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Ofgem calls for ‘awful customer service’ complaints handling procedures to be fixed

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Energy suppliers have been given a demand by Ofgem that they have until the end of this month to fix their ‘frankly awful’ customer service complaints handling procedures.

They have been told they need to explain to customers what changes they are making to improve their customer service procedures, and complaints handling services.

“We are already formally investigating Npower about complaint handling and other customer service issues and this should send a strong signal to all suppliers that we are ready to take action to drive up standards,” it said in a statement.

Ofgem added that “it is suppliers’ responsibility” to get complaint handling right in the first place but that there needs to be a “greater awareness” of the Energy Ombudsman which can help to resolve disputes between the companies and their customers.

Shadow Energy Minister Caroline Flint has said that more than 500,000 customers are potentially missing out on compensation they are owed from their suppliers.

She said that only 5 per cent of complaints were passed on to the Ombudsman because of poor standard of suppliers’ communication, a lack of awareness of the Energy Ombudsman, and general complaints fatigue.

Ofgem wrote to providers demanding action be taken last month, on how they handle customer complaints over bills and poor service, after a poor outcome in this years customer satisfaction survey.

It showed 57 per cent of domestic and 52 per cent of small business consumers were not satisfied with the way their complaint had been handled by their energy supplier.

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