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Lowri Beck 0844 CLI SmartMeter Calls (Read 1,398 times)
NGMsGhost
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Lowri Beck 0844 CLI SmartMeter Calls
Aug 19th, 2019 at 10:17am
 
Naughty Smart Meter Installer and Meter Readers Lowri Beck (who work on behalf of several large energy companies including Scottish Power) are still at it in a big way in terms of 0844 and 0845 misuse with no one in a senior management position at the company apparently willing to grasp the issue and deal with it even when writing to them at CEO level.

They called me last Wednesday morning (14th August) from 0844 245 1260 at a ridiculously early 8.17am to try to persuade me to change to a smart meter after my previous refusal to accept numerous previous pesterings to install what they failed to be a SMETS1 dumb smart meter that would become uselss on change of energy supplier. Now they are finally offering SMETS2 meters (because they have to legally) but don't seem to get it that calling at 08.17am from an 0844 number is unlikely to see a high takeup of these meters from us all thinking and informed consumers who had previously deliberately refused their many pesterings to install a SMETS1 meter.

I have sent this email to the CEO of Lowri Beck about the matter.

Quote:
-------- Original Message --------
Subject:      SMETS2 Call From Illegal 0844 Lowri Beck Number
Date:      14.8.2019 09:45
From:      NGMsGhost
To:      bob.vernon@lowribeck.co.uk
Copy:      keith.anderson@scottishpower.com, colin.mcneil@scottishpower.com, andrew.lappin@scottishpower.com, charles.langan@scottishpower.com, "chris.walker@lowribeck.co.uk." <glyn.jones@lowribeck.co.uk>, grant.qualey@lowribeck.co.uk, stephen.moores@lowribeck.co.uk, robin.bradshaw@lowribeck.co.uk, tracy.sanderson@lowribeck.co.uk, robin.bradshaw@lowribeck.co.uk, frank.caldwell@lowribeck.co.uk, robin.bradshaw@lowribeck.co.uk, david.barratt@lowribeck.co.uk, dermot.nolan@ofgem.gov.uk, sarah.cox@ofgem.gov.uk, mary.starks@ofgem.gov.uk, jonathan.brearley@ofgem.gov.uk, rob.salter-church@ofgem.gov.uk, rachel.clark@ofgem.gov.uk, sacha.deshmukh@smartenergygb.org, alistair.gibbons@smartenergygb.org, gavin.sheppard@smartenergygb.org

Dear Mr Vernon,

SMETS2 Meter Installation Call From Illegal 0844 Lowri Beck Number

Please can you explain to me why I received a call just now (8.17am on 14th August) from Lowri Beck on behalf of Scottish Power about installation of a SMETS2 gas and electricity meters in my home from a number with a CLI of 0844 245 1260? This is in addition to the fact that the call was made to me at 8.17am, which I consider to be too early in the day not to inconvenience retired people or people taking a day's leave but staying at home. I think the earliest such calls should be made is after 9.30am and indeed customers would probably be far more receptive to such calls between 5pm and 8pm in the evening and/or at the weekend than early on in the morning and/or during the working day.

However returning to the main issue at hand this article on the Call Centre Helper website at www.callcentrehelper.com/companies-still-ignoring-ban-on-0845-numbers-86142.htm in April 2016 noted that some call centres were still ignoring the transposition of the EU Consumer Rights Directive in to UK law in summer 2014 when the relevant UK statutory instruments clearly required that only standard rated numbers starting 01, 02 or 03 (all 084 numbers having an 03 equivalent reserved for them by the number vendor which can be immediately and painlessly switched to).

So having already previously been plagued with calls by Lowri Beck to install what I knew to be an entirely pointless and soon to be redundant SMETS1 meters that you and Scottish Power knew full well would become redundant if I moved supplier I find it extraordinary that when contacting the band of refusenics who have been intelligent enough to avoid installing SMETS1 meters you continue to break the requirements of an EU Directive and the relevant UK statutory instruments by still using an 0844 number as though you are some bandit company with no customer service values whatsoever and who apparently only cares about funding its switchboard equipment and phone maintenance at the customer's cost.

