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Energy mis-selling Get money back for mis-selling & wrong bills

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If you've been mis-sold an energy contract or left majorly out of pocket due to an incorrect energy bill, you may be able to get £100s back.

Energy company mis-selling has been rife. Now it's time those left out of pocket got their cash back. This full step-by-step guide includes free template letters to get your money back - and possibly compensation on top.

This can be big money

Energy companies rack up profits faster than Lewis Hamilton's final Silverstone lap, but their customer service often falls short. If an energy company treats you unfairly, whether it's mis-selling or mis-billing, you have rights.

You could also get compensation on top of missed savings. The average payout is £135 if successful, but up to £10,000 can be awarded by the independent Energy Ombudsman.

British Gas is to pay about £570,000 to 4,000 customers who were mis-sold tariffs - and make a further £430,000 available for its charity trust fund. From February 2011 to March 2013, British Gas mis-sold tariffs to customers in Sainsbury's stores and London's Westfield shopping centre. Employees exaggerated how much customers could save by switching to British Gas and gave wrong comparisons.

British Gas will now pay £570,000 in total to 4,300 mis-sold customers. It has also made available an extra £430,000 for the British Gas Energy Trust. The trust gives grants to applicants to help pay utility bills. See were you mis-sold to by British Gas?

First, complain to your supplier. If you don't get any joy after eight weeks, take your complaint to the Ombudsman. Below are a few success stories (the second is from a member of the MSE team).

£670 back after calling up

"Just gave E.on a call after reading the news story. After going through all the details, E.on said they are sending me a cheque for £672 and a letter of apology. Thank you MSE."

I got £200 back for a wrong transfer

"I received a letter from my gas supplier EDF to say it was "sorry I was leaving them", but I hadn't applied to switch. I rang EDF immediately, but it was too late and the switch was already being processed.

"After two months of an EDF 'investigation', it transpired I had been billed for my neighbour's gas as there was only one meter between us.

"When a new family moved in downstairs and tried to switch to Scottish & Southern, they applied online. As my name was on the account, a letter was sent to me regarding the switch.

"EDF ended up refunding me £212.32 as a gesture of goodwill for all the hassle (my electricity bill for the last seven months)."

I got £250 back for mis-selling

"A salesman told me I would be able to save by taking a dual fuel tariff. 12 months later, I realised my direct debit had increased by £60 per month and I was locked into the tariff due to exit fees.

"After declining a £175 goodwill payment from the supplier, I went to the Ombudsman who decided the energy company failed to provide accurate information and mis-sold me. As well as not having to pay the exit fees, the Ombudsman awarded £250."

How far back can you go?

If you've noticed a problem and think you energy supplier has made a mistake, you've got 12 months to speak to it. If after this point you're still not getting anywhere, you can go to the Energy Ombudsman. You need to contact the Ombudsman within nine months of when you first reported the problem to your supplier.

There's no set timeframe for how far you can go back and the Ombudsman says if your supplier made a mistake two or more years ago, but you've only just noticed the error, it may be able to look into the compliaint for you.

Never switch at the doorstep or on the phone

The big six energy firms have ceased doorstep selling. But if you're approached, don't switch on the doorstep or listen to energy sales pitches. Instead, use a comparison site to find the cheapest deal across the market. Switching can cut many people's costs by £100s, plus special links get up to £30 cashback or a crate of wine on top. See Cheap Gas & Electricity.

To deter unwanted sales representatives, print our Trading Standards-approved 'no cold callers' sign. If energy sellers don't obey, you can report them.

Have you been mis-sold or mis-billed?

Whether your energy's been mis-sold or the bill's wrong, the process to claim back cash is the same.

The energy mis-selling checklist

If any of the below happened to you, you may have been a victim of mis-selling.

Before we start, remember one thing. Switching energy is usually the best MoneySaving thing to do, but not via a doorstep sales rep. Read the Cheap Gas & Elec guide for full details on how to find the best deal yourself.

Share your successes in the Energy Mis-Selling Discussion

The energy mis-billing checklist

With such over-complicated energy tariffs, it's no surprise massive mistakes costing you £100s are made. Check the list to see if you may have been mis-billed.

This list isn't exhaustive. Please report new scenarios in the Energy Mis-Selling Discussion

How to complain

Here's our step-by-step guide to getting your money back and compensation.

Step 1: You MUST complain to your supplier first

While you don't need substantial proof to get compensation, the more facts you have, the more likely it is your complaint will be resolved. Gather old bills, contracts, times of sales visits and salespeople's names. Even if you noted something down on the back of an envelope, this will strengthen your case.

Take all the info you have and draft a letter of complaint to your supplier. For less serious complaints, call your supplier and explain over the phone, but make sure you note down times, dates and who you spoke to.

Details for the main energy companies: British Gas, EDF Energy, Eon, Npower, Scottish Power, Scottish and Southern Energy.

Step 2: After eight weeks, go to the free Energy Ombudsman

The Energy Ombudsman Service is a free independent, official body that settles disputes for the energy sector. It has the legal power to adjudicate on individuals' complaints or complaints from small businesses.

You can use it if you've had a problem with your energy provider and you've had no luck with its official complaints process. If after eight weeks your supplier hasn't got back to you or its reply isn't satisfactory, you can take your complaint to the ombudsman if your supplier participates in the scheme (see the full list).

It'll review your case and decide on an appropriate course of action, often including an apology and a payment if there is sufficient evidence to support your side of the story. You can complain over the phone, on its website or via the post. You'll need the following:

  1. The date you first complained.

  2. What you and the firm have done about the problem.

  3. What you want as a resolution to the problem.

  4. If you are asking for an amount of money, what that's based on.

Once you've made your complaint, the ombudsman will send an acknowledgment letter and will get back to you if it needs any more information.

Share your successes in the Energy Mis-Selling Discussion

Join in the Forum Discussion:
Energy mis-selling
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