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Businesses are being rolled over and locked into energy contracts without their permission, SwitchMyBusiness.com has found, alongside a catalogue of other issues.
The findings are striking – we found that 18.4% of businesses have been automatically rolled over onto a new contract without their permission and a further 16% don’t know whether they have been a victim of auto-renewal.
The study comes in the wake of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) report which found that UK SMEs are unnecessarily losing £500 million a year on energy.
While Ofgem and some energy suppliers have made steps towards making the business energy market fairer, the practice of ‘auto-renewal’ – where businesses are ‘locked in’ to another fixed-term contract without their express permission – continues.
The SwitchMyBusiness.com research also showed that more than 30% of small businesses have been shunted onto a ‘deemed contract’ (30.4%) with the same supplier at the end of a fixed contract, leaving them paying up to 80% more.
A further 16.8% are unsure whether they have been put onto a deemed contract, and the majority of UK SMEs stated they have had problems understanding their energy contract at all (50.4%), a sign the business energy market urgently needs more clarity.
Knowing how to switch supplier is vital if businesses are to avoid getting ripped off or paying more than they need to. But more than a quarter of smaller to medium-sized businesses (25.6%) do not fully understand how to terminate their current business energy contract, meaning as many as 1.3 million businesses are losing out on better energy deals.
“These findings prove that the UK’s SMEs are still getting a raw deal,” says Ivan McKeever, CEO of SwitchMyBusiness.com. “Smaller to medium-sized businesses are in a uniquely challenging position: the business energy market lacks the transparency that consumers now have and smaller businesses do not have the resources to liaise with lots of suppliers and negotiate a good deal.”
The research shows that much more needs to be done to help small businesses with their energy bills. SwitchMyBusiness.com has publicly appealed for the Government to take urgent action:
As we have proven, cheaper business electricity and gas is available for many, many small to medium sized businesses. We are passionate about stopping UK SMEs paying too much and will keep campaigning to make the energy market fairer. In the meantime, we offer practical help – we always contact all of our customers ahead of their renewal date to ensure they have the option to switch to the cheapest energy supplier.
Our process takes only 20 minutes and has received the top rating on independent site Trust Pilot. Fill in our simple form (also at the top right of this page) or give us a call on 0330 0100 251 now to start saving.
Competent and courteous service.
"Marie was knowledgeable and helpful. I feel able to recommend the service given without reservation. David Slesenger"This review was posted by David Slesenger on the 16th of August 2016
"Nadia was very helpful"This review was posted by Robin on the 16th of August 2016
Excellent Customer Service *****
"Jonathan Burgess is an asset to Switch My Business. He made me feel at ease and was more than helpful at all times. He made regular contact and guided me through the whole process which made switching a breeze. I just wish there were more customer service advisers like Jonathon whose friendly and happy demeanour make your day a much nicer one. Well done Switch my business and more importantly thank you Jonathon for all your hard work! Maria Owen Lodgecrest"This review was posted by Maria Owen on the 17th of August 2016
EXCELLENT CUSTOMER SERVICE
"I totally agree with a customer maria owen,Jonathan Burgess was such a pleasure dealing with and is truly a asset to the company, he made it very easy to switch my electricity companies, Jonathan Burgess was very helpful, easy to talk to it was like talking to a friend not just a customer adviser. I would definitely recommend switchmybusiness and try get hold off Jonathan Burgess if possible and have the same excellent service as I did. Rajan Shanan"This review was posted by Rajan Shanan on the 19th of August 2016
Excellent and very helpful
"Arron who dealt with my switch of energy and gas has been a huge help and extremely efficienct and easy to deal with. Despite British Gas throwing obstacles in the way at every turn he has doggedly stuck to his task and saved the day. Thanks Arron."This review was posted by Rod Pryce-Jones on the 19th of August 2016