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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.
I couldn't be more satisfied!
"I couldn't be more satisfied with the service provided by Bhavni on behalf of Switchmybusiness.com. Her professional, helpful and friendly service was truly exceptional."This review was posted by Gosia Stelmaszczyk on the 20th of October 2017
"Ian was very helpful throughout the process, and we have been able to set up a three year contract with a new provider at very little extra cost to our previous supplier. David Brogden Milton Malsor Village Hall"This review was posted by David Brogden on the 20th of October 2017
Bhavni Manek helped me today and I was …
"Bhavni Manek helped me today and I was very happy with the service. Than you"This review was posted by Jonathon Holdsworth on the 20th of October 2017
Ian Howell was absolutely brilliant …
"Ian Howell was absolutely brilliant this morning helping me switch gas provider for my micro business He explained everything really simply, gave what seemed good advice, and did the switch-over for me. He even gave me a template email to send to my current provider. Brilliant! Thanks, Lisa - owner of St Davids Wellbeing."This review was posted by Lisa Smith on the 19th of October 2017
Excellent service and very helpful staff
"Excellent service and very helpful staff"This review was posted by Susan Westbury on the 18th of October 2017