If you doubt that the requirement to not use 084 numbers does not exist and think that you as company directors are not liable for legal action over the misuse of such numbers then perhaps you should also check out the articles at www.gov.uk/government/news/government-cuts-off-costly-calls and www.fairtelecoms.org.uk/consumer-contracts-regulations.html which clearly specify that this is the case. So I would like to know why a large organisation like yours making tens of thousands of calls a week to UK consumers shows so little care for complying with the law that you are still illegally using an 0844 number as your call back CLI?

Lastly since I also have a difficult meter location in a basement store room (my flat is on the ground floor above several, corridors, walls and doors away) that only has a small ventilation opening that when last checked only allowed signal through on one network I was also unimpressed that the lady calling me today could not email me with any technical details of how the smart meter and/or in the in home customer display worked in terms of their ability to communicate with each other or send readings back to Scottish Power via the mobile network. Instead you just expect customers to blindly agree to the smart meter being installed without checking if it is a location where this may be difficult.

Continued Below...
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« Last Edit: Aug 19th, 2019 at 6:29pm by NGMsGhost »  

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NGMsGhost
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Re: Lowri Beck 0844 Scottish Power SmartMeter Call
Reply #1 - Aug 19th, 2019 at 10:18am
 
Quote:
Also lastly as someone with his gas and electricity meters in a residents management company controlled store room that I do not have direct access to or any management company provided key access to I would also say that I find it a scandal that you and Scottish Power did not concentrate all your initial efforts on installing smart meters on flat dwellers with meters not in their own property who were quite clearly the people who needed them the most and would have been the best test customers in the early days of smart meter rollout. Also I find it concerning that you still have not apparently developed a solution for smart metering in basement or other meter rooms without windows where there may be no mobile phone signal and/or where the local wifi signal to the customer's smart meter display unit may not reach that far.

I look forward to hearing from you in relation to all of the above matters and have also copied this email to relevant parties at Scottish Power, Ofgem and SmartEnergyGB.

Regards,

NGMsGhost
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« Last Edit: Aug 19th, 2019 at 10:19am by NGMsGhost »  

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Re: Lowri Beck 0844 Scottish Power SmartMeter Call
Reply #2 - Aug 19th, 2019 at 10:31am
 
So far I have only had this very unsatisfactory response (bearing in mind I emailed Lowri Beck's CEO) of last Wednesday afternoon from the mysterious Arunava who does not have a last name and might well be working for Lowri Beck in an outsourced customer service centre in India. Or at least if she/he is in the UK you would think they would include a UK address and phone number to prove this was the case.

Quote:
-------- Original Message --------
Subject:      RE: SMETS2 Call From Illegal 0844 Lowri Beck Number / SCOTMOP2019-13154
Date:      14.8.2019 13:08
From:      LBComplaints <LBComplaints@Lowribeck.co.uk>
To:      LBComplaints <LBComplaints@Lowribeck.co.uk>,

Good afternoon sir

Thanks for your email.

We have logged a complaint for you, the reference number is SCOTMOP2019-13154.

We will investigate this and get back to you soon.

Yours sincerely

Arunava


So today I sent them this follow up email:-

Quote:
-------- Original Message --------
Subject:      Senior Mgmt Ducking Responsibility Re 0844 Misuse
Date:      19.8.2019 08:39
From:      NGMsGhost
To:      Bob Vernon <Bob.Vernon@LowriBeck.co.uk>
Copy:      keith.anderson@scottishpower.com, colin.mcneil@scottishpower.com, andrew.lappin@scottishpower.com, charles.langan@scottishpower.com, chris.walker@lowribeck.co.uk, Glyn Jones <Glyn.Jones@lowribeck.co.uk>, Grant Qualey <Grant.Qualey@lowribeck.co.uk>, stephen.moores@lowribeck.co.uk, Robin Bradshaw <robin.bradshaw@lowribeck.co.uk>, Tracy Sanderson <Tracy.Sanderson@lowribeck.co.uk>, David Barratt <David.Barratt@lowribeck.co.uk>, dermot.nolan@ofgem.gov.uk, sarah.cox@ofgem.gov.uk, mary.starks@ofgem.gov.uk, David Grimshaw <david.grimshaw@lowribeck.co.uk>, sacha.deshmukh@smartenergygb.org, alistair.gibbons@smartenergygb.org, gavin.sheppard@smartenergygb.org

