For a long time, the energy companies have believed that they truly do have all of the power and the customers have no say in the matter at all. Of course, this is no longer the case at all. People are now realizing that you must make sure that you stand up for your rights, or get trampled in the process. There are some reports of people being mis-sold an energy contract or being majorly out of pocket due to an incorrect energy bill. If you find yourself in this situation, you might be able to be justly compensated for your losses — but there are still some points that you need to consider before you just go in all guns blazing, to borrow a term from across the pond. You must make sure that these steps are taken before you have any type of grounds for a real complaint.
To start the process, you will need to complain to your supplier themselves. Make sure that you do this in writing and not over the phone. In addition, you also want to use a form of mail out that gives you exact confirmation on when the other party received your letter. That’s going to be very important when you have to go back and file further complaints and raise things up the channel quite a bit.
Give your initial letter at least 8 weeks before you take further action. Then you can bring your complaint to the Ombudsman for further processing.
The Ombudsman can look at your complaint within nine months of when you first noticed the problem. Remember the timestamping we talked about with your letters? This is why that timestamping is important. It shows when you actually realized there was a problem. This is also why taking action quickly is very important. You don’t want to just shrug it off and deal with being overcharged. You need to make sure that you’re fighting every step of the way and that you don’t give up for a second.
Another way that you might have been harmed by energy mis-selling is through door to door salesmen. If the salesman told you that you had to sign something in order to get a quote, you could find yourself “slammed”. You will not have to pay anything to the new supplier, and the new supplier and the old one are both responsible for investigating and getting to the bottom of things. Some salesmen are actually so desperate to close the sale that they have been known to forge signatures. This is a criminal offense and you’ll receive 250 GBP just for the compensation for the forging along with anything else that you are owed.
If the salesperson just lowers the direct debit per month to make it look cheaper, this is considered a form of mis-selling and you will be due compensation as well. You cannot mislead the customer when you’re trying to get them to make a service change.
It’s all about the explanations that you get. If the salesperson doesn’t explain things to you properly, then you may have grounds for energy mis-selling here as well.
There should always be a cooling off period so that you can think over the decision and see whether or not it’s something that you really want. This is done because many people make decision in a flash, and then they find out later that it really wasn’t a good idea after all. It’s completely up to you to figure out which steps you actually want to take, so make sure that you check things out for yourself.
As an aside, we’re definitely not trying to pick on salespeople at all. Many of them really do try to provide value to their customers, but there are also very predatory salespeople that will say and do anything to get the sale — thinking that it won’t matter down the long road. It really does matter, and they’re learning that quickly as the Energy Ombudsman begins really cracking down!
Take care of ourselves, and remember: you only have the rights that you fight for!