I have read a few of the threads regarding npower so I know how incompetent they can be. I will outline my problem in the hope someone can advise:
During 2012 and 2013 I had to contact npower a few times because they did things like send me three letters on the same day saying I was variously in credit by £75, £391 and £1078.
I pay by direct debit and have always been in credit but I called and told them I thought their administration of my account left a lot to be desired. I have also put through meter readings by phone which on occasion have been ignored and I have had to waste time on the telephone with them. Their meter reader also misread the meter on one occasion and I received a bill for well over a £1000 - so more phone calls necessary.
On to the basis of my complaint: My average annual gas and elec bills total £1500 and I normally paid between £115-£145 a month. Inexplicably (and without notifying me) they reduced my monthly DD in June 2014 to £57. I called more than once and told them this couldn't possibly cover my bills but was "assured" they knew what they were doing. They didn't raise it until January 2015, and then only to £93.
I decided it would be a good idea to switch suppliers, which I did in April this year and cancelled my DD to npower once I had received all the letters saying the switch was complete.
I then received bills totalling £258 for gas and elec. I completed npower's online form in May, saying how annoyed I was as I had always previously been in credit and it was their mismanagement of my account that led to this debt. I then wrote to them in June (Peterlee address) detailing my complaints about their service and suggesting that my preferred outcome to my complaint would be for them to accept some responsibility and accept a payment of 50% of the total from me.
Since then I have written two further letters, one of which was returned "addressee gone away"! I have also sent several emails and keep telling them all I want is a letter, replying sequentially to the points raised in my original letter. I have now received three emails from them, all of which simply detail my bill and don't attempt to address the issues I've raised apart from explaining that they do a mid term assessment and raise or lower DDs as necessary.
Well their assessment in my case was way out! I have also received 8 bill reminders and 4 letters from Debt Managers Services Ltd. I have emailed DMS but, surprise surprise, have received no response.
Last week I received an email from Mark Howe, Head of Customer Service, which is as useless as all the other emails. He has, however, 'taken the opportunity to raise a complaint' on my behalf and given me a complaints number. But my complaint, with a different number, has been open now for 16 weeks!
In his email he says he has opened a complaint but also says the account has been passed to Debt Managers and the collection process will continue until I pay up.
This new complaint will apparently stay open for 10 days. He also thinks 'it would be great' if I could set up a payment plan. Totally unprofessional language and I think part of the problem is when npower does bother to reply they are only replying to my latest email - no-one is looking at all the communications from me.
1) Surely npower should suspend collection letters and demands for payment until the complaint is concluded?
2) Is it worth going to OFGEM? Previous threads suggest not?
3) I am thinking of writing again and telling npower I am going to claim compensation for their inability to manage their own complaints procedure which is causing me undue stress and taking a great deal of my time. What do you think?
I should say I don't need a payment plan and could just pay the bill, but I feel they are treating me like dirt and their incompetence is absolutely astounding!
Thanks for reading.