Irish energy consumers need to complain with confidence

While many consumers have complained to their energy or telecoms providers in the past, only four in ten said they felt fully confident doing so, according to new research from independent price comparison and switching service, Switcher.ie

“In the course of any customer/provider relationship, it’s not unusual to see service or billing issues arising from time to time, so it’s concerning that so many consumers need a confidence boost when it comes to contacting their provider to complain,” said Eoin Clarke, managing director of Switcher.ie

“All providers have a complaints process in place, so we would urge any consumers who have an issue to talk to their supplier, as it’s very likely that their concern may be easily addressed. You could get new features, better service and a nice discount, potentially saving you hundreds of Euros.”

The majority of telecoms customers (59 per cent ) and one-third of energy customers (31 per cent ) have had cause for complaint in the past.

When it comes to telecoms, consumers’ most common cause for complaint is a problem with the service, or not getting the service they paid for. Meanwhile, cost - as always - remains a thorny issue for telecoms customers, with three in ten saying they have complained following a price increase and two in ten complaining due to poor value for money.

In relation to energy, almost half of consumers’ complaints (48 per cent ) were raised due to billing problems or mischarging, while over a third (37 per cent ) followed a price increase. Three in ten have complained due to poor customer service, while a quarter have flagged concerns about a problem or not getting the service they paid for. And poor value for money sparked just under a quarter of complaints.

The findings suggest that there is every reason to raise such concerns with service providers, with the majority of complainants finding the companies helpful and responsive. Almost six in ten said that their complaint was rectified, with telecoms providers performing marginally better than energy suppliers at resolving complaints. Only 19 per cent of energy complainants and 22 per cent of telecoms complainants said the reason behind their complaint was neither explained nor rectified, or the issue was outstanding.

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