Spark Energy responds to Watchdog probe

The company claims that its rates are competitive, and tenants are free to change supplier

spark energy logoSpark Energy has issued a response to a probe by the BBC’s Watchdog programme, in which some customers claimed that it was “impossible” to switch energy provider once they were tied into an agreement with the company.

On the programme, tenants in properties let by Your Move, Foxtons and Reed Rains revealed that they have been automatically signed up to Spark Energy – the letting agents’ preferred energy supplier – via a clause written into their tenancy agreements.

However, it is well within consumers’ right to switch their energy supplier at any time and the letting agent cannot impose the services of a particular provider on any tenant.

Despite this, Lee Harrison, who rents his flat through Foxtons, revealed on the programme that he had encountered considerable difficulty when attempting to move from Spark Energy – the supplier he had automatically been signed up with.

Mission impossible

After receiving his first bill for five weeks’ worth of gas – which totalled over £500 – Mr Harrison said he attempted to switch supplier, but the process contained numerous stumbling blocks.

“It’s virtually impossible to leave Spark Energy. You get an enormous bill, so you try to contact them to talk about that bill. And when you finally did get through they said they’d look into it, they made me pay a certain amount of money there and then,” he explained.

“That was then ignored, and I got another bill for exactly the same amount. So you have to do the same process and that continues and continues and continues, so you are in a never-ending circle.”

Mr Harrison’s case was not an isolated one, with hundreds of other Spark customers contacting Watchdog to inform the programme about the difficulties they had encountered.

Held to ransom

After consulting his Foxtons contract, Mr Harrison found that Spark Energy was the default supplier, and said that the contract gave the impression that people had no choice but to have their utilities provided through Spark.

“I felt like I was being held to ransom,” said Mr Harrison, who has since found out that for every property signed up to Spark Energy, the letting agent receives a commission, hence companies’ keenness to retain the provider.

In response to the programme, Spark Energy issued a statement claiming that its tariffs are designed to ensure that tenants inheriting its supply receive lower prices than they would otherwise do from the big six – British Gas, EDF, E.ON, npower, ScottishPower and SSE.

“New tenants default to our Direct Debit tariff which is set to be cheaper than the equivalent tariff from the big six. Our pre-payment meter tariff is the cheapest in the UK,” the company stated.

“Excessive bills can occur if customers have not provided a meter reading as we are reliant on using the estimations provided to us by the previous supplier. We also send meter readers to visit properties on a quarterly basis.”

Free to move

Responding to the accusation that it is “impossible” to leave Spark Energy once the tenancy has begun, the energy provider noted that people are “free to move” to an alternative supplier at any time – a process that is standardised between energy providers.

“We specifically designed our processes to be in line with the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and Ofgem guidance. We will check that all our partner agents and customer-facing staff are conforming to this and that their leases contain the clauses making this clear to tenants from the outset,” the provider added.

Spark also confirmed that it pays a commission of £10-£15 per property for choosing it as the incumbent supplier, while no commission is earned or lost when tenants subsequently move in or change supplier.

According to the company, this covers the cost to the lettings agency of “administering the utilities when the property is empty and transferring to Spark”.

Adhering to guidelines

The three letting agents named in the programme also issued responses, with a Your Move spokesman stating that its contract with Spark Energy is “within the requirements of the OFT and Ofgem guidelines” and reiterating that tenants have the option to choose their long-term supplier and are not prevented from changing it.

“We do not hide the fact that Spark Energy is the ‘default’ utility supplier. An offer letter advises prospective tenants that Spark Energy will supply gas and electricity at the date the let commences … and we also advise tenants that they can switch from Spark Energy at any time if they wish to do so, which is now highlighted in their tenancy agreement.”

Reeds Rains said that Spark Energy is the default energy supplier to make the transition easier for tenants and because it is the only Ofgem-accredited supplier of energy that specialises in supplying tenants.

“We continually look to improve our service and communication with our customers and to this end we have already taken the decision to reiterate and re-enforce in the wording of the tenancy agreement that tenants are free to switch supplier at any time in addition to the other methods already in use,” the company said.

Finally, a Foxtons spokesperson said that tenants are informed that the incumbent energy supplier at their property will be Spark Energy prior to the commencement of their tenancy, and their move-in pack also contains this.

The company said that Spark offers “highly competitive rates” but said tenants are free to change supplier once they move in.

“We ask them to notify us before switching so that that their landlord can be kept informed and we believe this is in line with the OFT’s guidance,” Foxtons added.

A long way to go

All three lettings agents noted that Spark Energy has vowed to keep its energy bills lower than those of the Big Six energy suppliers, though Watchdog revealed it has received 200 complaints from Spark Energy customers regarding inflated bills and a struggle to switch providers over the last year – and many more since this week’s programme was broadcast.

Spark Energy, Your Move, Foxtons and Reed Rains all called for better regulation of the market to protect consumers and ensure that tenants are fully aware of their rights.

While some lettings agents have now taken steps to boost the transparency of rental agreements by highlighting issues such as the default energy supplier, the wellbeing of consumers will only be guaranteed through the introduction of further consumer protection regulation guidance to ensure the whole lettings industry is properly regulated.

