Improvements to how we review and change Direct Debit payments


  • Community Manager
  • 6011 replies
Hi everyone

We’re about to start some work to improve how we carry out and communicate reviews and changes to Members’ monthly Direct Debit payments, and it’d be great to hear your feedback and suggestions.

Right now we review a Members’ DD payments three months after they come on supply with Pure Planet, followed by regular reviews every six months.

The way we currently communicate the DD review process looks like this: Following a review, a Member gets an email from us which explains whether they’re on track, or whether we think their DD needs to be lowered on increased (if they’re in credit or debit). The Member has two weeks to reply to their email, at which point the change (if any) is made.

The work we’ve got planned is divided in two phases.

Phase One
We’ll keep carrying out regular reviews of Members’ DDs. But instead of a back-and-forth via email, the info will be displayed in your account (app and web).
You’ll see your current DD, whether you’re on track, in credit or in debit, and what we’re proposing to do. You’ll be able to approve our review right in your account, or query it if you don’t think it’s quite right.


Phase Two
Give all Members an option to start a DD review. Again, this will be from your account, app or web. If you’ve built up a lot of credit, you’ll be able to adjust your DD payments (within a reasonable range of your current payment).

We’re planning to go live with Phase One in early Autumn, right after some improvements to our refer a friend rewards go live (more info on that coming soon!).

Before any of the development starts we’re building some ‘business rules’ to make sure what we build doesn’t lead to Members building up excessive credit or debit.

For example, we need to consider how soon after coming on supply with PP a new Member can request a review and how often a DD review can be requested. For example, if someone reduces their DD frequently, even by a small amount, that can lead to significant arrears over a year.

We want to make sure we get this right, so if you’ve got some thoughts, suggestions, feedback, please post in the replies! :foldedhands:


Updated Tuesday 21 January 2020
Hi all
We've released a new version of the Pure Planet app today. It's got the new account review features outlined above in phase one.
Thanks again for the feedback posted here. It's been really useful. 😀

29 replies

Hi,

It may be just me but I joined in Dec 2018. I did get an email in Feb saying my monthly membership fees had gone down, and each month I get my bill which says
We'll review your account automatically every six months. If it's running above or below our forecast we'll be in touch to adjust your payments.
However, it is now Aug and my bill from July 18th (which I take to be 7-8 months of bills) shows me as being £200 odd in credit and NO indication that my monthly payments are being reviewed. So I am not sure how well your current process is working. I have seen a few answers which basically say you need to send an email to ask for a review if you feel you have too much credit.

So I think what I am saying is it needs to be MUCH MORE obvious what you are doing and how.
Thanks
Erika
Erika123;35193:
it needs to be MUCH MORE obvious what you are doing and how.
Thanks
Erika

Hey @Erika123
Fantastic feedback, thank you :foldedhands:
Yep, we want to make this much clearer and so easier for Members to understand what happens and when.
Perhaps some info along the lines of 'your next energy usage and DD review is due in x months' in your account?
Userlevel 7
Badge +10
hi Erika
this is my opinion not that of PP.
Your feedback agrees with my thoughts (not necessarily a good thing ...:D)
I think the problem is two-fold here
1. Customers don't realise that under circumstances where the account is bang on track a credit of around about a months average payment would be considered perfect as it's paid at the start of the billing period, so, if you get a statement when a months payment has just been made on it, the credit can look excessively large when it isn't. (does that make sense)
(Say you pay £80 summer and £120 your average would be £100. You get a statement when you've just paid it shows you being £200 in credit. Subtract the £100 you're only £100 in credit, that could have been built up over many months (say 8 months as an example so your overpayment will have been about £12 a month.)

2. The algorithm used by PP to check if payments are off track works ok for some customers and not for others. The natural variation in balance can be quite large between customers but, what may look like a large amount to you (say it was £100 in credit after taking your payment into account) isn't that large and could easily be absorbed by a cold spell, so PP's tendency is to leave well alone unless it's excessive.

I've posted about this before, the algorithm in my opinion needs to be cleverer, and the 6 month review also needs to be cleverer because a 6 month review after the warmer period will show a very different result than one after the winter period, but in both cases the account could be on track. It's predicted/estimated over 12 months.
​All that said. PP have no desire to hang on to your money if they owe you and it's relatively easy to adjust the DD and check again in 6 months (which I think in most cases is a better solution than a refund)
If the response had been more transparent about what the process actually was it would be a lot easier to understand what's going on and offer some constructive ideas. Sadly so far it hasn't been, so I think this is work in progress...
Not much help I know...
Erika123;35193:
Hi,

It may be just me but I joined in Dec 2018. I did get an email in Feb saying my monthly membership fees had gone down, and each month I get my bill which says
We'll review your account automatically every six months. If it's running above or below our forecast we'll be in touch to adjust your payments.
However, it is now Aug and my bill from July 18th (which I take to be 7-8 months of bills) shows me as being £200 odd in credit and NO indication that my monthly payments are being reviewed. So I am not sure how well your current process is working. I have seen a few answers which basically say you need to send an email to ask for a review if you feel you have too much credit.

