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Best switching site

  • 12 November 2019
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  • Anonymous
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I signed up to them, by providing my meter readings and regular payments and they told me it would be cheaper. They set my amount and I gave regular readings only to be told the may payments needed to go up from £176 (their recommendation) to £369. However, when I check my account I see that in month 1, which was September they took out £372.While £3 is not hte end of the world in October they took a whopping £496 without telling me. Now, I know the tactics that these utility companies use which is: Let your customer get in debt so that they don't leave you but even NPower, whose customer service was bad when I was with them, would not be able to compete with Pure Planet. Has anyone else suffered at the hands of Pure Planet?
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Best answer by Marc 13 November 2019, 10:01

I signed up to them, by providing my meter readings and regular payments and they told me it would be cheaper. They set my amount and I gave regular readings only to be told the may payments needed to go up from £176 (their recommendation) to £369. However, when I check my account I see that in month 1, which was September they took out £372.While £3 is not hte end of the world in October they took a whopping £496 without telling me. Now, I know the tactics that these utility companies use which is: Let your customer get in debt so that they don't leave you but even NPower, whose customer service was bad when I was with them, would not be able to compete with Pure Planet. Has anyone else suffered at the hands of Pure Planet?



Hi @
Thanks for posting in the community.
FYI I've merged your posts into one place, to avoid having duplicate chats.

I can see you've decided to switch to another energy supplier. No worries at all, and you'll be happy to know that we don't charge exit fees.

But I did check this out with our Member services team. To address your concerns:

They set my amount and I gave regular readings only to be told the may payments needed to go up

Your quote when you join is based on estimated readings provided by you. No energy company is legally allowed to see your energy spend until after you join. So to start with they're calculated using an industry standard provided by Ofgem.

Our team emailed you in August to explain the increases, based on the fact that your energy usage was higher than your Direct Debit payments, and you were going into debit.

In October they took a whopping £496 without telling me

The monthly Direct Debits are a little less in summer and a little more in winter. We do this because it reflects our Members' energy usage.
(And as we don't have fixed term contracts or charge exit fees, averaging payments over 12 months could cause Members to build up very high credits or debits, depending on the time of year they join.)
This is outlined in your welcome pack and we also make it clear to new Members when they join via our website/app or via a price comparison sites.
The colder months run from October to March, and the warmer months April to September. That is why your DD payment increased in October. I can see that because you weren't aware of this, it could have looked like we just decided to increase them again.

So this isn't to get into a row with you! I just wanted to explain/address a couple of points you made. I hope it's helped in some way!
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31 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +9
Hello and welcome.

have you been providing regular meter readings ?
how long have you neen with PP.
inital DD payments are based on the info you provided when the acct was set up obviously if these were way too low then the DD will need to increase.
​​​​​​​to help further more info would be needed, balances payments readings but obviously i cant see them.
Regular meter readings: Yes
Duration of sentence: 12 months
Initial cost: Correct, but they have the meter readings so can see what is happening. Just to let it run and run is not correct. The problem is we can't get hold of them. They offered me 10% discount on the amount as a way of compensation then proceeded to up my payment from the £376 we agreed to £496. No warning, not email, not call, nothing. Any thoughts?

- - - Updated - - -

To add additional information to you questions: I told them how much I paid previously and they reduced it. I didn't want it reduced. I can't help but feel that is a ploy to keep you with them.
Pure Planet and I are getting divorced due to their irresponsible behaviour. Does anyone know which is the best site for switching?
Userlevel 7
Badge +9
Hi Anon

I've been a customer over a year, been on these community pages most days, and can't recall ever reading anything like this.

The first question has to be - have you tried contacting Pure Planet about this at all? When they indicated they needed to increase the direct debit in May, did you ask why that was necessary?

The second comment is that I don't believe any utility company sets out to target an individual and rip them off.

So if you end up paying more than you expect, one of two things has happened - either you are using more than you did, or something has gone wrong with the meter or the meter readings.

Pure Planet were, and still are, one of the cheapest providers. Their original suggested direct debit payments were based on information you have provided, and the changes are based on the same information if you have been giving regular readings.

