Utility Warehouse investigated by regulator over handling of customers in debt

utility warehouse

Utility Warehouse is facing an investigation from the energy regulator over how it handles customers who are in debt.

The firm bundles energy, phone and broadband services into one bill, and is promoted by Ab Fab star Joanna Lumley on its website.

In a statement, Ofgem said it would be looking at whether the supplier breached rules in the way it manages indebted customers – specifically, whether it puts appropriate repayment plans in place for consumers struggling financially.

“This includes whether it does enough to try and contact customers in or at risk of debt and to establish with them manageable repayment plans based on their ability to pay, as Ofgem’s rules require,” the regulator said.

“It also includes whether they are installing pre-payment meters appropriately as a means of recovering debt from customers, particularly when they install them under warrant.”

However, Ofgem did clarify that the opening of the investigation did not imply that there had been any non-compliance by Utility Warehouse.

In response, Utility Warehouse said it was “surprised and disappointed” that Ofgem had decided to launch a formal investigation into some of its processes.

“An independent audit of these processes late in 2017 gave an overall positive report with a number of best practice recommendations now having been fully implemented,” a spokesperson added.

“We will, of course, work alongside Ofgem to ensure that this investigation is concluded.”