npower fined £2 million for poor complaints handling
npower has been fined £2 million by Ofgem for its poor complaints management. The energy industry watchdog says npower has failed to achieve the minimum standards expected of companies when dealing with customer complaints.
npower is guilty of failing to record all necessary details of received complaints and of not informing customers of unresolved complaints about their right to appeal through the Energy Ombudsman.
The energy company's complaints process and policies are also criticised by Ofgem for, on occasion being, inefficient.
Failing its customers
Ofgem spokesperson Sarah Harrison says consumers have a right to expect energy suppliers to handle complaints in line with Ofgem's standards and npower's penalty is "for failing consumers".
"Energy suppliers now have a golden opportunity to convince consumers that they can be trusted by getting behind Ofgem's sweeping reforms for the retail market.
"This is the quickest way of restoring consumer trust in an industry badly tarnished by poor supplier behaviour," Harrison adds.
In response to its fine, npower said: "A small number of processes were not correctly adhered to. Ofgem is now satisfied that all problems have been rectified and we are fully compliant with our obligations to our customers.
"We have zero tolerance for this type of issue and we'll continue to work hard to make sure our customers are put first."
npower's penalty follows the £2.5 million fine British Gas received in July for its own poor complaints service. Ofgem is now investigating the manner in which EDF Energy handles its complaints.
If you’ve have a complaint about a financial service product you have bought but the company you bought it from refuses to resolve your problem after eight weeks, the Ombudsman can help. The Ombudsman will investigate and resolve the matter. The Ombudsman is independent and its service is free to consumers. The Ombudsman may find in the company’s favour but consumers don’t have accept its decision and are always free to go to court instead. But if they do accept an Ombudsman’s decision, it is binding both on them and on the business.