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Utility Warehouse call themselves “The Discount Club”, but how do Utility Warehouse energy tariffs compare to competitors?
Who are Utility Warehouse?
Utility Warehouse (UW) are owned by Telecom Plus but became an across-the-board utility provider after buying customers from Npower in 2013. Since then they have grown strongly by “word of mouth”. What this really means is that they encourage customers to become agents and recruit new customers for a commission. There are doubts about the financial rewards for becoming an agent (there is a membership charge) but it helps them avoid regular advertising.
Utility Warehouse customer service rating
Instead of the usual dual fuel energy and gas and electricity supply bundle, UW encourage you to buy a package that combines electricity, gas, telephone, mobile, home insurance and boiler servicing. The more services you bundle, the more you are likely to save. If you would find it difficult to pay all your bills at the same time, this could be a bad idea, but if you are already financially comfortable you will pay less.
As a reward for taking the full package, they provide cashback cards which earn you a rebate (up to 7%) at selected chain-stores, (including Sainsbury’s, Boots, Halfords, M&S, Topshop, Papa Johns, Caffé Nero and Pizza Express). They also issue discounts for cinemas and entertainment venues (up to 40% off regular prices).
Is Utility Warehouse an ethical company?
Most energy companies today make efforts to be environmentally friendly and help customers struggling with high energy bills. Part of UW’s approach is an offer to swap every lightbulb for an LCD energy saver. Based on typical usage, that could translate into electricity savings of up to 15% – helping both the customer and the environment at the same time.
On the downside, Ofgem recently investigated illegal overcharging of vulnerable customers. UW admitted the mistake which it blamed on a system failure and reimbursed everyone double.
Like most providers, UW offer a range of tariffs. When you compare energy tariff charges between UW and other companies, don’t just compare the cheapest price. There have been complaints that most people are put on a “standard variable” tariff that works out more expensive. Make it clear to UW which tariff you are signing up for.
Complaint handling and customer service
UW use all-British call centres and their reviews suggest personnel are very friendly and helpful in resolving problems. On the other hand, some customers report lengthy waits before they manage to speak to anyone. There has also been some criticism of their IT systems.
Reporting period in Q/Y
Total complaints received
Received per 100k customer accounts
Total Complaints resolved
Resolved per 100k customer accounts
Resolved within 48 hours
Resolved within 8 weeks
How easy is switching?
If you are sure you want to buy all your services from a single agency, and you already shop at the stores where you can earn a discount, UW offer an attractive package. You will need to check when your existing contracts expire, but UW promise to cover early-cancellation penalties up to a total of £200. Switching is always easy through the Free Price Compare website.