When do exit fees apply?
Exit fees, also called cancellation fees, are regularly applied to energy tariffs that have a fixed price and end date. So, if you want to leave a fixed-term tariff before the end of the contract, it is likely that you will need to pay an exit fee.
However, if you are in the last 49 days of your fixed-term contract, you do not have to pay an exit fee and have the right to freely switch to any other energy supplier without being charged.
You should receive a notice from your energy supplier 42-49 days before the end date of your fixed term tariff, informing you that your tariff is coming to an end.
If you want to switch your tariff, but stay with the same energy provider they may waive the exit fee, so make sure you ask before switching.
Do I have to pay an exit fee if I move house?
Providing you keep your existing energy tariff and simply need to update your address, you shouldn’t need to pay an exit fee for moving house.
What if I’m wrongly charged an exit fee?
If an exit fee payment has been taken when it shouldn't have been – within the last 49 days of your fixed-term contract, for example – you should first contact your supplier to complain.
Your supplier’s phone number and website will be on your energy bill. When you get in touch with them, try to explain in as much detail what the problem is and what you would like your supplier to do about it.
They should have a complaints procedure, so ask them for this so you can see what information you need to provide in order to launch a formal complaint.
Remember that within the last 49 days of your fixed-term contract, you have the right to switch energy supplier without being charged an exit fee.
How quickly should my complaint be resolved?
Your supplier should try to resolve your complaint and may ask for more information to help them understand the issue.
Strict complaints handling standards require all electricity and gas suppliers to deal proactively with complaints. They have up to eight weeks to come to a decision on the complaint with you.
If you are unsatisfied by their response, or it’s been eight weeks since you first made your complaint and it’s still unresolved, you should contact the Energy Ombudsman.
What if my tariff ends and I don’t switch?
If you choose not to switch at the end of your fixed-term tariff, you can no longer be rolled onto another fixed-term tariff with a termination fee.
Instead you will be rolled automatically onto the cheapest standard tariff with your energy supplier.
Standard tariffs are often the most expensive option though, so switching your tariff could save you a significant amount on your energy bills.
I need more information before switching
If you are thinking of switching to beat energy price rises or get a more competitive energy tariff, visit our independent comparison website Which? Switch.
Our experts uncover the best and worst energy suppliers in our annual customer-satisfaction survey, so before you switch you should take a look at our advice guides to find out how the energy supplier is rated.