Dear Mr Vernon,

Senior Mgmt Ducking Responsibility Re 0844 Phone Number CLI Misuse

Further to my email of last Wednesday, 14th August, I wanted to make clear that I feel the below reply from Arunava of "LB Complaints" (no last name provided and quite possibly could be an outsourced contract worker based at a customer service centre in India but no way to know given that Arunava gives no address) to be a wholly inadequate way of dealing with the issue of your company and Scottish Power continuing to recklessly disregard a change in legislative requirements on call centre phone numbers that banned the used of non standard rated numbers (that is any number other than 01, 02 or 03 although 080 Freephone would also be permissible) for any customer related call more than five years ago.

The only reason this matter hasn't been fixed so far appears to be because the well paid senior executives of Lowri Beck and Scottish Power haven't bothered acquainting themselves with these requirements themselves and instead presumably allow all of their call centre operations to be run by low cost (for it but not their customers who are ripped off calling back 0844 numbers that cost up to 1 a minute from a mobile phone and are excluded from all bundled minutes packages) call centre operations who don't themselves seemingly feel responsible for complying with legislative requirements when making calls on behalf of their clients.

The below email from Arunava (to which there has been no further follow up so far) is not good enough and I should have received a call back from someone at a senior management level at Lowri Beck and/or Scottish Power to indicate what you are going to do to stop making tens of thousands of phone calls a day or week showing an 0844 CLI that breaks current UK legislative requirements.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Regards,

NGMsGhost


And then this one.

Quote:
-------- Original Message --------

Subject:      Previous MSE Lowri Beck 084 Misuse Discussion
Date:      19.8.2019 09:16
From:      NGMsGhost
To:      Bob Vernon <Bob.Vernon@LowriBeck.co.uk>
Copy:      keith.anderson@scottishpower.com, colin.mcneil@scottishpower.com, andrew.lappin@scottishpower.com, chris.walker@lowribeck.co.uk, Glyn Jones <Glyn.Jones@lowribeck.co.uk>, Grant Qualey <Grant.Qualey@lowribeck.co.uk>, stephen.moores@lowribeck.co.uk, Robin Bradshaw <robin.bradshaw@lowribeck.co.uk>, Tracy Sanderson <Tracy.Sanderson@lowribeck.co.uk>, David Barratt <David.Barratt@lowribeck.co.uk>, dermot.nolan@ofgem.gov.uk, sarah.cox@ofgem.gov.uk, mary.starks@ofgem.gov.uk, David Grimshaw <david.grimshaw@lowribeck.co.uk>, sacha.deshmukh@smartenergygb.org, alistair.gibbons@smartenergygb.org, ysusf.patel@scottishpower.com, julie.keough@scottishpower.com

I see the issue of Lowri Beck also wrongly using 0845 numbers on cards left by meter readers when the householder is not at home was also discussed in Feb 2018 at https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5787669

So it seems your company does not care it is breaking the law on this matter and is deaf to all calls to change its 084 numbers to the immediately available 034 equivalents that are always included in call packages and thus do not break the law or cost customers 1 per minute or more to call from a mobile phone...........
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« Last Edit: Aug 19th, 2019 at 10:34am by NGMsGhost »  

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Re: Lowri Beck Aug 2019 0844 SmartMeter Calls
Reply #3 - Aug 19th, 2019 at 6:28pm
 
Surprised that no one else seems to care that Scottish Power and others are allowing Lowri Beck meter services to try and scam their customers with 0844 number CLI callback numbers when they call about a customer's meter reading or installing a smart meter.