October was the first month of the winter months payment rate, everybody's direct debit went up 50%.

But your payments are certainly very high. I would contact Pure Planet urgently and get their explanation of what is going on.

If you login to the app click on the three little bars top right hand corner select Help then choose Wattbot put 'message the team' in the question box and then explain the problem. They promise to get back to you within one or two working days.

Hope you get it sorted quickly
​​​​​​​Stephen
Userlevel 7
Badge +9
My honest advice? If you leave Pure Planet without understanding what has happened to your account, you run the risk of of going through it all over again - apart from the fact you won't be able to switch as long as you are in debt.
Jonrand and Stephen1 any thoughts?

- - - Updated - - -

Hi Stephen, once again thanks for the advice. I'm one of the lucky ones in that I can afford to clear the arrears so will just clear it before I leave. Also, I have just given them £372+£496 so am well on the way to clearing it. Unfortunately, I got lulled into the "green" "eco" friendly utilities only to find out that their service is really poor. At least with utility companies with call centres you have the option to call them, even if you have to call them at 03:00am to get through.

- - - Updated - - -

I have got all of my readings from each month, put them in a spreasheet to work out my usage and will use that to supply to the new company. Any thought on the best switching site or are you sponsored by Pure Planet and cannot give this information?

- - - Updated - - -

I found these: Which one would you recommend:

Userlevel 7
Badge +9
Jon1 and I are definitely not sponsored by Pure Planet!

I always use moneysavingexpert.com but they've been recommending Pure Planet for the last couple of months!

Still not sure why you are accusing Pure Planet of irresponsible behaviour - they can't and don't, so far as I know, charge you for energy they know you haven't used
​​​​​​.

​​​​​​​Stephen
Stephen, you are either young or ... At 53, and having had my own house since I was 24, I have used a number of them. My experience, and it's only my experience, is that while they aren't the worst this situation has left a bad taste in my mouth. Surely, you must understand that you cannot just up a customers payments from 176 to 496 withouth clear communication. This is not customer service this is bullying. They are doing as they want to do when they want to do it, without an email, a letter or even a call. Sorry, this is the reason why I feel it's irresponsible behaviour.
Hi Stephen, thanks for the prompt reply. Answers below:

The first question has to be - have you tried contacting Pure Planet about this at all? Yes, they came back to me by email but they're painfully slow
When they indicated they needed to increase the direct debit in May, did you ask why that was necessary? The didn't indicate it in May they did it in August, which I agreed to. As I said the first month, they took slightly more than they said they would (said: 369, took: 372) taken and then they increased it again (496)


The second comment is that I don't believe any utility company sets out to target an individual and rip them off. I totally disagree with you. They all do it. This way, you are tied into them for longer than the contract. I do their best to confuse the life out of you with the bill and then try to trap you. Also, they don't care who. Another utility company did it to my mum who's an 80 year pensioner. So if you end up paying more than you expect, one of two things has happened - either you are using more than you did, or something has gone wrong with the meter or the meter readings. I was more than happy to pay and was happy when they set it at the amount that I was paying previously. They had my meter readings from before.
Pure Planet were, and still are, one of the cheapest providers. Their original suggested direct debit payments were based on information you have provided, and the changes are based on the same information if you have been giving regular readings. As my grandmother always said: "Sometimes, cheap is dear". In this case we pay in poor customer service.

October was the first month of the winter months payment rate, everybody's direct debit went up 50%. 50% is find but mine went up 288%. As I said, I have been sending them monthly readings.

But your payments are certainly very high. I would contact Pure Planet urgently and get their explanation of what is going on. Done but don't hold out much hope.

If you login to the app click on the three little bars top right hand corner select Help then choose Wattbot put 'message the team' in the question box and then explain the problem. They promise to get back to you within one or two working days. Sorry, bots are not for me. I'm into humans. I think it's probably best to cancel my dd and then they will start calling me. Not my preferred approach but they're not the most responsive, unfortunatly. Like all these companies, you only find out how good they are when you need to liaise with them.


- - - Updated - - -

Here's my readings, my charges and what I paid over the last 12 months in tabular format. Hopefully when I submit this the table code won't be stripped.

