United Kingdom

Hive remote heating app still not working, say furious users

Hundreds of customers of smart thermostat provider Hive are demanding their money back after experiencing problems using it to heat their homes. 

Hive, owned by British Gas, is understood to have already agreed to some refunds. 

Its system lets users control their home boiler via an app by setting the times when their heating comes on and goes off. 

Concerns: Laura Shannon revealed her issues with a 'smart' heating gadget in November

It is promoted as an energy and money-saving tool, allowing householders 'to never waste money heating an empty room'. 

But as The Mail on Sunday revealed a couple of months ago, snags arise when customers combine the app with smart thermostatic radiator valves, known as TRVs. 

These should allow people to heat individual rooms at different times. But they often need to be reset – which can take hours. 

Hive says that as many as 1,000 users are adversely affected by this, a result of a 'flawed' software update. 

Yet one user was told by customer service staff that a 'new bug' had been detected – resulting in radiators being turned off or coming on when not instructed to. 

David Strahan, 58, is among those to be refunded for the cost of his TRVs after demanding money back. 

Strahan says: 'Either Hive has finally recognised what customers have been saying for over a year – or after all that time new bugs are emerging.' 

He adds: 'I care deeply about saving energy because of the climate crisis. This is partly why I'm so annoyed with Hive.' 

Someone called 'Ross', who posted a message on Hive's online community forum, laments spending more than £200 on what he describes as 'pieces of junk'. 

Hive has been widely criticised for not tackling the flaws promptly, resulting in frustrated customers removing the system in favour of a rival product. Others are demanding refunds but have not found it an easy task. 

Speech and language therapist Emma Giff, 41, says she reached 'breaking point' trying to get the Hive system to work – even with the help of a British Gas engineer. 

The mother-of-one made numerous phone calls to try to fix the problem of her radiators not heating up according to the schedule she had set. She then wrote a five-page letter of complaint demanding her money back. 

She says: 'I spent hard-earned money on this product and no one at Hive can explain why it does not work.' 

The company initially offered to refund the cost of the radiator valves but not the basic Hive system. 

However, Emma says she specifically bought Hive's system to work in tandem with the TRVs, so she could heat the bedroom and playroom used by her two-year-old son – without at the same time having to heat the rest of the house. 

After spending hours escalating her complaint up the company's management ladder, she has been told she will be refunded in full. Yet Emma says: 'I'm furious with Hive and how appalling the customer service has been.' 

Customer service continues to be a sticking point despite the company taking on more staff. 

Another disgruntled individual posting on Hive's online forum says he was told to email details of his complaint. After doing so, he received a reply telling him the company was unable to respond to technical queries made via email. 

Hive says the bug affecting its system has been a problem since last September. 

It told The Mail on Sunday: 'There is an issue that has affected between 3 and 4 per cent of our 28,000 TRV customer base where radiator valves are failing to sync with the app. 

'We have been working to resolve this and have been testing a fix with customers who reported experiencing problems over the festive period. We will be looking to roll out this fix to the whole customer base within the next seven to ten days.' 

Technical support cannot be given by email, but there is a dedicated complaints email address: [email protected] 

Alternatively, customers can call 0333 202 9614 and ask to speak to the complaints team.

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