Complaint - What is going on Bulb?

I had an online discussion with a member of your staff a fortnight ago where I politely asked as a matter of urgency for Bulb to provide my last supplier with both Electricity and Gas readings that you have been given by me, as I have a sizeable credit balance with my last supplier. I was assured that this would be actioned ASAP. I have today confirmed with Scottish Power that they still have not received the Gas reading a fortnight later, so they cannot draw up a final bill and I cannot receive any refund. This is totally unaceptable, there is no good reason why you could not have provided this gas reading to Scottish Power in this time-frame. None.

I’m already thinking I have made a serious mistake moving over to you.

By the way, looking now, I can’t see any means of directly contacting a human either on your site or by phone, which is peculiar and does not inspire confidence in your company. Also why does the website constantly log the user out, it’s as if your website doesn’t work properly?

This reading needs to be sorted out without additional delay, otherwise I will move back and will leave poor feedback on social media and other online sources where Bulb promotes itself, to inform others of this poor experience.

I want you to provide the readings immediately!

If I am not able to confirm that this has been done by the middle of next week, then I will move back.

Newton

Hi @Newton,

I can see that you spoke to Ivan at Bulb on September 18th. As Ivan explained over chat, it can take up to 6 weeks for you to receive the final bill from your previous supplier.

We have sent your gas reading to your previous supplier.

As you switched on the 16th, it’s normal for your previous supplier not to have issued the bill yet.

The reason it takes this length of time is that the readings are validated by an independent regulator as part of every energy switch. The gas and electricity are checked separately so they often reach the old supplier at different times.

As soon as they receive the readings from the independent regulator, you’ll be refunded any credit on your account. I’m sorry it takes this long, but as I say, this process is dictated by the energy regulator Ofgem.

You can give us a call on 0300 30 30 635, from Monday to Friday (9:00am to 6:00pm), send us an email on help@bulb.co.uk or contact us on chat and one of our team can help you out.

Let me know if you have any questions :slight_smile:

Eleanor

Thanks for your reply but a few things. You say you have provided readings to my previous supplier. Please confirm what date this was done? ??

You reference this 6 weeks time limit which I am aware of, but sound as if you are deflecting on to my previous supplier. There is no 6 week time limit for you to merely provide the readings to them. You can’t claim this an onerous or time-consuming task

When are you saying you provided the readings ?

Newton

Hi @Newton.

Your readings were sent on September 18th.

Your previous supplier may not have received the readings quite yet which is why they have not been able to issue the final bill.

An independent regulator sits between the two companies so we don’t send them directly. Once they have checked and approved the readings, they’ll pass them on to your previous supplier and you’ll receive a final bill.

Thanks for you reply. I would like to be absolutely clear on this. Bulb on the 18th September forwarded all the readings to this independent regulator, who will then have to provide these to Scottish power. Is this understanding of what you are saying correct?

Hi @Newton. Yes, we sent them to the regulator on the 18th. They will then pass them on to Scottish Power.

As you switched 12 days ago, I would not have expected you to have received your final bill yet. Usually takes less than 6 weeks in total.

That’s Ok then.

it would be a lot better all round if bulb’s webpage was better at telling customers how to easily contact someone in customer service directly. How it is at the moment is likely to escalate problems.

Newton

Thanks for the feedback. We do display this on our webiste. I’ve passed this on to our web designers to take a look.

@“Eleanor at Bulb”, a quick question on this as it’s such a well known issue that crops up regularly both on these forums and no doubt via email, webchat, and phone to the support team directly; are there any plans to make the whole process simpler and more visible to a new member when they’re switching?

I know that other energy companies don’t help matters always claiming that it’s Bulb’s fault when they know full of the verification process and how slow it can be, but I know it wasn’t clear why final readings and bills could be slow to arrive when I joined, and it doesn’t seem like it’s got much better.

I agree with mowcius re more clarity on the switch process I have switched twice and each time it does take around 6 weeks. I just accepted that as there is not much can be done with it being an independent regulator. However it may help if an explanation were given in the welcome email of the process and timings to be expected. I switched a year ago so cant quite remember what was in the welcome pack by way of information.

Thanks @mowcius and @scudo.

We’ve recently added some ‘useful things to know’ to the online join journey. This is shown below the quick quote:

From what you are saying, perhaps we should be adding ‘when will I get a final bill’ FAQ? And on the welcome email?

Where esle do you think it would be helpful for us to add it?

Cheers!

We’ve added this to the Bulb Account. This does not leave the Bulb account home page until the final bill date has passed.

Do people find this helpful? If not, how would you like us to communicate this?

I would add something like “you may refine your quote by submitting your yearly usage fiqures from a previous suppliers bill”

Cheers @scudo - I’ve passed on your feedback

I’d say that you want something specific regarding the third party reading verfication as that’s what everyone seems to ask about.

Saying that “your previous supplier should send you your final bill by ###” doesn’t explain why it might take so long, and the old supplier is still going to blame Bulb when the customer asks.

Heya @mowcius.

Currently, when a member switches, we let them know when to expect a final bill. We also send our member’s an email to let them know that their previous supplier has received their final meter reading.

Most final bills come through fairly quickly and the ‘third party’ affects only a fraction of our members. But, of course, if this is something our members think we should be more transparent about, we’ll make the changes.

There are a few ways we communicate with our members during the switch process.

First, as they sign up on our webiste and put in their payment details

Once they’ve signed up we send a few emails to keep them updated on their switch.

  1. Welcome Pack on the day of sign up
  2. Opening meter reading reminder
  3. First payment reminder
  4. Sign up completion notification

Where do you think the information about the third party regulator would be most useful?

Or perhaps this is something we could write a bit more about on the Community / Help Centre?

Cheers!

I think just telling people that the readings go via a third party for verification would be enough. Could even be on a page linked from somewhere else as right now, for the small number of members that it effects there’s no way for them to get that information without finding it here on the forum.

I feel like “We’ll send them to your old supplier right away” is a little confusing as they don’t go directly to them, but I can’t think of better wording right now.

Perhaps the verification information could be provided after a member submits their first meter reading?

It would be good to have it on the website as well, perhaps a page in the help/FAQ section explaing the complete switch process, expected timescales, and what to do if any part of it seems to be going wrong (switch has been refused, final bill is taking a while, meter readings were submitted wrong etc.)

It would just make the process more transparent, especially as it’s a part of it that you can’t control.

I’ll have a chat with our copywriters about making this more transparent and putting it up on the Help Centre.

We could definitely link this to one of the sign-up emails. I’ve passed this over to @“Will at Bulb” and @“Maxwell at Bulb” who write the copy for our emails.

I’ll keep you updated on this @mowcius.

I'd say that you want something specific regarding the third party reading verfication as that's what everyone seems to ask about.

Saying that “your previous supplier should send you your final bill by ###” doesn’t explain why it might take so long, and the old supplier is still going to blame Bulb when the customer asks.

Sure. We do currently send this email immediately when someone submits their opening meter reading which mentions it. It sounds like we need to add it in a couple more place in case people miss it, or if we have to use estimates instead.

We’ve also recently started sending this email on the day that the regulator confirms that they’ve sent the readings on, so hopefully that should help too.

I’ll have a think about how we can add it into other emails. Possibly our first reading request email and the switch complete email.