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18 Jun 2021

Not so simple refund for Simplicity Energy customer after it goes bust

Which? gets more than £140 back for customer owed by bust energy firm

Do you have an issue you need put right? Which? is here to help get your consumer problems sorted.

Dear Which?

I was a Simplicity Energy customer and changed supplier at the end of September 2020. I was in credit, so contacted the company to ask for the £143.08 I was due.

Simplicity Energy told me that the final meter reading would be processed and I'd be paid automatically, but it came round to January 2021 and I still hadn't been paid.

I then saw that Simplicity Energy had gone into administration.

Initially I thought I'd get the refund from British Gas Evolve, which took on Simplicity Energy's customers, but was later told by British Gas that the money would have to come from the administrators instead. I contacted the administrators but didn't receive a reply.

I was then confused to receive a message on Twitter from British Gas Evolve saying I'd get a refund via cheque to my home address, but it's yet to turn up.

Can you please help explain who should be refunding me and how to get my money back?

Anonymous NHS employee, Staffordshire

Put to Rights

Hannah Downes, consumer rights expert at Which?, says:

Getting your money back after a company goes bust isn't always straightforward - and waiting the best part of a year for your cash to be reimbursed is unacceptable.

Fortunately, there are rules in place to protect customers when an energy company goes bust.

When Simplicity Energy stopped trading in February this year, Ofgem (the regulator for energy markets) appointed British Gas Evolve to take on its customers.

As the new supplier for Simplicity Energy customers, British Gas Evolve is expected to pay any outstanding credit you may have, even if you switched away from the supplier before it stopped trading.

Usually your credit will be automatically added to your account when a new supplier takes over, but clearly the process for issuing refunds to customers who have changed suppliers isn't as seamless.

According to Ofgem, the amount of time it takes to settle final bills when a company goes bust can vary significantly depending on the administrator's access to the previous supplier's data and how quickly the administrators and new supplier can agree on meter readings.

But after eight months of waiting, it's no wonder your patience is wearing thin.

We contacted British Gas Evolve to chase up the status of your refund and, following confirmation from the administrators, it has since arranged for a cheque to be sent to you.

British Gas told us it had to await confirmation of the balance from the administrators before issuing Laura's cheque. It assures us that the money is now on its way.

Need to know

  • If your energy company goes bust, your new supplier will pay back any outstanding credit you have.
  • Take a meter reading and a note of your balance with the failed energy supplier, so you have it ready when your new supplier gets in touch.
  • You should still be able to get your credit balance back even if you switched away from the supplier before it stopped trading.
  • Read more about what to do if your energy provider goes bust.

Get in touch

If you've got a consumer rights problem that you need put right, email us at yourstory@which.co.uk.

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