When it comes to getting money out of them, a four- letter word springs to mind. No, no, it`s not a naughty word. The word that I am thinking of is, DIRE. When they are left to pay a rebate into my bank, the current rate of success without my having to ask where it is, is 25%. I usually wait three weeks after the promised date, to ask what on earth they are playing at, whereby I get a load `Dere, dere, diddums den` noises and a promise to pay "Within the next couple of weeks".
I can`t help but wonder how many other customers get this treatment and how much interest on the money, stays with Atlantic.
When they get a monthly sum by direct debit and over time it builds up a healthy surplus of money paid in, over the actual monthly bill, they won`t ask for the figure to be adjusted. I once had an over £200 surplus, but they never contacted me so I had to contact them and virtually plead for a recalculation to allow me to adjust the debit. Again, a way of hanging on to the customers money and the interest earned. I would rather the interest stayed in my account than theirs.
They say they are proud of their customer service, but believe me, they have nothing to be proud of in the service given to this customer.
I signed up to Atlantic Gas and Electric three years ago and at first they were fine, but then they got absorbed into Scottish and Southern, the expensive cheats that I had just escaped from. The first thing I noticed was that they could not be bothered to read the meter, or to correctly update my account when I read our own meter every month. The second thing that I noticed was the giant price hike.
Now it is almost impossible to afford my monthly payments and for the last two years our meter has been racing as well meaning that we are recording far more fuel than we are actually using. We have been told that they can remove and test the meter but they have never actually got around to it and they 18 months ago, after a long battle, during which they read the meter wrong five times, lost three application forms for a social tariff and failed to act responsibly over a couple of long drawn out and very serious complaints. They even sent emails back and forth to each over moaning about the fact that I was trying to contact them and had sent copies of emails up the management chain. Did not think that I had seen these, but I have a complete record.
After some time, during which the hardest winter for a century arrived, the money became tighter and tighter and our health problems got worse all the time; these goons failed to respond to urgent calls and letters and emails and put a lot of pressure on us, making several attempts to cut us off, although we are Extra Care customers and need to use special equipment and are classed as vulnerable. When they did put the social tariff on after some 9 months back and forth they did not back date it although they had promised to do so and it was applied wrong. I had again to contact them and they only put it right when I got very upset and threatened to turn the gas on if they attempted to break the door down and force us onto a pre payment meter or cut us off! It was put right, made a lot of difference, even with the faulty meter and I hoped that was that.
At the same time I forced them through Shelter to accept that I was on ESA and disability guarantee and they realized that I was telling the truth about how much I could afford and they agreed to a payment plan which I have kept to. I was left alone until 23rd January this year, and despite being told to not contact me by phone over a period of 3 days I received over 50 calls. I received 20 in one hour despite telling them to leave me alone.
They told me that they were calling to help their most vulnerable customers and it would only take 5 minutes. First they wanted a reading but we have not been able to give us a reading as it is difficult to gt down to the meter and is painful and being on the phone also hurts. The woman insisted and I was not able to and she was annoyed. Another called a few moments later said she was offering me help with the arrears and that there is a trust fund for appliances so I gave her some details she needed. She then turned to the meter testing and told me they cannot help me and will not help me unless I allow them into my home to remove the meter. I told her I would consider it after they filled out the form for the trust fund. She babbled for half an hour and then told me that I do not get a form but she will send me an email with everything in. I said she would have to as I was now ending the call.
I felt cheated and bullied and I made a complaint. The complaint was handled or mishandled by Alan Ward who insisted that I was to blame for it all going wrong and that our usage meant I would have to pay double what we pay now. They wanted £55.00 for the gas and £35 for the electric. I was outraged especially as they had taken a reading that showed that our usage since the last bill was half the estimated bill. I told him in no uncertain terms that I do not agree with the usage and my financial situation and that this was meant to be about helping me and not making things worse. He promised to reset the payment plan to what it has been for the last 18 months and a new schedule would come out.
He also said I could have someone come out to help with the application for the trust fund. I said fine but he could not give me a date. I did not have to have the meter looked at until I was sorted out.