Join the conversation

  • Woolwich tenant

    Woolwich Royal Arsenal having the same problem

  • lynsey

    Stressed out couple having the same problems but have managed to leave after 6 months of hell. But they still haven’t given us a final bill…

    • christine winnan

      how did you manage to move ? they won’t allow me to til I’ve paid the ridiculous amount they say I owe

  • Luigi Del renzio

    Dear Ruth and others,

    I have just seen the Wathdog programme regarding Spark Energy and Letting
    Agents, and I am effected by this situation to. In response I thought I would
    tell you a bit about my experience:

    I moved to London in January of this year. Our agent was Foxtons and we to
    were automatically signed to Spark Energy. I can confirm I am entering my 5th
    month of attempting to change supplier.

    THE ISSUE which seems to be missed a lot is at the outset of the
    tenancy agreement, which we found to be misleading. I have it in email to
    Foxtons before we signed and were agreeing terms that I wanted the energy to be
    supplied by British Gas. I was told the supplier was Spark Energy and Foxtons
    use them because they’re ‘competitive’ on price and I was able to change
    supplier later after informing my landlord.

    MISLEADING
    I attempted to change supplier in the first week of
    moving in and found out that the original supplier was British Gas, however my
    landlord was not aware that Foxtons had changed the flat over from BG to Spark!
    And the transfer was put in place by Foxtons. My problem with this is Foxtons
    knew I wanted British Gas to supply my energy, they knew the property was
    currently supplied by BG yet they made no mention of this before we signed the
    tenancy agreement. Surely this is UNFAIR And not transparent? Furthermore I was
    under the impression it was illegal to change someone’s energy supplier on their
    behalf, Spark Energy seemed only to happy to do this, however British Gas and I
    expect the other larger ones refuse to create a new account without speaking to
    the account holder to be… Directly!

    This is the important point! and partly the reason why Spark Energy
    are the only energy supplier catering for tenants… They’re small and escape
    the radar. I am still in the process of changing supplier and can confirm it is
    a process whereby your told you are ‘free’ to change supplier, however in
    practice it is like standing in a circular room and being told to stand in the
    corner!

    I am glad watchdog and Uswitch are involved and hope they are able to raise
    awareness on this incredibly unfair issue and perhaps encourage change. If Foxtons only knew the problems caused to the tenant: expense incurred for 0845 phone calls, automatically generated and contradictory paperwork, wrong metre readings and excessive bills, continual chasing up and time wasted – all for the sake of £10-15 commission … Or to cover their admin costs for a service we don’t often even want imposed! THEY impose this upon us, their tenants who pay high agents fees. They have no interest in the tenant quite clearly, whose only purpose seems to be that of
    driving profit.

    Luigi

    London, E1

    • Debo

      I have the same problem with Spark. Just last month, our gas bill alone was nearly £400 – for one month, and a month when the heating was barely on. We tried to change to Southern Electric, but they prevented the switch. I received this horrific bill last week; this week they said I have to referred to debt collection agency. Thugs.

      • Luigi Del renzio

        Hi,
        They prevent the switch because of the outstanding balance. Have you kept a record of your meter readings? I’m in the middle of a dispute where they changed the FINAL meter reading I gave them to a higher meter reading (£75+) half way through our changeover – they say it will take 6 weeks to correct by which time, British Gas have to restart the entire switch over process. Like you I’m determined to switch supplier, however it seems ‘swings and roundabouts’ to me.
        I hope you manage to resolve your problems… you are not alone :)

  • Ramesh Sothilingam

    Hello Ruth,

    I had the same problems. I wasn’t notified that my energy supplier is moved to Spark energy. I’m having trouble moving away from them. Also, the way they produce the invoice is confusing and they keep adding wrong transactions to the payment history and make up the money. When asked about the confusions about billing, there are no answers from them. Rather the invoice gets adjusted (saying “creditnote” in payment history) and the credit in the invoice is made to debit. I’m overpaying for them and no credits returned ;(

  • Kate : (

    I’m in exactly the same boat and am relieved to hear that I’m not the only one! I had been trying to move to new supplier from Spark Energy for months before it finally happened and then they blocked one meter moving because I’d cancelled my DD as they had never billed me in 4 months of being with them and not provided me with what they had promised. The story is much longer than this and I wont bore you with details but there are numerous other errors they have made along the way that means this has been dragging on since September last year and I have just been given a final bill of £750! You can only imagine what I told them to do with it! I raised my complaint with them in December last year and they finally responded in March to the wrong email address! I had no bills, letters or emails until I contacted them again this month to find out what was going on! I intend to take this matter to OFGEM, Energy Ombudsman and Watchdog if this is not settled tomorrow with no payments required. They are a joke and I cant understand how they are able to carry on treating people like this!

    • christine winnan

      I’m having the same problem and cancelled my D.D two months ago when they calculated that I somehow owed them £665 which they allowed to build up to when I was paying £80 per month for both gas and electric. I tried to get into my account but it kept saying I had the wrong password. They did send me an email telling me I owed a ridiculous amouint so I just chucked it in the bin where it belonged. I have now just sent them an email on their question page telling them I want them to send me a history of all my bills and payments so I can send it to the ombudsman.

