The latest in a long line of embarrassing episodes for the UK’s big energy providers came to light this morning, with the announcement that Eon has been ordered to pay £12m to customers due to large scale mis-selling.
Ofgem’s investigation found that the energy supplier had been giving incorrect information to customers between June 2010 to December 2013. Although Ofgem didn’t find any evidence that Eon had set out to deliberately mis-sell to customers, it did find the company had failed to properly train and monitor staff.
I wish I could say I was surprised, but I can’t. Our 2011 investigation of energy supplier telesales found that incorrect advice was being handed out in almost a third of the phone calls we made. We also found that staff were giving out questionable advice about potential savings, cashback deals and fixed prices. It’s extraordinary that mis-selling has continued for so long.
Eon customers to get compensation
Eon will pay around £35 to 333,000 Warm Home Discount customers. Automatic payments will be paid to some vulnerable customers, and 465,000 will receive letters to see if they are entitled to compensation. Eon has also set up a dedicated hotline, 0800 0568 497, for customers to get in touch.
Eon’s chief executive Tony Cocker has apologised to customers, adding:
‘It is completely unacceptable that we may have been unclear with customers about their tariff choices and as a result those customers may not have made the best choices for them.’
The damage has been done
This is the largest fine of its kind to be issued to an energy company, and while it sends a clear warning message that mis-selling won’t be tolerated, it’s too late for those customers who were mis-sold. Energy suppliers shouldn’t wait for the outcome of the proposed competition enquiry and must seize their last chance to sort out woeful service standards and start to put customers first.
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Do you think you were affected by Eon’s mis-selling? Have you had a bad experience with another energy company? Reveal all here.