Monthly payment increase, bad communication from PP

  • 2 August 2019
  • 6 replies
  • 581 views

Hi all

A bit of a rant but I felt I should share my situation.

I received an email which informed me that my monthly payments will be going up in order to clear arrears I have accrued.

Checking my thermostat settings, realised that for the last couple of months, I've had the heating on for 4 hours per day more than I thought it was.

In the email, PP offered to let me clear the arrears with a one-off payment, rather than increase my bill. All I had to do was provide them with a phone number and convenient time to call. This sounded great, so I gave my number and told them to call between 9-10am, Monday to Friday this week.

On Tuesday I received a call which claimed to be from PP. I had no way of knowing this was true, so given that I would be making a considerable card payment over the phone, I asked if I could call PP back using a listed customer support number, rather than potentially sending money to a scam company.
I was told PP have blocked incoming calls, so this wouldn't be possible. When I asked for the person on the phone to prove he was from PP, he didn't have a clue what to do.
I sent PP an email with a code for him to read out over the phone, but this was apparently too confusing, so instead he sent me an email from the official PP customer service address.

Having received this, I was confident enough that it was PP.
Then it was time for him to verify my identity. Unfortunately after confirming my address, the line went quiet.

Apparently we had been cut off, so I waited for a while, hoping he would call back. There must have been a signal problem because I received an answerphone message a few minutes later, saying he would try again tomorrow.
I immediately sent both an email and a message via chatbot to say I'm still waiting by the phone, please could he ring back again. This all happened whilst I was at work, so I really didn't want to be away from my desk for any longer than necessary.

I didn't receive another call.

Today I received an email saying my monthly payments have increased.
I replied to this email to ask again if I can clear my debt in one payment, but I'm not confident that my problem will be solved. I'm feeling quite disappointed by the standard of communication from PP. I think the advisors would benefit from training in a method to prove their identity.

I'll keep trying to communicate with PP, and hoping for a swift resolution!

6 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +9
Hi Harvey

I noted no-one had replied to your post - I'm guessing that's partly because you hadn't asked a question, and partly because it's hard to know what to say!

I quite understand that this is all very frustrating... but try and see it from Pure Planet's perspective. They offer you a simple and cheaper way of paying the debt by instalments, in effect, but you choose to give them the money upfront.
They ring you on the number you have given at a time you have given, but you then require them to prove their identity. If you are concerned your security has been compromised to that extent, then I'm not sure quoting a code given in an email sent from the same email address would be all that more reassuring? And I'll confess to thinking you were a little optimistic that emails going to a generic customer service address would be read and responded to instantly

Losing the call obviously adds to the frustration (one of the reasons for not doing customer service on the phone?), but it sounds as if they did call back once. I'm fairly sure they will call again - but will they have to prove their identity again, or will you simply pay? We'll all wait with bated breath!

Seriously, hope it's all sorted soon...

Stephen
Userlevel 7
Badge +8
Hi Harvey, I feel your justified annoyance. What should have been a straightforward communication/transaction turned out to be a frustrating experience. I have no answers, however, I trust Pure Planet to put this right and learn from this episode.
I to, hope this is rectified quickly.
Regards
Userlevel 7
Badge +10
Hi HarveyC

Not a great experience for you and I understand your frustration but in fairness I think both you and PP could make or have made it a lot easier.
Presumably you have statements from PP, you could have asked the PP person to confirm the date of your direct debit or the last 2 digits of the balance on your last statement or the last 2 digits of your electricity supply number for example or even how much the monthly membership fee is or the last 3 digits electric reading you entered....I'm sure one of those wouldn't break the rules he is bound by (data protection rules), he does not want to fall foul of and give you info which might be private.

As was said, the call was not unsolicited save you didn't know which day it would happen.
That the call was lost is unfortunate. I don't consider that to be anyone's fault, and they did try to call you back.

So what do PP need to take from your feedback? (they will listen)

1.To train the staff with some guidance / options to suggest if they are asked to prove who they are, but first letting the customer suggest, and busking it from there - some creativity is required with suspicions customers, but then that's the problem with data protection and scammers. Yes you can call a bank back if you aren't happy so you make a good point, it's bit more difficult if you can't call back.

2. If I have one serious criticism of PP here it's that you should not have received the last email. That should have been put on hold given what happened with the phone call. So that needs to be looked at, it could merely have been an unavoidable crossover or someone should have read the notes before that email was sent.