As Lowri Beck make thousands of calls a week there is no excuse for them being unaware of the adverse impact of giving customers (especially customers who might call back on a mobile) an 0844 number to call Angry Angry Angry
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Re: Lowri Beck Aug 2019 0844 SmartMeter Calls
Reply #4 - Aug 19th, 2019 at 8:05pm
 
NGMsGhost wrote on Aug 19th, 2019 at 6:28pm:
Surprised that no one else seems to care


Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

Be assured that the
fair telecoms campaign
is on the case, although we do not report every step of our activities in public.

It is also worth noting that use of a 084 number as CLI is a breach of the relevant Ofcom rules. Furthermore, in principle, every telephone service provider should be blocking all calls quoting 084 and other premium rate numbers.
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« Last Edit: Aug 19th, 2019 at 9:42pm by SilentCallsVictim »  
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Re: Lowri Beck Aug 2019 0844 SmartMeter Calls
Reply #5 - Aug 19th, 2019 at 9:53pm
 
SilentCallsVictim wrote on Aug 19th, 2019 at 8:05pm:
Be assured that the
fair telecoms campaign
is on the case, although we do not report every step of our activities in public.


Forgive me if I have missed something obvious but following the retirement or at least taking of a lengthy sabbatical by a founding co member of the Fair Telecoms campaign (although I believe this person may still undertake saynoto0870.com forum moderation work) is the surprisingly effective Fair Telecoms movement not now comprised only of NHS Patient? Wink

Quote:
It is also worth noting that use of a 084 number as CLI is a breach of the relevant Ofcom rules. Furthermore, in principle, every telephone service provider should be blocking all calls quoting 084 and other premium rate numbers.

Well I have had Plusnet Caller Protect (identical in all respects to the equivalent BT service) enabled for quite some time and it had no effect in either blocking the display of the 0844 CLI used by very naughty Lowri Beck or in blocking the arrival of the call itself. Also as telephoning customers about meter readings and to install smart meters is a core part of Lowri Beck's business and not an ancillary or peripheral activity I see no excuse for them still getting this wrong five years after the relevant statutory instruments were implemented and in spite of no doubt endless complaints from customers about the continued 0844 number misuse. Shocked Angry Cry

In practice BT Group (the owners of Plusnet and also BT Openreach who wholesale the line to Plusnet) have done nothing to block 084 or 087 prefixed CLIs and their Caller Protect service is of very questionable merit indeed compared to more effective free unwanted call blocking services offered by TalkTalk and Sky.

But then BT seems to get away with murder with Ofcom including still not including calls to mobiles in its very expensive landline Anytime calls package that it tries to blackmail customers in to taking with its extortionate per call connection fee and per minute charges in the weekday daytime plus also weekday evenings for any customer who does not accede to the add on call package blackmail (since most more recent Plusnet and BT customers only enjoy free calls at the weekend). Shocked Angry Angry Angry
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« Last Edit: Aug 19th, 2019 at 9:54pm by NGMsGhost »  

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Re: Lowri Beck 0844 CLI SmartMeter Calls
Reply #6 - Aug 20th, 2019 at 5:45pm
 
The Lowri Beck discussion has been continuing further today over at https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?p=76178758 mainly because there was more history about the firm's 084 calling misuse on that website and a poster participating in the discussion there with seemingly a lot of further interest in and knowledge about this issue.

Anyway readers here may want to have a look at that thread where I have extracted three of the finest examples of negative sentiment by current and former staff of Lowri Beck about how the company is run as described in full at https://www.indeed.co.uk/cmp/Lowri-Beck/reviews
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Re: Lowri Beck 0844 CLI SmartMeter Calls
Reply #7 - Aug 20th, 2019 at 8:54pm
 
According to https://www.gov.uk/government/news/cold-callers-to-be-forced-to-display-phone-nu... companies that break new rules on providing a number that identifies them when making unsolicited calls can face fines of up to 2million from Ofcom and a further 500,000 from the Information Commissioner's Office.

I also seem to remember that some other ruling required that companies making unsolicited calls provided either an 0800 or geographic number that either allows them to be called back or at least plays a message about who was calling, especially in the event of Abandoned Calls.

