Outfox the Market touts an “all the frills and low bills” approach as an energy provider. They have previously claimed that they bill their customers at wholesale prices, which nets them 0% profit on gas and electricity. It’s worth seeing if these bold claims still hold up under scrutiny.
This is an independent Outfox the Market review to help you decide if they are the company for you, based on the quality of their customer service and account management. You will also be able to find details on how their tariffs work so you can better compare them with other energy providers.
Outfox the Market at a Glance
- Electricity: 100% renewable
- Gas: 0% green gas
- Based: Leicester
- Founded: 2017
- Cheap green supplier
- Claim to use UK-based wind generators
- UK-based husband and wife founding team
- Choice of fixed and variable tariffs
- Economy 7 tariffs available through partner
Outfox the Market Review
How competitive is Outfox the Market? We dive into the details of how they operate and what their customers say about them.
1. Customer Service
Energy companies live and die by the quality of their customer service and Outfox the Market is no exception. At The Switch, we see good customer service as focusing on response time, clarity and prevention. How does Outfox the Market treat its customers?
“You get cheap energy at the cost of bad service when things go wrong. When I was a customer, I experienced ridiculous hold times [...] so many price hikes I lost track and complete miscommunication about it all.”
This past year has not been great for Outfox the Market and its reputation. As it stands, they have 45% negative reviews on Trustpilot. Multiple reviews touch on common customer support pitfalls:
- Poor communication regarding billing.
- Long waiting times.
- Lack of follow-through.
Some former customers even volunteered sensible advice that any energy company should take to heart, especially for a provider struggling with customer service quality.
“Don't ignore your clients [...] Most of your CS reps are fine, but [...] they have no managerial support to take sensible decisions.”
The direct responses to these valid complaints have been inconsistent at best with customer support representatives resorting to empty promises before simply restating contact information for the company.
This definitely gives a distinct impression of deflection as opposed to actual service. Since waiting times are right up there with the Big Six companies and they’ve earned a reputation for sluggish and low-quality service, it’s hard to recommend Outfox the Market based on how they treat their customers.
2. Tariffs and pricing
Initially, Outfox the Market touted itself as an energy market disruptor by ditching standing charges completely. They were replaced with a multi-tier membership fee which depended on your energy use profile (low, medium, high). This led them to claim, at the time, that there was no mark-up on their electricity and gas unit rates and that they were selling power at wholesale prices.
Standing charges vs membership feesA standing charge is a set fee that covers the cost of delivering energy to your home. It doesn’t change, no matter how much energy you use A membership fee is a monthly charge that changes according to your total yearly energy use.
Sometime during the second half of 2018, Outfox the Market quietly dropped the membership fee structure and went with the industry standard of unit rates and standing charges for their power bills.
Outfox the Market also enacted four price increases in six months which, understandably, have not been well received by customers who were primarily attracted by initially cheap pricing.
Money Saving Expert bears some responsibility, disclaimer or not, since they recommended Outfox the Market for its pricing alone on their Cheap Energy Club. Many people switched and were then hit with bad customer service and perplexing billing changes.
Outfox the Market went from charging an average amount, based on previous consumption, to a variable direct debit scheme that saw monthly bills increase by 40% during colder months. This is because the new scheme allocates direct debit amounts unequally between winter and summer months.
Between numerous accounts of subpar customer service and worrying billing practices, the fact that Outfox the Market sources renewable electricity from the UK is not a sufficient reason to recommend them. There are many other renewable energy suppliers doing a better job on the customer service front.
This a recent comparison between Outfox the Market and some leading green energy providers. We used a standard example for a family of four living in London with average electricity and gas consumption (3,100kWh for electric and 12,500kWh for natural gas).
|Outfox the Market||OVO Energy||Tonik Energy||Octopus Energy|
|Average cost per year for 3 bed house in London||£906||£1104||£1043||£1002|
Prices correct as of May 2019
While Outfox the Market is cheaper than Ovo, Tonik and Octopus, those companies all have 4 or 5-star ratings from Trustpilot as opposed to the 2 stars that Outfox the Market earned on the same review site.
3. Our verdict
While Outfox the Market can be competitive on the pricing front, that is hardly the case when it comes to customer service. There are large numbers of customers who are unhappy with the way they have been treated. This is a case of what you get is what you pay for.
Login and Hero Hub
With Outfox the Market, you have access to an online account, called Hero Hub, that lets you submit up-to-date meter readings, view bills and check that your personal information is accurate.
Unlike other energy suppliers, Outfox the Market does not offer discounts to incentivise customers to go ‘online only’ and lighten the load for customer service.
Additionally, several customers have reported being unable to access their online account for extended periods of time, sometimes for months at a time!
Another concerning issue connected to the Hero Hub relates to meter readings. Multiple reports have surfaced in online reviews with a worrying common thread, namely Outfox the Market not taking submitted readings into account in a timely manner.
Outfox the Market make it slightly tricky to get in touch with their customer service team by phone. They prefer customers to email or use the web chat feature on their website. However with some digging you will find the following contact details for Outfox the Market.
Outfox the Market Phone Number
0800 103 2702
Monday - Thursday: 8:30am - 7pm
Friday: 8:30am - 5pm
Saturday: 9am - 2pm
Bastian Plc, Northbridge Place, Frog Island, Leicester, Leicestershire, United Kingdom, LE3 5DH
Outfox the Market Tariffs
Outfox the Market offers both fixed and variable tariffs for electricity and natural gas:
- One Variable 4.0 (variable)
- Fix’d 19x-18M (fixed 18 months)
- Fix’d 19x 5.0 (fixed for 12 months)
- Fix’d 19 (fixed for 12 months)
Here’s the breakdown of the 12 month Fix’d 19 tariff to give you a clear idea of their pricing:
|Fix’d 19 (Electricity)||Fix’d 19 (Gas)|
|Type of tariff||Fixed||Fixed|
|Duration||12 months||12 months|
|Unit rate||14.0254p per kWh||2.9715p per kWh|
|Standing charge||14.70p per day||25.20p per day|
Let’s check where Outfox the Market sources its energy from. At the moment, Outfox the Market partners with DONG Energy to source all of their renewable electricity. On their front page, the company gives the impression of 100% green electricity with a wind turbine graphic.
On the How it works page, Outfox the Market proclaims “100% Wind electricity - produced in the UK for you”. However, their FAQs tell a different story where they “guarantee 100% of the electricity we supply is generated from sustainable and renewable sources such as wind, Bio thermal, Solar and other sources, much of which is generated right here in the UK.”
While no information is given regarding their natural gas mix, you can find out more about renewable sources for electricity:
Did you know?
As with other suppliers providing 100% renewable electricity, Outfox the Market customers receive the same electricity from the National Grid - a common mix of electricity sourced from renewable and non-renewable sources. However, Outfox the Market guarantee to generate or buy and put back an equal amount into the grid that was renewably-sourced.
As renewable energy generation and usage increases in the future, the percentage of renewable electricity customers receive from the grid will increase. For this reason, Outfox the Market are promoting the increase in renewable electricity for the UK.
Should I switch to Outfox the Market?
Despite having competitive prices, Outfox the Market does not impress when it comes to customer service. Unfortunately, their partnership with DONG Energy to source UK-based renewable energy does not make up for poor service.
Aside from price, Outfox the Market does not offer anything beyond what other 100% renewable companies are already doing, in most cases with better customer care.