We’ve issued a press release about the way that Pure Planet has been rated by Citizen’s Advice.
Our founders are unhappy that we’ve been given a zero rating for the way we handle complaints - simply because we don’t have an inbound call centre.
Citizens Advice has access to Pure Planet’s actual complaints data but hasn’t published it. If it had, it would show that Pure Planet has one of the lowest complaint levels in the energy industry, with a score of less than 6 complaints per 10,000 customers.
This would equate to a score of at least 4 stars in that category.
There are several reasons why we don’t have a call centre:
- We know that people don’t like spending ages on hold
- Call centres cost a lot of money and we’d like to keep our costs low and pass on savings we make to our Members - such as when we lowered our Membership fee last month
- WattBot, our app’s digital assistant, is always online and currently answers more than two-thirds of questions successfully and we’re working to improve on this
- Members can also message our team through WattBot and they always reply
- Twenty thousand of our Members are part of this brilliant community, supporting each other where we can
This is what Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: “We have seen too many companies who were completely unprepared to offer acceptable levels of service. A number of these have gone out of business in recent months, leaving customers worried, anxious and in some cases temporarily out of pocket.
“The regulator needs to take urgent action by tightening rules around supplier licences, monitoring existing firms more closely and enforcing standards where these aren’t met.
“Choosing a new energy supplier can be tricky for many people. Our star rating can help people make more informed choices about switching, not just going for the cheapest tariff.”
And this is what Pure Planet co-founder Steven Day said: “Judging a company on whether it has an inbound telephone line is outdated and unfair. We have been penalised for modernising consumer choice with a digital service and challenging what has become a staid energy market.
“While we welcome Citizens Advice’s energy sector support and applaud its work championing consumers and highlighting poor customer service, we strongly urge it to modernise and review its star rating methodology.
“Pure Planet is also deeply disappointed by the way Citizens Advice seems to be conflating a star rating with companies’ financial standing. It has been lobbying on these points for months and is using the release of its latest star ratings to repeat the same previously made points. These have no correlation with the results of its rating table.”
This is one of the topics we’d like to talk to Community members about later this month when several of you guys are coming to Bath for a day with the Pure Planet team :up:
15-03-19, 09:19MarcPure Planet unhappy with outdated and unfair rating from Citizen’s Advice
15-03-19, 13:29Strutt G
Dear Citizens Advice,
You continue to be a great listener offering great advice and a great consumer service to multitudes of people.
I hope you are listening to Pure Planet.
I have been a Pure Planet customer since December 18.
Before I joined I did my research and understood how they operated / the service offer, through the APP and without a call centre.
I thought I’ll give it a go, competitive costs, liked the idea of clean energy and to be honest I needed to up my game towards sustainability stuff, and with a view of trialling an APP based service with the future in mind.
Sorry PP I used you as a GP and can confidently say I'm glad that I did even though I was a bit wary at first due to my previous appalling supplier who should of been shut down several months before it decided to cease trading.
I quickly got used to the communication tools which I have benefitted from, had the opportunity to provide feed back and assist others like I have been assisted.
PP's community forum provides "customer transparency", highlights frustrations and the concerns that are often resolved by other very knowledgable members and ultimately PP.
PP embrace and benefit from this pool of knowledge, its clearly a positive management approach - doors open for business - all ideas - customer members ideas considered.
What a refreshingly wise and cost effective approach; and if it doesn't work for you can just switch, no fix and no penalty.
I believe that we should all be less reliant on switching sites and take more control.
The few bonafide sites have and do add value but often fail on detail.
Lets face it, its up to the customer to carry out at least some research.
Most concerns are not problems just points of information where fellow customers, sad to say failed to read the information that is readily available and provided leading up to joining. We are all busy, nobody is perfect and PP does not pretend to be perfect, its all here.
Its my view the majority of members concerns are resolved positively as other members step into to resolve and assist by providing feed back 24/7. Some leave if its not for them.
I spent too long on the phone with a busted energy company being fobbed off for over a year having futile conversations with some untrained call centre staff backed up by a dishonest management style. Of course lots of call centres work well.
I 100% agree with Pure Planets press release and would hope that that you can reflect on your rating methods.
Keep up the good work
I read your post with interest and fully understand your disappointment at this rating.
I find the way that the rating has been arrived at totally outdated and not in tune with today's lifestyle. I do hope your press release today will go some way towards alleviating concerns.
I moved to Pure Planet in July 18 and have only received excellent service, for which I commend you all. Your whole approach to service is a new concept to most - Citizens Advice are so outdated, they are unable to accommodate your business model.
I do hope that this will be resolved in the near future, in order for you to continue to move forwards, showing the way to others that this new generation customer service style really works.
GIVE PP A CHANCE.
Well said, Strutt and Scuba 👏👏👏👏👏👏👏
I agree 100% with Steven and the rest, that review system sounds totally outdated, it's been ages since I don't ring a company and each time I have to the experience is horrible.
6 complaints per 10000 customers sounds like the number they should be focusing on, it's not like it's not easy to find the complaints section on your app.
As if talking and listening was something that can only happen on the phone. Are we in the 1980s?
Hmmm i have read the report and frankly it shows how out of date the CAB is. Total shock at how poorly it has been cobbled together, i never phoned my bank, i have never seen or phoned my pension provider both run via their apps and both provide me with the best possible service at far cheaper rates than the traditional call center set up, PP are trying to modernise the energy industry and clearly its about time someone did the same to citizens advice.