Although the number given by Lowri Beck does lead to an IVR for their call centre with a message as to which company it is it does not play a message specifically about who was previously calling and nor is the call back to them by the called person able to be made free or at standard geographic rates.

Given the massive number of calls Lowri Beck appears to have made on behalf of several different energy companies during the last two years from the CLI of 0844 245 1260 (and for several years before that from 0845 numbers) you might think that they could be in line for receiving a significant fine from Ofcom or the ICO, although I expect they will find a way to wriggle out of this as long as they promise to stop using 0844 numbers in their CLI right away with immediate effect...........
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Re: Lowri Beck 0844 CLI SmartMeter Calls
Reply #8 - Aug 20th, 2019 at 9:58pm
 
NGMsGhost wrote on Aug 20th, 2019 at 5:45pm:
The Lowri Beck discussion has been continuing further today over at https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?p=76178758

Some points on the technicalities of the various regulations:

1. The Consumer Contract Regulations (#41).

These cover customer service calls to a trader.
Use of anything but 080/01/02/03 numbers is prohibited for Lowri Beck.
Enforcement of compliance is undertaken by the Trading Standards Department of whichever local authority covers either Lowri Beck (as an agent) or the energy company with which the consumer has the contract.

2. The Ofcom CLI regulations.

A breach of these could be considered to be persistent misuse of a telephone network or service. Following notification (under section 128 of the Communications Act), Ofcom could proceed to issue an Enforcement Notification (Section 129) and / or potentially a penalty (under Section 130). Ofcom's policy on use of these powers is published under Section 131.

3. The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations.

These demand display of a valid CLI to identify the company when direct marketing calls are being undertaken.
If Lowri Beck is not engaged in marketing goods or services, then these rules do not apply.
Enforcement of these regulations is undertaken by the Office of the Information Commissioner.

Full details of the respective regulations (and comments on the enforcement procedure) could be provided if required.

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Re: Lowri Beck 0844 CLI SmartMeter Calls
Reply #9 - Aug 21st, 2019 at 8:21am
 
SilentCallsVictim wrote on Aug 20th, 2019 at 9:58pm:
If Lowri Beck is not engaged in marketing goods or services, then these rules do not apply.

Enforcement of these regulations is undertaken by the Office of the Information Commissioner.


Lowri Beck is marketing installation of Smart Meters but there is no direct financial consideration from the consumer for having them installed so I don't know if the regulations apply in this case or not.

Whilst you can quote the regulations until the cows come home what we actually need to see is some proactive enforcement of them by the various gatekeepers but in general that always appears to be lacking as Lowri Beck are no doubt well aware.

All of this is the exact opposite of PPI where the regulator response to deal with the problem was draconian, excessive and went on for far too long.
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« Last Edit: Aug 21st, 2019 at 8:24am by NGMsGhost »  

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Re: Lowri Beck 0844 CLI SmartMeter Calls
Reply #10 - Aug 21st, 2019 at 8:48am
 
NGMsGhost wrote on Aug 21st, 2019 at 8:21am:
SilentCallsVictim wrote on Aug 20th, 2019 at 9:58pm:
If Lowri Beck is not engaged in marketing goods or services, then these rules do not apply.

Enforcement of these regulations is undertaken by the Office of the Information Commissioner.


Lowri Beck is marketing installation of Smart Meters but there is no direct financial consideration from the consumer for having them installed so I don't know if the regulations apply in this case or not.

Whilst you can quote the regulations until the cows come home what we actually need to see is some proactive enforcement of them by the various gatekeepers but in general that always appears to be lacking as Lowri Beck are no doubt well aware.

I agree, with one qualification.
If there were, and we expected, no enforcement action, then we would be fools to continue campaigning and would have to simply whinge on discussion forums.
The fair telecoms campaign pursues issues and cases where we see some realistic prospect of success. This includes pressing for more and more effective enforcement action, insofar as we believe this can be achieved.

I hope, and believe, that those who are engaged in this conversation share this approach.
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