The energy watchdog Ofgem is to investigate UK gas and electricity supplier Iresa over its treatment of customers.
Ofgem will look into the firm’s customer service processes to determine whether it treated customers fairly in their call-handling and complaints process.
It will also examine whether Iresa gave sufficient notice to customers facing financial difficulty that debt repayments were being taken out of their respective accounts.
“This also includes examining whether they enabled customers to switch suppliers on request, in line with our rules, or refunded customers’ money in a prompt and timely way,” Ofgem added.
As PA reports, the probe comes after Iresa’s practices prompted a raft of complaints, collected by the likes of Ofgem and Citizens Advice.
Ofgem stressed that the launch of the investigation itself does not imply that it has made any findings over non-compliance.
Iresa was founded in mid-2014 with an aim to create its “own proprietary technology” to cut out third parties, lower costs and offer cheaper bills to consumers, according to its own mission statement.
A number of customers were recently caught by surprise over direct debit increases and one-off payments worth hundreds of pounds, a report by consumer publication Which? said.
It said customers were told they would have to make the extra payments within just days of receiving emails near the end of January, citing at least one complaint over a £600 one-off charge.
Others were struggling to get in touch with the company, having been placed in long phone queues.
Ofgem has come under fire itself recently for not standing up strongly enough for UK customers.
The head of the UK energy regulator Dermot Nolan was accused by MPs of being a 'passive bystander' and failing to prevent millions of customers from paying over the odds.
Nolan apologised to vulnerable customers for not capping their bills earlier. He also said the decline in the percentage of people on poor-value default tariffs had not been as dramatic as he hoped.