Consumer complaint about problems with utilities (phone, internet, heating) (England and Wales)

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What's a consumer complaint about problems with utilities (phone, internet, heating) (England and Wales) and when do you need one?

Use this letter if you are a consumer based in England and Wales and you want to complain about your experience of telecommunications/internet or tv provider.

For complaints relating to heating and energy providers, see our separate complaint letter template. If you’re having problems paying your bill, Citizens Advice have some helpful guidance here.

Your complaint might take a variety of forms. Such as:

  • Being overcharged (contracts started, renewed or extended from 1 October 2018 must contain a billing limit – i.e. the maximum that you can be charged each month/for each bill; if your provider’s charged you more than that/is attempting to do so, you do not have to pay this additional amount and you’re entitled to request them to reduce the bill to your agreed limit)

  • Your bill is simply wrong (though double check beforehand that you’ve not incurred additional roaming charges while travelling abroad or, someone else in your household isn’t buying a lot of films or hasn’t accessed a premium service without your knowledge). You’re entitled to a correction and a refund for any overcharge. But bear in mind that if someone else in your house has been incurring charges on your account, and you are the only person named on that account, you are liable to pay for those charges and the service provider will only chase you for the outstanding monies.

  • You’re being chased to pay a bill or you’ve had money debited from your bank for charges relating to a former resident of a property into which you’ve moved (If money has been debited from your account, you’re entitled to request a full refund and to demand that the provider stops taking these payments immediately. Make sure you cancel any direct debit mandate with your bank too. Your bank may also be able to help you if the provider continues to take money from you or refuses to give you the refund to which you’re entitled.)

  • You’re being chased to pay a bill or you’ve had money debited from your bank account for charges incurred after you left a property and for which you are not responsible, or after you cancelled a contract with the provider and switched to someone else. (If money has been debited from your account, you’re entitled to request a full refund and to demand that the provider stops taking these payments immediately. Make sure you cancel any direct debit mandate with your bank too. Your bank may also be able to help you if the provider continues to take money from you or refuses to give you the refund to which you’re entitled.)

In all the above circumstances, you should also make a complaint via the provider’s complaints procedure if they continue to debit money/charge you. All telcos operate a formal complaints procedure; they must have one and operate it properly, by law.

This template is designed to support you in this, however, you should check that your provider is not operating a different complaints system, for example, one that requires you to submit the details of your complaint online.

Always keep a copy of all correspondence that you send, and it’s highly advisable to send it by a means that gives you proof of postage and, ideally, proof of delivery.

Late payments charges if you’re not successful

If you don’t pay your bill and your complaint is not successful, you could end up incurring a late payment charge. Check the provider’s terms and conditions to see what they say about this. The fact that you are disputing a payment/bill does not usually pause your obligation to pay.

Stolen phone

If someone’s stolen your mobile phone and incurred a load of charges, you will normally be liable to pay for all charges up to the time when you reported your phone stolen. So always report a theft of your phone as soon as you can to avoid facing an unwelcome phone bill. Take a look here for more guidance on what do to if your phone is stolen.

What else might you need?

If you’d like help handling a complaint and/or working out your options, our speak to an adviser service is ideally positioned to assist you.

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