FAQs using our service

Can you deal with non-UK providers?

We don’t deal with providers based outside of the UK. You’ll need to ask your supplier directly who you can take your complaint to if it's based overseas.

Can I complain about my provider?

We can only deal with complaints about providers and suppliers that are signed up to our scheme. Search for your provider here.

If your provider isn't signed up to our scheme contact Citizens Advice, which will be able to provide some advice and information about who you can complain to.

Who can complain?

If you are a domestic or micro business consumer of an energy company, or a domestic or small business consumer of a communications company, you have the right to use our service.

When should I complain to my service provider?

Let your provider know of any problems as soon as possible. The sooner you tell them, the sooner they have the opportunity to put things right. It may also help any further issues from escalating.

How do I complain?

If you've not yet complained to your communications provider or energy supplier, click here to follow our simple steps on how to complain directly to them. Depending on the provider, you'll need to allow them at least six to eight weeks to try to sort out your complaint.

How long do I have to wait before I can log a complaint about my provider?

Your provider has six to eight weeks - depending on which one you use - to resolve your complaint. This is to give them enough time to assess the situation and the evidence to find an appropriate resolution.

During that time, they could contact you for more information. You can also contact them to see where your complaint is up to. In fact, we’d recommend you get in touch if you haven't heard anything after four weeks, just to check your complaint has been received or is being processed.

Your provider might reach a decision on your complaint at any time prior to the eight weeks. If they do, they'll send you a 'deadlock letter'. This normally contains a final offer and our details. At this point you’ll need to decide if you think their response is reasonable and will solve your problem. If it isn’t, you can contact us.

What is a deadlock letter?

Sometimes, a company will write to you to explain it can do no more to assist with your complaint. This letter will include our contact details, which means you can escalate your complaint to us. We call this a ‘deadlock letter.’ You must escalate your complaint within 12 months of receiving the letter.

What if my provider wants more than eight weeks to resolve my complaint?

It's up to you if you would like to refer your complaint to us. You can choose to wait and see if your provider resolves your issues with more time, or you can still raise a complaint with us. As long as your complaint is eight weeks old, the provider can't stop you from escalating your complaint.

Can you look at my complaint if I have already accepted a remedy from my service provider?

Yes. If the provider has not resolved the complaint to your satisfaction, if the issue re-occurs, or if new issues arise, we can look into your complaint.

Do you have any tips for raising a complaint?

Sure.

Do:

  • Be aware of any deadline for logging your complaint.
  • If you don’t hear from your provider, contact them again to check they're dealing with your complaint.
  • Keep a note of each contact you make and what is said.
  • Provide evidence about any issue.
  • Be clear about how you would like them to fix the problem.

Don’t:

  • Be scared of complaining. Complaining can resolve issues and stop problems happening again.
  • Get flustered. Keep calm and be clear.
  • Put it off. Tell your provider as soon as you notice a problem to stop it from getting worse.

Should I still pay my bill if I am complaining about my provider?

We would not recommend cancelling any direct debits or not paying bills whilst the complaint is ongoing. This is to avoid any further issues from developing.

Will you help me build my case?

We're impartial, so it's not our job to build your case. However, we encourage you to provide as much information as soon as possible, as this will help us to reach a fair decision quickly.

Will my service provider know I have raised a complaint?

If you provide enough information and evidence for us to fully accept your case, your permission is needed for us to look into the complaint and contact your provider directly. At this point your provider will know that you've raised a complaint with us. You don't need to let your provider know you're going to use our service before this point.

What sort of financial offer should I expect from my provider?

If we consider a financial offer should apply to remedy your complaint, the amount will depend entirely on the complexity of the issues and the information we receive from you and the company. Generally, the most common financial awards are around £50.

What evidence will I need to provide?

If you've received a final response or eight week letter from your provider, it’s good to provide us with evidence of this, so we know the complaint has been fully escalated. An eight week letter is a standard letter that providers send to consumers when they have reached the stage in the complaint process where they can bring the complaint to Ombudsman Services.

Please provide any evidence of the contact you’ve had with the company, such as copies of emails or letters, or details of phone calls you’ve had such as dates, times and names of people you’ve spoken with.

You also need to provide any evidence you may have that shows the issues you've been experiencing. This may include documentation such as bills, bank statements, etc. It completely depends on what you think is relevant to your complaint and what you think can show the issues you’ve been experiencing.

What is supplier of last resort?

Supplier of last resort (SOLR) is the process energy providers go through when they cease trading. The process is overseen by Ofgem, the energy regulator. Ofgem will appoint another energy supplier to take over the customers' supply. We can't open any new cases for complaints about providers going through the supplier of last resort process.

What should I do if my energy provider stops trading?

Read our information on supplier of last resort above in the FAQs. If your energy supplier ceases trading, do not try to transfer your supply. Your energy supply will not be interrupted. All you need to do is wait for the new appointed supplier to contact you and take a meter reading for their records. If you need any information, you should visit Ofgem’s website.

If it’s a communications provider, you can find the latest information about what to do on the Ofcom website.

Is there anyone else that can help me if you cannot?

Citizens Advice can provide free and impartial advice if we are unable to deal with complaints about your provider, if we don’t deal with the types of issues you’re complaining about, or if we’re not able to provide the level of remedy that you require.

Alternatively, you may also be able to pursue your complaint independently through legal channels, such as small claims court.

What other help is available?

If you feel you or any dependents you may have are in a vulnerable situation and may need extra assistance, the energy sector offers some additional services.

The Extra Help Unit helps energy customers who may be vulnerable, due to age, health conditions or other circumstances, in circumstances where the energy supply may be affected. Both Ombudsman Services and Citizens Advice can refer customers to be contacted by the Extra Help Unit if they meet the criteria.

The Priority Services Register is designed for vulnerable consumers who may meet the criteria that could include; being of pensionable age, disabled or chronically sick, having a long-term medical condition, having a visual or hearing impairment or additional communication needs, or being in a vulnerable situation.

You can find out more about the Priority Services Register on Ofgem’s website , including the additional services you may be entitled to. All you need to do to sign up to the Priority Services Register is contact your energy supplier.