BTW, when I was with my last company I was paying £270 per month for both.




Elec
Gas
Elec cost
Gas cost

Month

Paid


Oct
1298
2594
170.58
83.24

Nov

258.65


Nov
2581
3379
332.05
106.25

Dec

258.65


Dec
1754
3822
232.47
121.31

Jan

258.65


Jan
1739
4209
248.91
142.23

Feb

258.65


Feb
3253
1866
459.5
66.8

Mar

258.65


Mar
1751
2639
250.39
91.53

Apr

172.43


Apr
1517
1588
217.93
56.43

May

172.43


May
1382
966
199.11
35.85

Jun

172.43


Jun
1114
1116
161.87
40.41

Jul

172.43


Jul
1351
625
194.7
25.57

Aug

172.43


Aug
737
1099
109.29
39.87

Sep

373.58


Sep
1419
1826
204.25
61.8

Oct

496.78



19896
25729
2781.05
871.29


3025.76






This
Plus this =
3652.34






- - - Updated - - -

With this informaiton in mind, putting my bill up to £369 makes sense and then leaving it at 305 through the summer would make sense. However, to put it up to £496 is wrong, don't you agree.
Userlevel 7
Badge +9


 Sorry, bots are not for me. I'm into humans. I think it's probably best to cancel my dd and then they will start calling me. Not my preferred approach but they're not the most responsive, unfortunatly. Like all these companies, you only find out how good they are when you need to liaise with them.



​​​​​​​​​​​​​​I was describing the way in which you contact a human. It's a bit odd to switch to a company and then refuse to use their openly communicated method of talking to them. I doubt cancelling your direct debit will help, usually just complicates things. I'll leave you to it! Best of luck!!
Userlevel 7
Badge +9
Hi JT,

I'm not going to add to what you have been respectfully advised above other than I've been with PP for 11 months and they are in my experience a 100% honest company. If they make a mistake they will sort it out.
Unlike my previous service provider who did end up operating by holding onto their customers money many months before they went bust.

​​​​​​​I guess you have utalised wattBot correctly to get a "team members" response otherwise why not send a DM to the community manager.
What ever you decide good luck.
Hi Strutt G, thanks for the advice. Which switching site do you recommend?
Userlevel 7
Badge +9
Surely, you must understand that you cannot just up a customers payments from 176 to 496 withouth clear communication.



They can't. They promise not to. So something has gone wrong.
​​​​​​​Stephen, 68
Bots are not humans, they are AI systems that try to predict answers and usually, in my experience, they are poor. Whilst I knew they wouldn't have humans at the end of phones I would have thought that signifcantly increasing the bill would be a human to human interation. Also, when you switch to a company you hope that your bill stays stable, not that it goes up by 288% with no notice. I would have been very happy not to have to contact them but they didn't contact me to tell me my bill was going up to £496. It's not just odd, it's highway robbery, don't you think?
It's not that they can't they did. See below.




Elec
Gas
Elec cost
Gas cost

Month
Paid


Oct
1298
2594
170.58
83.24

Nov
258.65


Nov
2581
3379
332.05
106.25

Dec
258.65


Dec
1754
3822
232.47
121.31

Jan
258.65


Jan
1739
4209
248.91
142.23

Feb
258.65


Feb
3253
1866
459.5
66.8

Mar
258.65


Mar
1751
2639
250.39
91.53

Apr
172.43


Apr
1517
1588
217.93
56.43

May
172.43


May
1382
966
199.11
35.85

Jun
172.43


Jun
1114
1116
161.87
40.41

Jul
172.43


Jul
1351
625
194.7
25.57

Aug
172.43


Aug
737
1099
109.29
39.87

Sep
373.58


Sep
1419
1826
204.25
61.8

Oct
496.78



19896
25729
2781.05
871.29


3025.76





This
Plus this =
3652.34




Userlevel 7
Badge +9
If you use the Bot by first typing "Message the Team" you will get a team members response within 2 days - often sooner!
The team members response message will be back with wattBot and if you forget to look you will get a text advising that a PP team member has responded.
If you don't first type "Message the team" it will act like a Robot as you have explained..which works well for general stuff.

