Bulb DD payments

I know a few on here are/have been Bulb customers for their energy.

Sadly, the company seems to have embarked on the practice of some other providers of waiting until the start of winter and upping the monthly direct debit figure by an arbitrary number that seems to have no relation to usage, and ignores the credit already sitting in their bank account.

Our monthly fee seems to have been jacked up by £40.

Looking on their community, they seem to have upset an awful lot of a customer base that is usually very happy with the firm.

Have cancelled my DD and invited bulb to apologise if they want it re-insstating.

If you are with them and might have missed any emails, might be worth having a look in your app.

Yeah I was considering switching to them as they used to be good but seeing the constant complaints on their forum and that they seem to keep changing direct debits even after being told not to I think I’ll avoid.

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They haven’t hiked mine, but their maths is definitely suspect. My “Monthly usage” figure is nowhere close to my annual average over the last year - about £15 higher even than my most expensive month :man_shrugging:

You can at least change the monthly payment in the app or in your account though.

Apparently only by 10%, and even doing so doesn’t stop bulb just changing it again, which they seem to have been frequently doing to customers after they had it reduced because it was excessively high.

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I’ve seen people who’ve had their DD raised so high they appear to have well over 6-8 months of payments already in Bulbs bank account. The suspicious part of me wonders if bulb needs the cash flow so are milking customers for early excessive payments

They did this to me back in may of 2019, wanting to increase my ,o they payment from £65 to £104. Was alarming and confusing so I did the math and wrote them an essay explaining why their proposition was absurd.

They had just raised their prices a few months prior, so my direct debit needed increasing by £4 to £69 in order to remain in credit.

The reason I suspected, is because I’m electricity only, and my costs in winter are substantially higher than in summer. Peak summer my bill is around £20, but in December/January would exceed £150. Bulb don’t seem to include your past data in the calculations to bear any weighting, and instead predicted my summer electricity usage on the basis of my winter electricity usage.

It’s annoying, and you don’t have to agree to the increase, but if you’re in debit, then you do owe them money, as per the terms, you must remain in credit, rather than be in debit through winter and break even in summer like with other providers.

I’ve never had an energy company not pull these shenanigans though, so what I did was cancel the direct debit, set up an easy access savings dedicated for electricity, and use my own calculated average to pay into that, then make ad-hoc payments for the amount due each month and withdrew it.

I think it’s just a crap algorithm. It makes sense when you reverse engineer how it works and calculate in accordance. In my case for instance, had my summer usage been the same as my usage over winter, their increase would have been spot on. It’s a best efforts thing, and it probably captures a large portion of dual fuel customers through automation which keeps the overheads very low.

I did read one that they’re system screwed up all their data and they ‘fixed’ it but seemingly never actually properly fixed it and these calculations were throwing out ridiculous direct debits at them.

In any case somethings clearly wrong with their system.

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Does seem slightly curious that these crap algorithms always seem to produce a result that benefits the cash flow of the companies that inflict them on their customers

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I imagine it’s because those who are negatively affected by it are the ones who complain the loudest.

I technically owe Plusnet over £300, but I’ve given up trying to pay it, because their computers don’t say I owe anything, in fact they tried sending me a cheque for £60.

I’ve also not been with British Gas in over a decade. They keep sending me letters to say they accidentally overcharged me. They’ve paid me back four times now.

I also one year had Apple not charge me for my MacBook after it got delayed in shipping so the pending transaction lapsed. I had to call them up a month later to ask when they’re going to charge my card for it. Something had gone wrong with their system, so they were unable to charge me for it and no flags were raised. Had I not contacted them, I likely never would have been charged.

Not things I really go onto the internet to complain or discuss. But when a company tries to screw me out of money, you can bet I’ll be complaining to anyone who wants to listen.

Weird, I haven’t had that and just had a DD email from them today. I have a £5 DD and just put the rest on my credit card each month, so would have thought I seem to be their most ‘underpaid’ customer. I even gave them a high reading last month to ‘pre-purchase’ electricity before the costs went up as well.

