So i took Bulb to the Ombudsman

If you have read any of my previous posts you will be aware that my experience with Bulb has been less than good, in fact i am desperate to move away but until i get my account sorted i am forced to stay. Things got so bad that i raised an ombudsman complaint, they di find in my favour and Bulb will now have to pay me a very small amount for my trouble. In all honesty i get the feeling that someone somewhere has calculated that the cost of the fine is still better value than investing in a decent support ecosystem for the beleaguered staff, whose life must be hell at the moment. The Ombudsman did force Bulb to respond to my specific complaints, the email actually arrived 2 days before the ombudsman’s decision!! not sure how but not too bothered, i have copied the email below, the most interesting fact is that the readings are only taken once a month at the moment… seems to be counter intuitive with SMART, i had believed that they took a reading every minute or so. Anyway, i urge you to get in touch with the ombudsman as Bulb need to be forced to treat customers better

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Louis W. (Bulb Help)
Aug 7, 16:22 BST
Hi Paul,

We’ve had word from our smart team on how we may be able to read your smart meters automatically.

Part of this fix involves taking smart meter readings from your meter once per day, as opposed to once per month which we currently do. This doesn’t require any extra effort on your end, it means that the usage you see on your account will be more precise in future, and of course should mean that these readings show up on your bill from now on.

We don’t want to make any changes to the way that we read your meter without your permission. So please let us know if you’re happy for us to change this meter reading frequency from monthly readings to daily readings or not. If we don’t hear from you in a week we’ll assume that you’re OK with this change.

We’re really sorry to hear that the in-home display at your property is only working intermittently at the moment too. As you’ve discussed with Chris / William, from our end it should be working now, so we think this is one of the cases with manufacturer issues. We’ve raised these with the manufacturer, but for the meantime I’ve added you to our list of affected accounts so we’ll post you an IHD device ASAP to try and get this sorted.

You also mentioned you’re still unsure about your billing. We can assure you that the bill generated and sent to you today is accurate and up to date - All the relevant information is in the PDF attachment. If you’d like to go through the charges on the phone then please let me know what day of the week and what time is best for you and I’ll give you a ring to discuss it in a bit more depth.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

All the best,
Louis (Complaints team)

the most interesting fact is that the readings are only taken once a month at the moment...... seems to be counter intuitive with SMART, i had believed that they took a reading every minute or so.

Do you realise how many database transactions per second would need to be processed if every one of the 25 million UK properties was sending readings “every minute or so”. Readings are sent either monthly, daily, or half-hourly. The default is monthly unless you explicitly allow otherwise.

To be brutally honest I can’t believe you went to the ombudsman over a non-working IHD and a few billing issues. I wish I had all of my problems resolved so well that I had nothing better to do with my time.

Congratulations on being awarded your very small amount.

@Hooloovoo Thanks for taking the time to come on here and critise me for not having a bad enough experience… good work.

@Hooloovoo Thanks for taking the time to come on here and critise me for not having a bad enough experience.... good work.

I’m terribly sorry, I thought by posting on a forum you were inviting comments. My mistake.

Good day.

I agree with you Paul, well done for going through all the hassle you must have gone through

At the very least it points a spotlight on the hypocrisy of bulb who advertise themselves as being “different” to the other providers

The fact that you had do go through all that hassle to get a solution that could have been dealt with simply speaks volumes on this “ethical” marketing trick that they play

You’d think these nicey smiley guys would have not let this happen :slight_smile: https://bulb.co.uk/about/

One thing that I find a bit annoying is Bulb calling its customers “members” as if it was some kind of consumers’ co-operative run for our benefit. It isn’t. It’s a for-profit private limited company whose actual members are its owners. The vast majority of Bulb’s customers are not members at all.

Hi @Pauli thanks for the constructive feedback, my main reasons for posting on forums is to share an experience and hopefully make sure that the @bulb team are aware that we do all talk to each other :slight_smile: . I think you may have nailed the problem, i did come to Bulb due the prices charged by my previous supplier, completely bought into the “disruptive” start up mentality but now feel a bit let down because as you say they are just a variation of the big boys.

Hi @Pauli thanks for the constructive feedback, my main reasons for posting on forums is to share an experience and hopefully make sure that the @bulb team are aware that we do all talk to each other :-) . I think you may have nailed the problem, i did come to Bulb due the prices charged by my previous supplier, completely bought into the "disruptive" start up mentality but now feel a bit let down because as you say they are just a variation of the big boys.

I’ve always been a believer in “actions speak louder than words”, it was when I got the email saying they had a special “referral bonus” offer for a week only…

… I just imagined the meeting that took place were that decision was made, were bulb decided to allocated £?0,0000 on their balance sheet that month to this offer, instead of allocating the monies towards beefing up customer support/tech to deal with the current issues

The “perceived value” for bulbs investors is based purely on numbers and the growth in these numbers, especially if later they come to sell on to say a big private equity company, who are the true masters (grudging respect :)) of making profit out of debt (bulbs got loads of (servicable) debt)

The directors (who hold 50% each of the shares - tellingly no staff do) walk away with a big payoff, using the monies to start up another company exploiting the next nieve bunch of “bright young things” …

I am just signing up with Bulb and read this community forum. Can anyone let me know if this is a good company as it seems doubtful if it has been taken to the Ombudsmen already. If there are problems I would rather go elsewhere. Please help me decide before its too late.

@Shirley25 I have been with Bulb since 2017 and am really happy with them. The majority of the complaints are down to smart meter installations and unfortunately due to the company growing very rapidly, their customer services do not reply as quick as they did when i signed up 2 years. In a nutshell, I have a standard meter, I submit my meter readings every month when I get my email reminder, because I do this , Bulb ALWAYS use my actual readings. I am building up a nice credit during the summer ahead of going into the winter months.

Seriously no complaints from me

I echo the comments from darryl5653. Unless there’s a pressing reason (e.g. unable to read meters ) suggest you avoid smart meters for another 3 or so years. Bulb seems to function fine without them.

@darryl5653 Maybe you are correct, sadly the smart meter was part of the attraction for me, i love new technology and i love having granular control over my energy usage. I also agree that Bulb were once a great company to be with but sadly i feel that that is no longer the case. I am now through my ombudsman experience and they did come out in my favour and they offered me £75 compensation, to be honest this was what Bulb offered me before going into the process so they must be aware of the punishment before they do the crime, suppose its a gamble for them. More importantly i got them to go back through my bill as my account was a mess, i had had several rolled up bills that started from the day i joined, it was not possible for me to make sense of the sheer volume of information, as a result they had to credit over £500 back to my account so i am glad i hung around or i doubt i would have got this back had i left.
As things stand, my account is over £700 in credit, the replacement in house display they sent has not worked since day one, no instructions or contact has been made by the bulb team so for me i will draw the line under my Bulb experience and move on to another one on the challenger companies, this time i will look for more than just a cheap price as obviously other things like customer service, account management and a decent app are also important, perhaps not for everyone but definitely for me. So first step is the get the money credited back to my bank account… i will keep you informed.

Like others I got the smart meter which doesn’t work they changed my electric meter but not my gas as they said they couldn’t do it on the day as different size pipes to their connector. They stated Bulb would contact me and meter would be changed within one week, and guess what no contact and no meter after 5 months, I phoned Bulb all apologies but it would be several months at least before anything was sorted. I shall be leaving this company they are all mouth and no trousers, and definitely don’t look after customers in any respect, terrible customer service.