Brits paying £6 billion too much for utilities
Householders in the UK have been overcharged by more than £6 billion on their household bills in the last year, according to new research.
According to uSwitch.com, 57% of consumers (more than 28 million) were overcharged at least once and 13% did not get their money back. Around 26% were overcharged two or more times.
On average, customers were overcharged by £229 and had to wait almost two months to get their money back. In the last year, the study found that consumers have spent an average of six hours and an estimated £22 on phone calls and correspondence to solve overcharging issues. Just 7% were automatically refunded these costs by the company involved.
Worryingly, 95% of those who have been overcharged for utilities in the last year spotted it themselves rather than it being picked up by the supplier.
Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at uSwitch.com, says: “There has been an epidemic of overcharging on household bills in the last year and yet we are still potentially looking at the tip of an iceberg.
“It seems to be down to consumers to spot where they have been overcharged and, with some household bills being so complicated, more instances will undoubtedly have slipped through the net.
“What this does tell us though is that people must look at their bills and not take it for granted that a company has got its sums right. I would also urge companies to do right by their customers too and to ensure that their bills are simple, clear and easy to understand.
“With 95% of overcharging spotted by customers rather than the bill provider, it’s imperative that consumers are able to spot and resolve any mistakes quickly.”
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