Pressure from Bulb to ditch Direct Debit

Had a phone call today from Bulb saying that either they’ll increase my monthly Direct Debit from £125 to over £400 (!) or if I pay the £150 my account is currently in debt, I can switch to a new payment plan which ditches the Direct Debit and I just pay each month only what I use, providing it’s paid manually within 14 days.

The call was confusing and high-pressure - he REALLY wanted me to switch to the new scheme. Got to be the first time a company has pressured me to come off Direct Debit!

When I emailed the caller to tell him I was going to confirm what he’s saying with another Bulb staff member via Twitter before committing, he said:

If you do have some doubt, I understand but you’ve contacted someone else from Bulb hence I will not be handling this case or be able to help you with the payment options anymore if the interaction continues.

Basically, because I’m trying to confirm his details, he will take away the payment option?!

So what’s the score? Are Bulb just desperately trying to claw some money back by incentivising people to clear their debts?

It’s such a big change in how the account is managed that I think sending the information via email to give you time to digest everything would have been much more appropriate than an extremely salesy phone call.

Has anyone switched - is there a catch?

I said I want everything in writing before I decide.

1 Like

If it helps anyone who goes through a similar scenario:

In the end, the person I contacted via Twitter DM offered a better (for me) option which was to go onto a variable Direct Debit and just pay for usage each month, rather than a fixed amount each month.

I know Bulb is in administration at the moment and I imagine that’s to blame for a lot of the conflicting information I’ve received from different members of staff. But man it’s hard work trying to get a straight answer!

Quite a few customers have moved to pay on receipt of the bill. Otherwise known as variable DD. It just means you have to be aware of differing monthly payments.

Hey @arewenotmen Welcome back to our community :wave:

Firstly, I would just like to apologise for the confusing and potentially frustrating interactions you have had with us before contacting on social media.

Offering a variable direct debit is much easier for you as a customer than manually paying the bill. We should not have advised to cancel your direct debit completely because that requires you to make manual payments and we appreciate that in this busy period its not always easy to remember to pay on time.

When you were called an email should have been sent with all potential payment options for you to choose, this also includes switching to prepay for example but its important you find the best method for yourself.

We apologise again for the call being high pressured, we will raise feedback on this.

In terms of going forward, variable DD means you will not miss payments but just pay what you use. In the coming months we will view your usage and if you feel ready to go back on set DD just give us a call or email or even chat on social media, we would be happy to discuss further.

–Carl :bulb:

I asked to pay my bill via direct debit to keep my balance at zero and it has worked.
Admittedly I have paid prior to it coming out of my account and I am likely to do the same again so that I am not in credit but we shall see what happens this month.
I worked out my last bill 31/3/22 at the new rates to see how much I am likely to pay as well as the bill in the current rate of the time. It appeared my bill will go up by approx £35 so I shall see how much it has increased.
I hope this may help you. I still have my Direct Debit so they can actually deduct whatever they wish.
My advice is to keep a total of your rates.
I notice the Daily rate has almost doubled and there is no cap on that!

The app doesn’t like you being on variable direct debit.

It will constantly display “You need to tell us how much you want to pay and what day you want to pay it”.

The current balance is correctly £0.00 but it still has the notice.

1 Like

Yes, I noticed that too. I switched to variable DD around 4 weeks ago and the app is still pushing me to choose a monthly amount.

It also doesn’t help that there’s no standard confirmation email from Bulb to let you know the variable DD has been set up, when you’ll pay, how you’ll be informed etc.

Thanks for the reply Carl. Sorry I didn’t spot it sooner.

The App does keep notifying of no direct debit payment setup.
But just ignore that and also don’t stress yourself over how the monthly bill will reach you … it’s a statement/bill and because of your direct debit op out/cancellation the bill will be sent via a paper postal address (they know where you live) wait until the paper bill comes in but also check meter readings printed on your bill compared to your local meter reading.

The vast majority of bills are emailed and are also available for download from the website or via the app.

I think you have to specifically request monthly paper bills by post.

What on earth has Direct Debit got to do with paper billing?!

You mentioned above.
It also doesn’t help that there’s no standard confirmation email from Bulb to let you know the variable DD has been set up, when you’ll pay, how you’ll be informed etc

I wrote that I had cancelled my direct debit and wait for paper bills.
That was my link from direct debit to paper bills

I also found it strange, when I was with BG I was on VDD and on my account it showed my payment method was VDD but looking at my Bulb account it just shows a nag about setting a fixed DD. They never took a DD this month and my bill was paid by my balance so I gather it is set up as VDD now, will see next month.

Once you’re on VDD, any credit will be used first. Then, you’ll start paying the billed amount. Ignore the online/app prompt that you need to set up a monthly payment.

There will be a note at the bottom of the first page of your bill which will show the amount that will be collected by DD fourteen days from the bill date. The DD amount will be the billed amount. This confirms you’re on a VDD.

1 Like