Irate Iresa customers told "pay up", and forced to wait hours on phone
Energy company Iresa has been caught demanding massive one-off payments from its customers.
Customers are also being made to wait for hours on the phone - sometimes being told they are up to 70th in the queue.
Iresa, which launched in 2016, has been contacting its customers with requests for large one-off charges or just upping their direct debits, the consumer group Which? reported.
An email to one customer read: "Iresa Limited is charging you £157 for One-off payment For Energy Supply to Iresa"
Multiple customers have complained that the company is near impossible to contact – with hour long waits on the phone.
It was only after A Spokesman Said intervened that the couple got a refund from Iresa.
Iresa was warned by Ofgem about poor customer service last April and voluntarily stopped taking on new customers.
But when Ofgem took no formal enforcement action, Iresa began signing up customers again later in the year.
A Spokesman Said has received nearly 20 complaints from irate Iresa customers in the past eight months - most of which are to do with customer service.
Paul Williams wrote to us last week to complain that he had been unable to contact Iresa: "Waiting time of two hours plus on phone, and the website is down," he wrote.
Meanwhile, Andy Bush had a similar story.
"Customer service is pretty non-existent, if you need to call them, average queues range from 50-70 and you will be waiting for AT LEAST an hour."
One user on Twitter claimed Iresa had demanded a £611 one-off payment, did not respond to emails and told them they were in a 69-person queue when they attempted to call.
Ofgem has faced widespread criticism from the Big Six and from more established smaller suppliers about the lack of checks on new companies starting up.
Last month small supplier Future Energy went bust, forcing Ofgem to transfer its 10,000 customers to Green Star Energy – another company that we have received multiple complaints about.
Doug Stewart, chief executive of Green Energy UK, an established small supplier, said: “Ofgem needs to introduce some sensible stress testing of energy suppliers.”
An Ofgem spokesman said: “We are discussing these issues with Iresa. Suppliers must take a customer’s ability to pay debt into account when setting up repayment plans. They must also make it easy for customers to contact them and have customer service arrangements and processes which are fit for purpose.”
Iresa told Which? that one-off payment requests reflected reviews of customers’ usage and that it would respond to queries as soon as possible.
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