According to the Energy Ombudsman, energy suppliers wrongly reject close to 1,000 complaints per week. This figure has tripled in the past 12 months.
Research suggests that consumers who are sent an incorrect energy bill are frequently turned away by their suppliers when they complain.
As a result, a record 37,061 people have had to reach out to the Energy Ombudsman to try to resolve energy related issues. Of these, just 3% were found to be illegitimate complaints, with the remainder resulting in refunds or apologies from energy suppliers.
‘Customers less willing to put up with poor service’
Energy Ombudsman Lewis Shand Smith said the figures were evidence that customers were not prepared to accept poor service levels from their energy company.
“The aftermath of the recession, coupled with intense political and public scrutiny of the largest energy suppliers, has left customers less willing to put up with poor service and more likely to take action,” he said in an interview with The Sunday Times.
Energy suppliers told to review complaints process
The news follows a letter issued by Head of energy regulator Ofgem, Dermot Nolan, to the energy suppliers, highlighting the issue of complaints handling.
According to the regulator, 57% of households are unhappy with the way in which energy suppliers respond to complaints. Almost half remain dissatisfied even after their energy supplier claims to have dealt with the issue.
In his letter, Nolan gave energy suppliers three months to carry out an audit of their complaints procedures.