Jump to content


Unhappy with Energy Ombudsman suggestions - should I take E.ON to court?


style="text-align: center;">  

Thread Locked

because no one has posted on it for the last 2148 days.

If you need to add something to this thread then

 

Please click the "Report " link

 

at the bottom of one of the posts.

 

If you want to post a new story then

Please

Start your own new thread

That way you will attract more attention to your story and get more visitors and more help 

 

Thanks

Recommended Posts

Hello everyone and apologies for the long post.

 

I have dual fuel from E.ON and was recently forced to move home. I called E.ON and informed them of the move, thinking that my tariff was going to move with me. When I received the first bill at the new address I discovered that I had been put on their standard tariff without any warning. I called E.ON to complain and ask to be put back on the tariff that I had signed up for, but I was told that it's "not possible". Naturally I took my complaint to the energy ombudsman which ,disappointingly, came back with the following:

 

Your complaint and the proposed resolution is summarised below.

 

My understanding of your complaint is that you contacted E.ON to state that you were moving house and to let it know that you would like E.ON to supply your new property. However, when you received your first bill, it had a tariff that you did not agree to as it put you on a standard tariff.

 

 

You state that you were not informed of this and asked to be put back on your old tariff. However, E.ON stated this could not be done.

 

 

 

Whilst I acknowledge that you state that you were not informed that your tariff would change when you move property, I can confirm that E.ON is correct to tell you that it cannot automatically put you onto the same tariff that you were on for your previous address.

 

There are a number of reasons why this cannot be done. One example is that when a customer moves into a different address, the metering set up at the new address may be different to the metering set up at the old address. Therefore, the tariff that you were previously on, may not be suitable for the meter at your new address. Furthermore, in some instances, it is not actually possible to use a previous tariff at all due to the type of metering set up that may be at the new address.

 

Although there is no evidence to suggest you actually had a different metering set up at your new address, E.ON has confirmed that in order to remain compliant, customers are unable to continue with a tariff when they move house. I do consider this reasonable because the customer has to agree to prices, and the terms and conditions again at the new address.

 

You automatically inherited E.ON as your supplier at [address removed] as it was already the supplier for this address. However, it is not unusual for a customer to move address and they inherit a different supplier when they move into the new address. This is another reason why it cannot continue a tariff for a previous address. This does highlight the importance of remaining compliant and the need for a customer to agree to a new contract.

 

However, I have reviewed the terms and conditions of the tariff you were previously on at your old address. Your previous tariff was the E.ON Energy Fixed 1 Year V12. The terms of this tariff cover the circumstances when a customer moves address. It states the following - ‘If you are on a fixed term tariff and you are moving into another Property you may be able to take your tariff with you when you move. There must be at least 90 days left on your fixed tariff after your move and, for your electricity supply, your new home must be in the same electricity distribution area as your old home. Your current area will be shown on your bill or statement, or call us for advice on 0345 303 3020’.

 

Therefore, the terms of your tariff do indicate that you may have been able to take your tariff with you when you move. It does indicate that there must be 90 days left on your tariff and your electricity supply must be in the same electricity distribution area as your previous address. The evidence suggests that you did have 90 days left on your tariff. The evidence also suggests that your electricity supply is the same area as the distribution area as you remained in East London.

 

I queried this with E.ON and it has stated that it has made a commercial decision to not offer this anymore. It has also highlighted that the word ‘may’ indicates that it is not a guarantee.

 

Whilst I appreciate that it states the word ‘may’ within the terms, I do consider it unreasonable for E.ON to not inform you of the change to the terms and conditions to your tariff. It is reasonable for you to have assumed that your tariff did continue at your new address based on the wording of the terms in your tariff. I would have expected any changes to the terms of your tariff to have been highlighted to you, particularly when you contacted it regarding a change of address.

 

Furthermore, E.ON has informed me that it did not send you a welcome pack on 10 March 2015. I can confirm that a welcome pack is sent to a customer at their new address. If E.ON had sent this welcome pack, I do consider it likely that you would have become aware of the standard tariff on the date you moved in and not the date of your first bill for the usage at your new address. I did consider this a further shortfall in customer service.

