An energy provider found guilty of a number of failings including mis-selling and not telling customers about price hikes is to pay £250,000 to charity Citizens Advice. And affected Economy Energy customers may also be due compensation.
Energy regulator Ofgem says between October 2012 and December 2013 inadequate training and a lack of management oversight at Economy Energy contributed to sales agents:
- Quoting inaccurate estimated savings.
- Providing a misleading guarantee of cheaper prices than those offered by the six largest suppliers.
- Failing to behave fairly and professionally.
- Not making clear to prospective customers they would be signing up to a 12-month contract.
Economy Energy also failed to give advance notice of price rises in April 2013 and November 2013, meaning up to 70,000 customers were not given the opportunity to switch before the price increases took effect.
Compensation for Economy Energy customers
On top of the £250,000 donation to Citizens Advice, which will be used to provide energy advice to consumers, Ofgem says Economy Energy has voluntarily paid over £23,000 to nearly 500 customers affected by its mis-selling over the last six months.
However, the regulator expects the supplier to do more to identify and compensate any remaining affected customers.
Economy Energy says it's continuing to proactively trace and contact customers affected, but if you think you were mis-sold to, contact Economy Energy using the information detailed on its website. Also see our Energy mis-selling guide for help getting your money back if you've been mis-sold an energy contract.
Regarding customers who weren't told about forthcoming price hikes, Ofgem says some have already reclaimed their money, while Economy Energy gave £100,000 of unclaimed cash to the National Children's Bureau in March 2015 to help families living in fuel poverty.
But again, if you would have switched to a cheaper tariff had you known price rises were on the horizon, contact Economy Energy to complain.
'We sincerely apologise'
Angela Beardsmore, chief operating officer for Economy Energy, says: "We sincerely apologise to our customers who were affected by these past issues, which were neither deliberate nor calculated.
"We fully supported the Ofgem investigation into historic practices and have worked hard to review and improve our systems and processes to put things right.
"We've restructured the business, recruited new staff including very experienced senior leaders, invested in new IT, and enhanced our policies, procedures and training to deliver the service our customers expect. We have worked hard to issue refunds to customers and we've paid unclaimed refunds to charity. We will continue to trace and refund affected customers."