It looks like you’re using more energy than your payments can cover. So you might want to increase your payments so you don’t go into debit.
Increasing your payments to £100 a month would be ideal. We won’t change it for you though. It’s your call.
We might need to adjust your payment in the future but we’ll always be in touch before we do.
You’re using £97 of energy a month on average throughout the year. But you’re only paying £5 into your Bulb Account each month, so your account is using up credit to cover it.
Ideally your account would have a buffer of about £85 credit at this time of year to get you through the winter without going into debit. Increasing your monthly payments to £100 will bring your balance back to where it should be in 6 months time.

The worst for jacking up DD was Outfox the Market they tried to double monthly payments, did things like prevent people from switching away by saying they were owed when people were in credit.

I took them to the Ombudsman three times and I won all of the cases. One of them I remember that after me cancelling the Direct Debit they reinstated without permission to try and take more.

Amazing they didn’t get their license taken away and are still in business somehow. The regulator is like a chocolate teapot.

I’m currently with Green Oak which is miles cheaper than Bulb.

That’s straight-up fraud.

Looking at Bulb’s forum, there do seem to be one or two who also claim the payments are doubling despite a credit balance.

Yep they tried to make it out that it was a timing issue. However most people were canceling direct with them instead of via their bank, or was a couple of weeks before the DD or being reinstated multiple months. I think mine was twice they tried it on. I had all the chat transcripts and did a SAR request where they left out certain conversations.

They also tried to switch their 12 equally spread monthly payments into a 70% winter and 30% summer split with a couple weeks notice which eventually got reversed from the backlash as it meant payments were hundreds more for some and it was like Nov/Dec conveniently.

I think at the time about 12 or so providers went bust but amazingly they carried on with no intervention from Ofgem as it takes a couple years to do an investigation and report before they get a slap on the wrist.

My supplier was Yorkshire Energy, based purely on price. They very recently sent me an email titled ‘Fix and Save Now’ the thrust of which they are putting up my variable tariff by 31% on average. The exact figures were not stated. They also throw in an offer to go to a fixed tariff (more expensive than my current variable) with £30 exit fees and a £50 bung in January. I replied in a formal complaint manner stating that I wasn’t convinced that this was a proper notice to increase my prices. I received a fairly prompt reply stating that it did comply. I have begun the switch to Green Oak tariff as I will not do fixed. I am contemplating a complaint to Ofgem.

This is part of their reply The email you received complies with our obligation to tell you that in 30 days time, if you do not take any action, you will be moved on to our higher variable rates. Because these rates are variable by nature, we cannot confirm what they will be on 28th November. We can only advise you what they are now.

Can you do me a favour and order me one too :slight_smile:

Octopus Energy tried to raise my DD a couple of years ago. I emailed them showing my own calculations and that I would still be in credit if I reduced my DD by £5!

They replied saying that it was refreshing to see a customer so engaged with their energy usage and they haven’t bothered me since.


:rofl: This was back in 2015 using the EDU store for my institution. Hasn’t happened since!

That’s a shame, they just billed me 1500 or so for an iMac… :sob::sob: it’s not even for me

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I agree, they’ve done the same to me, although not quite £40, circa £25. Like you’ve invited them to apologise, that’s jokes ha!

If they’re insisting on keeping the DD high, just switch away and have done with them. They increased their prices a few months ago and if I wasn’t moving in the next 2 months I’d have switched. Give this a read if you’re considering it, shows how to find the cheapest UK energy suppliers, that’ll show 'em!

For me personally, I use MSE

I switched to So Energy from British Gas a few months back. I have SMETS2 meters, everything works at it should, meters report readings without issues.

So Energy did raise my DD payment from £44 a month to £67 a month to cover the winter months. I haven’t bothered to challenge it. I’m in credit as I knew I would be, I just can’t be arsed to argue the toss with them that I won’t use as much energy as they think I will. I would say though, that British Gas wanted to raise my DD from 50 odd quid a month to £80 a month and I was significantly in credit with them at the time. That’s when I dumped them and saved myself a significant amount of money in the process.