My father at this time was very seriously ill in hospital and in decline. He had gone to a care facility soon after and we were sorting him out with stuff for when he came out as he needed full time carers. I asked Mr Ward not to contact me for two weeks. But he did not respect my wishes and sent me an email out of the blue making demands that I contact him by return with dates and times I am available for a visit one month later! To add insult to injury, he was going to be away from the office for 10 days, so why did he need and immediate response. I had a choice of 3 days and he wanted to come at 8 in the morning or I would have to wait in for 8 hours for the person to come at any time. I could not do that. It was totally ridiculous! In addition, the person was not coming to help with my application but to tell me about cutting down on my heavy usage! I was livid and I lost it!
I sent him an email alright and told him I did not want the person to come and to leave me alone. I got the schedule the next day and it was for the increased money and the correct payment plan has never been set. I complained further up and tried to work something up, even half agreeing to the person coming but when I phoned up to get the payment plan sorted I was met with a very idiotic person who went on about how it was all my fault and they do not accept that there is anything wrong with the meter or their prices. I do not use a lot of either electric or the gas and when we do not need it in the Spring and the Summer and early Autumn it is switched off. Even when I was away with no gas being used it was racing on the meter. Before we have always been well in credit and there are only two of us and we know houses full of students who have lower bills than us! It is totally ridiculous as even on very cold days we have it on half at the most for a total of 4 hours! Even if it was all day it would not be as high as this.
I have now withdrawn my permission to have the meter looked at until they put me back on the correct payment plan and sort out the application without threats of courts and bailiffs and debt collectors and courts and attempts to force us onto a pre payment meter. I have been abused and they do not get that we are on a fixed income and that we have rights. I know my rights and I know that they cannot force m to pay what I cannot reasonably afford. They cannot cut me off for a variety of legal reasons and as vulnerable customers we have some extra protection. I have now been all through the complaint procedure and they have me at deadlock. So now for the watchdog. These people are callous and insane. Do not touch them with a barge pole. If I could switch I would but as I have arrears I cannot switch so I am stuck. I keep on demanding that they honour the agreement, which is in writing, but they ignore me.
My father has since died a couple of weeks ago and we are all devastated, but these callous people do not care. They treat disabled people like dirt and they help people in fuel poverty by double and triple the bill and payments. Nice.
On 12/11/2010 I applied on line through "energyhelpline.com" for Atlantic to supply me with dual fuel.Over 5 weeks later & I HAVE NOT RECEIVED ANY COMMUNICATIONS FROM ATLANTIC WHAT SO EVER.Yet I was advised on 3/12/2010 by my present provider (e-on) that the change over date is in 2 days time. (22/12/2010) what a shame Atlantic could not tell me this !2 e-mails later..no reply from Atlantic as to what is happening.Oh how I wish I had stayed with E-on, as Atlantic seem totally incapable of letting one know what is happening during a changeover..i.e...account number ! / change over date ! / standing order amount ! / nothing!!!!!!!!
When I moved into my new house I decided to stay with Atlantic Electricity and Gas as they had provided the services to the previous owners. I completed their very un-user friendly online form to request that they supply my electricity and gas and let them know the date I moved in. I heard nothing from them but received a bill for the dates between when I moved in and when I completed the form addressed to 'The Occupier'.
After a couple of months having heard nothing else from the company I contacted them to let them know that I thought their customer service was unsatisfactory and I no longer wished them to supply my electricity and gas and received no response.
A month later I wrote to give details of the situation and to let them know that as they were not getting in contact with me I had to assume they did not conisder me a customer and I'd go elsewhere. I did receive a response to this stating that as they already had an account at my address my form to join them had been ignored. Which whilst it may explain the situation I hardly felt it to be a satisfactory explanation so would stay well clear of them in future.
They are a disorganised shambles. Cocked up bills, confusion and poor service. I am now back with British Gas.
I too was surprised by some of the negative reviews for Atlantic Energy. We've been with them since 2003 after using a series of very arrogant suppliers such as BG, Amerada, N.Power and PowerGen, and have only praise for them. We always check the meter ourselves if the bill is estimated, and ring them up on freephone if it is way out. When it has been, they've sent out another bill promptly, even though they are only advisory (as we pay monthly direct debit). Each year we receive a credit back for the equivalent of a months payment for both Gas and Electricity...brilliant! Having just received advice of yet another increase in August 2008, I have re-calculated costs, and taking all into account, we're still better off staying put. (Our use is 18.000 kWh Gas, 4300 kWh Electricity).
