Whatever their size, most businesses enter a slew of contracts with various suppliers to keep their operations running and their employees safe, warm and working efficiently day to day.
When it comes to gas and electricity, firms frequently use energy brokers to research their options and find a contract that best suits their needs on their behalf, so that business owners and managers can use their time elsewhere.
Given the surge in energy prices, many will be using the warmer months to review their existing energy contracts to assess whether they are in fact getting the best deal and may discover they are locked into a long-term contract that is not good value.
There may have been additional charges that were not made clear by your broker, or the overall costs are higher than they advised, or your business is not saving energy in the way that was promised. Unfortunately, this happens all too often.
One area to be particularly wary of is signing a letter of authority (LOA). Brokers may ask their clients to sign an LOA so they can obtain specific information from your current supplier on your behalf, which is legitimate, but if you sign a Level 2 LOA the broker has permission to enter into a new contract on your behalf and may use this permission to their advantage.
Why do energy brokers not necessarily offer the best deal?
Energy brokers usually operate on a commission-based model, which can lead to them only offering a limited number of deals that best suit their financial interests, rather than their client’s. They use various tactics to sell these contracts and are usually not fully transparent around costs. Often their commission is significantly increased depending on the length of contract, which means that selling their clients longer-term contracts will directly boost their earnings, but they are unlikely to have declared this.
Currently, Ofgem does not regulate or investigate energy brokers, and only a relatively small number self-regulate, so you may feel there is nothing you can do if any of the above has happened to your business. However, these scenarios may mean you have been mis-sold your contract and there could be a chance to get money back.
What can you do?
Broadly, there are three steps:
1) Follow the complaints process at the energy supplier
2) If unsatisfactory, complain to the ombudsman
3) If the result is still unsatisfactory, go through the courts
The first step would be to contact your energy supplier in relation to your mis-sold contract to alert them to the issue. The company should have a formal complaints process in place for you to follow. It’s important to keep a log of communications and to ensure you keep following up on progress. The company should resolve the matter within eight weeks in a satisfactory way.
If you are not happy with the result, or the company has not responded, the next step is to register a detailed complaint with the Energy Ombudsman. This is where having a comprehensive log of correspondence with the supplier and all other relevant details and documents is important. An adjudicator will then assess your case and make a decision that the company must legally comply with.
The final escalation, should the adjudicator’s decision still not be satisfactory, is to take the matter to court.
The amount of compensation that you may be entitled to will depend on the specifics of your individual claim, such as how long the energy contract is and the way in which the contract was mis-sold.
At RHL Solicitors, once we’ve discussed your circumstances with you, we operate under a ‘no-win, no fee’ basis so that you can rest assured that there are no up-front or hidden costs for our services and no financial risk to you if your claim is unsuccessful. You’ll only have to make any payment if your claim is successful.
Our goal at RHL Solicitors is to secure an accurate settlement of the client’s losses in accordance with their best interests. This means our specialist commercial/financial litigation team pursue these claims expeditiously and accurately so that clients are fully compensated.
RHL Solicitors will have no delays or waiting times in advising you on your situation and will be quick to get you the support and care you deserve.
Get in touch with our team of approachable, highly experienced solicitors and legal advisors today: https://rhlsolicitors.com/