Newest Review: ... address of the people that they thought they were providing electricity too. E.on raised an erroneous transfer to cancel the account th... more
Powergen or Power Hungry?
Member Name: anonymili
Date: 13/11/07, updated on 16/01/08 (203 review reads)
Advantages: None that I can think of apart from persistency?
Disadvantages: Too many to summarise
I hope this review is not rated unhelpful by you readers, as strictly speaking I am not nor have I ever been a Powergen customer (as far as I'm concerned), but they seem to think I'm their customer.
It all started several months ago, I was at work, my husband was home from work early as he works shifts. As he approached the front door, two guys were hovering near our front door. This is how the conversation went:
Powergen guy: Hi there, I was wondering if we could give you a quote for your electricity supply Sir?
Hubby: Well I've just come back from work, haven't even been inside the house yet.
Powergen guy: We won't take up much of your time, honestly!
Hubby: Well I don't know...
Powergen guy: Oh please! We've been walking around all day and this is the last house we're calling at and no one has even given us the time of day. We've got nothing to show for a whole day of trying to give quotes or get new customers.
Hubby (feeling sorry for the guys): Oh ok, come on in then.
Now if that was me, they would not have set foot in my door. I don't like people trying to sell me stuff at my door, if I have a problem with a utilities supplier I will go do my own research and contact companies myself.
An hour later I got home and the two guys were just about to leave. My husband advised them that I was his wife and one of them said "Oh so you must be Mrs XXX?"
Not knowing who on earth these guys were, I muttered "Erm it's Ms XXX actually, how do you know my name?" (I said this as I don't use my married name and as they'd been dealing with my hubby I would have assumed they would have called me by his surname)!
"Oh it's because your name is on the registered billing for the electricity supply for this address!" the chap replied as his colleague and he hurriedly left our house (I was not sure why they seemed to be in such a hurry). I asked my husband if he had signed anything and he said that they had just asked him to sign to confirm they had visited and given him a quote. He had signed on one of those electronic signing machine things (sorry - I don't know what they're technically called). He said they had said they could supply electricity for something like 2pence per unit cheaper than our current suppliers, Southern Electric. I was dubious but said I would wait to see their written quote.
A week later, no sign of a written quote, but imagine my surprise when I get a letter from Powergen welcoming me as a customer and that a key for my meter would be forwarded shortly (a key that never actually materialised). The letter informed me that I should not use my old supplier's key once I received the new one or I would be billed by two separate companies! I was horrified. I took the letter to work and planned to call them on my lunch break. I didn't need to call them though as mid-morning I received a call from Southern Electric (SE). They said they were calling to say that they were sorry I was leaving them and could I provide any feedback as to why so they could try to improve their service. I stated that I had no intention of leaving them and I had not authorised Powergen or anyone else to change my account and I was pretty annoyed about them assuming I was consenting to a transfer when I had barely even spoken to the chaps who had visited my home. The very nice lady at SE (who I have been with for 13 years with NO problems at all) was very apologetic and said that she had heard of Powergen doing this on many occasions and many SE customers had been conned this way. I said it was not a con as I had not signed or agreed to anything. My husband had just signed to say they had physically visited our property to provide a quote and nothing else. I asked what I needed to do and said I didn't relish the thought of having to phone up Powergen and argue with them over why they were using these underhand tactics. The lady at SE said I didn't have to do that, they would cancel the transfer as an erroneous transfer and I was not to worry.
I thought it was all sorted until the next week I received yet another letter from Powergen welcoming me again and stating their prices for electricity supply. It seemed that were actually MORE expensive that SE. I called SE again asking why I was still receiving correspondence from Powergen saying I was their customer. The best thing about SE was that I was calling an 0800 number and my calls always got answered by a human being within a few rings and they have been very courteous and helpful. They again assured me that I was still listed as an SE customer and Powergen were trying it on.
I also called Powergen and advised them that I had not agreed to change supplier and would they stop writing me letters and could they confirm in writing this conversation, they assured me they would deal with it correctly. A week later I received a letter from Powergen saying they were sorry I was leaving them and that I would receive a letter in due course saying how much I owed them for the electricity supply to date! I was stunned. I called them up and got the usual annoying auto-answering service where you have to push this button and that button before you can speak to a person. I demanded that I be given an email address as I did not trust any verbal conversations with them. I wrote a lovely email and copied it in to several email addresses saying how appalling I thought their business practices were in getting "customers" in this manner. I had never agreed to go over to them, their agents had falsely advised that we had agreed to switch to them and then they had the cheek to say we would be receiving a bill from them! I've never paid an electricity bill, I have a key meter supplied by SE which I am still using to this date! I said I would be expecting a full reply and apology from them and that they had better not dare issue me with any bills!
I received a reply a few days later in the post saying that the transfer had been cancelled and apologies for the mix up (what mix up?)! How can it be a mix up when I had never once agreed to going over to them? I thought that would be the end of it.
Two weeks ago, my husband got home before me and had just come out of the shower when he heard someone at the door. As he wasn't dressed he ignored it, we have all sorts of salespeople at the door and if we're expecting company we know when to expect them. Whoever it was knocking was very persistent, so eventually hubby went to the front room window with his dressing gown on and opened the window to see who it was. It was a chap from Powergen wanting to do a final meter reading. Hubby was gobsmacked! He told the guy that we not a Powergen customer and if he valued his life he would leave our doorstep pronto as I was due home any time and after the mess they had caused he wouldn't be responsible for my actions. The guy left!
You'd think that was the end of that. Earlier this week, my hubby got a call on HIS mobile number (which he had given when they originally came to do the "quote") asking why he had decided to leave Powergen and go elsewhere. Hubby said he could nothing but laugh at them and say that we had always been SE customers, the chap on the other end actually said that SE had a habit of poaching THEIR customers! He resisted the urge to give them my mobile number instead as he felt it would not be too nice for them to hear a lady using such bad language as he could imagine I would have if they contacted me again!
All in all, my experience as a "customer" even though I was "forced" into being one was one big joke. If this is the way Powergen have to get business I am not surprised they have such an awful reputation as a company. You'd think after receiving complaint letters they would make a note on their system so that every other Tom, Dick and Powergen rep would not be calling us or turning up at our doorstep randomly. I sincerely hope they do not harass my husband or myself any further! Oh and God help them if they try to send me a bill for electricity supply that I've never used with them!
n.b. Also published on ciao.co.uk under the same username
Summary: Definitely not going to become one of their customers