Cynthia Gebert – Ombudsman EWOV
What are the three most common complaints you see?
Almost half of the complaints are billing related followed by credit and customer service issues.
Customers who contact us are often concerned about billing accuracy, their ability to pay bills and the service they’ve received when they contact their company.
What are the outcomes you usually see for these complaints?
Around 70% of complaints are resolved between the company and the customer without the need for further investigation.
When we investigate, some of the most common outcomes are:
- billing is checked (& corrected if required)
- payment plans established
- assistance offered for ongoing support
What are your top tips for customers calling their energy or water company?
When you call your utility company, always write down the details of the conversation (eg date, time, who you spoke to, and the outcome achieved).
Let them know if you’re experiencing any difficulty in making payments on their account.
You also have the right to ask for help and there is a framework companies must follow to provide support in accessing an affordable payment plan.
Disconnections and debt collection should not occur when a residential customer, in financial stress, has been in contact with their utility company or is accessing support.
It is important that a customer stays in touch with their retailer. But, if a customer is not happy with the outcome they can come to EWOV. You can contact us via our website www.ewov.com.au or by calling 1800 500 509 (free call).
How many people who call EWOV have seen or have a financial counsellor working on their behalf, does it help and what are the benefits?
EWOV often see cases where a financial counsellor is working on behalf of a consumer. Financial counsellors have a strong understanding of Victorian energy and water consumer’s rights, and the support they are entitled to access.
This means that often the matter can be resolved with the retailer directly without the need to come to EWOV, but they are also able to access EWOV to resolve complaints.
Financial counsellors are qualified and able to help people with an overall view of their financial situation, help prioritise debts, access grants or concessions, negotiate with companies and develop budgets.
phone: 1800 500 509