- Monthly complaints to Ombudsman Services: Energy reached 5,011 in October – the second highest on record
- Complaint levels had fallen since July but rise again 9% from September to October
A total of 5,011 complaints were made to Ombudsman Services: Energy during October 2014, the body’s second-highest number recorded in a single month.
During October Ombudsman Services: Energy handled 9% more complaints than in September (4,583) while the figure also represents a 170% increase on the same period last year (October 2013: 1,850), a sign that consumers are more willing than ever to take action over disputes with energy suppliers.
Billing problems accounted for the vast majority (84%) of complaints, with grievances linked to back billing, disputed charges, inaccurate invoices and the failure of energy companies to produce bills at all.
Meanwhile, problems relating to transfers reached their highest ever level last month as consumers are affected by erroneous transfers or transfers not being actioned. This figure comes as Energy UK revealed earlier this month that the stranglehold of the Big Six is beginning to loosen as small firms have seen their market share treble in the last year from 3% to 9% as more and more consumers are voting with their feet.
The sole ombudsman for the energy sector, Ombudsman Services: Energy can investigate disputes that have been on-going for eight weeks or more or those that have reached deadlock stage. Consumers must contact their supplier directly in the first instance before approaching the ombudsman.
Chief Ombudsman Lewis Shand Smith commented: “While October’s figures have shown that consumers are ever more willing to escalate complaints when they feel like they have been wronged, it’s particularly encouraging to see more consumers willing to vote with their feet by going out and finding the best deal for them.”
“We will continue our efforts to raise awareness among consumers to make them aware of their rights and the message is clear: if you experience a problem with your supplier and it remains resolved, Ombudsman Services is here to help.”
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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