The government agency Ofgem has taken concrete steps to safeguard the well-being of microbusinesses by setting forth a set of final proposals that will help protect them from immoral brokers, following a report in which Citizens Advice claimed, “these firms are not protected in the same way as ordinary customers, and risk being needlessly disconnected.”
Microbusinesses are an essential part of the UK’s economy, making up 96% of all businesses. They’re defined as any business with less than 10 employees and only use a certain amount energy.
Energy brokers may be the key to finding a suitable energy package for your business, but you need to make sure that they are not engaging in poor practices; with or without the likes of support given by Ofgem, there will always be a few who engage in shady practices with unclear fees and interest rates…
For example, in one case assessed by Energylivenews, a customer was forced to pay around £24,000 in commission fees. The client had no idea about the 50% charge and felt betrayed when he found out.
Imagine if you were in the position of this client. The contract would have been too large for an individual to read, so it is understandable that he signed without reading all the way through. All your attention and focus was on getting a new energy provider, not what could happen afterwards when signing contracts with hidden clauses like these buried inside them.
Ofgem’s new support provisions will make the broker commission structures clear and introduce a 14-day cooling off period for customers. The regulator would also provide an independent service to resolve any disputes that may arise.
Ofgem and Citizens Advice are teaming up to give microbusinesses a hand in understanding their consumer rights. One of the most important aspects is how the business energy market works, so make sure you have all your questions about that answered before buying.
Ofgem’s Interim Director of Retail Anna Rossington said:
“With the impacts of the pandemic still being felt by many microbusinesses, it’s even more important to listen to the challenges these customers are facing in shopping around for their energy.
Ofgem’s proposals will crack down on poor practice and empower microbusiness customers by making it easier for them to get a better deal,
We are also sending out a clear signal to industry about the high standards we expect.”