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Compensation from Utility Companies
Brits miss out on more than £60 million of unclaimed compensation each year
Brits are failing to claim nearly £1.2 million of compensation every week from their energy and water companies, according to research commissioned by Disputer.com, (www.disputer.com) the free online complaints service*. The study, carried out by international research agency YouGov, revealed that 69 per cent of people are unaware that they can claim compensation from these suppliers when they receive unsatisfactory service.
Electricity, gas and water companies are required by law to meet a number of guaranteed service standards*, but the majority of Brits assume poor service and situations such as these suppliers missing appointments are just a fact of life. Worryingly, 89 per cent of people polled were unaware that they are entitled to £20 if these suppliers miss a scheduled appointment. Furthermore, 94 per cent of people did not know that if their water company fails to inform them if they are going to turn up in either the morning or afternoon they could claim the same amount.
A mere two per cent of people questioned had requested compensation from a household utilities supplier following a breach of standards in the last 12 months. Lack of awareness of rights was the key barrier to complaining and, once they had been informed of what they are entitled to, 40 per cent of people insisted that they would make a claim in the future. Fears that the process was too complex (one per cent) and not knowing how to make the claim (two per cent) also held back consumers. Twelve per cent of respondents stated that they would have made a claim last year if they had known the correct process, which equates to more than £60m unclaimed compensation in Great Britain last year.
Inde Uppal, CEO Disputer Limited, comments: “Failing to complain has become something of a British pastime and when faced with substandard services or products we tend to just grin and bear it. More often than not, people are also unaware of their rights or simply don’t have the time to deal with a complaint in the right way. Raising awareness of the fact that energy and water suppliers can be held accountable will not only help consumers gain some welcome compensation, but also kick-start suppliers into improving their customer service.”
According to the study:
- Women were less aware of their rights than men, with almost three quarters (72 per cent) revealing they had no idea about the consumer rights presented in the survey, compared to 65 per cent of men
- Londoners proved to be the least aware, with nearly three quarters not being familiar with any of the compensation situations
- People in the South West showed themselves to be the most savvy, with less than two thirds (63 per cent) admitting to not knowing their claim entitlements
Disputer.com has partnered with Which? Legal Services, CEDR and Minister Law solicitors to ensure consumers receive the right advice and services to help them get what they are entitled to.
To make things as simple as possible, Disputer.com will:
• Create your complaints emails
• Remind you when to escalate a case
• Provide templates to assist you in complaining
• Provide a complete time and date stamped personal record of correspondence via Disputer.com
• Advise you on what you can consider as your next steps if you cannot resolve your complaint
Poor customer service situations that warrant compensation of £20:
• Failure of your water supplier to dispatch a substantive reply in response to a written query about the correctness of an account
• Failure of your electricity/ gas/water supplier to turn up during a scheduled two hour appointment slot
• Failure of your water supplier to supply written notice at least 48 hours in advance of your water supply being cut off for more than four hours
• Failure to give at least 48 hours notice before your gas/electricity power supply is cut off
• Failure of your water company to inform you if an appointment is in the morning or afternoon