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Energy mis-selling

Get money back for mis-selling

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Archna | Edited by Martin

Updated 20 Feb 2017

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.

To cut your energy bills, see the Cheap Gas & Electricity guide. Or if you want us to monitor your tariff to get PERMANENTLY low bills, join the Cheap Energy Club.

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 most common payout is 100 if successful, but up to 10,000 can be awarded by the independent Energy Ombudsman.

Issues in the energy industry aren't uncommon in December 2015 Npower was fined a record 26m after the company issued over 500,000 late and/or inaccurate bills during 2013 and 2014. See the Npower fined record 26m for late billing shambles MSE News story for details.

Ofgem says that, since 2010, it has imposed over 200 million in penalties on energy companies 40m of this for mis-selling.

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 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 12 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 complaint 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 to 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.

Did they switch you without your permission?

Did they lower the direct debit to make it seem cheaper?

Did they say "Martin Lewis recommends us" or "Ofgem sent us"?

Were you sold a fixed, capped or tracker tariff that wasn't explained?

Were you not told about cancellation fees?

Did they not tell you how much you'd pay on the new tariff?

Did they tell you about the cooling-off period and how to cancel?

Did you switch to British Gas in a shopping centre in 2011-2013?

Did you switch to E.on via a sales rep in 2010-2013?

Did you switch to Scottish Power via a sales rep in 2009-2012?

Did you switch to SSE via a sales rep in 2009-2012?

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 which can cost 100s are made. Check the list to see if you may have been mis-billed.

Have you complained about a faulty meter?

Has your supplier mixed up your day and night rates?

Have you given correct meter readings but still have a big bill?

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.

Here are the details of how to complain to each of the major energy suppliers: British Gas, EDF Energy, E.on, Npower, Scottish Power, SSE.

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.

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 contacted the ombudsman, if it agrees to take on your case it will send a response within six to eight weeks. If it rules in your favour, it will send a letter to your provider (and you) detailing what the provider needs to do. This could be an apology or even a payment to you (up to 10,000). The provider has 28 days to respond and if it fails to do so, the ombudsman will chase it up to make sure this happens.

Share your successes in the Energy Mis-Selling Discussion.

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