I have recently moved house and, for the first time in my life, have rented somewhere for 6 months until I can find a suitable property to buy. It’s all been a bit of an adventure and so far almost everything has gone well.
The fly in the ointment has been ensuring I get the energy suppliers that I want and not those imposed on me by the rental agent. It seems to be common practice for agents to have agreement with certain suppliers and that as soon as a property is offered for rent, those suppliers take over.
Before moving, I made arrangements for all my preferred suppliers to take over provision at the new address. All went well and I was assured that, apart from having to change phone number, all was OK. I moved in, everything was still connected and after a couple of days I had letters from the gas, water and phone companies I had chosen telling me that everything was in place. The missing piece was the electricity supply, yes I had lights and power, but it wasn’t until a week had passed that I found a “Welcome Pack” from Spark Energy stuffed through the door. This pack contained no account number or details of anything other than a load of fluff telling me what a great company they were and providing a form for me to fill in to set up a direct debit. I chose not to fill the form but to phone them – that’s when things warmed up slightly.
It seems that my letting agent Watson Bull and Porter have partnered with Spark Energy who had been able to become my electricity supplier one day before I got the keys. After a heated phone discussion with Spark Energy it turns out it’s down to me to repeat the exercise and change back to SSEB (my chosen supplier) – do a search for Spark Energy to see what they’ve been up to in the past and read the Which? review to see their below average ratings. I want nothing to do with Spark but find myself having to to get involved just because someone in a suit in a rental agency gets some commission from them for this underhanded business practice.
I suppose I am lucky as I am more than willing to stand my ground and make a lot of fuss about this kind of thing but I feel sympathy for those too timid to argue and get what they want and to make a fuss with the agents.
Give it a couple of weeks and I guess things will be how I want them but, should I really have to go through all this rubbish and, more importantly, why should a distinctly dodgy supplier (more accurately a provider of monthly bills) get a chance to take money for a simple rental transaction?