Moneywise fights for your rights - Scottish Power, Hotpoint, Parcel Monkey
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Scottish Power overcharged me
I’m writing to ask you to take up a complaint I have with my electricity bill from Scottish Power.
I moved into a property in Stirling in Scotland on 1 July 2013 and moved out on 29 March 2016.
I paid by direct debit throughout the 33 months of my stay and didn’t check my quarterly bills. It provided them online and, unfortunately, I’m still more of a paper person.
I had a suspicion that the readings may have been wrong and mentioned it to a person who came to read the meter a few months ago, but nothing came of it.
However, when I left the property, Scottish Power presented me with a final bill of £3,200.
I just couldn’t believe it and then went online to check. I discovered that it had the readings upside down all along. It recorded the day reading as a night reading and the night reading as a day reading.
I phoned customer services and was told that the technical team would be informed and I would be sent a revised bill. But since then, I’ve been sent an ‘updated’ bill for the original amount.
I’ve lost all trust in energy suppliers. Surely over all this time someone must have smelt a rat about impossibly high daytime and impossibly low night- time readings and should have contacted me about the usage? I may not know average usages for similar properties but surely it must?
I would like the company to recalculate my bill going back all 33 months and provide me with a less scary bill. Can you help?
When I contacted Scottish Power, it confirmed that there had been a mix-up and PS had been paying a higher rate because the night-time and daytime tariffs had been switched.
It calculated his bill to be £1,685, rather than £3,200, and also offered a discount because the mistake had gone on for so long. A spokesperson for Scottish Power said: “The meter at your reader’s property has two rates due to the heating type in his home. When he moved into the property in 2013, the day and night meter readings were transposed which resulted in the incorrect billing. We have now corrected the account back to the start date and we sincerely apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused. In the light of this error, we have reduced the outstanding balance of the account (£1,685) to £423.”
PS was happy with the outcome, saying: “I tried explaining the problem to Scottish Power over the phone, but didn’t get very far. I really don’t think I could have made this progress without Moneywise’s involvement. Lesson learnt: monitor all utility bills.”
Saved as bill cut from £1,685 to £423.
Hotpoint is taking too long to fix ‘safety alert’ tumble dryer
We’re having a problem resolving a safety issue with the Hotpoint tumble dryer we bought on 1 March 2015.
I registered our machine on Hotpoint’s system on 16 December when it was flagged as potentially a safety issue. I received an email to say that an engineer would be in touch within eight weeks.
At the end of the period, I hadn’t heard back. I called Hotpoint on 24 February and was told that June was the earliest engineer’s appointment available.
As the machine was still under warranty and in our holiday home in a remote location where it was required all the time, I emailed asking for a refund. I haven’t had a reply and have tried calling the phone number on Hotpoint’s email – but it doesn’t work.
I have hit a brick wall with this as the helpline staff say they are not able to deal with the tumble dryer issue and my emails are not being answered. I have had to buy another machine. Can you help me get a refund?
Towards the end of last year, Whirlpool issued a safety alert about Hotpoint, Indesit, Swan, Proline and Creda tumble dryers manufactured between April 2004 and September 2015, warning that “in some rare cases, excess fluff can come into contact with the heating element and present a risk of fire”.
More than 100 models have the potential fire risk, and there have been many complaints in the media that the company has been slow to send out engineers to make modifications to these dryers.
The safety notice SD received on 16 December 2016 said a repair visit would be arranged within eight weeks. While it said that SD could continue using the tumble dryer, it recommended that it was not left unattended while operating, so she could not go out or go to bed while it was on.
As the tumble dryer was in SD’s holiday home, this wasn’t practical. As SD points out: “Who wants to spend their holidays watching a tumbler going round and round?”
After Moneywise contacted Hotpoint, its customer services got in touch with SD to say that she would receive a refund once it had removed the tumble dryer. SD emailed suggested dates for its collection but, two weeks later, she hadn’t heard back from the company.
When I rang Hotpoint again, a spokesperson said:“Our customer services team has contacted your reader and we are commited to having this resolved over the coming days.’’
SD says: “Hotpoint has agreed a refund of £160 once the faulty dryer has been collected, but it has taken a while to sort out a date because our holiday home is in a remote part of the Highlands.Thanks a million for your help.”
To check if your tumble dryer is affected, call 0800 151 0905 or check online at https://safety.hotpoint.eu/ (for Hotpoint, Creda and Proline), https://safety.indesit.eu/ (for Indesit) or http://safety-swan.eu (for Swan).
Outcome: £160 refund for tumble dryer over safety alert
Parcel Monkey says it’s my fault
Parcel Monkey accepted shipping instructions for a vintage toilet and allowed me to buy insurance for the item. But when the toilet was smashed in transit, it said that it is an item that “cannot be carried under any circumstances” and, as a result, it refused to compensate me for the loss.
If the company knows what the item is, then it should refuse shipment. If I had known this item was prohibited, I would have sent it another way.
I am £320 out of pocket. Please can you help?
When booking Parcel Monkey's services, if you key in an item that is restricted, such as a toilet, a pop-up box comes up, saying: “We’ve detected your item may be prohibited. Please check the list”.
When I asked Parcel Monkey about why its system doesn’t block delivery and insurance for these items, it told me that it had tried to implement these changes, but it hadn’t worked effectively because the system could only block exact words and spellings, and, at times, an alternative word or a make and model was entered or an incorrect spelling was used.
A spokesperson for Parcel Monkey said: “When booking, all customers have to acknowledge that they have read our terms and conditions along with our restricted item list, which clearly states ‘Toilets’.
NH states that had he known a toilet was restricted then he would have sent the item in another way, so admits not having read the information that we provide in order to try to avoid such situations.”
I still feel more could be done to prevent customers taking out worthless insurance and have asked Parcel Monkey to look into this. However, it has agreed to refund NH’s £320 because of the poor customer service he received after his item was damaged.
NH says: “I am pleased about the refund, but Parcel Monkey’s website should be updated to stop this sort of thing happening.”
Outcome: £320 refund for poor customer service.
This is more usually a feature of car insurance but it can also crop up in contents, mobile phone and pet insurance policies. An excess is the amount of money you have to pay before the insurance company starts paying out. The excess makes up the first part of a claim, so if your excess is £100 and your claim is for £500, you would pay the first £100 and the insurer the remaining £400. Many online insures let you set your own excess, but the lower the excess, the more expensive the premium will be.