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To think an admin charge on topping up my prepayment meter is a kick in the teeth?

(39 Posts)
Musicalstring Sat 31-Dec-16 12:57:32

I live in a rental house with prepayment meters for gas and electric, so we are already paying more for energy and can't have the meters removed. We top up weekly at a local shop and have done for a long time. Got there today to top up and they informed us that they are now adding a 50p admin fee for topping up. (We were paying cash and didn't have the 50p so they were nice enough to waiver it). I don't know if the shop lose money on prepayment top ups and I'm not angry with them. I'm just annoyed that once again prepayment meters, which are often used by people already on a low income, are going to cost us more again. Am I just being petty?

MillionToOneChances Sat 31-Dec-16 12:59:32

Is there an option to top up online?

chickenowner Sat 31-Dec-16 13:01:29

Can you top up at a different shop?

sleepyMe12 Sat 31-Dec-16 13:03:35

The shop is taking the piss esp if you were paying cash.
I'd find yourself another shop or the post office.

SheldonCRules Sat 31-Dec-16 13:08:14

If it costs the shop to offer the service and they make little or no profit from it then an admin fee is very reasonable.

The alternative is they stop the service so others miss out.

Businesses are not charity, if people want them to provide a service then expecting to pay for it should be second nature.

Musicalstring Sat 31-Dec-16 13:08:26

I can't top up online yet. I'm waiting for them to fit a smart meter so I can. There's another shop so we will just go there from now on. It's a 30 minute trip that we wouldn't usually have to make though (we don't drive) and the normal shop is on the way to our weekly shop IYSWIM.

Stilltryingtobeme Sat 31-Dec-16 13:09:32

You also pay a weekly usage fee to the electric company now, it's usually around 1.80 a week. So top up a tenner and you get eight quid. Whereas usage is calculated into the bill in direct debits. Can you not speak to the landlord about changing? If you're staying a year the company won't charge you and it's a lot, lot cheaper. We just moved into a council property and changed it straight away. Went from at least twenty quid a week to forty five a month!

Musicalstring Sat 31-Dec-16 13:10:34

Sheldon my anger isn't really aimed at the shop. I assume that they must have a reason for doing so. I'm just annoyed that the companies who supply my gas and electric can't put some of the daily fee they charge me to have a meter towards covering the shops costs.

whyohwhy000 Sat 31-Dec-16 13:13:12

Do you have prepayment meters because of your income or were they already at the property?

If it's the former, check if you could pay by direct debit.

Shops aren't paid to offer the service; handling money, purchasing equipment etc costs them money. Is there a post office or other shop near to you?

Nicketynac Sat 31-Dec-16 13:13:15

Can you change to Ovo? They are supposed to be cheaper and you can top-up online. If not, can you save up and top-up less often i.e. pay same admin charge on £20 instead of £10?
It is an unfortunate example of how those with less are having to dig themselves out of an ever-bigger hole.

whyohwhy000 Sat 31-Dec-16 13:13:26

x post

whyohwhy000 Sat 31-Dec-16 13:14:14

Nicketynac Ovo only let you top up online if you have a smart meter, which the OP is waiting to get fitted.

Musicalstring Sat 31-Dec-16 13:15:14

Still the landlords have been stung in the past unfortunately and don't want the meters removed. The £2 really won't hurt us if we decide to go there, but there was a time it would've done and I'm just annoyed at the situation and having a bit of a moan.

LineyReborn Sat 31-Dec-16 13:20:35

I thought it was illegal for shops to do this?

RachelRagged Sat 31-Dec-16 13:26:05

One shop round here charges an admin fee but the others do not . I am in what comes under London though so if you only have one shop to top up like yourself that's not good .

I can also top up online with no fee either .

BBCNewsRave Sat 31-Dec-16 13:26:18

StillTrying You also pay a weekly usage fee to the electric company now, it's usually around 1.80 a week. So top up a tenner and you get eight quid. Whereas usage is calculated into the bill in direct debits.

Bit confused - is the overall usage fee still higher for pre-payment than bills?

OP - Have you checked the "Warm Home Discount"? Also google Equipower - they don't charge a standing fee for the meter. Unit price for gas/electricity is more expensive than other suppliers but depending how much you actually use it can still be worth it.

YANBU about the kick in the teeth for having a pre-payment meter...

GrumpyKitty Sat 31-Dec-16 13:38:59

The shops aren't allowed to do this. If it's paypoint, it's actually in the contract that the shop isn't allowed to charge an admin fee to customers. You have the option of phoning paypoint to complain, but its possible the shop may decide to stop offering paypoint. Anyone who says people should expect to pay for the service had no idea-paypoint (and similar) is specifically marketed as bring free! As for the key meters, legally you don't have to get your landlord's permission to change them (or to change energy company).
If the gas and electricity are in your name, you have every right to select the kind of meter you want, and there should be no comeback on the landlord. If the energy is in the landlord's name, however, there's something dodge going on.

Stilltryingtobeme Sat 31-Dec-16 17:10:13

Oh, yes it's higher for Pre pay cards and keys than standard bills. All companies charge it to maintain the meters, but with a bill it's absorbed into the costs. With prepay it's not.

Worse, if you have say £2 left it won't take the usage fee. Then let's say you tick over to emergency and it changes week, so it's now another usage fee. When you go to top up (say a tenner), it will take out those fees as long as it doesn't tip you into emergency. So you end up with £6.40 instead. They are crooks!

user1471548375 Sat 31-Dec-16 17:16:41

I'd report this to your supplier as it doubtful the contracts they have in place with the payment networks allow this.

BravoPanda Sat 31-Dec-16 17:34:35

Prepayment meters are no longer charged at a higher rate for gas and electric. The law changed a few years ago didn't it??

dawnc27 Sat 31-Dec-16 17:40:54

bravopanda thats what i thought too and most have got rid of the standing charge too so id be thinking about changing supplier if this is the case

Scooby20 Sat 31-Dec-16 17:42:51

I work in pay as you go for a big utilities company.

Thr shops arent allowed to charge and the utility company would remove the pay point if they knew.

Shops want them as its, apparently, good for business and usually people will buy other stuff while they are topping up.

Yes there is a standing charge there has been for years.

Its not illegal for a landlord to insist you have pay as you go meters. It should be in the contract thoughm

Janey50 Sat 31-Dec-16 17:44:00

Is this actually legal?

Scooby20 Sat 31-Dec-16 17:44:50

Yes the unit price is the same.

The shop are ripping you off. They dont have to have the pay point if they dont feel their business is benefitting from it.

LineyReborn Mon 02-Jan-17 00:13:08

No I don't think it is legal, Janey.

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