So proceed as advised... and as I said you have the facilty to send a DM (direct message) via the little man at the top of the screen.
Revert back JT because peeps are only here to assist and attempt to ease some of your frustration.
Keep posting...and let us know how you got on....
Thanks, Strutt G. Also, which comparison site do you use?

- - - Updated - - -

What baffles me is why the reduced my bill in the summer when they could see from the information they have that it wouldn't make sense. Surely they should have contacted me and said: "As you can see from your meter readings, we feel it's best to leave your payments at the current rate?". When I left the monthly amount to be reduced I thought they must know what was going on. Instead, it's only when they contacted me to put my bill up to to 376 that I got a bit nervousl. I then when I pulled the data together because they put it up again to 496, as you see above, it's obvious that they don't know what's going on. They are just guessing the amount or as I mentioned earlier they know exactly what they're doing.
Userlevel 7
Badge +9
I found PP on the Web and did some research. After the debarcle with my last energy provider Economy Energy who operated by providing a very cheap tariff with loss leaders which got them into a right old mess, so then they acted underhandly and held onto their customers money.

I thought its a bit of a jump using PP an APP based company because responses are not instant and theirs no call centre, but I understood the deal of green enery with no mark up. The amount of info provided by PP re the FaQ's and this community PP set up has been really interesting and nothing hidden. So answering your question I did not use a switch site because I want to be in control and use my own spread sheets. But money saving expert is worth using for calculations and advice. But best remember all the switch sites have recomended all the companies and the those that went bust! May not interest you, but last year PP had an open day and a few other customers went to their new office for a questions and answer session with all sections of the business including the co directors.
Quite unique as PP only want to listen and improve - call centres cost money and can often answer futile calls.
Use a switch site, but always do a little research on the company recommended.
​​​​​​​
Stephen, a great example of poorly programmed AI at work:
Me - Sick to death of bots, I want human beings back please!
WattBot - To notify us of a death...

Thanks for your help.


- - - Updated - - -

Thanks, Strutt, appreciated. I shall keep it in mind but I'm struggling with their approach when I digest the data.
Userlevel 7
Badge +9
Sorry JT, just think you need to step back a little.
I guess you used a switch site and did not understand how the processes work.
If you follow what has been advised you will get a human response but not instantly.
With a little pateince the processes work well, but its not for all.
I learnt lots about this industry since joining PP and this community is a great knowledge base - if your into that.

And of course nothings hidden!
Lots of problems that arrive on this forum in the main are easily resolved and often not the problem perceived.

Another member may respond and assess your data...sorry I would but I'm having an early night.
Keep posting and you will get positive feedback if you remain the same.
Peace
Hi Stephen, thanks for the prompt reply. Answers below:

The first question has to be - have you tried contacting Pure Planet about this at all? Yes, they came back to me by email but they're painfully slow
When they indicated they needed to increase the direct debit in May, did you ask why that was necessary? The didn't indicate it in May they did it in August, which I agreed to. As I said the first month, they took slightly more than they said they would (said: 369, took: 372) taken and then they increased it again (496)


The second comment is that I don't believe any utility company sets out to target an individual and rip them off. I totally disagree with you. They all do it. This way, you are tied into them for longer than the contract. I do their best to confuse the life out of you with the bill and then try to trap you. Also, they don't care who. Another utility company did it to my mum who's an 80 year pensioner. So if you end up paying more than you expect, one of two things has happened - either you are using more than you did, or something has gone wrong with the meter or the meter readings. I was more than happy to pay and was happy when they set it at the amount that I was paying previously. They had my meter readings from before.
Pure Planet were, and still are, one of the cheapest providers. Their original suggested direct debit payments were based on information you have provided, and the changes are based on the same information if you have been giving regular readings. As my grandmother always said: "Sometimes, cheap is dear". In this case we pay in poor customer service.

October was the first month of the winter months payment rate, everybody's direct debit went up 50%. 50% is find but mine went up 288%. As I said, I have been sending them monthly readings.