 

I do appreciate that your new tariff is more expensive than your tariff at your old address. However, I cannot require E.ON to put you back on the E.ON Energy Fixed 1 Year V12 tariff at your new address. I do consider that it should send you a letter of apology acknowledging any inconvenience caused. It should also credit your account with a goodwill gesture of £30 for the shortfalls in customer service.

 

I do consider this a fair and reasonable resolution because you did become aware that it could not put you on the E.ON Energy Fixed 1 Year V12 tariff on 25 March 2014. This was only 14 days after you moved into the new address. Furthermore, you did have the option to pay your outstanding balance and switch suppliers at your new address rather than stay at E.ON with the new tariff you are currently on. I also consider it likely that if you had contacted E.ON and asked the question about your tariff prior to moving address, you would have become aware that you could not use the tariff at your old address earlier.

 

In light of your complaint, it should ensure that you are on the most suitable tariff for your circumstances going forwards.

 

Following the investigation, my decision is that E.ON should:

 

 

send you a letter of apology;

credit your account with a goodwill gesture of £30 and

ensure that you are on the most suitable tariff for your circumstances going forwards.

 

 

What to do next

 

If you accept my decision in full and final settlement of your dispute, please contact me using the details below.

 

If you or E.ON do not accept my decision, then either of you can contact me, or email me, but must be able to:

 

show that there is a significant error in the facts which makes a material difference; or

produce significant new evidence which may make a material difference, along with an explanation of why that information was not previously made available.

 

You must confirm your response no later than 14 days from the date of this letter.

 

Needless to say I'm unhappy with this. Is there any scope in taking E.ON to small claims court, to force them to credit me with the projected difference between the two tariffs until my contract expires with them?

 

Thank you for reading this far!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, I think that you have a good basis for a complaint.

 

I am very interested in the fact that EOn have used the word "compliant" and this word has been adopted by the regulator.

What do they mean? Compliant with what?

Link to post
Share on other sites
Yes, I think that you have a good basis for a complaint.

 

I am very interested in the fact that EOn have used the word "compliant" and this word has been adopted by the regulator.

What do they mean? Compliant with what?

 

Very good point. I can email back and ask.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Yes but... I would suggest changing supplier. Follow MSE Martin Lewis.

He always suggests changing around

 

I would have, but I have an outstanding balance with them, so any transfer to another provider would be blocked on that basis, wouldn't it?

Link to post
Share on other sites
when it drops below 500 you can transfer

 

Useful info to keep in mind, thank you. Having said that, if I transfer I'll have to pay the account in full, something I can ill afford to do right now.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Frankly I think that the regulator's own findings are quite enough to ground a small claim.

 

The regulator points to the word "may" and says that that suggests that there is an element of discretion. That is one interpretation but I think that may be a more reasonable interpretation is that the tariff will continue to a new address as long as there are no circumstances which prevent it happening. I don't think that the majority of customers would imagine that "may" simply means "unless we change our minds about it".

 

Secondly, it is quite clear that the supplier has failed to communicate properly and therefore they are in breach of contract.

 

Thirdly, and the me the most important thing is that we are back to this problem of "deemed contracts". A deemed contract occurs when somebody moves to a new address and they have to pick up the default supplier and they have to do accept energy from that supplier for a period of time until they can move away if they want – or unless they negotiate their own tariff and decide to stay with them.

 

Section 15 of the Supply of Goods and Services Act says that where no price for service has been agreed, then a reasonable price will be implied. This indicates very strongly to me that the supplier cannot simply unilaterally impose a tariff on a customer because he is a captive audience. It seems to me that the reasonable tariff which would be implied by the 1982 Act, would be the one that they would normally supply – or the tariff which the previous occupant of that address was on – or the tariff which the new occupant was previously on at their previous address if they were being supplied by the same supplier.

 

As it is, the entire industry has this cosy little arrangement which nobody has ever challenged the for the first few weeks of any occupancy in a new address, that person will be subject to a deemed contract and a deemed tariff.

 

I think that this is grossly unfair and I'm itching to find somebody who is prepared to challenge.

 

With the findings that you have their in writing from the energy ombudsman, I think that you would stand a very high chance of winning in a Small Claims Court.

 

Personally I think that you should told to stuff their compensation. I think you should insist on receiving the supply at your previous tariff price.

