get my refund on January 19th, 26 days after the Ombudsman's deadline and a year after I should have received it!

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