So I think what I am saying is it needs to be MUCH MORE obvious what you are doing and how.
Thanks
Erika
Userlevel 7
Badge +10
hi marc
I hadn't seen your reply while I was replying.

Marc;35203:
Hey @Erika123
Fantastic feedback, thank you :foldedhands:
Yep, we want to make this much clearer and so easier for Members to understand what happens and when.
Perhaps some info along the lines of 'your next energy usage and DD review is due in x months' in your account?
It would be nice to get something that says - we have reviewed and are not changing your monthly payments. I am assuming that is what has been done as I have passed the 3 month initial one and 6 months in total. My old supplier used to send an automatic letter / PDF which said basically Your account has been reviewed. You payments are / are not changing and the new payment will be £x. If I didnt like it I could argue, but at the moment although Pure Plannet says it will (and may have done so - the formula may say my paymenmts are correct) they have not told me thay have done it.

I hope that makes it clearer.
Erika
Erika123;35193:

It may be just me but I joined in Dec 2018. I did get an email in Feb saying my monthly membership fees had gone down, and each month I get my bill which says
We'll review your account automatically every six months. If it's running above or below our forecast we'll be in touch to adjust your payments.
However, it is now Aug and my bill from July 18th (which I take to be 7-8 months of bills) shows me as being £200 odd in credit and NO indication that my monthly payments are being reviewed. So I am not sure how well your current process is working.


Hi @Erika123
Just to address your query about why you've not had a DD review yet.
We do currently have a backlog and we're about 80% through our base, and we're working through the rest as quickly as possible 🆙
Im £600 in credit and despite numerous emails promosing I'd be repaid by the 12th August I still haven't been paid. Legal redress seems the only action
Daveyboy66;36029:
Im £600 in credit and despite numerous emails promosing I'd be repaid by the 12th August I still haven't been paid. Legal redress seems the only action


Hi @Daveyboy66
Welcome to the community, and thanks for posting.
I've checked this out with our Member services team. Possibly a misunderstanding here, as they were waiting for you to approve their suggested amendments to your Direct Debits.
They won't change the DD payments until you're happy with what they're proposing. And that meant they couldn't process the refund until they'd heard back from you, too.
Ben from the team has just sent you a new message. He's processed the refund, which will take 5 working days.
This is good feedback for us. This back and forth to approve proposed changes to accounts should be made simpler. 🆙
Userlevel 6
Badge +2
I like the option of requesting a review. I was building to much debit and I had to proactively ask the team to increase my payments - a request to review button on the app would be helpful.

Also, and this could e linked to Daveyboy's comments. When the team answers a query on Watbott I get no notification so I often miss their replies - or I see them after a few days. Does Watbott send notifications when a new message from the team is posted? I though it did!
Gabolino;36749:
I like the option of requesting a review. I was building to much debit and I had to proactively ask the team to increase my payments - a request to review button on the app would be helpful.

Also, and this could e linked to Daveyboy's comments. When the team answers a query on Watbott I get no notification so I often miss their replies - or I see them after a few days. Does Watbott send notifications when a new message from the team is posted? I though it did!


Thanks @Gabolino
Great feedback

Does Watbott send notifications when a new message from the team is posted?

Not automatically, yet. But this is something we've got plans for.
Do you prefer in-app notifications or SMS text messages?
Userlevel 6
Badge +2

Not automatically, yet. But this is something we've got plans for.
Do you prefer in-app notifications or SMS text messages?


Perhaps in App, but also a phone notification, having to open the app to know you got a response wont do the trick I think.
Gabolino;37448:
Perhaps in App, but also a phone notification, having to open the app to know you got a response wont do the trick I think.


Thanks @Gabolino
Good shout. Our Members' feedback is really helpful! :foldedhands:
Hi I've just had a review sent and what immediately flagged up to me is there is absolutely no mention of the amount of units forecast to use that the review is based on. A bit more clarity so can see what actual figures your working off would be good. My review suggestion is suspiciously low so have had to request those figures, but ideally would prefer to see them immediately, not just the total price you think.
JennyR68;37972:
Hi I've just had a review sent and what immediately flagged up to me is there is absolutely no mention of the amount of units forecast to use that the review is based on. A bit more clarity so can see what actual figures your working off would be good. My review suggestion is suspiciously low so have had to request those figures, but ideally would prefer to see them immediately, not just the total price you think.