I was suprised to read the reviews. I have been on Atlantic gas and leccy for a number of years now and only have praise for them. Efficient, cheap and very polite when you contact them - which isn't often as nothing goes wrong.
We get £25 a year loyalty payment, on top of really reasonable rates. Their website is really good to use, no fuss and easy to log on and check your bills etc.
I'd say - go for them if you want to change suppliers.
I have used Atlantic for my energy for the last 3 years and find them excellent. Good value for money, promised not to put up their prices for 1 whole year and kept their word. Advised me last december that they would be dropping their prices this year which was long before British Gas announced that they would lower theirs. When ever I have needed to contact them I have got through immediately and they have always been most helpful and friendly, what a change from speaking to banks in India. What other energy company gives you back 1 months direct debit payment every year that you stay a customer. First class in my opinion.
This is the worst company for having your electric and gas from. First of all when you call them, nobody picks up the phone. If they decide to pick the phone up they will put you on hold and you will have to listen to the horrible music ever. Then comes your advisor who decides to listen to you from one ear and the information is out of the other ear.
I have written and called them plenty of times that I don't own a property that they are billing me for. But they keep on sending bills to my house. I have had reminders and I have wrote to them about this. Now they are taking me to court and sending the debt collectors round, for me to pay somebody else's bill.
My advice is not to touch them with a bargpole.
Atlantic are without doubt the most incompetent company I have ever dealt with in my life. I bought my house in January 2003, and the utility services were provided by British Gas. Wanting to save some money, I decided to check out other companies, and Atlantic came up as the cheapest. We have a pre-pay electricity card meter installed in the house, which is much more expensive to run than a credit meter. I called Atlantic and asked them if they would exchange this for a pre-pay meter. No problem they said - and it was a free service. An appointment would be made to do the exchange. Simply sign up with them using U-Switch. So I signed up with them in February 2003. Waited for a month - no appointment. Called Atlantic. They said that my request had been misplaced and that they would re-arrange the appointment. They also said that there was a charge to remove the meter (after they had told me it was free so I would sign up). After complaining to a manager, they agreed to do it for free, as they had promised in the first place. In the meantime, not only was I buying meter cards, I was also paying for my electricity again by direct debit. Waited for another month - no appointment. I called Atlantic and was given the same story. They said they would re-arrange. Finally got an appointment for July after several more calls to them. I took the day off work and waited in for the contractors - they didn't turn up. I called Atlantic again and again that day, but their touchtone service didn't seem to be working. After finally getting through in the evening, they advised me that they didn't know why the contractors didn't turn up, but they would contact them and I would receive a call back. I heard nothing, despite them having 3 different contact numbers for me. I rang customer services again, and was told that they would re-arrange the exchange appointment. They didn't know why the contra
ctors didn't turn up the first time, and couldn't give me an explanation. I waited another month, no appointment. This time I decided to write to their head office to complain. They couldn't even be bothered to give me the courtesy of a reply to my letter, just sent out a new appointment for August 2003. I waited in all day - again the contractors did not arrive. I rang customer services (I had the usual problems with their dodgy touchtone service) but as usual they had no idea where the contractors where or even if they would turn up. I was promised a call back from someone. I received an answerphone message saying that Atlantic again had no idea where the meter contractors where or why they didn't turn up, but I would receive another appointment. So seven months later, countless phone calls, and several wasted days off work, I still have not had my meter exchanged. I have just been given a new date in September - this time the letter says that I will now be charged £51 for the exchange. I've just complained again but as usual no-one at Atlantic seems to know what's happening. The letter also says that the appointment is 'subject to availability'. I guess that this is the get-out clause if they don't turn up again. Good job I've never had a gas leak! Be warned - this company is only cheap because they obviously skimp on customer service. To summarise: They don't turn up when they say they will. They don't return calls. They can't be bothered to respond to letters. Their phone lines only work when they feel like. It takes forever to get through to an advisor, and they don't seem to log any telephone calls, so you have to go through the same explanations every time you call. If you switch your services over, make sure you thoroughly check out the company you're switching to.