Consumer Council for Water
Business customer complaints about retailers fall for third successive quarter
The number of business customer complaints about retailers raised with the consumer watchdog has reached its lowest level for a year and a half.
CCW – the voice for water consumers – saw the number of complaints made to it by non-household customers fall for a third successive quarter.
CCW handled 812 complaints about retailers between October and December 2019 – the lowest number it has received since the first quarter of 2018/19.
But it has warned that the poor performance of a small number of retailers is largely to blame for complaints still being four times higher than before non-household customers in England were given the freedom to switch retailer in April 2017.
Clear Business Water and Water Plus remained among the worst performers, with Castle Water slipping into the bottom three despite a 13 per cent reduction in complaints.
Adam Boyns, CCW Policy Manager, yesterday said:
“It’s the first time since the market opened that complaints to us have fallen for a third successive quarter but there remains a long way to go.”
“Far too many customers are still having to complain about the service they are receiving and that will only change when the poor performers get their act together, particularly when it comes to providing clear and accurate bills.”
Water2Business and Business Steam1 retained their places among the least complained about retailers with Pennon joining them in the top three performers for the first time.
CCW compares the performance of retailers based on the number of complaints per 10,000 supply points to take into account the variation in market share among providers.
On that basis, Clear Business Water was the worst performer and CCW will be stepping up its scrutiny of the retailer in an effort to turn around its performance.
Complaints from Water Plus customers have risen during the past two quarters, undermining the progress the market’s largest retailer made in the first three months of the year. It accounted for about 45 per cent of non-household complaints and CCW plans to meet with Water Plus again to discuss how it intends to address the underlying causes.
CCW will also continue to closely monitor the performance of Castle Water, which was the third worst performer despite a fall in complaints. The company has made some progress in reducing complaints about estimated billing and its failure to respond to some customers after meeting with CCW in November 2019.
For more information, call the media team on 0121 345 1005.
1 Business Stream acquired Yorkshire Water Business on 1 October 2019 and their performance includes complaints to both customer bases.
Latest News from
Consumer Council for Water
Consider the financially vulnerable, CCW urges the CMA23/11/2020 09:10:00
Careful consideration should be given to the future affordability of water bills, the Consumer Council for Water (CCW) has told the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). Steve Hobbs, Senior Policy Manager, reflects on the latest hearing.
Lifting the lid on leaky loos20/11/2020 09:20:00
Our recent Water Makes It Possible campaign gave us the opportunity to appreciate just how amazing water is, and sadly how much we can all be guilty of taking it for granted.
Water retailers reminded to treat struggling business customers fairly13/11/2020 16:20:00
Making sure that business customers who have been impacted by Covid-19 are well supported by their water retailer has been a pressing priority for CCW since the outbreak of the pandemic.
Consumer watchdog pledges to help more households access water company support13/11/2020 13:25:00
A fresh bid to break down the barriers to households getting the support they need from their water company during Covid-19 and other periods of disruption has been launched by the industry’s consumer watchdog.
Sky’s the limit when it comes to valuing water06/11/2020 09:20:00
Whether it’s brushing our teeth and watering the garden or washing or hands to keep ourselves protected from COVID-19 – almost every aspect of our lives depend on water.
CCW supports Consumer Vulnerability and Debt Conference (1-3 Dec)30/10/2020 09:20:00
The Consumer Council for Water (CCW) is delighted to be supporting and taking part in the 2020 Utility Week Consumer Vulnerability and Debt Conference (1-3 December).
CMA plans could tip the balance for struggling households28/10/2020 09:20:00
The Consumer Council for Water (CCW) yesterday called on the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to “think again” after voicing concerns over its provisional plans for four water companies’ future bills and service commitments.
Review targets stronger support for customers struggling to afford water bills22/10/2020 11:20:00
Stronger support for household customers who are struggling to afford their water bills has moved closer with the launch of a major review into existing assistance schemes.
CMA: is the customer voice being heard?20/10/2020 13:38:00
More customer engagement was carried out at PR19 than in any previous price review. But how has this translated into tangible outcomes for consumers, and is the CMA listening? CCW’s Mike Keil explores whether the customer voice is being heard as the appeal process continues.