Victoria Bishop: Fuel companies must work to restore consumer confidence

Enough is enough. For months, Money Mail has been urging energy giants to rapidly improve their pathetic customer service.

Yet at a time of need for families last week, when price cap increases finally hit home, major suppliers performed extremely poorly.

Was it really surprising that their helplines were flooded with panic calls? Or the websites that had record visitors because customers insanely tried to log meter readings? Of course not. It was inevitable.

Unprepared: Major power suppliers acted abnormally during last week’s household needs, when the price cap hike finally hit home.

So why on earth were suppliers not ready? It’s time to dump her and move on. Providers cannot raise direct debits to an unexpected level with little or no explanation and expect families to simply pay.

Not especially when many are still waiting for significant credit returns from collapsed suppliers.

Energy bills have always been confusing. Not least because there are two charges – one for each unit of energy used and one to cover the connection cost per second, known as a fixed charge.

Previously, many customers paid little attention to the ins and outs of how their bills were calculated. But now that every extra pound counts, they want answers.

Watchdog Offgame needs to wake up from its deep sleep and force companies to be transparent.

If it had been noticed sooner, customers would not have been billed multi-billion pounds for dozens of failed providers.

We have been repeatedly warned that this month’s rise in prices is just beginning, expecting more bill pain in the fall. Suppliers must first regain the trust of their customers.

Goodbye Tony

Today Money Mail marks the end of an era with the departure of our Honorable Letter Editor and Consumer Champion Tony Hazel.

Over the years, Tony has fought tirelessly against Britain’s biggest business. His wealth of knowledge, experience, and demonic acumen has shaken the boots of several chief executives.

But to the common man, often overlooked by the elites, he was their hero: fair, steadfast in his pursuit of justice, and a true advocate for our readers.

We will all miss him terribly – although I have a secret suspicion until a huge failure in the financial world bothers him enough to return as a guest star.

Farewell: Tony Hazel, editor of the letter and consumer champion, is on his way to the sunset to help readers solve their financial problems after 32 years.

Farewell: Tony Hazel, editor of the letter and consumer champion, is on his way to the sunset to help readers solve their financial problems after 32 years.

In the meantime, it gives me great pleasure to introduce Sally Hamilton, who will take over as Consumer Champion next week.

Sally has over 25 years of personal financing experience and is already working hard behind the scenes to address your issues.

Any letters sent to Tony recently will be sent to him but email in the future [email protected] Or write to Sally Hamilton, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street, London, W8 5TT.

Victoria Bishop: Energy companies must work to restore customer confidence

The heart of gold

Money mail readers really have a golden heart. Last week, during a special time in our life-time crisis, we featured annoying calls to the Independent Age helpline for the elderly.

In one, a Parkinson’s sufferer stated that his living expenses had increased so much that he could not afford the shoes he needed for his condition and was in excruciating pain.

Reader Leslie Williamson asked if she could donate to shoes. Thank you for your kind offer – we have sent your contact details to the charity.

Czech mate?

While on vacation last month, I finally got to read the Murder Club sequel, The Man Who Died Twice, on Thursday. It was a brilliant read but a part almost held my breath on Pina Colada.

The Joyce character was collecting money for charity and one person tried to pay by check. ‘A check book! I don’t even use checks anymore, and I’m 77, ‘he commented.

Is this a true reflection of how older people feel about checks? Or have banking giants pushed their online agenda and penetrated popular fiction? I want to hear how often our readers still use checks. Write to me at the email address below.

[email protected]

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