With regard to the fact that PP don't have a call centre, that fact is one of the things that encouraged me to join, apart from the green energy and low prices. I am extremely hard of hearing and wear aids in both ears. I find it extremely difficult to understand call centre staff that speak too quietly, too quickly or with a strong accent. Where possible I will always use online chats or facilities, even if I have to wait for a reply.
Keep up the good work
Hello @Strutt G,
Have you has an acknowledgement to your email?
The Citizens Advice overall rating comprises 6 criteria, namely:
1. Complaints to third parties
2. Average call centre wait time
3. Customers who had an accurate bill at least once a year
4. Customers whose bills arrived on time
5. Switches completed within 21 days
6. Customer guarantees
Whilst one can argue that Item 2, the 'average call centre wait time' is not a helpful measure as it discriminates against companies with no call centre, what is more concerning is the zero score for customer complaints, since this is a separate criteria. If they have given you a zero rating on this criteria because you do not have a call centre, then they are guilty of double counting the absence of a call centre?
You should ask CA to justify a zero score Item 1, 'Complaints to third parties' by providing the raw data used for all the energy companies.
Following the links in the image below takes you to a page that reads:
We compare energy suppliers' customer service by looking at data from a number of reliable sources. We publish data about suppliers with more than 25,000 customer accounts.
Data about complaints to third parties
We base our ratings on complaints made to:
Citizens Advice Consumer Service
the Extra Help Unit
the Energy Ombudsman
To be fair to Citizens Advice (!!??) they have published a detailed argument explaining why, in their view, energy suppliers should offer a telephone number: https://wearecitizensadvice.org.uk/w...s-513b568848b1
I don't agree with much of it, but the argument about access and vulnerability is, I think, worthy of serious discussion.
They also make a specific statement about the figure for complaints: "Pure Planet and Eversmart scored zero for complaints because they had not put in place appropriate arrangements to accept referrals from the Citizens Advice consumer service, as required under section 9 of The Gas and Electricity (Consumer Complaints Handling Standards) Regulations 2008. This means we cannot apply our standard complaints methodology to these companies for this period. We are continuing to work to establish the required referral arrangements with Pure Planet." My guess is the standard complaints methodology may involve a phone call...?
I do take your point about the requirement that Ofgem appears to have regarding the requirement for energy suppliers to supply a telephone contact number. I say ‘appears’, because in Pure Planet’s submission to enter the consumer energy supply market they must have made it clear that did not provide one, but the regulator saw fit to grant them a licence anyway?
I’ve attached the score for Pure Planet below. If a criterion is labelled ‘Complaints to third parties’ and receives a score of zero, the reader is entitled to infer that the supplier in question has a high volume of complaints. It’s only when their press release is read in detail (and there is no link to this from the ratings web page) that they declare that it was given because they cannot telephone Pure Planet on their client’s behalf. This has nothing to do with complaint volume and is therefore highly misleading.
I very much support the work of Citizens Advice. I have been a Trustee for Citizens Advice Cornwall in the past and that is why I am keen that they should provide transparent advice. I feel on this occasion they have fallen short of their customary high standards.
20-03-19, 12:34Strutt G
No Lenny and I've questioned myself if it actually arrived because you do not get an auto message confirmation.
So I've pinged it again.
21-03-19, 11:52Savvas John Savva
I agree wholeheartedly with what Strutt G has to say. Well articulated. 👌🏼
good post Stephen
I agree about the vulnerability discussion and I've said so in the past many times.
The lack of phone support should be an irrelevance to the customer demographic, or at least that should be the aim.
It's work in progress and the emergency section in the app goes a long way to address that concern, in my opinion.
But, sadly life isn't like that, CA will argue that certain customers are excluded because they need that level of support more than other customers, but that applies to almost everything in life where there is customer choice, some people choose to pay more for what they perceive as a better service (where there isn't a monopoly). I don't see CA complaining that having that choice is unfair, but even if they did PP haven't set out to offer a lower level of support, they just do it differently.
As far as the last part goes, easily solved, methodology isn't cast in stone, PP give CA a dedicated email address - problem solved (if CA are able to use email).
2 things from me.
#1 I don't get why people join a company in part to save money, then complain about not having access to a way of communicating that costs a lot of money. Calls centres are really expensive to operate!
#2 Perhaps more importantly for this topic....on the way CA calculate their numbers, if they state "We can't show performance data for this provider" then why are they including the 0 ratings in their overall figures? In my opinion they should be excluding the 0 rating and stating something like:
We rate PurePlanet overall as 4.3 (made up number) but have no data on complaints and call wait time, see category for reasons.
What if you inherit this crowd then??? they seem to be uncontactable. Marc sent me an email link but no one ever answers it. I have now got the app only so I can speed up my switch to another supplier who you can get answers from. I did not sign up to this company but moved into a house that I was unlucky enough to be supplied by them
25-03-19, 13:36Strutt G
Welcome to the community as in customer members like your self.
I understand your point if you have inherited a service that does not appeal.
Its an APP based company, with no call centre, supported by the members and the community manager.
The offer is "clean cost price energy with no mark up"...and once you use the communications tools the blue sky's appear as long you accept that it is a very good deal but the reply's are not instant and so this is the payoff.
For a PP team member response:
Go to help, open ask wattBot - first type "Message the Team" and post your question.
You will get a response back in the APP within 2 days. If you forget to look you will receive a text as a reminder.
Not sure if you need to:
You can use wattBot the Robot for general questions for general answers but for specific use the above method.