But your payments are certainly very high. I would contact Pure Planet urgently and get their explanation of what is going on. Done but don't hold out much hope.

If you login to the app click on the three little bars top right hand corner select Help then choose Wattbot put 'message the team' in the question box and then explain the problem. They promise to get back to you within one or two working days. Sorry, bots are not for me. I'm into humans. I think it's probably best to cancel my dd and then they will start calling me. Not my preferred approach but they're not the most responsive, unfortunatly. Like all these companies, you only find out how good they are when you need to liaise with them.


- - - Updated - - -

Here's my readings, my charges and what I paid over the last 12 months in tabular format. Hopefully when I submit this the table code won't be stripped.

BTW, when I was with my last company I was paying £270 per month for both.




Elec
Gas
Elec cost
Gas cost

Month
Paid


Oct
1298
2594
170.58
83.24

Nov
258.65


Nov
2581
3379
332.05
106.25

Dec
258.65


Dec
1754
3822
232.47
121.31

Jan
258.65


Jan
1739
4209
248.91
142.23

Feb
258.65


Feb
3253
1866
459.5
66.8

Mar
258.65


Mar
1751
2639
250.39
91.53

Apr
172.43


Apr
1517
1588
217.93
56.43

May
172.43


May
1382
966
199.11
35.85

Jun
172.43


Jun
1114
1116
161.87
40.41

Jul
172.43


Jul
1351
625
194.7
25.57

Aug
172.43


Aug
737
1099
109.29
39.87

Sep
373.58


Sep
1419
1826
204.25
61.8

Oct
496.78



19896
25729
2781.05
871.29


3025.76





This
Plus this =
3652.34





- - - Updated - - -

With this informaiton in mind, putting my bill up to £369 makes sense and then leaving it at 305 through the summer would make sense. However, to put it up to £496 is wrong, don't you agree.


Hi

You are probably not going to like/accept my response to your situation......So.....

I haven't run your figures through my own spreadsheet yet.....but I will tomorrow, and I'll hopefully have a more accurate assessment of your position.

I have however done a very quick calculation based on your own supplied figures.......

Firstly using your DD figures of (summer mths) £172.43 and (winter mths) £258.65....Therefore 12 mth total is £2568.48
Secondly using your actual usage costs for the full 12 months, the ammount of energy used for 12 mth costs £3652.34

This indicates that your energy usage costs for a full 12 month period is underpaid (debit balance) of -£1083.86

If PP now have to recover the debit balance of £1083.86 over your "next 12 months".....and assuming an identical energy usage for the next 12 months then PP need to charge you for £1083.86 (arrears) + £3652.34 (annual costs) = £4736.20
Then your new DD payments would be approximately.....

Summer months = £315.75. Winter months = £473.62. HOWEVER

PP normally require any "outstandind debit" to be repaid over a 6 month period, so as we have just entered the winter period.....
And your payment/usage table shows that PP increased your Sep payment (last of the Summer mths) to £373.58 this indicates that PP are already trying to re-balance your account.

As I am not sure exactly when your account anniversary occurs, or when PP reviewed your account, it isn't clear if the September DD payment increase was in your previous annual accounting period, or the start of your new accounting period.

My calculations do indicate the following......

1. Your "actual" usage was above your "predicted" usage, which means that......
2. Your DD payments did not cover your actual costs by almost £1100 this means that........
3. Your "new" DD figures need to cover your "annual usage" of £3650 plus the debit balance of £1100......therefore
4. Your DD payments have had to be increased significantly to repay this new "predicted" total annual spend for the following year.

I have no doubts that PP's DD figures will not be far out.......but

You must contact PP through the App/Webpage via HELP and WattBot to get this resolved so that you can fully understand what is happening with your account.

​​​​​​​I really hope that this helps you......

Stephen, you are either young or ... At 53, and having had my own house since I was 24, I have used a number of them. My experience, and it's only my experience, is that while they aren't the worst this situation has left a bad taste in my mouth. Surely, you must understand that you cannot just up a customers payments from 176 to 496 withouth clear communication. This is not customer service this is bullying. They are doing as they want to do when they want to do it, without an email, a letter or even a call. Sorry, this is the reason why I feel it's irresponsible behaviour.


