Payment hope for energy customer after Orbit shambles – The Crusader
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But Coral Hamilton’s relief was short lived because days later the £338 credit, that Orbit said had been refunded to her, was still not showing and the situation is now dramatically different.
The shambles that Coral has been subjected to on several fronts has caused her immense anxiety and been going on since April. Now the company’s closure has increased her concerns that any resolution is a long way off.
++ If you’ve been affected by this issue or feel you’ve been a victim of injustice, please contact consumer champion Maisha Frost on [email protected] ++;
“I felt my head would split trying to work out how much I was really owed, but I’m very sorry too for those who’ve lost their jobs at Orbit,” she told Crusader.
As with other collapsed energy companies, under regulator Ofgem’s consumer safety net, customers’ supply and credit balances are protected. They are advised to hold tight for the time being and let the new supplier contact them. The one taking over Orbit’s customers has now been announced as Scottish Power (see below).
Coral came to Crusader for help in September unable to find out why she had become an Orbit customer despite never knowingly having switched to them or given her details. She also wanted to get back the extra payments it had taken.
Coral had used price comparison sites in the past, before switching to Green Energy Network over a year ago. It then folded and with no debts, Coral started a switch to Octopus. Next she got an email from Orbit welcoming her as a customer. “But I had sent my details to Octopus, had nothing to do with Orbit so ignored that,” she says.
But her bank account told a different story. “Orbit continued to take payments for six months after the switch to Octopus,” says Coral.
When asked about having her details Orbit said it had recording proof where Coral did agree to join. She now believes this was made in a call she received from switching service Simply Switch, trading as Money Expert, which was working with Orbit.
“In the past I had dealt with Simply Switch, but when I got the cold call out I think now I mistook Orbit for Octopus who I was already in the process of joining, so I agreed. It was all so confusing and easy to misunderstand on the phone,” she explains.
Orbit did refund some of the monthly payments it continued to take, but it also warned Coral it was deducting £256 in charges.
“I was never told what these were for. I had an email saying I was £365 in credit and then another refund promise which has yet to happen,” she adds. “As this mess gets sorted out, I do hope people like me on the sidelines are not forgotten.”
Fortunately Coral has kept all her paperwork and dealings with Orbit as she will need them going forward.
She is seeking a refund for monies actually taken that she did not owe so should expect Scottish Power to get in touch and get it sorted out. She should also make a note of Orbit’s administrator, another potential contact.
For customers seeking compensation however Ofgem advises: “New suppliers will not pay compensation owed by outgoing suppliers. You should contact your old supplier’s administrators in this situation. You can find administrator contact details above.
“If you think your complaint is still ongoing, then once the new supplier takes over and contacts you, please discuss with them how the issue can be resolved.”
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