If you're lucky, you'll never have a reason to be annoyed at your energy supplier.
Some of us aren't so lucky.
Whether it's a dispute about billing, customer service or meter readings, these companies can really ruffle our feathers sometimes.
But before you take your fight to the streets, your MP or every social network you can name, there's a set procedure for complaints that tend to get the best results.
Play it cool
A little politeness goes a long way. If you go in guns blazing from the start, you won't be doing yourself any favours.
You've a right to be annoyed, yes, but is it really worth losing your cool over?
Keep it civil
, stay courteous and things should go better for everyone.
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Be clear and concise
Make sure you know exactly what the problem is so you can communicate it clearly when you make a complaint.
This reduces the chances that you'll be misunderstood, which should speed up the complaint process.
If the problem is with billing or figures, be sure to have them to hand so you can give accurate facts without having to root around for them.
Which is better - this:
"I called a few weeks ago, not sure when but it was in the afternoon. I spoke to a lady but didn't catch her name."
"I called on the 25th at half past nine in the morning and I spoke to a lady named Tina in customer service."
Hopefully your complaint won't escalate or drag on needlessly. But if it does, having proof of when the company spoke to you - and what they said - puts your case in good stead.
Call and make a query
Before you move into complaints territory, it's worth calling your energy company and making a query.
Depending on the problem, you might be able to get things sorted with minimal fuss.
This gives the company the opportunity to fix things quickly. It also backs up a future complaint if you've tried this method first.
Your supplier should have their customer services number on their website or any letters they sent you.
You can use the list of gas and electricity companies we compare, where you can find their customer services phone number.
Call the customer complaints department
If things aren't resolved at this stage, then it's time to make a complaint. Get in touch with your supplier's complaints department and state your case.
Also, it might be a little old-fashioned, but it wouldn't hurt to follow up your complaint in writing for an extra record.
Make sure you clearly state that you're making a complaint, and have the letter sent by recorded delivery so you know that it has been sent and received.
Refer your complaint to the Energy Ombudsman
If the complaint hasn't progressed after eight weeks
, or if your supplier confirms to you in writing that they can't help, you can get in touch with the Energy Ombudsman Service.
The Ombudsman is approved by regulator Ofgem
, and acts as an independent arbitrator in these kinds of disputes.
They'll look into the case on your behalf and make a decision as to what the supplier should do.
If you accept their final decision, then the supplier must accept it as well.
The Energy Ombudsman can be contacted by telephone on 0330 440 1624 or at the Energy Ombudsman website.
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