A business customer is quoted incorrect rates by a third-party switching service (January 2018)

Getting connected and changing energy company
Case Number 2017/24473
Outcome Conciliation

The Issue

In mid-2017 the business customer used a third-party switching service to compare electricity retail offers. Based on the rates quoted, the customer signed up with a new retailer. However, the first bill, for $3,929.85, used a rate much higher than what had been quoted.

When the customer contacted the retailer, it said that it wouldn’t honour the quoted rates, and that the customer could transfer back to their previous retailer if they didn’t like the billed rate.

The customer contacted EWOV and we raised an Assisted Referral. However, when the customer received the same response from the retailer – that the rate could not be changed – he returned to EWOV, and we opened an Investigation.

The Investigation

The retailer reviewed its records and acknowledged that the switching service had incorrectly quoted the customer a lower rate, and that the customer had switched on this basis.

The retailer explained that after receiving the Assisted Referral, it had asked the distributor to change the customer to the appropriate network tariff so that he could receive the quoted rates. However, the distributor had rejected the request, saying that the requested tariff wasn’t available to the customer. 

The Outcome

The retailer maintained that it couldn’t honour the quoted rates on an ongoing basis. However, recognising that the customer had switched based on incorrect advice, the retailer offered a credit of $1,791.90 – equal to the difference between the quoted and actual rates for the customer’s first billing period.

Alternatively, it offered to retrospectively transfer the customer back to his previous retailer. The customer decided to stay with the new retailer and accept the $1,791.90 credit, and the case was closed.

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