  • R Lyness

    i have had same problem but have defeated spark and switched to sse. Got a grovelling letter of apology and the energy ombudman is dealing with them on my behalf. Ive asked for a grands compo

    • Thomas Bones Jones

      how did you manage to do this, as they have been extremely unhelpful and i think dishonest to me also, however seem to have done nothing that isnt by the book?

    • christine winnan

      how did you defeat them ?

  • ali

    Oh God, I just two weeks ago switched to them from Uswitch. What should I do?

  • Jackie Lamont

    I have just received a letter from my supplier of many years standing that they are sorry I am leaving them. When I rang them I was told that Sparkenergy would have been my new supplier. I had never even heard of them let alone joined them. My supplier has recorded my phone call vehemently denying all knowledge of the change – it worries me greatly that had the letter gone astray I may have been innocent of the change. This is either a grave error or fraud.

  • Paul

    I wish I’d seen this programme. It might be interesting for Watchdog to start calling Spark helpline at the start of a programme and see if the phone has been answered by the time it finishes!

  • Louise

    Having the same problem! Moved into a rented property with YourMove and weren’t told that our energy supplier was Spark Energy we waited 3 weeks before we had any sort of letter through from them talking about setting up a new account and asking us to set up payment details etc. I wasn’t aware that we were with them as I had already contacted SSE to set up DD with them as I have been with them in a previous property. Few weeks went by again and then we heard from Spark again telling us to contact them after this SSE said I shouldn’t of been able to be with 2 suppliers at one time and he wasn’t sure how this happened the only way I could try and get out of this mess was for SSE to put a block on the transfer but Spark refused it. Apparently now my only option is to open a new account with SSE and hope that Spark accepts the change over (not going to be easy!) we moved in to this property on the 19th March and we have only received one bill from Spark £29 just for gas and nothing for electric?! This makes me think they will hit us with a massive bill at the end when we finally manage to switch but god only knows when this will happen!

  • L Hendry

    I’m also having trouble with Spark. They my initial payment from my bank half way through the month even though we had agreed the 1st of each month and gave me 2 days notice of this! After that I tried to cancel my move to them in plenty time and they just took over my electric and gas anyway! RAGING IS NOT THE WORD!!

  • George

    Phoned them on moving in (February) and said no thanks, I’ll stay with EDF thanks.

    EDF send me a, sorry your leaving letter, phoned them said I dont want to move but spark took my account anyway.

    Phoned spark who said it takes A MONTH just to set my account up and I CANNOT LEAVE during this period!!

    Phoned Spark at least once every month, getting yes men on the phone to my leaving requests but my account always stays with Spark.

    Currently on the phone 6 months later (July), another infuriating 1 hour wait in que i guess, if im lucky, only to be fobbed off again.

    SCUM FRAUDSTERS I WILL NEVER PAY YOU A PENNY……..

  • Knight

    Hi guys having real bad problem with these scum bags Ibe told over 5 times over the phone to stop taking DD payments as I wish to be billed by usage because me and my flat mate are hardly in but they keep taking money

    How do I get my money back ?

    • maxine

      Hi did you personnally give them your bank details or were they given to spark by the estate agent?

    • Steph

      You can go to the bank and ask for an exemption form – that’s what I did when they took too much for the first DD. The bank will probably say they can’t do it and I have to speak to Spark but tell them you already have and they are refusing to give the money back.

  • Lee

    I have switched to Spark in February. I cannot get through on their customer service line (endless wait) and they ignore my emails. I have tried to register on line to send in my metre readings but it says it doesn’t recognise my account number!!! I am having real problems just trying to communicate with this company and I see an excuse for a very large bill at the end of the year. It is just dreadful and I really would not recommend anyone switching over to this utility company.

  • henry_blue

    We were with Spark Energy after being automatically registered with them when moving into a new house. Over the year or so we were with them we didn’t receive one correct bill. On the majority of occasions we would receive a letter from their bailiffs chasing payment before we had even received a bill! They were an utter shambles. It took ages of wrangling on the phone and email, being passed between different people at their end, none of whom showed any signs of apology or understanding of our predicament thanks entirely to their ineptitude. They are, by far and away, the worst company I have ever had the misfortune to have dealings with (and I’ve bought furniture from Harveys and was previously an NTL customer).

  • Lauren

    Worst company I’ve ever dealt with in my life and so glad ofgem are now investigating, it’s about flippin time. It really is awful how many complaints it’s taken until the authorities have taken action. 3 statements made above by spark absolute rubbish – number 1 it’s impossible to enter meter readings on their website and to get through on the phone to give them you’d need a spare 2 hours at least once a month, number 2 do they heck as like send anyone round to read meters – never have I been able to even get someone to call me, I’ve sent very angry emails and they’ve taken almost 3 weeks to even reply, not even then do they lift the phone. The only time i hear from them is when they want more cash! statment number 3 we are free to move anytime – i’ve been trying to leave for 3 months, every time they make sure there’s more money to pay so I can’t leave until my balance is clear, and I have an email from one of their so called account managers confirming this to me.

  • Rosie + Josh

    For anyone who takes the time to read this… Thank you.

    For anyone in a similar situation… hang in there.