 

I would like very much to know what was the tariff that the previous occupant was on. Are you able to get this information? How much were they paying?

 

If you wanted to challenge this, we would be very enthusiastic in our support of you because there is a huge principle at stake here. How much do you think you are out of pocket on this so far? It can't be a whole huge amount and it will be very come to be within the small claim and it would be very easy to challenge this at no risk to yourself.

 

Frankly I would expect that the energy supplier would bottle out rather than risk sacrificing the principle of deemed contract because if they lost on that principle, it would cost them a lot of money – and the other energy suppliers as well.

 

Finally, of course you are unhappy with the energy ombudsman, but you shouldn't be disappointed because this is what you expect from a limp wristed industry-friendly poodle and which simply wants a quiet life.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Frankly I think that the regulator's own findings are quite enough to ground a small claim.

 

[snip]

Personally I think that you should told to stuff their compensation. I think you should insist on receiving the supply at your previous tariff price.

 

I would like very much to know what was the tariff that the previous occupant was on. Are you able to get this information? How much were they paying?

 

If you wanted to challenge this, we would be very enthusiastic in our support of you because there is a huge principle at stake here. How much do you think you are out of pocket on this so far? It can't be a whole huge amount and it will be very come to be within the small claim and it would be very easy to challenge this at no risk to yourself.

 

Frankly I would expect that the energy supplier would bottle out rather than risk sacrificing the principle of deemed contract because if they lost on that principle, it would cost them a lot of money – and the other energy suppliers as well.

 

Finally, of course you are unhappy with the energy ombudsman, but you shouldn't be disappointed because this is what you expect from a limp wristed industry-friendly poodle and which simply wants a quiet life.

 

Your enthusiasm is infectious and I'm more than willing to give it a shot (as I was going to tell them to stuff their compensation anyway).

The only info I have from the previous tenant is that they where also supplied by E.On, but there is very little chance of every getting tariff information, as they where generally quite uncooperative, and I could only get in touch with them via the estate agent.

 

So first things first, I need to decline the compensation. Here's some additional weirdness from the regulator.

 

If you or E.ON do not accept my decision, then either of you can contact me, or email me, but must be able to:

 

show that there is a significant error in the facts which makes a material difference; or

produce significant new evidence which may make a material difference, along with an explanation of why that information was not previously made available.

 

So, I have to have a valid reason to decline this insult to my personal time :-) This is something that I could possibly cobble together from your previous comments.

Edited by jander
ombudsman info
Link to post
Share on other sites

The previous occupiers may have been uncooperative, that had you actually fallen out with them?

 

If you hadn't, then you might try sending them a letter explain to them that you are being ripped off by E.on and might they be prepared to disclose what tariff they were on.

 

If you decided to do this, I would suggest that you send the letters through the agents – but also send it to them but at your own new address in the hope that the previous occupiers have used a redirection service.

 

You could start the letter with a friendly greeting and saying that you found the property in very good condition – thank you – and you hope that they are installed in their new address – blah blah.

 

You are not obliged to continue your complaint with the regulator. It is up to you. It won't do you any harm but on the other hand it will take up time.

 

You still haven't told us how much money is at stake?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Work out the basis of a letter and then post it up here before you send it.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Frankly I think that the regulator's own findings are quite enough to ground a small claim.

 

[snip]

How much do you think you are out of pocket on this so far? It can't be a whole huge amount and it will be very come to be within the small claim and it would be very easy to challenge this at no risk to yourself.

 

You're correct it isn't an enormous amount, but I still wouldn't want to see it go to their pockets.

 

My previous tariff charges where (based on the TCR on the bill)

 

Electricity: 12.61p/KWh

Gas: 4.04p/KWh

 

Current

Electricity: 15.11p/KWh

Gas: 4.52p/KWh

 

I think that I should work out instead how much out of pocket I'll be by the end of the contract (using the TCR values as a projection) , would that be reasonable?

Link to post
Share on other sites

You have a duty to mitigate your loss. This means that you have to do take advantage of renegotiating the deemed contract to go on to an established tariff.

 

I don't think that a court would accept that you deliberately continue to at a disadvantage rate for the entire period you are at the house.

