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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Spark Energy UK Has Terrible Customer Service and Apparently Billing Issues

I generally look at energy companies as a necessary evil. Especially here in the UK. They charge you exorbitant rates so you can have things such as lights, tv, heat, Internet, and phone; whist sitting there rubbing their grubby little hands together and just waiting until they can hike your rates yet again. Generally, I keep my mouth shut about this because, well, I enjoy not living in the 18th century and love having the Internet.

However, my former energy company has decided to take the mick. See when I moved out of my first house here in the UK two years ago I did everything right. I called and gave them the last meter reading. I have them a forwarding address. I paid my last bill. At my new address I just started using the company that was already in charge of the address rather than going through the rigamaroll of trying to switch companies. So far, no complaints with them.

I went on living my life. Then about a year ago I received a notice from my old energy company Spark Energy UK that because I had paid estimated rates for the year I had lived in the old house, that we were due a refund of £151.25 (I have the letter.) because we had overpaid. I was over the moon. It isn't very often that you ever get a refund I thought. I guess technically I was right because even after I had spoken to a representative and had it confirmed with her supervisor, I never received the refund. I didn't pursue it though because things happened such as: my husband going to Germany, my husband going to Italy and my husband going to Korea. You know, life. I just figured I would get around to calling them sooner or later and getting my refund.

(Click to make it big. See where it says CREDIT? It is dated December 15th 2010. Address and account number obviously obscured.)

Well, last week, I received another correspondence from Spark telling me that I OWED them £154.86. This is TWO YEARS after I have moved out of the old address. I called Spark. I talked to a representative who mysteriously couldn't get into the billing system, but promised to call me back. She never called. Then yesterday when I was about to call them back to sort the problem out I received an automated call from them telling me that my account was delinquent and that I needed to pay. I tried to hang up so that I could call directly to customer service, but the call wouldn't let me. So, I sat there and listened to all the options pressed a few buttons and finally got through to a real live human. I explained the situation to her. To her credit she at least tried to sound surprised at the situation. I told her about the credit I was due and how I had now received a bill. She then told me that I did owe that much money because apparently they had switched over to a new computer system and that it had magically found that I owed money. Ah yes, those magical computer system switches. But don't worry I am told, I can be put on a payment plan. Oh, and don't worry we will send you another bill to make sure everything is clear. Whatever, lady.

I don't want to be put on a payment plan, in fact I would like my bloody refund.

Then today I get an email telling me I am delinquent. Then they follow that up with another automated message. You know, they have been "missing" this money for two years and now they want me to pay it on their time frame. Well, I just don't have £154.86 just laying around to give to them. As far as I am concerned they can just wait.

(Click to make big. How do I all of a sudden owe money?)