• Improvements to how we review and change Direct Debit payments

    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!
    Community Manager - Pure Planet

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  • 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!
    Community Manager - Pure Planet

  • 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
    0
  • 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
  • Quote Originally Posted by Erika123 View Post
    it needs to be MUCH MORE obvious what you are doing and how.
    Thanks
    Erika
    Hey @Erika123
    Fantastic feedback, thank you
    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?
    Community Manager - Pure Planet

    0
  • Quote Originally Posted by Erika123 View Post
    it needs to be MUCH MORE obvious what you are doing and how.
    Thanks
    Erika
    Hey @Erika123
    Fantastic feedback, thank you
    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?
    Community Manager - Pure Planet

  • hi Erika
    this is my opinion not that of PP.
    Your feedback agrees with my thoughts (not necessarily a good thing ...)
    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...
    Quote Originally Posted by Erika123 View Post
    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
    0
  • hi Erika
    this is my opinion not that of PP.
    Your feedback agrees with my thoughts (not necessarily a good thing ...)
    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...
    Quote Originally Posted by Erika123 View Post
    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
  • hi marc
    I hadn't seen your reply while I was replying.

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc View Post
    Hey @Erika123
    Fantastic feedback, thank you
    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?
    0
  • hi marc
    I hadn't seen your reply while I was replying.

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc View Post
    Hey @Erika123
    Fantastic feedback, thank you
    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
    0
  • 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
  • Quote Originally Posted by Erika123 View Post
    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
    Community Manager - Pure Planet

    0
  • Quote Originally Posted by Erika123 View Post
    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
    Community Manager - Pure Planet