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NPower Sign online account and paperless billing


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I currently have my gas and electricity supplied by NPower on their "Sign Online 13" tariff which I have been on for around 18 months. When I signed up to this account there was no requirement for using online (paperless) billing and I still have the original terms and conditions which state this and also state that they will notify me of any changes to the terms and conditions.

 

However today I got to letters from NPower. The first is my bi-annual statement (on which they have increased the payment, despite being in credit) and the second is what I feel is a very rude letter. It states

 

"As you've chosen one of our online tariffs you're elgible for an online discount of £5 per fuel per year when you manage your account and receive your bills online, but we've noticed that you're still receiving your bills by post"

 

"Please remember that the terms and conditions of your tarrif say you must manage your account and receive your bills online and if you fail to comply with the eligibility creiteria you signed up to we can transfer you to our standard off-line variable tariff (which has no online discount). The good news is that we're not going to move you from your Sign Online 13 tariff at this time, because we want to give you the change to start managing your accoint online, so you can continue receiving the online discount".

 

To sign up to My npower and activate paperless billing, just go to npower.com/activate. To continue receiving your online discount without any interruption you must do this by 19th August 2010".

 

The date of this letter is 12th August. The date of my bill is also 12th August and I received both today (18th August). In the bill they have enclosed an additional sheet titled "npower Additional Terms for Sign Online 8,9, 10 , 11, 12, 13 and 14". It states that "these terms apply from 1st May 2010" and states:-

 

In order to remain on our Online Tariff you must:

 

* Continue your supply of gas and/or electricity from us

* Be a domestic customer

* Agree to pay your energy bills by monthly direct debig

* Provide your email address and inform us if it changes

* Use npower.com as your primary method of contact with customer services

* Receive your bills online by registering for paperless billing

* Provide meter readings online when requested

* Notify us immediatly online of changes to any of your details

* Conduct youre online account with any new features we may introduce and notify you of from time to time

* Pay on the tariff where our charges are wholly based on a single rate metered standard domestic tariff (or two rate if economy 7)

* Have chonen and we must have agreed to continue to supply you on our online tariff

 

If at any time you do not meet any of these eligibility criteria for managing your account online or do not comply with the terms of your online tarifdf we may transfer you to our standard (off-line) variable prices applicable to your area and you may not be able to switch back to your online tariff at any point in the future.

 

My complaint with them is that this is the first time they have notified me of these new terms and conditions *on the same day* send me another letter complaining I have not adhered to these terms (that they only just told me about) and giving me less than 24 hours to do something about it. If i don't, according to there terms I can be moved onto another tariff (which I expect to be more expensive) and will they can prevent me from ever being able to switch back.

 

This seems entirely unreasonable. I called them up and they were initially adamant that it was in my original terms that I had to use paperless billing (I signed up online), but I've checked and it most certainly is not. They stated it was on "page 4" of the terms and conditions but the terms and conditions I have are a single double-sided A4 sheet and additional sheet of additional terms for the "Sign Online" tariff I am on, which do not state you have to use paperless billing. The person I spoke to did apologise that the timing was bad but refused to change their position. I also pointed at that it says I need to sign up in order to continue to recieve the £5 per year per fuel discount, but I pointed out I have never recieved this discount (this is the first I knew of it) so fail to see how they can claim I need to do this in order for it "to continue". He said that the £5 discount was reflected in the cheaper prices that applied until May 2010 but they had since changed the prices. He did apologise but would do no more than that and did admit they have had "a number of complaints about it".

 

I'm surprised it is legal to change terms and conditions and give a customer 1 day notice to comply with the new terms or switch them onto a new tariff and prevent you switching back. Worse to send a letter complaining that you haven't complied. It seems to me that Npower get you to sign up to a cheap deal and use these underhand tactictis to push you onto a more expensive tariff claiming you have not stuck to their terms and won't let you switch back.

 

I will send them a written complaint but would like to find it if there is anything to prevent companies changing terms and conditions and then booting you off your tariff 1 day later for not complying?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks joncombe for raising this as I was just on the point of arranging the online account.

I have received a similar letter but having read yours then I am not going to bother and await with interest their next letter. If it is in the same rude manner then I will inform them that I am switching my supplier.

I have had a few runins with this company as they constantly alter the DD amount; the latest increase was for 50% which I did get reduced but it is the way they act that annoys me.

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