A customer complained about service after his retailer didn’t provide a promised payment extension (January 2018)

Trouble paying a bill, Billing mistakes
Case Number 2018/194
Outcome Conciliation

The Issue

Mr W, a public housing tenant, called EWOV after being dissatisfied with his energy retailer in relation to an extension. He had previously contacted his retailer and requested an extension on the payment due date of his bill. He told us his retailer agreed to extend the due date to 4 January 2018. However, on 3 January 2018, Mr W received a letter from his retailer cancelling his payment plan due to non-payment. He called the retailer to tell it that he was not on a payment plan, and that he had an approved extension on his bill due date. The retailer told him there had been a system error, and offered him a credit of $10 on both his electricity and gas bills.

The Investigation

We raised an Assisted Referral, and the customer was contacted by the retailer. The previously promised financial credits were applied, along with the extension. The retailer told Mr W there would be no early termination fee if he chose to switch to a different retailer. However, Mr W was still dissatisfied. He wanted the retailer to stop sending him text message bill reminders, as he was dealing with extreme illness, and the messages were disturbing when they came late at night. He also wanted a guarantee that all his future bills would be issued in hard copy via post. Mr W was upset as he felt the retailer’s case manager seemed more concerned with closing his complaint quickly than listening to him speak, and wanted an apology regarding the customer service he had received.

As the Assisted Referral did not resolve the matter, we launched an Investigation. The retailer confirmed the extension for payment had been placed on Mr W’s account. It confirmed that the system error was fixed. The retailer also confirmed that as at 9 January 2018, Mr’s W’s account balance was $41 on electricity and $57 on gas for billing up to 28 December 2017.  

The Outcome

The retailer apologised to Mr W for the inconvenience caused, customer service and time taken to resolve his complaint. It confirmed that updated bills would be sent via post to Mr W by mid-February, including a one-time good faith credit of $41 to his electricity account and $57 to his gas account. This reduced his account balances to zero. The retailer said it would continue to send text messages to Mr W for any late payments. Mr W accepted the outcome, and the case was closed.

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