Big Six energy firm British Gas has been forced to pay out £2.65 million after it overcharged 94,000 customers and imposed exit fees of thousands of households wrongfully.
Ofgem stated the Centrica owned company had incorrectly moved customers that switched to a new supplier to a more expensive tariff as a result of a “system error”, which collectively overcharged customers £782,450.
The energy regulator also found that 2.5 million customers had been falsely told that exit fees were due during the 49-day switching period, which amounted to a total of £64,968 from 1,698 consumers.
The investigation was launched by Ofgem in July 2017 after evidence from consumer website MoneySavingExpert.com found acts of wrongdoing by the supplier.
British Gas was one of three firms that have now been found to have wrongly imposed exit fees on consumers electing to switch suppliers within the final 49 days of the contract end date.
Anthony Pygram, the director of conduct and enforcement at Ofgem, said: “British Gas failed its customers who were coming to the end of their fixed contracts and switched supplier by unfairly penalising them and applying charges in error. Many more customers could have been deterred from getting a better deal due to the incorrect terms and conditions.”
Guy Anker, deputy editor at MoneySavingExpert.com, said: “Such behaviour by big suppliers totally undermines the concept of switching by falsely putting people off with the threat of false charges.”