Billing mistake sees EON pay back 1.6 million customers

Man checking bank balance on phone

EON has agreed to pay back more than half a million pounds in total to almost half of its customer base after charging direct debit customers early over the Christmas period in 2020. Some customers have already received goodwill payments, but more money is to be paid out following an agreement with the energy regulator.

EON customers billed early

More than 1.6 million EON customers who had their direct debit payments taken out of their account early are to be repaid. A mistake made by the supplier, which for most saw their account charged on December 24th rather than in January 2021, was self-reported by EON to Ofgem when it occurred.

EON says that the incident occurred due to a technical fault, and has apologised to the affected customers, many of whom had complained to EON and the regulator of experiencing:

  • Out of pocket expenses
  • Unexpected overdraft charges from their bank
  • Difficulty making payments during the Christmas period
  • Other financial difficulties 

Is your energy supply causing you the above issues?If you have trouble affording your energy bills or they regularly leave you scraping by, you could get help as a victim of fuel poverty. There are also measures you can take - see our guide on how to save electricity for more information.

Ofgem ruled that EON had “failed to conduct the appropriate checks” to make sure that it’s customers would not be affected in the above ways by the charge. The mistake has seen EON pay just over £55,000 in redress and goodwill payments to customers already, and the provider has agreed to pay a further £627,312 to the energy redress fund.

Payments will be made to customers who can present legitimate claims of having incurred bank charges, out of pocket expenses and other financial losses because of the early direct debit charge.

Ofgem happy with resolution

The energy regulator, which liaised with EON since the provider reported the issue in December until February, is satisfied with the commitment made and considers the matter closed. Ofgem’s direct of retail Anna Rossington was pleased with the way EON dealt with the mistake:

Ofgem is always prepared to work with suppliers who have failed to comply with their obligations, but who have self-reported and are determined to put things right, as E.ON has done.”

This said, she stated that the incident should be a reminder to suppliers that they have as much of an obligation to abide by their contracts as customers do: “Ofgem expects suppliers to adhere to the terms of contracts they have with customers, in particular the agreed Direct Debit payment dates.”

We can only support the strong stance taken by Ofgem in holding EON accountable for a mistake which affected almost two million customers, and are equally pleased to see EON pay up and make good on it of its own accord. If you were affected by the early charge, you can still contact the supplier to request reimbursement - be sure to have proof of how you were affected.

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