Do small and medium-sized businesses get a raw deal on energy services?
According to a new poll commissioned by Ombudsman Services, many feel like they do – the survey of more than 600 firms shows nearly a third of SMEs think they get an unfair deal when buying and using energy and other essential services compared to residential customers – this is compared to 26% that feel they get a fair deal.
Only a fifth believe they are adequately shielded from ‘unfair practices’ from some providers, brokers and price comparison websites, with nearly double this proportion fearing they lacked suitable protection – 41% felt they would benefit from additional support in sorting out disputes with providers.
A tenth of SMEs questioned said they had previously experienced poor service or unfair treatment when finding and using energy deals, with this figure at 17% and 5% for the telecommunications and water markets respectively.
Matthew Vickers, CEO of Ombudsman Services, said: “SMEs are the backbone of the UK economy but often lack the protection they need and deserve when using essential services.
“For example, as an ombudsman in the energy and telecoms sectors, we are only allowed to investigate complaints made by individual consumers and microbusinesses with fewer than 10 employees.
“We feel that these gaps in protection should be addressed for the sake of the UK’s vitally important SMEs and the wider economy.”