Utility companies have done a lot in recent times to improve all aspects of their business from billing to customer services. But things do go wrong or you may be unhappy with some aspect of their service. Then you need to make a complaint but how do you do it? And what happens if you aren’t satisfied with their response?
Start with the supplier
You should always start a complaint with the company in question and many times they will sort the issue for you. If you are unsure where to ring, simply call a general number and ask for the complaints department. So, you could ring the Eon customer services phone number and they would be either help you with the complaint or put you in touch with the person who can.
You can often also send information in an email to a specialist email complaints address. Details of these can usually be found on the company’s website. If you prefer, you can also put your complaint in writing although remember that this will generally take longer to get a response.
Keep copies of all written and email correspondence and take the information of the person who you speak to on the phone along with the time and date of the call.
Contact Citizens Advice Bureau
The CAB offers a consumer service where you can find out if you need to take your case further having had a response from the utility company that isn’t satisfactory. They have an Adviceguide that lets you know what your rights are and also what the process to follow is if you want to take the matter further.
The CAB can’t handle the complaint themselves because they are a charity offering advice. But they can help you make certain it is worth pursuing further if you are uncertain.
The Energy Ombudsman
If you have followed all the processes laid out by the utility company to deal with the complaint including escalating it to the higher offices and the CAB have recommended that you keep pursuing it, then the next step is the Energy Ombudsman.
The Energy Ombudsman offers oversight for all utility companies although they do handle claims regarding the ‘Big Six’ suppliers quicker – British Gas, EDF, Eon, nPower, Scottish Power and SSE. They offer services for both gas and electric complaints so they will help with either.
You can use their services if:
- The complaint hasn’t been resolved within eight weeks for the big suppliers
- The complaint hasn’t been resolved within twelve weeks for smaller, independent suppliers
- If you are in a deadlock with your supplier and need an external mediator
The ombudsman will help with queries such as energy bill problems, issues with sales activity, problems switching supplier or even physical problems with supply to a home or business such as power cuts.
They do not handle queries regarding how much suppliers charge, malicious or unjustified claims, issues around LPG or anything that could fall under a different complaints procedure.
In most cases, the utility company will deal with the complaint themselves and only a few cases ever go as far as the Energy Ombudsman. But you can use this service if you feel that you cannot solve the issue with the supplier directly.