Hey @JennyR68
That's a great suggestion! Thank you for this. :foldedhands:
I've passed it on to our tech/product team.
Userlevel 7
Badge +10
hmmm, since I've not had mine changed I never knew that, good point well made!!
JennyR68;37972:
Hi I've just had a review sent and what immediately flagged up to me is there is absolutely no mention of the amount of units forecast to use that the review is based on. A bit more clarity so can see what actual figures your working off would be good. My review suggestion is suspiciously low so have had to request those figures, but ideally would prefer to see them immediately, not just the total price you think.
I have an overpayment of almost £1000 and I have requested it to be reviewed and it seems like the customer service team are not looking at my case. It has been over 3 weeks I have requested it to be resolved. Any suggestions what I can do to get customer service to look at my overpayment. Thank you in advance
Hi Raj, and welcome to the Community Forum for PP customers ☝️

As this is your first post to the Community.......can I please ask you HOW you requested PP to review your account ?? 🤔

If you used the HELP section of the App......when you used ASK WattBot.......did you start with the phrase "MESSAGE THE TEAM" ......if not then I suspect that your request has not been seen by a PP team member........try again and a PP team member should reply within 1 working day (usually).

​​​​​​​Please post back with an update on your progress.
Hi, I've just found this as my account has been in credit for a while and just keeps going up and up. I've been assuming it would be reviewed but totally agree communication around this is important as I'm totally in the dark as to a) whether it has been reviewed and b) why I haven't been refunded / DDs reduced. Please do bring this new idea in!
Userlevel 7
Badge +9
    
Fordybee;42874:
Hi, I've just found this as my account has been in credit for a while and just keeps going up and up. I've been assuming it would be reviewed but totally agree communication around this is important as I'm totally in the dark as to a) whether it has been reviewed and b) why I haven't been refunded / DDs reduced. Please do bring this new idea in!


Hi @Fordybee

Good to hear from you, welcome to the Pure Planet community! 
A few things that might be helpful:

1. If your account has been reviewed you get an email to say so
2. You can ask for one at any time
3. Obviously I don't know how long you've been with Pure Planet, but I've found that my credit goes up in the summer (no gas central heating on) and that credit has disappeared after a cold spell in February! And since your first payment was on the day you started, you should also be in credit by roughly one month's direct debit payment.

Hope those comments help
​​​​​​​Stephen


Thanks Stephen. I've had the account since Jan 2018 and never had an email saying it has been reviewed which is a bit rubbish! I've been in credit since day one. Although it has gone up and down over that period it's steadily crept up over the last 5 months and is now over £900 which I don't think is a reasonable amount considering that my winter DDs are higher than the summer ones. Anyway, thanks to the forum I now know to message the team via the wattbot thingy to request a review, which I have done - very clever - I shall await a response next week :-)

thanks for your help
Hi @Fordybee,

Great feedback to @stephenrand's helpful response 👏👍👌

If only more people acknowledged fellow Community Forum members who take their own time to try and assist. 🙏🤔🤝😟
Thanks everyone for your feedback on this so far.
We've got an app and web update planned for next week.
As outlined, this release will be the first step in improvements to account reviews, by containing the review info in your app or web, rather than communicating changes by email.

It'll look like this:



More info coming soon here in the community when the update goes live 👍
Hi all
We've released a new version of the Pure Planet app today. It's got the new account review features.
Thanks again for the feedback posted here. It's been really useful. 😀
Userlevel 3
Hi Marc

Thanks for your work in this area.

A couple of comments if I may:

1. Under "Account Review" (https://purepla.net/me/#/account-payments-and-tariff) it says
Your last review was 19 February 2020
We'll next review your account in January 2020
i.e. the next review date is in the past.

2. I was notified by email that you've adjusted my payments (second time in two months and both of those were estimates!). It would be helpful if the email showed the previous payment. We all know Pure Planet has to adjust the direct debit from time to time according to usage and costs, so it's better to just say what they were before, then I don't have the hassle of trying to find out what is was before.

3. Where do I see the Account Review screens you showed us in your 14 Jan post?

Keep on saving the planet
Userlevel 7
Badge +10
hi
​​​​​​​also to point out the month is wrong too, shouldn't it be August 2020?
Also, don't know if it helps as doesn't directly address the question but at the top of the screen under the balance figure is "transaction history" where you can see a history of your payments (and charges) - that won't show your review history but it will instantly show you where your payments changed.
Adam2;48699:
Hi Marc

Thanks for your work in this area.

A couple of comments if I may:

1. Under "Account Review" (https://purepla.net/me/#/account-payments-and-tariff) it says
Your last review was 19 February 2020
We'll next review your account in January 2020
i.e. the next review date is in the past.

2. I was notified by email that you've adjusted my payments (second time in two months and both of those were estimates!). It would be helpful if the email showed the previous payment. We all know Pure Planet has to adjust the direct debit from time to time according to usage and costs, so it's better to just say what they were before, then I don't have the hassle of trying to find out what is was before.

3. Where do I see the Account Review screens you showed us in your 14 Jan post?

Keep on saving the planet

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