Complaints show no warmth for bottom-ranking npower
If npower paid more attention to their customers, rather than throwing sponsorship money at various sports, then maybe they wouldn't be looking up at everyone else while they languish at the bottom of a complaints table.
The energy group has got the unenviable glory of being the most complained about energy company around in a new table that looks at the number and severity of complaints received. And from personal experience, I can confirm that they're gaspingly useless when it comes to looking after customers.
Consumer watchdog Consumer Focus said that this complaints league table will help us all to decide which energy supplier will give them the fewest headaches and best handle any problems that might crop up.
The best of the bunch appears to be Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE), followed by British Gas and E.ON, followed by Scottish Power, EDF and crappest of the lot, npower.
Published quarterly, the table is based on a star rating compiled by analysing complaints received through Consumer Direct, Consumer Focus and the Energy Ombudsman. SSE got four stars and npower, a measly two.
One of the things noted by Consumer Focus is that a complaint is weighted more heavily if a consumer has to spend a lot of time getting a problem resolved. Big marks go against you if consumers have to repeatedly contact their supplier or go through the rigmarole of getting in touch with an independent organisation for advice and support.
Mike O'Connor, chief executive at Consumer Focus, said: "We know energy companies are rooted at the bottom of our consumer trust survey. They have got a lot to do to win the respect of their customers and getting a firm grip on customer service and complaint handling should be a priority in the boardroom of these companies. They should all be aiming to be a five star service.
"Scottish and Southern Energy are the clear leaders, but the difference between energy suppliers is stark when they all sell an identical commodity under the same market rules. Having three suppliers languishing on just two stars is a pretty miserable state of affairs. Good service is really important to customers and people want the truth about complaints so they can make informed choices when deciding whether to switch."
In short - npower need to pull their socks up and quickly.