PP and its members are a friendly bunch, its a different approach from a small company and as a customer I find it very informative.
Good luck for the future and hope you get the deal thats best for you.
If you stay then keep reverting back for assistance - you will get it!
Welcome to the community!
I've flagged this up with our Member services team. Did you get the email they sent you on 14th March? You can simply reply to that email with the info they need :up:
I realise you are very anxious to leave Pure Planet - I'm tempted to ask how much more you are willing to pay to have a phone number, but that might be a little unfair!
But for a company that you describe as uncontactable it seems fair to note that you have posted three times, had replies every time, and a direct message from a staff member. But no reply to emails is frustrating. Hope you can get everything sorted out soon.
I have now had a reply from CA and will post it in full when I’m back home in a day or two when time permits.
The reply from CA as does not fairly address any of the points made in my complaint, on the contrary it appears to be a poor attempt to justify their methodology.
Below is an excerpt from their reply:
We developed the star rating methodology in consultation with industry and other stakeholders, including the energy regulator, Ofgem. The rating scores suppliers in different categories, which are then used to give an overall score out of 5. More detail on the methodology is available here.
As the statutory consumer advocate for energy, we have legal powers to request certain information from energy suppliers. Where suppliers do not provide data, or where we consider they are non-compliant with industry rules, we score them zero for the relevant category.
Our 'ease of contact' category is based on supplier data regarding call centre wait time. This measure was proposed and agreed following consultation, in part because our understanding of Ofgem's Complaint Handling Standards is that all suppliers need to enable their customers to complain by telephone. Pure Planet is unable to provide us with this data as they do not have a telephone service. They have also not explained to us how they meet the current requirements to enable consumers to complain by telephone. On this basis we do not think they are compliant, and have scored them zero.
We recognise that consumers use a range of contact methods to get in touch with their suppliers. We are currently carrying out development work to include other contact methods in the 'ease of contact' category. We will consult on these changes later in the year.
Our 'complaints' category is based on complaints to third party organisations (the Citizens Advice consumer service, the Extra Help Unit and the Energy Ombudsman). More detail on the complaints methodology is here.
Under the Complaints Handling Standards, suppliers are required to put in place processes to accept referrals of consumers who contact the consumer service. This is designed to help consumers who have more serious or urgent problems. Pure Planet have failed to put these referrals in place, which means that when their customers contact our service by telephone and would benefit from a referral we are unable to provide this service.
The methodology we use to calculate complaints performance is a weighted average, with consumer service referral cases counting more than advice-only cases. Because Pure Planet cannot accept these referrals, we are unable to apply our standard methodology. As a result we have scored them zero in this category.
30-03-19, 18:07Strutt G
We all had the same standard response.
At the time of marking energy companies with their methodology you would of thought that at the very least the CA's editor could of added some favourable words when summing up the editors notes.
22-04-19, 00:34GwyndyMy experiences.
Caution this could turn into a rant....
Okay, not mentioning names, much, but just to put things in perspective for Citizens Advice (and to be fair, they may be concerned about the people who can't use an app).
I have recent experience of 3 energy companies.
I have been with them since 2013 (ish), a couple of years ago, depending who you listen to, company 1 (who used to have a name indicating they didn't create much 'CO2') changed name/merged/was bought out by another company.
Last year, after numerous years of pretty good service, this company changed some of it's systems, at which point everything went wrong.
Eight months I spent on phone calls with 20+ minute waits, online messages, facebook messages, and emails, before eventually the Ombudsman sorted everything out (in theory).
I've since spent four months still struggling to get them to sort my bills via reading from my 'Smart Meter' - and they never gave me instructions for it.
On 22nd March, I got this email in response to an email I sent before Christmas:
Ticket ID: 41924
We are just writing to you to let you know we are still looking into your issue. The team have prioritised a response to your email as it has now been more than 10 days since you first contacted us.
We will come back to you shortly.
We apologise for the delay and thank you for your patience.
The really, really, silly thing? I get a covering note with my bill emails that starts off:
You may have read on social media or Trustpilot that we are not dealing satisfactorily with your billing enquiries. We know sometimes you may get a bill from us that is different to what you might have expected. Please don’t worry. We are here to help you.
'Company 2' is currently advertising a lot on the television, unfortunately I will never know whether a 'unicorn will appear' because after signing up to join them on 13th March of this year, and being given a joining date of 3rd April, I heard nothing more.
On 2nd April, I phoned 'Company 2,'
Spent 15 minutes on phone, so much for the "3 minute call wait" to get through to someone, who didn't give me her name, did not seem to have a clue what was going on, and eventually decided that despite the 'Unicorn' website telling me I would be a customer on 3rd April - I wasn't even on 'Unicorn's' system.
What really annoyed me though is that they offered no advice as to what I should do now. I had to actually suggest myself that "oh, does this mean I need to go and register again" - in the possibly forlorn hope that this time the 'Unicorn's' website won't make false promises.
Telephone contact centres are no use, if the people manning them are unwilling, or unable to help,.
I'm just lucky that someone recommended you on a facebook group (unfortunately I can't get them their £25 Amazon Voucher as they never responded to my PM).
When I told my previous supplier I was switching to Pure Planet the agent said "Oh...the app-only ones. You know you won't be able to call them?"
To which I replied that I had been on the phone to them for 40 minutes so far and had already been cut off and had to go through security checks twice.
Really don't see how having to go through a call centre is supposed to be a plus point for anyone...