Millions missing out on utilities compensationEnergy and water customers unaware of claim rights

11 June 2009

A man on the phone

One third of British adults have received a scam phone call

British customers are failing to claim nearly £1.2m of compensation every week from their energy and water companies, according to new research.

The study, commissioned by online complaints service, revealed that 69% of people are unaware that they can claim compensation from their gas, electric and water suppliers when they receive unsatisfactory service.

Compensation claims

Gas, electricity and water companies are all required to meet quality standards, but the majority of people surveyed were unaware that they could make a claim if their utility company fails to provide a certain level of service.

The YouGov poll of over 2,000 people showed that 89% didn't realise they were entitled to £20 in compensation if suppliers missed a scheduled appointment, and 94% were not aware they were entitled to £20 if their water company failed to inform them whether they would arrive in the morning or afternoon for an appointment.

Twelve per cent of respondents said that they would have made a claim last year if they had known the correct process, which equates to more than £60m in unclaimed compensation in Great Britain last year.


When you're entitled to £20 compensation:

  • If your energy or water supplier fails to turn up during a scheduled two hour appointment slot
  • If your water supplier fails to give you written notice 48 hours before cutting off your water supply for more than four hours
  • If your energy supplier fails to give you 48 hours notice before cutting off your gas or electricity supply
  • If your water company doesn't tell you if an appointment is in the morning or afternoon


Knowing your rights

While the survey showed that only 2% of people questioned had claimed compensation from a household utilities supplier following a breach of standards in the last 12 months, 40% cent said they would make a claim in the future now they were aware of their rights.

Inde Uppal, CEO of Disputer Limited, said: 'Failing to complain has become something of a British pastime, and when faced with substandard services or products we tend to just grin and bear it. More often than not, people are also unaware of their rights or simply don’t have time to deal with a complaint in the right way.'

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