Saying PP customer service is non existant because they dont do things the way the CAB want them too. Maybe i should complain because i cant phone facebook,
It took me a fair while to find this information, for anyone else searching it's in a press release HERE and it can be found HERE
Call me naïve but I thought these ratings were supposed to be based on evidence not on supposition.
While you're at it...their price comparison website is misleading because although it shows the savings column in the correct order, the higher winter DD was shown with no explanation as to why (maybe it will change to the lower one in April- depends on how the scrape their info?)
Once again, Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
Here's an example from the CA comparison website
I have submitted the following feedback to CA
I'm disappointed and disheartened by the methodology used to produce the table referred to above, in particular I'd like you to publish the evidence on which you gave Pure Planet such poor ratings.
I believe the following from what I have read so far.
1. You have de-rated Pure Planet based on the fact that they have no inbound call centre despite them having a 21st century digitally based means of customer communication with very few complaints about actual communication with customers.
Please can you confirm this is the case?
2. Pure Planet shared their complaints data with you but you chose to ignore it for the purposes of the comparison table, thus de-rating them. Again please can you confirm this is the case?
3. Your press release conflates the size of the energy supplier with an increased likelihood of failure, when this should solely be based on whether Ofgem have concerns about the financial standing of the company. Ofgem have no such concerns about Pure Planet, this is not made clear.
As a Pure planet customer and a regular contributor to their community forum, I firmly believe you have both a wrong and a misleading rating for Pure Planet. Ratings should be based on evidence not on supposition.
Well said @woz. I'm sure we will all be interested to hear the reply.
I received my monthly statement from PP this morning and noticed this on the second page
Perhaps PP should consider removing it unless CA look upon them in more a level playing field
I would completely agree with your comments. I arrived here at Pure Planet a year ago and am thrilled with the service and price. Thank you.
I hear what you say about keeping your costs down re your modern way of doing things through the likes of Wattbot but this is ok if you ask a straight question like when will I receive my first bill an automated answer would be ok. But if I ask the question why have you increased my direct debit without notice I would have to wait 2/3 days for your reply not the same as a phone conversation or even a live text conversation to sort out problem there and then,this is called customer service with regards to the Community link this is ok for general concerns with other members of P.P.I personally would not share my detailed info.out in the community.regards GTJ
17-03-19, 21:21Strutt G
Welcome to the community supported by customer members and PP.
I'm a bit confused by your message because I knew what the deal was before I managed my switch.
If a company advertises its service offer which is that they are an APP based service company without a call centre, I don't think it's fair to expect something else when it's clear how they operate.
Re wattBot, If you first "Message the Team" you will get a human response, ok yes it takes a couple of days and you are not sharing personal info. Plus you can ask wattBott general questions as you have indicated and this tool will continue to develop as PP develops.
Its a "small innovative" company doings things a little different, but not for all.
I surveyed PP's community support forum and its website before I joined.
It appeared (is) informative and there is no need to provide any personal information.
I Looked at the FaQs, the support material, realised that communication would not be instant and that is the payoff I would need to get used to for "cost price" clean energy with no mark up!
It has more than met my expectation but appreciate it takes a little more time to get used to.
I appreciate your reply comments and it is true this is the first time I have used a energy supplier who do not have a call centre or live text system but my point is that customers do get frustrated when problems occur and need a quick response this is human nature and you are right they should not apply for P.P. To be their supplier in these circumstances and therefore would not give adverse comments leading to poor feedback from the likes of Citizens Advice GTJ
PP can't and should not increase your DD without giving you notice, it's in the T+Cs and more importantly breaks the DD guarantee.
You would or should get an email, (but if you didn't that needs fixing -not sure if it was hypothetical?)
No need to share personal info, that's what help in the app is for and if you type message the team you will get a reply (not instant)
It's your choice if you want instant communication, you can have it but it pushes up costs.
The community works really well, you don't have to post personal info as thousands of helped customers will attest.
It seems to me that CAB have prejudiced the rating with other companies. Just because PP do thinks differently - app based - doesn't mean it can't (hasn't) got great customer service.
That said, I do think there are improvements to be made around commuincation. That starts with really hammering it home it's an APP BASED service so don't expect a call centre. And I don't know if it's possible that responses from the team could be quicker? Maybe a Livechat? I know PP want to keep overheads down so that the product is a low cost as possible.
I think people signing up from non-referalls and places like money saving expert / comparison sites don't always understand it's an app-based supplier (even thought it does say!)
Pure Planet is a new energy supplier and probably any doubts I have will be sorted out as time goes by but I was a Usio customer and had no choice but to change supplier by default due to company going bust along with many other small energy suppliers recently and because P.P.is a non profit organisation and in its infantsey could this be the next one to go the same way.Pure Planet do have competitive prices and have a good customer base re your numerous previous comments and I say this as a talking point.Unfair ratings from the likes of C.A.are to be challenged going on what you say and I would be the first to agree with your very low complaints your comments please G.T.J
I understand your point but PP have a very low number of complaints, and there will always be some frustrated customers no matter which company they pay for their energy.
I'd substitute the word "want" for need in your sentence, and as far as I know adverse comments is not what has let to the poor ratings from CA, but (a.f.a i k again) supposition and refusing to heed evidence is.
Surely the membership charge is the replacement terminology for what we use to call the standing charge which was part of the overall costs incurred by customers and glad to see P.P.is not a charitable organisation and does have a profit margin built into its pricing structure which gives me more confidence thatP.P.will be around for some time to come.GTJ