Read case studies of customers we've helped, who live in embedded networks. Personal information has been changed to protect our customer's privacy.
Cameron experiences poor service when trying to clarify billing
Back in 2018, Cameron purchased an apartment off the plan. The apartment was serviced by a common hot water system that was managed and billed as an embedded network by an energy retailer.
Cameron had not received regular bills from his retailer, based on the agreed billing frequency, for a period of 12 months. He said he had received a delayed hot water bill of $1,100 for a period of six-months and then another bill for $531 for a one-month period.
Cameron complained to his retailer about the delays and the inconsistent billing. His retailer told him that it would investigate the billing and provide a response. Cameron didn’t receive a response for over a month, so he sent a follow up email, but again, did not receive a reply. He then received a new hot water bill, so he tried calling his retailer but could only leave a phone message.
Cameron complained to us about the poor customer service he received when attempting to resolve his complaint.
How did we help?
We referred the matter back to the retailer to resolve it at a higher level and told Cameron that he could return to us if a satisfactory outcome could not be reached. Cameron returned to us because he was not contacted by the retailer at all.
We contacted the retailer to obtain the outcome of its investigation and were told that the billing delay was caused by data migration to a new billing system. The retailer also noted that the customer’s meter was incorrectly connected and crossed with another apartment.
The retailer corrected the error and re-issued Cameron’s hot water bill. It also offered to waive six-months of charges as a customer service gesture. The retailer confirmed Cameron’s new billing cycle would be bi-monthly and provided a further credit of $100 as a goodwill gesture. Cameron accepted this outcome as resolution to the complaint.
Learn more about making a complaint about your embedded network.
An embedded network customer disputes the accuracy of her hot water billing
Mrs Sims had lived at an apartment with an individual hot water meter for four months. Her meter indicated that she had used approximately 9,500 litres of hot water in that time. The customer complained that the billing agent for the building had issued her bills that showed she was using 4,500 litres per month. The meter readings on the bills she received did not match her reading of the meter.
Mrs Sims contacted the billing agent to complain but did not receive a response for months. She also complained that she paid her first bill by direct debit and the billing agent then continued to deduct payments from her account without permission. The billing agent told her that direct debit was the only payment option provided. EWON advised the customer that we were limited in the assistance we could provide as the billing agent providing the hot water service was a not an authorised energy retailer or a member of EWON. Mrs Sims provided EWON with her billing information and EWON contacted the billing agent to confirm what action was being taken to address her complaint. The billing agent advised that Mrs Sims' meter was identified as faulty and would be replaced. The billing agent then contacted the customer and offered her a credit to the account of $300 which would average her hot water usage for the disputed period to 3,000 litres per month.
Category: Complaint enquiry
Outcomes: Facilitated resolution
Added August 2019
Billing: Embedded network customer disputes high bill for bundled hot water and cook top gas charges
A customer moved into an apartment building with an embedded network. The customer opened an account with the retailer in July 2018 after receiving an invoice addressed to the ‘Unit Occupier’. The bill was for the energy used to heat the hot water and supply charges for unmetered cook top gas. The customer then received a re-issued bill covering the period from the date of connection (March 2018). The customer complained to EWON, via an interpreter, that she felt the re-issued bills were too high. The customer was also concerned that the payment she made of $368.10 was not noted on the bill.
The customer contacted the retailer which advised her that the billing was based on digital meter data and was correct. The customer was confused about what charges (electricity, hot water, or cook top gas) were contributing to the higher than expected bill. The customer agreed to have her complaint referred to the embedded network retailer at a higher level, knowing she could return to EWON if an agreed outcome could not be negotiated (#324804). The retailer notified EWON that it responded to the customer’s complaint by email on 9 October 2018.
The customer contacted EWON again on 19 October 2018 to advise that she had not received a response from the retailer. The retailer advised EWON that the customer’s payment of $368.10 was received on the same day the bill was issued. The retailer also advised EWON that it had engaged the meter data provider to investigate the meter readings following the customer’s complaint.
The meter data provider provided a photograph of the customer’s meter which confirmed the correct billing of the account. The retailer noted that more information could have been provided to the customer at the first point of contact about how its hot water billing worked. The customer contacted EWON again on 29 January 2019 to advise that the retailer had contacted it and resolved the complaint.
Category: Level 2 Investigation
Outcomes: Facilitated resolution
Added May 2019