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A customer contacted the CRU as their supplier, without authorisation, debited a sum of over €2,220 from their bank account. The supplier alleged that the sum related to a legacy energy account the customer held with the supplier. The customer advised that it took 37 days of telephone calls before the supplier logged a formal complaint regarding the matter. The customer also advised that it took 116 days to have the €2,200 returned to their bank account.

Throughout the complaint, the customer felt that their phone calls were ignored, and wanted to understand how a supplier could charge their bank account after 12-13 years. The customer noted that the account was closed, and sums cleared in 2008; therefore, they could not comprehend where the sum originated. The customer noted that their supplier had provided no practical explanation to date.

The supplier had offered €310 in compensation for the customer service errors, but the customer was not happy with this sum considering the time taken to obtain a refund, alongside the stress caused by the complaint. The customer did not accept this compensation and escalated their complaint to the CRU.

The supplier advised that they upheld the customer’s complaint and acknowledged that their contact agent had incorrectly reactivated a service agreement, resulting in a payment being processed. They acknowledged it was unacceptable that it took three months for the customer to obtain their refund and noted that their handling of the complaint was dissatisfactory. The supplier advised that they had apologised to the customer, explained how the bill was generated and payment was taken, and had offered the compensation of €310.


The CRU upheld the customer’s complaint based on the following key points:

  • Failure to close the customers’ energy account correctly which led to the unauthorised debiting of their account.
  • Failure to explain the origins of the amount debited in error.
  • Significant delay in issuing the refund – it took 88 days for the supplier to issue the refund from when the customer advised the supplier of the mistaken debit.
  • Customer service failures, including delays in the supplier logging the customer’s complaint.

When the CRU contacted the supplier to confirm that the complaint had exhausted the suppliers’ full complaints process (a requirement before the CRU can investigate), the CRU was advised in error that the complaint was still under investigation.

The CRU considered that €310 compensation provided by the supplier did not reflect the level of customer service errors and service provided. For its many customer service failures, the CRU directed the supplier to award the customer compensation of €600. The Customer Care Team also brought the issues as outlined in this customer’s complaint to the attention of the CRU’s Compliance and Enforcement team.

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