Customers, Policy & regulation

Fresh scrutiny follows £9.5m customer payment for past licence breaches

Ofgem has launched a new investigation into practices at British Gas following concern that it has breached its licence conditions in relation to the termination of domestic customer supply contracts.

The investigation will examine whether British Gas has failed to fulfil its obligations to treat customers fairly. In particular, Ofgem has concerns that British Gas has not complied with its obligations to customers who switch to another supplier, including its requirement to waive termination fees.

The launch of this investigation follows hard on the heels of a £9.5m customer redress package issued by British Gas to make up for licence breaches between March 2015 and December 2015.

British Gas agreed to deliver the settlement, rather than receive a hefty fine from the regulator.

Its compliance failures in this instance were related to customer service and billing – primarily for microbusiness customers.

Responding to news of the new investigation, a company spokesperson said: “British Gas will co-operate fully with Ofgem to address the issues raised in today’s announcement.”

Consumer body Which? was quick to urge the regulatotr to take swift action if any wrongdoing is confrimed. Alex Neill, managing director of home products and services said: “Suppliers should be making it as easy as possible for customers to switch. If British Gas is found to have put off customers who wanted to switch, then the regulator must swiftly hold them to account.”

The regulator emphasized that the opening of an investigation “does not imply that we have made any findings about non-compliance”.


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