Northamptonshire consumers claim £130,000 a year for poor service

Ombudsman Services handles energy and communications complaints
Ombudsman Services handles energy and communications complaints

Northamptonshire consumers were awarded almost £130,000 last year after filing complaints against energy and communications companies for their poor service.

Residents claimed an average of £153 each from 850 complaints which had been ongoing for at least eight weeks, with the help of Ombudsman Services.

The consumer action firm suggested it could be the tip of the iceberg as 62 per cent of residents experienced issues but did not complain.

The most active complainers were those in South Northamptonshire, who were also awarded the most on average (£200).

Consumers in Northampton North recorded the fewest complaints.

Further research suggests the total amount of complaints about all products and services last year could be as high as 3.5 million, but consumers still experienced more than 5.7 million issues that they ignored.

The main reasons were that it was too much hassle (48 per cent) or they could not be bothered (33%), but these people could be missing out.

Ombudsmen are providers of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), and review both sides of a case before passing down a legally binding remedy, which is designed to put a problem right. Many people miss out on fixing a problem or getting financial compensation, as they aren’t aware that free help, such as this, is available.

Lewis Shand Smith, Chief Ombudsman at Ombudsman Services, said: “It’s important that residents in the East Midlands know their consumer rights and don’t put up with bad service. Complaining should be an easy, hassle-free experience – if you’re still in a dispute with an energy or communications company after eight weeks, Ombudsman Services can look into the case for free and provide a resolution – it could be worth your while.”