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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 been 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 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 £5,000 can be awarded by the independent Energy Ombudsman.

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

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.

£150 back after ending up in debt

I switched to Npower via a door-to-door salesman, who claimed I could save. The direct debit was too low and we ended up £500 in debt. Following MSE's guide, I complained to Npower. It offered £150.

How far back can you go?

The Energy Ombudsman is able to look at complaints within nine months of when you first noticed the problem.

If your supplier made a mistake 10 years ago, you won't be able to claim back now. However, if you've only now looked back at your bill, from, say two years ago, and realised there's been an error, the Ombudsman may be able to look at your complaint.

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. Use a comparison site to find the cheapest deal across the market. Switching cuts many people's costs by £200+ over the year, 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.

LATEST NEWS: 22 Oct 2013 Scottish Power forced to pay £8.5m compensation

Ofgem is forcing Scottish Power to pay £8.5 million to 190,000 customers after investigators found the supplier's doorstep and telesales agents mis-sold energy tariffs.

Officials found that between Oct 2009 and Jan 2012, sales staff gave people inaccurate comparisons with their current supplier, as well as wrong estimates of annual charges. Ofgem also ruled that Scottish Power failed to adequately monitor or train its sales staff.

If you signed up to receive gas or electricity, or both, from a Scottish Power doorstep or telesales agent between October 2009 and January 2012, you may have been given incorrect information and could be due a payout. See the full Scottish Power mis-selling MSE news story.

Ofgem fined Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) £10.5 million in April after finding that between October 2009 and September 2012, it misled some customers into switching to the firm by telling them they would save money. In reality, they were put onto more expensive tariffs (see the full SSE mis-selling news story).

Under the Sales Guarantee scheme, anyone who signed up to SSE (including Scottish Hydro, Southern Electric, Swalec and Atlantic) or M&S Energy via a salesperson between October 2009 and September 2012 should receive a letter informing them they may be eligible for a refund if their case resulted in any financial loss.

If you think you've been affected by SSE mis-selling and haven't got a letter, call 0800 975 3341.

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. If youve been treated unfairly in any way, follow the process.
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 8 weeks, go to the free Energy Ombudsman

The Ombudsman Service is an independent, official body that settles disputes for the communications, energy, property and copyright licensing sectors. The service it provides is completely free.

It has legal power to adjudicate on individuals' complaints or complaints from small businesses. And there's no negative outcome, you cannot be awarded against. The worst that can happen is if the Ombudsman says you've no case.

If, after eight weeks, your supplier hasn't got back to you or you've reached a deadlock, you can take your complaint to the independent Energy Ombudsman if your supplier participates in the scheme (see the Energy Ombudsman for a 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 to the Ombudsman over the phone, on its website or via the post. It will need to know:

  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.

It's a fairly simple process and shouldn't take you long to complete. The Ombudsman will send a confirmation letter and will get back to you if it needs any more information.

Share your successes in the
Energy Mis-Selling Discussion

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Energy mis-selling
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