 

I think we need to know how much you out of pocket between the time you lived in hand before the time you could reasonably have negotiated the new tariff.

 

Have you negotiated a new tariff yet?

Link to post
Share on other sites
The previous occupiers may have been uncooperative, that had you actually fallen out with them?

 

If you hadn't, then you might try sending them a letter explain to them that you are being ripped off by E.on and might they be prepared to disclose what tariff they were on.

 

If you decided to do this, I would suggest that you send the letters through the agents – but also send it to them but at your own new address in the hope that the previous occupiers have used a redirection service.

 

You could start the letter with a friendly greeting and saying that you found the property in very good condition – thank you – and you hope that they are installed in their new address – blah blah.

 

You are not obliged to continue your complaint with the regulator. It is up to you. It won't do you any harm but on the other hand it will take up time.

 

 

 

They fell out with the landlord and the estate agent, to the point of them refusing to supply me with the alarm arming code..:!: saying that the property was in very good condition might be used against me, since they have some ongoing wrangling with the landlord about the state they left the property in.

 

With regards to the regulator. If I'm not obliged to continue, I can just let the 14 days lapse?

Link to post
Share on other sites
You have a duty to mitigate your loss. This means that you have to do take advantage of renegotiating the deemed contract to go on to an established tariff.

 

I don't think that a court would accept that you deliberately continue to at a disadvantage rate for the entire period you are at the house.

 

I think we need to know how much you out of pocket between the time you lived in hand before the time you could reasonably have negotiated the new tariff.

 

Have you negotiated a new tariff yet?

 

Yes I have, the TCR's I posted are from my current (new) tariff.

 

 

With regards to your "compliance" question, the ombudsman has replied thus:

 

To confirm again, when E.ON is referring to compliance, it is basically referring to the way it manages an account. It has not referred to any specific regulation.

 

As mentioned in the findings, in order to remain compliant, it cannot automatically put a customer on a tariff when they move address. I considered this reasonable for a number of reasons, some detailed in the report. For example, the metering set up might be different, it might not automatically supply the property the customer moved into or the customer may not wish to be supplied by the supplier at the previous address at the new address. Therefore, to ensure it is compliant and manages the account sufficiently, a customer would need to agree to prices and terms and conditions at the new address. This is better practice than automatically putting a customer onto the same tariff they were previously on. It is also to ensure that it remains compliant with its own terms and conditions.

 

The terms for your tariff stated that it ‘may’ be able to transfer the tariff to the new address, it does not indicate any guarantee of this happening. Unfortunately, E.ON has taken a commercial decision to stop this regardless and it is in the process of updating the terms and conditions. This falls outside of our remit and we cannot require E.ON to put you on a particular tariff.

 

The terms for your tariff did state that you should contact a number for advice about this particular issue. Therefore, you did have the opportunity to query this prior to moving address. I do consider it likely that you would have been told that it no longer allows a tariff agreed at a previous address to be transferred to a new address.

 

I do not consider the impact of the shortfalls in customer service to be as significant as what you said to me on the phone. The outcome would always have been the same regardless as to whether or not you were told about this. Furthermore, as I explained in the findings, you did have the opportunity to switch suppliers if you were unhappy with this.

 

Is it me, or is he actually telling me off?!

Edited by jander
Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's my calculations, feel free to rip them to shreds :-)

 

Based on the old tariff, for 12 months of supply I would have paid (simplistically based on the TCR) £1671

Now that I've been forced to take another 12m tariff I would have to pay £1914 (a little less perhaps but still in the £1850-£1900 ballpark)

 

That would make me £243 out of pocket, based on the TCR between the tariffs *and* assuming the consumption projections hold.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that he's being defensive and industry-facing. This is what you expect of ombudsman whether it is FOS or energy ombudsman.

 

Did the reply to the compliance question from the ombudsman arrive just now?

 

Although you can allow the 14 days to lapse, if you're not in a hurry, you might want to investigate the ombudsman's attitude a little further.

 

In which case I would query the use of the word "compliance" and say to them that compliance must be taken to mean that they are acting to conform in some way with a set of rules which is published and acknowledged by both of you and that is binding in some way.

 

Ask the ombudsman which terms and conditions are they with which the supplier is attempting to comply.

