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Utilita - HATE this company

(20 Posts)
Graphista Tue 09-Jan-18 12:51:32

Moved in last year, utilita were already the suppliers.

I investigated changing to another company when I moved in but discovered that I would be charged a penalty by utilita AND possibly would need to pay a fee to new company if they wouldn't deal with utilita's meters.

So I had to I think at that point leave it a couple months as I didn't (still don't) have the money.

Since then NUMEROUS difficulties in dealing with them.

I have emailed them copy of my tenancy agreement at their request SEVERAL times but I am still being charged for the debts incurred by the previous tenants. It's being deducted in small amounts from each top up.

They keep claiming they haven't received the emails. Can't post by snail mail as they wont give me an address to do so.

Several times top ups haven't registered on the meter and I've ended up losing supply. When this happens basically the whole system shuts down and has to be rebooted.

That's happened today, took 9 phone calls to various numbers listed for them to even get through to an actual person to speak to.

The procedure for rebooting the system didn't work. Over 25 mins trying to sort it. Basically the call handler just repeating the procedure and then being puzzled when it didn't work, useless!! Eventually I pressed completely random buttons and sheer luck it worked (wish I could remember what the hell I pressed!!).

You can't just reboot yourself by the way (thereby negating the need for a phone call) but they have to do whatever their end so it works.

I'm at the end of my tether - plus they're ridiculously expensive - wasn't too bad in summer but in winter it's costing me £30-40 a week in topping up the gas for heating/hot water (2 bed medium sized flat) and I don't even have it on when dd not home I just stay in bed wrapped up n have hot drinks.

I've seriously had enough.

But the problem is I really lack confidence in switching supplier. I don't really understand how costs are calculated and therefore how to find a cheaper/better supplier. I also of course don't wanna end up with a company that's somehow WORSE at customer service.

Anyone with experience/can advise? Currently been on hold for almost 20 minutes to the supposed customer service number - can't locate a head office no which I normally can for other companies - only a postal address. Can't even locate who the big boss is - these both seem to be some kinda state secret hmm

Someone PLEASE HELP

Graphista Tue 09-Jan-18 13:00:57

Finally got to a call handler after 30 mins on hold (not a free number either) call handler kept claiming he couldn't hear me but actually what was happening was he kept talking over me! Asked again for a manager - earlier call handler also repeatedly refused this request - I've now been told company policy that customers NEVER get to speak to managers - wtf!!!!!

In tears of sheer frustration here.

TroelsLovesSquinkies Tue 09-Jan-18 13:57:01

Have you thought of contacting the Utilities ombudsman
www.ombudsman-services.org/sectors/energy

LadyDeadpool Tue 09-Jan-18 14:13:41

My Nan was with Utilita temporarily, very temporarily when they charged an 79 year old woman in a single bedroom retirement bungalow £300 for a month!

Contact the Ombudsman like Troels suggests, they can't hold you hostage like this. Have you signed a contract with them? My understanding was they can't automatically sign you up for a fixed term contract as a new tenant.

LadyDeadpool Tue 09-Jan-18 14:16:29

www.moneysavingexpert.com/news/energy/2015/10/energy-provider-utilita-blocked-40000-households-from-switching

I found this as well seems they were fined pretty heavily for not letting people change supplier.

This might help - www.energycompanynumbers.co.uk/how-to-avoid-exit-fees-termination-fees/ It tells you how to avoid paying exit fees.

Graphista Tue 09-Jan-18 15:19:17

Thank you thank you!

They are being VERY obstructive on switching, refusing to pass me to the appropriate dept and to tell me what my usage is (one call handler tried to waffle me with "erm it's 26.5 mumble mumbles a day" I kid you not!! Wouldn't clarify what units they were lying about.

No contract even SEEN let alone signed! I've NEVER had prepay meters I'm meticulously good at handling a very tight budget but am struggling.