    We have had nothing but endless trouble with Spark Energy. My partner and I moved into our rented house via Reeds Rains on the 9th of January this year and were told by the letting agent to wait for a letter to ascertain who our provider was. Sure enough a few days later we received a letter from Utility Wearhouse stating that they were our providers and provided the previous tenants with their gas and electric so I immediately contacted them and set up a DD. about a week later I received another letter from Spark Energy saying that they were taking over the account. I called them straight away and told them that I didn’t not want/request their business, I was reassured by the “customer care” agent that no further action with them would be taken. Several days later a letter came from Utility Wearhouse saying ‘Sorry to hear you’re leaving, Your transfer date is…”

    I got on the phone straight away first to Utility Wearhouse to explain the situation, then to Spark Energy and stress my annoyance. Again i was told not to worry, they’ve stopped the take over properly this time sorry for the inconvenience. One week later i received the same letter from Utility Wearhouse “Sorry you’re leaving” with a new transfer date and like a fool I rang round again explaining myself to my current provider and getting rather irate with Spark.
    For a few weeks everything went quiet, I stupidly assumed it had all been sorted, but no! To my shock I awoke one morning to find a letter on my doorstep for my final bill with Utility Wearhouse, needless to say I was LIVID!. So I set about my usual run around “No UWH I’m not leaving” “Spark what your doing has to be illegal…” blah blah blahhh. THEY TRANSFERED ME ANYWAY!!!!!!.
    I asked to speak to a manager at Spark and was promptly given the run around by a “customer care” agent for about half an hour but eventually managed to speak to one as I refused to hang up. I explained the whole situation expecting some kind of help from this so called “manager” who responded with “I’m sorry but if you didn’t want to leave your current provider you should have contacted us sooner”!!!!!! This woman must have been either deaf or just pig ignorant, I had only just told her that this was my umpteenth call. “Sorry Miss but it’s too late now, there is nothing anyone can do”

    I called UTW who were very helpfull, they told me exactly how to put a complaint through effectively and how long it should take within legal guidelines along with all of the contact details for the ombudsman, should my complaint not be resolved. Spark assigned me a complaints person who “reviewed” my case but she couldn’t seem to find any trace that I’d ever called, no recordings of me saying I didn’t want to leave UTW, no snotty manager just notes on their system saying “Miss has called to say she has received our letter and knows our rates etc” WHAT A SURPRISE.
    The complaints person graciously agreed to let us return to UTW if we payed what we owed them in full but added that if we did not transfer within 30 days the offer would be revoked. We called UTW put the transfer through twice and twice it was rejected by Spark.

    They now say we owe them £500 and UTW have put our account through to debt collection because we were so busy trying to get put back to them we failed to notice that our DD had been canceled on their end. Our credit is now tarnished because of these cowboys.
    We have out right refused to pay them until they release us, its the 22nd of August today and we’re still trapped with them.
    Spark Energy have made what should have been a happy time moving into a new house into a nightmare, they need to be stopped. They’re ruining lives and its not fair to us the customers, why should we have to suffer??. It has caused such pressure and stress in our lives that our GP has insisted that we both are put on antidepressants, that may sound a bit far fetched to anyone who took the time to read my ramblings but we’re good people, honest people and this kind of thing is not something we are dealing with well. I hope watchdog reveal their true colors to the country and stops them trading.

    Thank you.

    • maxine

      Well i read and ive had the same…..no record of me calling them! Have you got away from Spark and how long did it take? Im so worried about the money side of things as already had a hard enough time and dont need any more worries or hassles

  • Anita

    I have had the same problem they won’t let me change I have also had bills amounting to over 500 and I am never there to use gas and electric as I am always working and I live alone. I think they are the most expensive co pant to use, I’m trying to change and try wont allow it

  • John

    I’m a landlord, I pay Foxtons for their service and they should be sharing the “Spark” commission with me too!

  • C M H

    I’m trying to leave Spark right now and having this exact problem; inflated bills, refusal to correct my energy readings without a 2-4 week ‘dispute’, and this is the second time I’ve tried to correct or ‘dispute’ my readings; in July when I provided my readings 2 weeks apart and so on, I was told a dispute could not be raised because my readings were less than 250 units out. I’m even starting to notice they’re trying to avoid speaking to me; having computer issues when I ring up and promising a call back that never comes. How this bunch of liars and thieves is operating within OFT and Ofgem guidelines is utterly beyond me, they’re consistently inaccurate, deliberately misleading and the ‘rules’ they tell you they have as ‘industry standard’ are something that confused even the supplier I’m trying to switch to (British Gas) when I mentioned what I’d been told by Spark. I’ve actually considered moving to another house not let by Yourmove, Foxtons, or Reed Rains to get away; I certainly won’t be using any of these letttings agents if and when I do move again!

  • n/a

    I had the same problem and I finally got away from this patheic excuse of an energy suppler. Don’t use spark at all costs they are bullies and have no manners and they neglect their forced customers

  • donotusespark

    DO NOT USE OR ALLOW SPARK ENERGY AT ALL COSTS THEY ARE BULLIES NEGLECT AND LIE TO FOCUSED CUSTOMERS THEY ARE A DIRTY COMPANY AND SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO DO WHAT THEY ARE DOING RO CUSTOMERS

  • mark

    If you r with spark or get forcused to be with spark. Do not sign up to direct debit avoid spark at all costs im glad im not the only one who is being mis treated by spark energy

  • Rod

    having problem with spark now, never given a correct bill in nearly 2 years, go in credit then in debt all in same month, may a set amount that was promised is enough, then receive letter saying they are doubling our direct debit amount, tried phoning and keep getting fobbed off, tried leaving once and they put block on the energy, just taking nearly 1 hour to get through, promised manager would phone back and didn’t, the company is a waste of time and complete con-artists, going to seek legal action as have had enough of the muppets they employ, anyone that can give me any advice please do.