 

Say to the ombudsman that you consider it to be unfair that when anyone arrives at a new property, that they are presently obliged by industry practice to remain with the existing supplier and during that period (in which they have no choice) that they are obliged to accept a tariff which is decided and imposed unilaterally upon them on the basis of a "deemed contract".

 

Tell the ombudsman that you consider that the deemed contract is controlled by Section 15 of the Supply Goods and Services Act and the because no price has been agreed, a reasonable price should be implied.

 

Tell the ombudsman that you do not believe that it is at all acceptable or fair for the supplier to decide what is a reasonable price – in particular because the supplier is in a dominant position and in effect the unilateral imposition of a price which is higher than the tariff which the new occupier was previously on with the same supplier or, is higher than the tariff which was in force with the outgoing occupier, is unfair, contrary to the Supply of Goods and Services Act and also potentially an unfair term under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations.

 

Telling that you do not accept's ruling – for the reasons above in addition to the contractual breaches committed by the supplier in failing to communicate correctly.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Here's my calculations, feel free to rip them to shreds :-)

 

Based on the old tariff, for 12 months of supply I would have paid (simplistically based on the TCR) £1671

Now that I've been forced to take another 12m tariff I would have to pay £1914 (a little less perhaps but still in the £1850-£1900 ballpark)

 

That would make me £243 out of pocket, based on the TCR between the tariffs *and* assuming the consumption projections hold.

I don't understand any of this

Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't understand any of this

 

Apologies, I'll explain at length.

 

My previous tariff, the one I agreed to be put on, started in November 2014. The Tariff Comparison Rate (TCR) for that tariff was as follows:

 

Electricity 12.61p/kWh

Gas 4.04p/kWh

 

When I moved in March, for a brief period of time, I was put on the standard tariff. For simplification reasons we will ignore this. When I realised E.On would not put me on my old tariff I chose their cheapest one. The TCR for that is:

 

Electricity 15.11p/kWh

Gas 4.52p/kWh

 

Now, my projected consumption for 12 months, based on the data that E.On has gathered from me is

 

Electricity: 4342 KWh

Gas: 27843 KWh

 

Based on this projection, had I been allowed to stay on my old tariff my cost over 12 months would have been £1671. Since I've had to go with a tariff that's dearer than the one I started with in Nov 2014, my total cost over 12 months will be £1914.

Therefore, at the end of the 12 month contractual period, I will be £243 worse off.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

It was my understanding that you should automatically be put on the cheapest tariff if no contact is made by the consumer to advise which tariff is required ?

Have we helped you ...?         Please Donate button to the Consumer Action Group

 

Uploading documents to CAG ** Instructions **

 

Looking for a draft letter? Use the CAG Library

Dealing with Customer Service Departments? - read the CAG Guide first

 

1: Making a PPI claim ? - Q & A's and spreadsheets for single premium policy - HERE

2: Take back control of your finances - Debt Diaries

3: Feel Bullied by Creditors or Debt Collectors? Read Here

4: Staying Calm About Debt  Read Here

5: Forum rules - These have been updated - Please Read

 

 

BCOBS

 

2: Does your Bank play fair - You can force your Bank to play Fair with you

3: Banking Conduct of Business Regulations - The Hidden Rules

4: BCOBS and Unfair Treatment - Common Examples of Banks Behaving Badly

5: Fair Treatment for Credit Card Holders and Borrowers - COBS

 

Advice & opinions given by citizenb are personal, are not endorsed by Consumer Action Group or Bank Action Group, and are offered informally, without prejudice & without liability. Your decisions and actions are your own, and should you be in any doubt, you are advised to seek the opinion of a qualified professional.

 

PLEASE DO NOT ASK ME TO GIVE ADVICE BY PM - IF YOU PROVIDE A LINK TO YOUR THREAD THEN I WILL BE HAPPY TO OFFER ADVICE THERE:D

Link to post
Share on other sites
It was my understanding that you should automatically be put on the cheapest tariff if no contact is made by the consumer to advise which tariff is required ?

 

If that's the case, it only adds to their level of failure.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Recently Browsing   0 Caggers

    No registered users viewing this page.


  • Have we helped you ...?


×
×
  • Create New...