A customer signs up with an electricity retailer based on marketing and rates quoted (July 2015)

Getting connected and changing energy company, Delayed and catch-up bills
Case Number 2015/10634
Outcome Conciliation

The Issue

Ms S contacted EWOV on behalf of her bakery business dissatisfied with marketing and the electricity rates offered to her. Ms S bought the bakery in August 2014 and was contacted by an electricity retailer which offered her a contract and rates that would equate to monthly bills of about $800. Ms S asked for the contract paperwork so she could take up the offer but did not receive it, and also did not receive any bills. Ms S contacted the electricity company in April 2015 to enquire about the bills and contract that had not been issued. She was advised that backbills would be issued and that they would equate to about $1,700 per month – higher than what she was originally advised during the marketing contact. The electricity retailer offered to reduce the bills to an average of $1,500 per month due to the billing delay, however, Ms S was not satisfied with its response. The electricity retailer had also asked Ms S to sign a contract that day, however, as she was dissatisfied with the difference in the rates quoted, she did not want to sign it until the dispute about the rates was resolved.

Dissatisfied with the delays and the offered resolution, Ms S contacted EWOV on 15 April 2015 and an Assisted Referral was raised. The electricity retailer contacted Ms S, however its offer of resolution did not change. Therefore, Ms S remained dissatisfied and recontacted EWOV on 24 April 2015 and the complaint was escalated to an Investigation due to the complexity of the issues involved.

The Investigation

During EWOV’s Investigation, our office requested a timeline of events, contact notes and email correspondence to find out what information Ms S was advised during the marketing contact and subsequent contacts. Our Investigation confirmed that Ms S was provided with incorrect information about the average cost of monthly bills based on the previous occupant’s usage and rate during the marketing contact.

The Outcome

The electricity retailer apologised for any inconvenience caused and agreed that no early contract termination fees would apply if Ms S wanted to transfer to a new electricity retailer. In recognition of the incorrect information provided, the electricity retailer agreed to reduce Ms S’ account balance to $10,000, waiving $3,276.30, if full payment was made by 22 June 2015. Ms S was satisfied with the offer and the case was closed.

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