  • sophie

    Im new to renting and we alrrady

  • maxine

    Having a nightmare with Spark, how can this be right!

  • Adam

    What an absolute nightmare. This has gone on for years.

    I moved into my new flat powered by BG, leased by Foxtons, a day later a threatening letter arrived from Spark Energy claiming £100s or the bailiff would be around.
    Who were these people? My flat was with BG? I never asked for Spark Energy? I never signed a single piece of paper with them. I never talked to them. I never agreed anything with them – why are they charging me £100s and sending me letters 2 days after I move in?

    Then I tried to move away, but the request to BG was blocked by Spark, as they claimed I wasn’t allowed because by the time I’d paid the bill they’d claimed more money… so I spent weeks asking for a final bill… got it, paid it, and was finally allowed to move BACK to BG.

    A year later I receive phone calls from debt collectors demanding even more money?? I’d paid a final bill. What more is there?

    My credit is being held to random by a company who I never signed up with (not a single piece of paper), who wouldn’t let me leave them, and who charged through the roof.

  • 007

    My supply has just been taken over by Spark energy after a tenancy renewal with Foxtons, after a thorough inspections of my tenancy agreement I find no clause in which I agree to Foxtons selecting my energy supplier. There is a clause however which states I cannot switch suppliers, now when I moved in to this property EDF was already supplying energy and simply started billing me after taking my details.
    I just sent an e-mail to Foxtons requesting explanation and immediate switch back to EDF as I refuse to personally deal with Spark, after all I signed no contract with them.
    Lets see what they come back with… mission impossible? well do like a challenge..

    • 007

      Good news, Foxtons apologized and is sorting out transfer back to EDF on my behalf as I refuse to deal with Spark.
      All in less than 24hrs…not so impossible after all

  • Steve Reilly

    I must be the exception. Previously, I have been with EDF and Npower and during each period, each supplier increased their prices significantly. I switched to Spark in February 2013 as their dual fuel price was £40 per month cheaper than NPOWER. I did ask if they were due to increase their prices before I switched as I could not believe their prices could be so much cheaper and they stated no price increases were due. So far, there has been no price increase and I am very happy with their service. I have entered all readings monthly on their website and without without any problem. If I do encounter any future problem, I will report it to this site

    • guest

      same as you steve ,i too have had no problems thus far ,much cheaper than the other companies & submit meter readings every month with ease & very happy so far

  • SJP

    It is a absolute nightmare to try and switch from Spark. I cant understand how these letting agents allow this. I did not know about Spark till I got them through Reeds Rains. They never informed me regarding the switching from the previous supplier. I provided them with the new address on changing house and they even tried to take over the supply at my new house without informing me….a spurious switch !! They keep claiming that you owe them money even if you dont ….and they stop all attempts at switching.

  • asjs

    We recently applied for loan from oneof these payday loans companys were we unexspectadly with out conformation had our electricity supplied switched from british gas to sparks with out or knowledge, jupon realising this we inserted sparks key Only to find upon following there letters advise to use any remaining credit on the meter we did this Only to find we had debt on the machine when inserting sparks key Only to find that me now have no electric We phoned up a Manager Who Was not very helpful at all Who told us that Its not his Problem that our 9 month old baby and 3 year old child Has now got to do with out food and warmth until We get payed in 2 days to use the cooker and lighting forcilitys as a energy supplier they Show no respect or sympothey for the children under this roof, We did not no this loans company Was moving our electricity supplier as i would never change, but What We Do exspect from our supplier is that the take responsibilities for there deseving letters, and unexseptable transfering of suppliers, We wouldnt recomend anybody accept sparks as a supplier and We Will in due course be notifying watch dog and office of fair frauding as We believe that this supplier is not What they make out to be!!

  • Liam

    Distinguish themselves by actually being worse than the Big 6 – AVOID AT ALL COSTS. We told them we want to move suppliers and the new supplier contacted them. Was told we had in fact registered with them and they received no request from the new supplier (they had both received and rejected it). Were utterly unable to explain why we had a bill that corresponded with the last bill we had requested. Avoid them at all costs! There business model seems to be based on signing up tenants without their involvement and then through either deceit or incompetence making it almost impossible to leave.

  • alan sweenie

    Was “advised” by USwitch a year ago to change to Spark because they were cheaper – did so only to find out they weren’t & I was tied into a 2 yr contract – took it up with USwitch who denied they recommended them – “we only give advice” was the reply – NEVER use either company again – what has this once great country become – a land of crooks, deceivers & fools who believe them !

