Ofgem takes compliance action over ScottishPower’s complaints handling

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Ofgem has an open compliance case into ScottishPower’s complaints procedures, which includes concerns about the supplier’s handling and resolving of critical issues, diagnosing root problems and the impact this has on poor outcomes experienced by customers.

We have been increasingly concerned about the volume of ScottishPower’s referrals to consumer bodies. We have seen slow complaint resolution times leading to customer dissatisfaction and have been concerned with  the lack of ability to identify, understand and resolve the root causes of known issues to prevent further similar complaints.

When customers have a problem it is important that suppliers take steps to put things right. We expect that customer concerns are received, handled and processed in a timely and efficient manner in accordance with 7(1)(a) and (b) of the The Gas and Electricity (Consumer Complaints Handling Standards) Regulations 2008.

Ofgem takes customer service and complaints handling very seriously and have therefore intervened.

Ofgem has been working closely with ScottishPower on these issues and is holding them to account for poor performance by asking them to set and achieve clear improvement targets.

We have requested regular detailed reporting of a range of complaint metrics and set ScottishPower the objective of significantly reducing complaint resolution times and the volume of referrals made to consumer bodies.

Ofgem is disappointed with the lack of progress made by ScottishPower towards achieving this objective although, based on our interactions with them, we are confident that our intervention has resulted in more focus being placed on improving this area.

ScottishPower has assured us that they take complaints resolution seriously and are working to improve their complaints processes.

If we do not see improvements in ScottishPower’s performance we will consider taking further steps, including the possibility of enforcement action.

We expect all suppliers to treat customers fairly and work swiftly to resolve issues once they are raised. 

The opening of this compliance case does not imply that Ofgem has made any findings about non-compliance by ScottishPower. Ofgem will report in due course on the findings of its compliance engagement. As with any compliance engagement, the outcome could range from a decision that there is no need for any further action through to the opening of an enforcement investigation, if appropriate.

Additional notes

In 2018 we asked customers to tell us what they expect from a good complaints handling. The results are published here: Complaints Handling Survey 2018.