Spark Energy reviews: customer service & complaints
As one of the first energy companies to focus on the letting industry, Spark Energy prides itself on making it simple for new customers to get their gas and electricity set up. We’ve taken a look at Spark Energy reviews to see how satisfied its customers really are once they join the company.
With an average rating of four out of five stars on Trustpilot, you would expect Spark Energy reviews to reflect an overall positive experience for the provider’s customers. However, the provider only achieved an average review score of 1.57 out of five stars from Review.io and an even more disappointing one out of five stars from Yelp.
In Which?’s annual customer satisfaction survey, Spark Energy received an overall customer score of 51% and tied with Scottish Power for thirty-third place out of 35 companies, just in front of Together Energy. Citizens Advice gave Spark Energy an overall approval rating of 2.8 out of five stars and ranked the supplier as number thirty-three out of forty companies.
With such mixed ratings, we did some investigating to see what customers really have to say about Spark Energy. We’ve analysed and categorized Spark Energy reviews into different sections, from customer service and value for money, to billing and the apps, to help you decide if you want to switch to Spark Energy.
Customer Service reviews
While Which? gave Spark Energy just two out of five stars for its customer service, the reviews on Trustpilot regarding customer service are quite mixed. Many customers praise the customer service representatives for being friendly and attentive, while others complain it’s extremely difficult to get through to someone at Spark Energy on the phone.
Spark Energy’s call wait time is one of the poorest on the market. With wait times generally between four to eight minutes, it's no wonder customers are frustrated with the response time. Our tests revealed that the average wait time to speak to a customer service representative is ten minutes and seven seconds. Some customers even reported being on hold for more than half an hour.
“They may well be the Best Energy Supplier in town! ... But you'll probably never know because Customer Services dont answer the phone... 30 Minutes Wait... 38 Minutes Wait. . . .”
For Spark Energy customers who were patient enough to wait to speak to a customer service representative on the phone, the reviews show they were generally pleased with the service they received.
“Apart from having to wait for a while when I call, everyone is so helpful and friendly and it's always a pleasure talking to them all. I've never had a bad experience when contacting Spark.”
If you need a quick response, it appears you may have better luck contacting Spark Energy via its live chat. When we contacted Spark Energy through this platform, the average response time was two minutes and 56 seconds. Customer reviews show that Spark Energy customers are overall impressed with this online chat service as well.
“The online chat has been very useful to me, they’ve managed to sort out everything with no queues. The best online service I believe.”
Value for money reviews
We investigated Spark Energy’s prices and found that its standard variable tariff comes out around £3 less than Ofgem’s energy price cap. Despite this being one of the most expensive tariffs on the market, we found customer reviews regarding value for money to be rather mixed.
A trend we noticed in the reviews is that it appears many Spark Energy customers originally signed up with the company because they thought the company had competitively priced tariffs; however, the inconsistent billing and the stress they experienced in dealing with Spark Energy decreased the overall value of the service.
“Awful company. Big increases in their charges so we switched providers. . . . If you have money to spare and don't mind being ripped off unless you follow up absolutely every bill they send then great, sign up. If you value your money and expect to be valued as a customer then avoid like the plague.”
By improving other aspects of Spark Energy, such as billing and customer service, the supplier could increase its value for money. In August 2019, the company announced plans to expand its then 400-people staff by nearly one-fifth. We have yet to see a major turnaround in performance, but we hope this will eventually bring more value to Spark Energy’s unsatisfied customers.
On the other hand, we did find some reviews in which customers praised Spark Energy for its service and said they believed their money had been well spent.
“Excellent customer service. Great value for money. Best energy company out there.”
Which? gave Spark Energy two out of five stars for both bill clarity and bill accuracy. While the provider received a slightly better rating of three out of five stars from Citizens Advice for bill timeliness, it didn’t provide the charity with data regarding bill accuracy — leading us to further doubt its performance in this area.
According to Spark Energy reviews on Trustpilot and Reviews.io, it appears that billing is the area in which the provider suffers most. Spark Energy customers repeatedly reported receiving inaccurate and overestimated bills even after sending meter readings.
“This must be the worst provider ever! Every month bills are wrongly calculated based on their estimates absolutely disregarding the readings we sent! So much stress dealing with Spark.”
A common complaint we noticed in the reviews is that many customers also reported being “harassed” by Spark Energy about their payments.