    • http://www.sparkenergy.co.uk Jenny at Spark Energy

      Hi Alan. That doesn’t sound right. We don’t have any fixed term contracts so you’re free to leave at any time (as long as your balance is up to date). If you want me to investigate things in more detail please email me: jenny@sparkenergy.co.uk

  • Amanda

    I had the exact same problem!! The first ever property I rented after university through Ludlow Thompson. Spark Energy make you feel so victimised because you are automatically signed up to them and if your letting agent (as mine did) does not inform you where the meter is you can not give them an accurate meter reading! Its impossible to leave them and each month you then get ripped off big time. Bills each month ranged £200- £300! When you dispute it they then send the bill to a debt collector and ruin your credit rating!! I’m soo angry that this is allowed to happen in the uk!! Now my credit score is crap all because of spark energy! So I advise anyone renting DO NOT SIGN A TENANCY IF SPARK ENERGY ARE INVOLVED!

    • http://www.sparkenergy.co.uk Jenny at Spark Energy

      Hi Amanda. If you’d like to discuss any of your issue in more detail please give me a shout: jenny@sparkenergy.co.uk – I’m happy to clarify things with you and give you any help you might need.

  • Steph

    I’m so glad it wasn’t only me – I rented a student house for a year where they were very helpful until I was owed money at the end. They sent me a letter saying they owed me £114 and would credit it back to my account within two weeks. When I didn’t receive anything, I called them and they said I owed them £95 and when I queried it and said they had already sent me the other letter, their response was “Well that was wrong – you owe us £95.” I did get out of the direct debit fairly easily but I was moving out of the house which was probably why. I still havn’t got the money back, despite writing to them and calling them several times. Does anyone know how I could get it back?

    • http://www.sparkenergy.co.uk Jenny at Spark Energy

      Hi Steph. You posted this a while ago but if you still need help, please drop me a line: jenny@sparkenergy.co.uk

  • Tad

    I’ve tried leaving Spark couple years ago and finally gave up. Foxtons changed it without my knowledge and it wasn’t even in my contract. When I signed contract with Foxtons my supplier was Southern Electric (they even marked it on my brochure) and my first bill was from them and then out of a sudden Spark appeared. Contacted Foxtons they said all our new customers should be signed with Spark Energy and look in your contract it says that. I told them that I am looking at my contract and it doesn’t say that my supplier should be Spark. I’ve been transferred to numerous Foxtons departments before some incredibly rude manager looked at my contract and said Oh yes sorry it doesn’t say that you should be with Spark but since we already transferred you its your problem now and hang up the phone. I treid since then for months leaving Spark but Southern Electric said that Spark is not allowing to switch back.

    • http://www.sparkenergy.co.uk Jenny at Spark Energy

      Hi Tad. If you need any help switching supplier please drop me a line: jenny@sparkenergy.co.uk – I’m more than happy to help you get things sorted out.

  • co-pirate

    I have had same problem . It was done almost without me realising, I was put on a more expensive tariff, and when trying to transfer Spark made it difficult, so much so it took 4 months to transfer

    • http://www.sparkenergy.co.uk Jenny at Spark Energy

      Hello. Did you manage to get things sorted out? If you still need help please give me a shout: jenny@sparkenergy.co.uk

  • RW40

    Reassured by this!

    I have been receiving Spark energy settlement text messages for the last few months which I have ignored – never having heard of them. Then i get another one so i decided to look up their website – i tried to contact them and log in but i have no account details or reference number, probably because i don’t have an account! So i left it at that, still receiving the odd text begging me to contact them.

    Then i get a phone call and vocemail message today detailing my name and to return their call. Naturally, before i do anything i googled it and i found this page.

    From what i’ve read it appears to me that when i moved into a flat let my Your Move back in 2011, they must have given my details to Spark.

    Trouble is, the flat had an electric meter and no gas supply and they’re chasing me for over £800 payment!
    II already argued with EDF when i lived there over the “standing charge” for the gas meter (due to it being capped AFTER the inlet into the property)…. apparently… And I paid my electricity as i went.

    I left the property in october 2012. It all seems a bit farcical to me so they can just do one…

    • http://www.sparkenergy.co.uk Jenny at Spark Energy

      Hello. Did you manage to get things sorted out with us? If you’re still needing a hand you can contact me by emailing jenny@sparkenergy.co.uk – I’m more than happy to look into things if you’re still having problems.

  • mrs white

    Me and my husband suffered 2years with no heating and refused to use the dryer becouse of this company spark energy it had been the worse 2years of my life they didnt care what they were doing to their customers they were just slamming bills and threats to us even 6months into living at a property they were saying we should have been paying £200 a month which there was only 2 of us in a 2bedroom house fulltime workers it took in all 3years until the ombisman could even sort it most of the time I was on the phone I cryed with the amount of stress they caused us and we are still not finished they now owe us money which will probably take another 6months to get back the amount of phone calls and letters that were ignored it was unbelievable and direct debits canceled without permission im now with british gas where they are honest and trustworthy I will never ever change my suppliers again for aslong as I live!

    • Jenny at Spark Energy

      We’re really sorry to hear that you’ve had such an upsetting experience. If you’d like some help, please contact me, my email address is jenny@sparkenergy.co.uk and I’m more than happy to help sort things out for you.