Regarding the rest of your message, well...you didn't have to make a one off payment at all, PP would have been quite happy to pay off the arrears over a few months,
(in fact I wonder if they could have scheduled one large direct debit? - anyone know?) and you wouldn't have had to give any information as they already have your account details, but even if you have a scammer your account details there wouldn't be a lot they could do other with just those numbers other than set up a direct debit Plus you have a direct debit guarantee if you didn't authorise the payment. (and you have the benefit of better cashflow c.f. paying a lump)

I do appreciate you feel you should be able to control the situation and pay one lump if that's what you want, I just can't see why that would be an advantage.

Question for PP here...If I were to ask for PP's bank details and a reference number so I could pay on my online banking would they do that?
Thanks for sharing.

HarveyC;34545:
Hi all

A bit of a rant but I felt I should share my situation.

I received an email which informed me that my monthly payments will be going up in order to clear arrears I have accrued.

Checking my thermostat settings, realised that for the last couple of months, I've had the heating on for 4 hours per day more than I thought it was.

In the email, PP offered to let me clear the arrears with a one-off payment, rather than increase my bill. All I had to do was provide them with a phone number and convenient time to call. This sounded great, so I gave my number and told them to call between 9-10am, Monday to Friday this week.

On Tuesday I received a call which claimed to be from PP. I had no way of knowing this was true, so given that I would be making a considerable card payment over the phone, I asked if I could call PP back using a listed customer support number, rather than potentially sending money to a scam company.
I was told PP have blocked incoming calls, so this wouldn't be possible. When I asked for the person on the phone to prove he was from PP, he didn't have a clue what to do.
I sent PP an email with a code for him to read out over the phone, but this was apparently too confusing, so instead he sent me an email from the official PP customer service address.

Having received this, I was confident enough that it was PP.
Then it was time for him to verify my identity. Unfortunately after confirming my address, the line went quiet.

Apparently we had been cut off, so I waited for a while, hoping he would call back. There must have been a signal problem because I received an answerphone message a few minutes later, saying he would try again tomorrow.
I immediately sent both an email and a message via chatbot to say I'm still waiting by the phone, please could he ring back again. This all happened whilst I was at work, so I really didn't want to be away from my desk for any longer than necessary.

I didn't receive another call.

Today I received an email saying my monthly payments have increased.
I replied to this email to ask again if I can clear my debt in one payment, but I'm not confident that my problem will be solved. I'm feeling quite disappointed by the standard of communication from PP. I think the advisors would benefit from training in a method to prove their identity.

I'll keep trying to communicate with PP, and hoping for a swift resolution!
Thanks for the replies, all.

Some good points made above. I agree that me sending PP a code via email isn't the best way to verify their identity. In my defence I was put on the spot and it was the best method I could think of at the time. Your suggestions above are much more sensible, as was the one my advisor came up with; to send me an email.
The problem is that the onus shouldn't be on me or my advisor to find a solution to the situation on the fly. It'd be better for everyone if there was a process in place for verifying calls from PP.

I do appreciate them trying to call back once after the call dropped.
I wonder if they have a target number of calls to make per day. If this is the case, I wouldn't blame the advisor for moving on after my call dropped – enough time was wasted on me already.

Good suggestion regarding PP forwarding bank details so customers could send them money with a reference via online banking – I'd also like to know if this is possible.

Cheers
-harvey
Hey @HarveyC

Nice one for flagging this up - we're now looking into better ways for the team to verify who they are 🆙
Obviously it can be a bit of a tricky issue, as we need to go through various Data Protection checks before giving any acc. details out. so we're thinking of the best way to do this in future!

@woz Yep we'd absolutely give our details for people to pay by BACS.

This is something that'd be discussed on an individual basis first, as each person's reference number would be different. We'd also check why people are making one-off payments, for example if they need a Direct Debit review, and run through their account with them before the one-off payment is made.
Userlevel 7
Badge +10
Thanks Nataly
​Very helpful, you need to update the FAQ to say exactly that.(unless it already does?)
Nataly;34852:
Hey @HarveyC

Nice one for flagging this up - we're now looking into better ways for the team to verify who they are 🆙
Obviously it can be a bit of a tricky issue, as we need to go through various Data Protection checks before giving any acc. details out. so we're thinking of the best way to do this in future!

@woz Yep we'd absolutely give our details for people to pay by BACS.

This is something that'd be discussed on an individual basis first, as each person's reference number would be different. We'd also check why people are making one-off payments, for example if they need a Direct Debit review, and run through their account with them before the one-off payment is made.

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