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Are you an N-Power customer?
It seems that those Npower customers on Ciao! aren't a happy bunch - judging by some of the articles in the section for this power company. Well let me tell you a story.
I moved into a new house in April, which was served by Npower. I had previously been with Powergen, and had decided that I'd stick with them despite some previous problems, because it was obvious that they had moved mountains to solve their service issues, to the point that they were good - and now, frankly, are damn good.
Still, this opinion isn't about Powergen, it's about NPower.
When I moved in I took the electricity and gas readings, and started the transfer over to Powergen.
Powergen duly contacted me for meter readings, which they recorded and sent to NPower.
NPower chose to ignore these readings, and send bills where the start reading was way higher than the actual reading when I moved in. Additionally, rather than take the correct change-over readings from Powergen, they used their own estimated reading - again, way higher than what had actually been used.
In three months, the problem still hasn't been sorted out by NPower, and in this space of time they have sent me over 40 letters, each asking for payment and in some cases threatening disconnection if the bills are not paid.
The bills are completely incorrect of course. Try telling them that.
"Npower yourself..... it's later than you think.....!"
Firstly, you can not get through to them quickly. I have phoned them on receipt of each of their pernicious letters, each time having to wait up to half an hour for a reply. On one occasion I even mentioned that I had been waiting for 25 minutes, only to be corrected by the operator "actually it's 22 minutes and 43 seconds" - well thanks for that! Obviously this is just what I wanted to hear!
I have explained that I have no intention of paying them until the bills are corrected. The operators duly make notes on the computer (when the computers are working - they haven't been on three occasions that I phoned).
When their call centre is especially busy, an operator comes on the line and tells you that he or she is merely taking calls for the operator, and that they will take your details for a callback. Out of four occasions that this has happened, I have been called back only once - and then they hit my voicemail.
In the first instance, they denied having received readings from the new supplier - and wouldn't take them from me, or indeed contact the new supplier to get them. No, according to them the onus was on me to get the new supplier to contact them - which I did. Twice.
I have been promised that whilst this is sorted out, the account will be on hold and no action taken. I have had 40 letters now that say otherwise, including the latest threatening to take me to court in 7 working days (the letter took 5 working days to arrive).
I rang Npower about this, and they advised that I could ignore this letter..... like I'm going to ignore the letter now I've received numerous threats from them, despite the account being on "hold" - I don't think so.
I asked for a letter to be sent to me explaining that the account was on hold, not in arrears and was being recalculated. This apparently could not be done. It would seem that although callers can hear the familiar office sounds of keyboards being hammered, NPower haven't got any printers, paper or a copy of Microsoft word. The operator told me that she did not have the authority to send such a letter (or indeed any letters) - I asked to speak to a manager - apparently this too is a tall order. "They're on the phones to other customers and will not take over the call" came the reply.
Try ringing their Head Office? No chance, their switchboard just adds you to the call centre queue (this time at your expense).
Email them? No reply.
Write to them? I'm waiting for a reply - not holding my breath though.
What I'm trying to acheive with this damning review is this: If you're an Npower customer, do yourself a favour and find the link to uswitch on Ciao and change over. Better still, give them a ring and make a simple enquiry about your account then marvel at the incompetance.
Their call centre is run from a location far removed from their customers. Their computer system is clearly unable to handle anything other than the most simple enquiry, and their ability to follow statutory guidelines on change of supplier is seriously in doubt.
Npower aren't the cheapest supplier in Yorkshire, the North or the Midlands - so do yourself a favour and move.
I mentioned time and time again that "this isn't good enough" and with good reason - they are attempting to charge me more than double what I owe, because they can't be bothered a) using the right readings and b) possibly chasing someone who used to live at the address. Threats of "disconnection" are clearly futile, since they don't supply my electricity or gas.
If the company I work for treated their customers with this sort of contempt, I have no doubt we would have no customers at all before long. We have been treated appaulingly, and don't like being threatened when we have done nothing wrong.
I am quite sure that if these letters had been sent to someone less strong willed, they would have simply paid to get Npower off their backs - a frail old lady, for instance?
I've sent them letters, made phone calls and have now referred the matter to the regulator - so I am quite sure the bailiffs won't be calling me any time soon! Of course if this does go any further, I'll happily refer this to my solicitor and sue them to the hilt too. Every company has a duty of care, you know!
Kind people of Ciao...... please, vote with your feet.
Well it seems from your comments that I'm not alone in this - thanks!!! (though I'm sorry you've had to put up with the same).
I've just been looking at the Energywatch website and it seems complaints against Npower run at more than twice the industry average.... well I wonder why!
** Another update!
I got a reply to my email, by post! A curt letter (that included a few mistakes) repeating the lie that all the problems were caused by the new supplier supplying a late reading!
However my complaint to Energywatch has born fruit. NPower have written a longer letter (including just a couple of mistakes) that says that they were "sorry I felt the need to contact Energywatch". In light of my problems, they are cancelling the ENTIRE bill. Not a great win when you consider the amount of my TIME they have taken up with their incompetance, but goes to show that Energywatch do have some teeth.
** Yet another update!
So I thought that the problems were over..... apology from Npower, cancellation of bill, no more letters, time to relax, obviously.
WRONG! Six weeks pass and then a letter from "Energy Debt Management", wrongly claiming that they'd sent earlier letters, chasing me for a debt. Rang the number on the letter, met with total incompetance once again.... a closer look at the letter reveals that "Energy Debt Management" have the same address as NPower themselves.
I explained that the whole situation had been resolved and quoted the letter Npower had sent me. Was put "on hold" by Energy Debt Management and then found myself in the queue for Npower themselves - completely unannounced, of course.
Apparently, this has now been sorted.... until the next time! Will keep you posted!
i recently revied a bill after leaveing them for my gas and electic. i now owe them £45 for gas as i never topped up enough (i never had to top up more than i did) and i also recived a bill for £570 for my electric and been told its becouse in 6 months i have only topped up £20. i guess my meter has been dishing out free electric?...i think not!!
blindboy 26.10.2004 13:11
Well at least I'm not alone.
After eighteen months of problems I now have the privilege of dealing with Energy debt.
Although they are part of N-Power it would appear that they cannot access any information on my past account.
I have tried to talk to the collections manager directly but unfortunately he cannot take calls from customers and will only
enter into written correspondence.
I have also called N-Power's head office and they have no employee of this name on their records, how odd.
Customer services are now advising me to ignore his letter,a letter from the man that never was.
has anyone else had this problem ?
angehodgson 01.12.2003 12:38
Sad to say, this is too close to my own experience with nPower... After over a year of not being billed (yes I wrote to them - on several occasions, but no bill...) they finally came up with a bill. Then demanded full and immediate payment. Then sat back and wondered why I continued to complain...
Promised correspondence doesn't seem to materialise (yet they suddenly seem very keen on passing things on to their debt collection arm) - I can see EnergyWatch getting involved in my case too very shortly.
As an accountant, I have to wonder why they waste so much of their resources on dealing with complaints simply because they can't manage to get things right. It would cost them a lot less in the long run if they could be bothered to respond to correspondence (rather than deny all knowledge that it exists!) and got on with the job of supplying Electricity and Gas rather than pissing off their customers. Preferably while they still have them.