Hey,

I have just spent quite a bit of my own time responding to your other thread "A shambles of a company" regarding PP apparently ripping you off.....and now having read your style of replies in both threads, I'm beginning to wish that I hadn't wasted my time effort and energy.

Please feel free to read my response to your other thread........and then totally ignore everything that I have said.

I now feel that you do not really understand the "digital" platform that PP uses or indeed how PP conduct their business model. Your account was underpaid by almost £1100 for a 12 mth period.....therefore it's not (as you quoted) "irresponsible behaviour" for PP to expect to be re-paid for your "actual" energy usage.....in fact.....it would be "irresponsible behavior" if they didn't attempt to bring your account back "on track".

PP are bound by the Direct Debit Guarantee agreement......which means that they have carried out a review of your account, and emailed you with a recommendation for your new DD payment schedule, and they cannot implement a "new" DD schedule without your permission......so If PP have increased your DD's .....then you have agreed to this course of action, no matter what you are posting.

You will not be able to switch away to another supplier, with a significant debit balance, so you need to clear your balance before switching away, which you imply, won't be a problem to you.

​​​​​​​The very best of luck to you.......
Hi Gray2476, thanks for the reply but not for the tone. You're right, I am a bit fed up which is probably the reason for my tone. You, I would have thought would be impartial because if you are not receiving anything from PP you wouldn't give a hoot.

Anyway, I am now starting to understand how PP work with their up and down payment system but am still at a loss to understand why when they could see my usage chose to drop my payments in the summer. Surely, this is encouraging debt, don't you think?

Moving forward, we vote with our fee so it's probably best I move on. Have a great life.
Userlevel 7
Badge +9
Hi

its a shame you have decided to leave.
i may be wrong but it seems you didnt fully understand how the DD payment plan works with the winter summer split . Which is why the payment dropped in march. Could PP have stepped in a bit earlier to resolve the size of the debt you were building up ? Yes is the simple answer, but they are a fairly new company and they are still learning.
you appear to of carefully kept track of your usage/ bills and payments so maybe you could of asked a bit earlier when you saw a debt building, then maybe this whole frustrating issue could of been avoided.
i never recommend any company but i tend to use compare the market.
All the best.
I signed up to them, by providing my meter readings and regular payments and they told me it would be cheaper. They set my amount and I gave regular readings only to be told the may payments needed to go up from £176 (their recommendation) to £369. However, when I check my account I see that in month 1, which was September they took out £372.While £3 is not hte end of the world in October they took a whopping £496 without telling me. Now, I know the tactics that these utility companies use which is: Let your customer get in debt so that they don't leave you but even NPower, whose customer service was bad when I was with them, would not be able to compete with Pure Planet. Has anyone else suffered at the hands of Pure Planet?



Hi @
Thanks for posting in the community.
FYI I've merged your posts into one place, to avoid having duplicate chats.

I can see you've decided to switch to another energy supplier. No worries at all, and you'll be happy to know that we don't charge exit fees.

But I did check this out with our Member services team. To address your concerns:

They set my amount and I gave regular readings only to be told the may payments needed to go up

Your quote when you join is based on estimated readings provided by you. No energy company is legally allowed to see your energy spend until after you join. So to start with they're calculated using an industry standard provided by Ofgem.

Our team emailed you in August to explain the increases, based on the fact that your energy usage was higher than your Direct Debit payments, and you were going into debit.

In October they took a whopping £496 without telling me

The monthly Direct Debits are a little less in summer and a little more in winter. We do this because it reflects our Members' energy usage.
(And as we don't have fixed term contracts or charge exit fees, averaging payments over 12 months could cause Members to build up very high credits or debits, depending on the time of year they join.)
This is outlined in your welcome pack and we also make it clear to new Members when they join via our website/app or via a price comparison sites.
The colder months run from October to March, and the warmer months April to September. That is why your DD payment increased in October. I can see that because you weren't aware of this, it could have looked like we just decided to increase them again.

So this isn't to get into a row with you! I just wanted to explain/address a couple of points you made. I hope it's helped in some way!

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