  • LC

    I was renting and living by myself in a tiny studio flat through Foxtons and had Spark Energy as a supplier. Apart from the bad reviews I decided to stay with them. I work full-time and I’m always abroad for work. When I moved out I received the final bill and it was an utter rip off. I could not believe my eyes especially as I was already paying over £60 Direct Debit a month. After months arguing with Spark and with the appalling customer service over number of times I decided to pay the overpriced and non-sense bill in two installments. Not even 15 days after paying the first installment Spark Energy sent Churchill a Debt Recovery company to chase me by text message, email and phone. It is humiliating. I still cannot believe that such awful company exists. My advise: never sign up with them.

  • LC

    I was renting and living by myself in a tiny studio flat through Foxtons
    and had Spark Energy as a supplier. Apart from the bad reviews I
    decided to stay with them. I work full-time and I’m always abroad for
    work. When I moved out I received the final bill and it was an utter rip
    off. I could not believe my eyes especially as I was already paying
    over £60 Direct Debit a month. After months arguing with Spark and with
    the appalling customer service over number of times I decided to pay the
    overpriced and non-sense bill in two installments. Not even 15 days
    after paying the first installment Spark Energy sent Churchill a Debt
    Recovery company to chase me by text message, email and phone. It is
    humiliating. I still cannot believe that such awful company exists. My
    advise: never sign up with them.

  • Justin Bere

    I am a landlord and was astonished to find my whole house has been switched to Spark Energy, along with my tenant’s flat. Spark have been very aggressive on the phone, saying that it’s in the Foxtons tenancy agreement that they are my supplier. This was not pointed out to me or the tenant and I believe Foxtons have behaved dishonestly in changing the latest agreement, inserting this in without pointing it out to me or the tenant. A manager at Foxtons also told me that they get no commission or benefits of any kind, which it is clear from what I read here, not true. I have told Spark that this is an ‘Erroneous Transfer’ and to pass me back to British Gas immediately (this means I wouldn’t get caught in the trap of paying them money and having difficulty getting it back as others on this site have described) but they are insistent that it is not erroneous. Now I can see why they argue this because if they can argue it’s not erroneous then they can invoice me and I would have to pay them before they transfer me back, then I would have to chase them for the balance of what they owe me, but it is clear from the reports of others that they try to hold on to money which is not theirs to keep. I am really appalled that government legislation hasn’t stopped this scam immediately and will never use Foxtons estate agents again.

    • http://bere.co.uk Justin Bere

      Furthermore, I have just discovered that Foxtons and Spark Energy have switched the gas bills for the main house to the tenant, as well as the bills for the tenant’s flat without the permission or knowledge of me or my tenant. This energy supply scam is very upsetting. Apparently there is a team of people at Spark Energy called ‘The Partner Team’ who are employed to liaise with estate agents and other partners and who are presumably funded by the profits from the people that they trick – I try to look after my tenants; gas bills are very small because the flat has 30cm of insulation plus another 14cm of insulating blocks and most of the hot water is supplied free by the solar system.

      • http://www.sparkenergy.co.uk Jenny at Spark Energy

        Hi Justin. Spark Energy work with Letting Agents to provide a specialist service to offer Tenants a better than Big Six service and cheaper tariff. Our Partner Management team work with our Letting Agents to ensure that administration of our properties is done correctly and to make sure that the information we’ve been provided with is accurate. The bill payer for the property is free to arrange a transfer to another provider at any time, as long as payment is up to date. If you’d like to discuss things in more detail please feel free to email me: jenny@sparkenergy.co.uk – I’m more than happy to help get things sorted out.

    • christine winnan

      most of these sort of businesses are helped along by their mates in government as many have business interest and shares in them…that’s why they allow it…it’s the ‘old boys club’ the freemasons at work organised crime etc

  • C Thornton

    I had the same issues and everytime I tried to call no one would answer the phone, there was a permanent recorded message saying they were in trainjng. They also contested my energy move saying I hadn’t paid a bill which was a lie. I wrote to them numerous times as the ombudsman outlines you should and did not get 1 reply!!!

    • http://www.sparkenergy.co.uk Jenny at Spark Energy

      Hello. I’m sorry you weren’t able to get through to us. We haven’t used that kind of message in over a year, so I’m concerned to hear that’s what you got, and I would like to investigate. Can you please email jenny@sparkenergy.co.uk with your Spark account info and let me know when you tried to contact us please?

  • Ms Misled!

    A year on, today being May 15th 2014, they are up to exactly the same old tricks!!!
    Having received ZERO notification of being with sark energy and no replies to my queries from the letting agents, we finally received an estimated bill from spark energy for £445.
    I called to find out how to update meter readings and resolve the bill, when they agreed our readings were accurate with theirs from the moving in date.
    I advised them we were moving to another supplier, and was urged to open a direct debit to begin paying only £40 per month and reassured me our switch over to our new supplier would go smoothly..
    I did as requested and opened up a direct debit there and then. I was told I would now be welcomed onto the low tariff saver- great!
    3 days later they had REJECTED our application to move to our new suppliers.
    I called again to query the matter. They said i had been ‘misled’ by their colleague and that the whole balance would need to be paid off today in order to move.
    When I mentioned the original bill of £445, they scoffed and said no madam, you owe us now £866!!!
    I was baffled and asked how on earth it had jumped so high in 3 days.
    They said its an estimate madam. I said it is not. You had the same readings as we had from the start day to today.
    I was put on hold 5 times. And then told that £866 must be paid in full in order to move. I argued, and then heard the excuse that they had moved us up to the more expensive tariff twice!! Without a welcome pack! Without ANY notification or offer to open a direct debit sooner.
    I told them send the letter.
    Finally a member from our new supplier has us call in their presence, they then took over the call and told them there is NO WAY £866 is the fee (unless we had a large jacuzzi)
    They finally choked and admitted that fee was in fact wrong, and was merely over estimated.
    We are still unable to move as we need landlords to give us access to the locked off electric meter and still need to tackle this crazy bill theyve given us.

