Everybody has grievances with companies they deal with from time to time. So what happens if you’re displeased with the service you’re getting from your energy supplier?
Well here are a few tips for how to best conduct yourself in order to get your problem fixed. First we have some general tips to bear in mind at all stages, and then we’ll take you step-by-step through the problem-solving procedure.
1. General tips
First and foremost – don’t lose your rag!
It’s important to remember that your energy supplier do want to resolve your problem. They are unlikely to be wilfully obtuse, and should try their best to deal with any queries to everyone’s satisfaction. With this in mind, don’t just storm in with all guns blazing. This helps no-one, and people in a company are more likely to want to help you if you’re civil. And that means no potty-mouth too!
Be clear and concise
Know exactly what the problem is at any given stage, as this will help you communicate it better to whoever you’re dealing with. It may prove handy if you know how the company could possibly set things right for you as well. If it helps, write a note for yourself before you make a phone call or compose an email. The need to have accurate information to hand is especially important when your dispute relates to figures (e.g. energy units, or amounts of money).
Document what happens
It’s a good idea to keep a record of all of your communication with the company, and their responses. That means keeping letters and emails, and jotting down the important points from phone calls. Hopefully you won’t need any of this – but it might prove useful for reference if the problem escalates and/or drags on.
2. The procedure
Call and make a query
If you have a problem with your bill or some other pressing query, first off you should call your energy supplier’s general customer services line. They might be able to sort it out for you there and then. We’ve listed the main energy suppliers’ contact details below for your convenience, but the number will also be on your bill.
If you want a problem rectified, you should inform your supplier within 12 months of the problem becoming apparent.
Please bear in mind that the lion’s share of issues are resolved at this stage, before the ‘query’ has escalated into a ‘complaint’. After all, no-one really wants a fight.
Call the customer complaints department
If your query isn’t resolved to your satisfaction, or if your supplier doesn’t respond, then get in touch with their customer complaints department. They will then review and hopefully resolve your case.
Refer your complaint to the Energy Ombudsman
If the issue still isn’t resolved to your satisfaction after eight weeks, then you can call on the services of the Energy Ombudsman to help. This is an independent body which can basically adjudicate the dispute. If you accept their decision, then the supplier must as well.
At this point the Ombudsman may require that the supplier performs a service that will benefit you, or that they apologise and offer an explanation. They may even order the supplier to compensate you, although this will be the amount which is considered to be right to settle the dispute, and not a punitive sum
The Energy Ombudsman can be contacted by telephone on 0330 440 1624 or at the Energy Ombudsman website.
Find out more about gas & electricity