3 simple steps to follow if you need to make a complaint
No customer wants to make a complaint, but it's important that your energy supplier knows if you feel you have been mistreated so that they can take steps to improve their processes and customer care in the future.
If something goes wrong with your power, heating or lighting, it can cause significant problems for you and your family. Your home should be a safe space where your energy supply works as expected, and the service should be provided for a fair price that you clearly understand and have agreed to.
Following up with issues can seem like a time-consuming and terribly frustrating activity, and in these situations, poor customer service is no joke. It's true that in some instances, the process of submitting a formal complaint about your gas supplier or electricity supplier may be lengthy, difficult and downright daunting. However, as an energy customer, you have support available, should you need it.
To ensure your complaint is handled fairly and in a timely fashion with a clear resolution, there are three straight forward steps to follow.
The sign of a trustworthy and reliable energy company is that you, as the customer, barely notice the energy supply you are using.
It is second nature to switch on lights, heat your home comfortably, cook dinner and use your appliances whenever you want to. That is, until something goes wrong with your gas or electricity supply, or you notice an issue with your bill, or you experience poor customer service from your energy provider.
Whilst the vast majority of gas and electricity customers won't need to submit complaints about the services they receive, some customers will. If you are in the unfortunate situation where you are faced with a problem and need to make a complaint, you should follow this process:
Your first point of call when making a complaint is to reach out directly to your own energy supplier. Although it might seem counter-intuitive to contact the company that you are unhappy with, it's the correct action to take. You should only appeal to a higher authority if you really need to because a dispute cannot be resolved.
Most of the time, a complaint can be settled quite easily between you and the company that supplies your gas or electricity. Generally, they will want to keep you happy because you are a customer of theirs.
For issues that are relatively straightforward:
For issues that are slightly more complex:
Moving forward, continue to keep a record of your communications. Hopefully, your supplier will be able to find a solution that you are satisfied with. It's in their interest to do this so that you continue as their customer.
However, it's not always as simple as that and in some cases, you'll need to get external support and guidance. If you are in this position, your next step is to contact Citizens Advice.
Citizens Advice, a network of independent charities, offers confidential advice and guidance to assist you with financial and legal topics and helps consumers if they find themselves in a dispute.
With free online advice that can be accessed through their website, along with one-to-one support available in person at help hubs, Citizens Advice provides guidance on a whole host of issues. It can help you navigate topics like how to recover from debt, better manage your money or access the benefits you are entitled to.
If your energy supplier won't resolve your complaint, reach out to Citizens Advice. Whilst you usually cannot ask Citizens Advice to pursue your complaint for you, their advisers will help you understand your rights and the steps that you can take next.
However, if you are part of a vulnerable group, Citizens Advice may be able to handle the complaint on your behalf. This may apply to you if you fall into one of the following groups:
You can contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service by phone, text or live chat.
Phone and text lines are open Monday to Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm:
Live chat is available Monday to Friday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and is available on the Citizens Advice website.
To connect you to the correct adviser, the first person you speak to at Citizens Advice may ask you for a few details, including:
Speaking with Citizens Advice should give you the knowledge and confidence to progress with your complaint. If there does not seem like another way forward, the Citizens Advice may suggest you contact the Ombudsman.
You can contact the Energy Ombudsman to help you reach a fair resolution with your gas or electricity company.
As an independent and unbiased party, the Ombudsman will review the facts and consider all perspectives.
The Energy Ombudsman can help you resolve problems with:
However, the Energy Ombudsman cannot help you resolve problems with:
If your complaint has not been dealt with correctly, the Energy Ombudsman can help you get practical action, financial compensation, clarification or an apology.
First, raise the complaint:
Then you must decide whether to proceed with the solution provided.
You can contact the Energy Ombudsman by post, phone, text, live chat or email:
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