    BELIEVE ME PEOPLE, they will try to force you into paying their guesses. It’s just not good enough.

    My advice as soon as you move in, ensure you are not with spark energy and move over ASAP.

    • http://www.sparkenergy.co.uk Jenny at Spark Energy

      Hello. I’m really sorry you’ve not had a good experience. If you’d like me to look into anything for you, please drop me a line by emailing jenny@sparkenergy.co.uk with your Spark account info. I’m happy to help.

  • christine winnan

    Spark’s strategy goes like this: Spark makes it virtually impossible to communicate with them, then they underestimate your bill to put you in their debt, and then they prevent you going to somebody else until you have cleared the debt which by this time is on the way to a grand !

    • http://www.sparkenergy.co.uk Jenny at Spark Energy

      Hi Christine. If you need help, please feel free to drop me a line by emailing jenny@sparkenergy.co.uk – the email will come straight to me and I’d be more than happy to help.

  • A lockitt

    We have just moved into a new property as tenants and are set up with EDF prepay, spark energy have sent us a prepayment key claiming we are with them witch we are not! We have not even contacted ant other providers as we are happy with EDF.
    So how have these con artists got our details and how many people have they tried to force over to their tariff with this tactic?
    Defiantly not following guidelines, beware!

    • http://www.sparkenergy.co.uk Jenny at Spark Energy

      Hello. We work with Letting Agents, so if you’ve recently moved, it might be that we are the preferred supplier for the property. If that’s the case, it’s absolutely fine for you to switch provider. If you’d like me to check things in more detail please email jenny@sparkenergy.co.uk and I’ll help you get things sorted out.

  • TT

    I’ve had to use SPARK after moving into a flat as the
    previous tenants had been using it, but after reading about their terrible
    reviews, I’ve tried to switch to another company.

    However after giving them the meter reading and requesting
    for transfer, they’ve deliberately put an objection to the transfer by saying
    reading wasn’t provided. After many more delays and long arduous battles and
    bill corrections which by the way you really want to check again and again and
    again as they get it so wrong, account was transferred. Only to find out 20
    months later, they suddenly bill me 650 pounds.

    I talked to their agent asking what this is and they are not
    interested in listening to your questions but just asked me to pay. At one
    point she said, just ignore the dates on the bill and pay.

    Think again before joining them

    • http://www.sparkenergy.co.uk Jenny at Spark Energy

      Hi TT. I’m really sorry that you’ve not been happy with our service. If you’d like me to look into things for you, feel free to drop me a line. My email address is jenny@sparkenergy.co.uk – hope to hear from you.

  • STUDENTNA

    currently tackling spark energy- I’m a student and moved in to our 5 bedroom house and switched to british gas. But I keep getting harassed with bills and letters and even phone calls saying I owe extortionate amounts of money- then when ringing them up they ask for my information to go through “the account”, and when I give my details they say ‘Oh, this isn’t your account therefore we can’t continue sorting out the amount of £$%£^. Why don’t you open an account and we can sort it out?’…. so I’m not stupid- because by doing that I will then be taking on and accepting this great bill!

    How do I get them off my back!? they have debt collectors sending me letters and I’m like.. JOG ON!

  • Rich and jess

    Have not lived in the house for a year now spark have billed me for 5k what the f… They had nearly 6k in 2 years gonna speak to ombudsman bit morning as they want to pass to debt recovery agents thought we had said goodbye to this useless company and reeds

  • michael

    I have been trying too leave spark energy since june 10th 2014 but they keep saying I owe them money which I do not as I pay my bill up front every month I am trying too go too npower but they keep blocking it and also I got a dete letter even tho I don’t owe nothing too them I am going too the ombudsman and also I am going for compo for stress

  • very angry lady

    I am fed up with this number calling me every day, sometimes 3/4 times a day. very annoying how do I stop them?

  • charles murray

    Today I have had problems with my gas meter, the pay as you go card once inseted gives the message call help and leaves the 0800111999 number on the meter, however once I called that number as there was no smell of gas I was informed that the problem had to be sorted by Spark and gave the telephone number listed with them from Spark as 08450347474. I have phoned that number only to get the message that the offices are closed for the weekend and when I look on their internet sight there is no alternative phone number to get help.. I feel spark are an inadiquate organisation, I have two children in the home and no heating or hot water because the company are un contactable at weekends. I am absolutely livid with this firm and will be changing to a firm that has emergency numbers on their site like all the rest of the suppliers.

  • emey

    hi im wondering if anyone knows if i can claim anything from spark energy for the trauma and upset they have caused me i have cancer and have enough to cope with without demanding letters from them when they have never even supplies my power at all

  • Charles

    Same old problems

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