Energy Ombudsman releases August complaints figures

by Communications Team | Sep 15, 2014

  • Monthly energy complaints figures fall for the first time since March 2014
  • Complaints total 4,477 – the second highest number on record

Complaints made to Ombudsman Services: Energy during the month of August 2014 decreased for the first month since March 2014 – falling 16 per cent on July’s figures. However, with August being peak holiday season and containing fewer working days for complaints to be recorded, such blips in the figures were expected. Despite the month’s smaller figures, August 2014 remains the ombudsman’s second busiest month on record with 4,477 complaints, 158 per cent increase on the number seen in August 2013.

Billing remains by far the most popular cause of grievance among customers, accounting for 3,874 complaints in August (86 per cent of the total). In addition, transfer charges amounted to 11 per cent of disputes (466), with more than a third of these relating to failed transfer requests.

Despite this, the figures show that there have been small yet significant improvements in these areas, with a 17 per cent drop in billing complaints and a 27 per cent drop in sales complaints, suggesting companies could be improving their complaints handling process.

Disgruntled customers are still being urged to contact their supplier directly if they have a complaint, and then if eight weeks pass without resolution they can refer the matter to Ombudsman Services: Energy.

Chief Energy Ombudsman Lewis Shand Smith commented: “Whilst we should be encouraged that complaints to Ombudsman Services: Energy have fallen, we are used to seeing slight dips in the number of energy complaints we receive in August. With the holiday season in full swing, this is a repeat of a similar trend seen in recent years, but is still our busiest month on record.”

“It’s great to see that areas such as billing and transfers are slowly being addressed, but we urge customers to be aware of their rights, and if they have a dispute with them for any reason we urge them to approach Ombudsman Services: Energy after eight weeks trying with the supplier.”

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Notes to editors

  • Ombudsman Services is a not for profit, private company limited by guarantee. 
  • Ombudsman Services is a national, private sector ombudsman scheme which provides independent dispute resolution for the communications, energy, property, copyright licensing sectors, the Green Deal, the ABFA, Reallymoving.com and Which? Trusted Traders scheme.
  • The Chief Ombudsman’s speech about the future of Ombudsman Services in a changing consumer redress landscape can be accessed here
  • Ombudsman Services provides an expert dispute resolution service. The service focuses on encouraging early agreed resolution wherever possible and does not charge a fee so it’s able to offer access to redress for consumers to resolve their complaints without proceeding to the civil courts.
  • Ombudsman Services is a full member of the Ombudsman Association (OA) and adheres to its principles.
  • Further information about Ombudsman Services can be found at www.ombudsman-services.org