- Read text description
Overall cases by industry (Oct-Dec 2017)
Jul-Sep 2017 Oct-Dec 2017
486 529 463
2,189 3,033 3,068
4,289 5,031 4,924
7,036 8,653 8,523
Note: All quarterly totals include Dual Fuel and Other Industry cases. In the October to December 2017 quarter there were 5 Dual Fuel and 63 Other Industry cases.
- Read text description
Top three issues by industry (Oct-Dec 2017)
- Billing 38%
- Credit 24%
- Provision 14%
- Other 24%
- Billing 42%
- Credit 25%
- Provision 15%
- Other 18%
- Billing 58%
- Credit 15%
- Land 9%
- Other 18%
We're always looking for ways to make EWOV's dispute resolution process work better.
In August 2017, after a successful trial in late 2016, we introduced a follow-up SMS for customers whose complaint EWOV initially handles by Assisted Referral. It's still early days, but the addition of SMS in this way is already delivering positive outcomes towards ensuring the Assisted Referral process is fair and that customers understand their options.
Surveying showed the 'you can come back to EWOV' message wasn't getting across to many customers.
In April 2016, we surveyed customers specifically about the effectiveness of the Assisted Referral process. The survey results clearly showed we could be doing more to improve customers' understanding that the referral back to their energy or water company isn't necessarily the end of the resolution process. 41% of respondents weren't happy with the information provided to them as part of the Assisted Referral. 13% of respondents didn't know they could return to EWOV if they weren't contacted by their company. 17% didn't know they could return to EWOV if they were unhappy with the outcome of the Assisted Referral. So, despite our telling Assisted Referral customers several times in writing and during conversation that they could and should return to EWOV if the Assisted Referral didn't resolve their complaint, in many cases the message wasn't getting through.
We tested a different way of getting the message across to customers.
With the support of the EWOV Limited Board and our Process Advisory Committee, we decided to trial an SMS reminder (about coming back to EWOV) further along in the Assisted Referral process. Of the 355 customers who received an SMS in the trial, 49 recontacted EWOV, with 22 complaints progressing to either Real Time Resolution or Investigation. Significantly, the outcomes achieved once these complaints returned to EWOV were different from those proposed at Assisted Referral.
An SMS reminder is now a permanent part of EWOV's Assisted Referral process.
In August 2017, we added an SMS reminder to the Assisted Referral process permanently and it's already delivering positive outcomes. The SMS is sent to the customer 45 days after referral of the complaint to the energy or water company. It serves as a timely reminder that the customer can come back to EWOV if the Assisted Referral hasn't resulted in resolution of their complaint. In the five months from August 2017 to December 2017, we sent 5,479 SMSs. 436 customers contacted EWOV within five days of receiving the SMS. 279 complaints advanced to an Investigation.
SMS CASE STUDY 1
Affordable payment instalments agreed after EWOV's SMS follow-up
After receiving a series of bills she disputed as too high, and with debt collection action initiated by the electricity retailer, Ms Y switched retailer in March 2017. In early August 2017, she was notified that she still owed the previous retailer around $2,000. At this point Ms Y contacted EWOV seeking assistance to resolve the situation.
We registered Ms Y's complaint as an Assisted Referral and facilitated contact with her by a higher-level contact within the energy retailer. After receiving EWOV's SMS follow-up, Ms Y re-contacted us saying she was dissatisfied with the outcome of the Assisted Referral. She said the retailer had told her she would need to make payments of $400 a fortnight towards the arrears. Ms Y said she wasn't in a position to do this, and thought it was unreasonable.
Responding to EWOV's Investigation of Ms Y's complaint, the retailer confirmed Ms Y owed just over $1,000. It acknowledged Ms Y's concerns and her financial situation, and proposed a payment plan of $50 a fortnight until the arrears was cleared.
Ms Y was satisfied with this outcome and the complaint was closed.
SMS CASE STUDY 2
Credit default listing removed after EWOV's SMS follow-up
Mr J complained about a default listed on his credit report by an electricity retailer. He said he'd moved overseas in December 2014. His flatmate had remained in the apartment and Mr J assumed the flatmate was paying the electricity bills. In April 2016, he became aware that the final bill of $524 wasn't paid and a default against him had been listed for it. Mr J said he paid the bill in full, but couldn't get the retailer to lift the default listing.
We registered Mr J's complaint as an Assisted Referral and facilitated contact with him by a higher-level contact within the energy retailer. After receiving EWOV's SMS follow-up, Mr J re-contacted us saying he was dissatisfied with the outcome of the Assisted Referral. He said the retailer still refused to lift the default listing, even though it was apparent that it knew the last known address in its records for him wasn't accurate, so the letter of intent to list the default had been sent to him at the wrong address.
EWOV Investigation of Mr J's complaint found that the electricity retailer was told, twice, that Mr J had moved out of the property before it issued the final bill and moved to list the default. We also found that the retailer made no attempt to gain Mr J's current address. The retailer lodged a request for the default listing to be removed, advising that this would take 48 hours.
Mr J was satisfied with this outcome and the complaint was closed.
SMS CASE STUDY 3
Billing confirmed as correct and payable after EWOV's SMS follow-up
Ms W complained about high electricity billing. She contacted EWOV seeking an explanation and a 50% reduction.
We registered Ms W's complaint as an Assisted Referral and facilitated contact with her by a higher-level contact within the energy retailer. After receiving EWOV's SMS follow-up, Ms W re-contacted us saying she was dissatisfied with the outcome of the Assisted Referral.
Ms W said the retailer's higher-level contact told her the bills were high because she was using more electricity than previously. Ms W said this couldn't be the case as she'd recently returned to work. She told us she didn't accept the usage data the retailer provided to her, or its advice that she owed about $700. She wanted to close her account and switch to another retailer. She said she was promised further contact from the retailer, which didn't eventuate. Ms W agreed to pay $200 as an undisputed amount and $50 fortnightly while EWOV investigated her concerns.
EWOV's Investigation found that Ms W was billed correctly based on her usage. There was evidence of overnight winter heating loads on many occasions. It also appeared that split system cooling was used on hot days. We found that no backbills were issued and the billing was up to date. We confirmed that the rates and charges were as contracted with Ms W when the account was opened. Ms W was surprised by this. She though the retailer could have done more to explain her billing and help her understand her usage.
The retailer confirmed Ms W owed $703. It provided an $80 customer service credit, reducing this to $623, which Ms W agreed to pay off at $100 a fortnight.
The complaint was closed.