“Disgusting, billed myself and a member of my family completely wrongly, then harassed us to pay them the money.”
“This company will harass you with messages a week before your bill is due & continue to do so after you have paid your bill , if it was possible to give zero stars I would have. Will be changing my supplier asap.”
Reviews of the Spark Energy apps
Spark Energy has two apps: one is for customers who pay by direct debit, and the other is for pay-as-you-go customers. While Which? gave Spark Energy just two out of five stars for digital tools, the customer reviews on Google Play show there is a substantial difference in the quality of the different apps.
The original Spark Energy app is geared towards customers who pay their energy bills via direct debit. This app received an average of 1.5 out of five stars on Google Play reviews. Many customers call the app “useless” and reported they were not able to register or login to their accounts. The reviews also show that customers have had trouble submitting meter readings through the app.
“Tried registering my account with my details but it kept saying can't find your account, also tried resetting password with link sent to email but no link has arrived after 24 hours.”
“The main reason to use this app is to submit meter readings. This no longer works, rendering the app largely useless.”
In 2018, Spark Energy introduced its Swift PAYG app, and it appears to be faring much better than the original app. The app received an average rating of 4.3 out of five stars on Google Play reviews, with customers reporting it made their lives much easier because they no longer have to go to the shop to top up their gas and electricity meters.
The only negative trend we noticed in the reviews is that the app does not show how much credit is currently on the meter. Some customers also said they wished they could transfer credit between the different fuels.
“The only thing stopping me from rating it 5 stars is the fact the App doesn't give you a running balance so u can keep track of credit left, this would help when being away from home. Otherwise it's a simple effective responsive app”
If you do need to make a complaint to your energy provider, you can only hope that it is handled as quickly as possible. Let’s have a look at data from Spark Energy to see how promptly the supplier is actually to resolve complaints from its customers.
|Time frame||Number of complaints received per 100,000 customers||Number of complaints resolved per 100,000 customers||Percentage resolved by the next working day||Percentage resolved within eight weeks|
|January - March 2019||914||879||77%||100%|
|April - June 2019||805||773||79.5%||99.8%|
|July - September 2019||1,151||1,068||89.9%||99.8%|
|October - December 2019||2,526||2,485||94.2%||99.9%|
Even though the number of complaints per 100,000 customers more than doubled between the third and fourth quarter of 2019, it does appear that the percentage of complaints resolved by the next working day has improved. The percentage of complaints resolved within eight weeks has remained consistent.
Spark Energy reported the following were the top five reasons to complain: billing, payments, customer service, customer set up and metering. The negative reviews on customer review sites seem to reflect these top reasons for customers to complain.
What is Spark Energy’s complaints procedure?
Spark Energy explains how to make a complaint on its website. If you need to make a complaint, you can call Spark Energy on 0345 034 7474 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also write a letter addressed to Spark Energy, Complaints Department, Ettrick Riverside, Dunsdale Road, Selkirk, TD7 5EB.
Representatives are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. You will be given a complaint case number, and a member of the Spark Energy team will try to resolve the complaint within 24 hours.
If the complaint is not sorted within one working day, it will be passed to a Customer Relationship Manager, who will then investigate the complaint. If this manager is not able to resolve the complaint within five working days, or if you are not satisfied with the resolution, you can ask for a senior manager to review the complaint.
If the complaint is not resolved within eight weeks, you can refer it to the Energy Ombudsman. Spark Energy will send you a letter containing all the necessary information. You can still contact the Energy Ombudsman without the letter, but only if eight weeks have passed since you first contacted Spark Energy to make the complaint.
|Short live-chat response times||Long call wait times|
|Customers are satisfied with the Swift PAYG app||Inaccurate billing|
|Consistent complaints handling||Expensive standard tariff|
Based on Spark Energy reviews, we give the provider a rating of 2.0 out of five. While the reviews regarding customer service, value for money, and the apps are overall mixed, the rates are expensive and the reviews that concern billing are overwhelmingly negative. It appears the billing issues cause extreme stress for Spark Energy customers and this seems to be the main reason for changing to a different provider.
If you’re thinking about switching your energy supplier, but you’re not sure which energy company or tariff is best for you and your area, give us a call at Selectra on 0203 936 0059. One of our energy advisors will happily assist you in making sure you get the best plan for your home.