The problem I am having is ombudsman and ofgem won't deal unless I've made a complaint to utilita, utilita aren't LETTING me make an official complaint, they've

Plain refused
Hung up
Denied receipt of complaint emails

So I'm stuffed! Ladydeadpool (bloody excellent username) how did you sort your gran?

user1493841671 Tue 09-Jan-18 15:25:55

Can you not contact the company you'd like to change to directly and they'll deal with switching? I know the options are less because of the meter.
I'm with Utilita and on a pre payment meter, haven't had any problems though.

Graphista Tue 09-Jan-18 16:15:29

User then you're VERY lucky - googling shows they don't only treat customers like crap but employees too.

Problem I have is I don't want to end up with an expensive switch because I don't know my usage (which as I said they're refusing to tell me).

Looking on uswitch I either have to change supplier to a "big 6" or pay hundreds (that I don't have) to get rid of this prepay crap!! And even if I go to a big 6 if they pay for the meters to be changed out I'm then stuck with them for it looks like 2 years?

Graphista Tue 09-Jan-18 16:24:57

" I know the options are less because of the meter." But frankly that SHOULDN'T be the case, it's supposed to be a completely open market. Why am I being penalised for a previous tenants problems? Why should I be?

Chattymummyhere Tue 09-Jan-18 17:08:15

That’s really odd. When we moved here they where pre pay meters. Never had them before. We rang BG and had them taken out in 2weeks no costs for removing them or anything.

Graphista Tue 09-Jan-18 17:22:56

Chatty - I'm thinking they were BG meters? And that you weren't with utilita?

Chattymummyhere Tue 09-Jan-18 17:39:51

No idea who they where with we had no keys and nothing on the meter said. Our previous house was E-on. BG was the company who could swap us fastest. It should never be overly hard to swap companies though.

LadyDeadpool Tue 09-Jan-18 17:46:19

We had to send in a letter of complaint recorded delivery but I've also heard good things about resolver here - www.resolver.co.uk/companies/utilita-complaints/contact-details
Also if you call them try quoting their own website at them utilita.co.uk/contact-us/complaints
They are viewed as the absolute worst. None of the others are much better but eON didn't charge my Nan to switch to their meters.

LadyDeadpool Tue 09-Jan-18 17:47:23

The problem with Utilita meters is they're not set up to work with any other companies payment methods there's no card or key slot on the meters that and aggressive sales techniques is how they trap you.

Graphista Tue 09-Jan-18 18:24:01

Chatty - as ladydeadpool says they are meters that NO other company can operate, so it's a way of keeping customers hostage!

I've emailed (not expecting a good response if any, but to start clock ticking re "official complaint" for ombudsman/ofgem) and I've also had ANOTHER phone call with a SLIGHTLY more helpful call handler - but even he denied they "ever do that" re overcharging/double charging.

Chattymummyhere Tue 09-Jan-18 19:21:37

It’s rediculous that they have been allowed to do that.

Graphista Tue 09-Jan-18 20:21:42

Totally agree chatty it's a bloody con!

I'm also awaiting a call to arrange an appointment with a local energy charity (called home energy Scotland they signposted me).

They can (with my permission dpa rules) deal with them for me and hopefully get me with a better company. Unfortunately their services not available to all, I'm able to use them as I have a disability, so I feel sorry for people stuck with utilita who can't get support/advocacy.

Graphista Sat 13-Jan-18 01:34:01

Gas meter dropped below £5 so with all that's happened that's the point at which I decided I would top up.

Firstly - ALL top up methods down for maintenance earlier - NO notice of this given at all

Just been able to top up now - they've again taken 25% to pay off the previous tenants debt even though I now have proof they have proof I am NOT that tenant. angryangryangry

MexicanBob Sat 13-Jan-18 02:53:02

OP if you put Utilia into google it comes up with a postal address in Winchester. Put your complaint in writing and send it recorded delivery then you can tell the Ombudsman you've made a formal complaint and show a copy and the "proof of postage" to prove it.

Graphista Sat 13-Jan-18 10:56:25

Thanks Mexican I think that will be my next step, I REALLY HATE this company. Currently on hold to chase the deduction from last nights top up!

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