It may not seem like it sometimes, but there are quite a few rules out there that are designed to protect your cash. The trouble is, whether by mistake or otherwise, not everyone’s playing strictly by the rules. Ever notice how those mistakes always seem to end up with you out of pocket? Well, that’s good – because noticing something’s wrong is your first step toward setting it right.

7.2 million people have been overcharged by their energy supplier

That’s the situation facing over a million UK households right now, who’ve been overpaying their energy bills because their suppliers weren’t reading from the right rulebook. Overall, between 2013 and 2020, energy customers were being overcharged a total of £7.2 million by 18 suppliers, from British Gas to Scottish Power.

Some of the people hit with the excessive bills ended up paying hundreds of pounds too much – with many never even realising it. At least some customers of all the top 6 energy suppliers were charged too much when switching tariff or supplier, with 5 firms overcharging over 100,000 people or more each!

Energy company switching rules applied incorrectly

So, how did this happen – and more importantly, what can you do about it if you’ve been overcharged? Well, the problem comes down to a little wrinkle in the energy deal switching rules that wasn’t being applied correctly.

When you change your deal, whether you’re moving to a new supplier or not, you’re supposed to be charged your existing tariff right up until the changeover happens. For these 18 firms and over a million of their customers, that rule wasn’t being stuck to, costing households hundreds of pounds in some cases.

If you switched from a fixed-term tariff deal to another tariff without changing supplier between 2013 and 2020, you might be one of the people who got overcharged. The same thing goes if you were on a standard variable or fixed term deal and switched suppliers during that time. Now, it’s possible that you’ve already been alerted about the problem and got the cash back from your energy firm. For those who haven’t, though, there’s still a way to get back what you’re owed.

How to get an energy refund

The first thing to know is that you probably won’t have a fight on your hands. All of the suppliers who overcharged have agreed to fix the problem. At least 2 of the firms have already paid back all their customers who lost out, while others are in the process of doing so. To make a long story short, if you’ve lost money because of this, your supplier should be getting in touch – assuming they’re still in business.

For firms that have gone bust or been bought out, Ofgem is working to get the repayments handled. Either way, you may actually get back a little more than you’re owed. Some firms are adding in a bonus payment as a goodwill gesture.

If you think you’ve been stung by an energy supplier, whether your existing one or a previous one if you switched, get in touch with them if they haven’t already contacted you. They should be able to confirm whether you’re owed anything and sort out a repayment if you are.

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