Utility Warehouse Review
Utility Warehouse often seems like the Marmite energy supplier – you either love it or you hate it!
It’s certainly true that the way it sells its services, through network marketing, creates a fair few evangelists.
Certainly anyone posting negative reviews online about this Utility Warehouse will probably find themselves under fire from zealous company supporters.
Like any biggish company, if you Google them along with a negative term, like ‘complaints’, ‘rip off’, etc, you’ll find plenty of material.
But for all the hard sell of their networking sales people, the fact is that Utility Warehouse actually come out well from most surveys on customer satisfaction.
And for certain customers, Utility Warehouse may well be the right choice. To find out if you can save money with Utility Warehouse you can use our tool to compare energy prices.
Let’s take a look a closer look.
How Utility Warehouse is different …
The key thing to know about this outfit is that they want to do it all, as in sell you the lot in one handy package and one handy monthly bill.
That means landline phone, gas, electricity, mobile and broadband.
Go to their website and you’ll see they’re even pretty keen on you working for them by selling their services as well.
The company bundles together energy, phone and broadband and it sells through networking, which means you are highly likely to meet someone who is selling for them either part or full time. Customers are then encouraged to tell their friends and earn commission.
Networkers get paid when those they sign up start using the services and what they earn will depend on how much that customer spends.
Who are Utility Warehouse?
Utility Warehouse is owned by Telecom Plus, which has been around since 1996 and started life offering consumers ways to save money on landline calls.
Three years ago, Telecom Plus approached Npower to buy its subsidiaries, Electricity Plus and Gas Plus. This meant that over three quarters of a million accounts were moved almost overnight to the new Utility Warehouse. This customer base placed it just below the size of the so-called Big Six energy suppliers and it now ranks in seventh place.
What Utility Warehouse offers
Utility Warehouse offers a “price promise” to customers: if they switch all their services to them, they are “guaranteed” to save money.
If they don’t, Utility Warehouse will refund double the difference.
They key here, of course, is that you have to sign up to all their services before you’re guaranteed to save that money. It can also be a little tricky to work out whether you are, in fact, better off.
But a large proportion of customers say that they are, surveys show.
What about Utility Warehouse's energy prices?
So, once everything is packaged, you also receive the Energy Price Guarantee. This undertakes that duel-fuel prices will be competitive with whatever the Big Six have on offer – this is for an average household’s consumption and if you opt for payment by direct debit and paperless billing
And there are those rewards, already mentioned, if you sign up a friend. They also offer a Cash Back card, which earns between 3 and 7% on what they spend, which is then set against their Utility Warehouse bill.
There are no-minimum terms on contracts.
Are Utility Warehouse's customers happy?
Apart from those customers who are trying to make some cash by selling the supplier to their friends (who are bound to say they love the company), are customers generally happy with the Utility Warehouse offering?
Well, the answer, seems to be an emphatic ‘Yes!’
The company scored a prestigious second place in the Institute of Customer Service index earlier this year. It was only beaten in the rankings by Amazon and reviewed ahead of First Direct and John Lewis.
Which? research also ranks it highly – it gave it Utility Warehouse a review score of four stars out of five for customer service, value for money, the accuracy and clarity of bills and helping to save energy; and for dealing with complaints, it scored a straight five stars.
Investigations showed that the company kept callers on hold for an average of four minutes and 42 seconds – believe it or not, this is considerably better than the average wait for a utility company.
Despite it's high scores you can still use our form to make a complaint.
If green’s a factor for you, then you’ll want to know how the energy Utility Warehouse’s sells is generated.
Here’s its fuel mix:
* 59% gas
* 21% coal
* 17% renewable
* 2% nuclear
* 1% other
How its online offering stacks up
The website is a bit fussier than most as it seems as interested in signing you up to selling its services as it does in having you as a customer. The whole concept of it being a ‘discount club’ might be confusing to some people and of course, you are constantly urged to sign up lock stock and barrel, rather than attending to just one service.
The mobile site is nice and clear, however.
Utility Warehouse has a good mobile offering
Our view – Pros and cons
Pros – We can’t argue with customers’ scores – people generally seem to be happy with this company. Having said that, we’d suggest not getting too carried away by the results of a survey.
If you’re ready to sign up for the complete range of services, then Utility Warehouse guarantee you’ll save money. That seems pretty clear cut and is hard to argue with.
Having a unified bill every month will have an appeal to many people. If you like everything wrapped up in this way, nice and simple, then this is a big plus.
The rewards are a also nice addition.
Cons – You have to sign up to them for everything to get the best deals, which may not be a bad thing. But it does mean that if you want to switch to them for energy, say, you’re going to have to make comparisons and check reviews for all the other services as well.
And, the chances are that you will still have contracts left to run on some services while you’re ready to switch with others, which could complicate matters.
In the long run, working out whether you’re saving money or not may be harder when everything is lumped into one bill. It’s not going to be so easy to monitor other provider’s special offers and packages compared to what you’re paying.