Energy retailers forced to refund customers
Dodo and CovaU have paid penalties totalling $37,800 and $12,600 respectively after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) issued each energy retailer with infringement notices for alleged misleading claims about discounts available on their energy plans.
Dodo and CovaU have both committed to refund affected customers.
The ACCC considered both businesses made false and misleading claims about percentage discounts consumers would receive because those discounts applied to Dodo and CovaU’s market offer rates which were higher than Dodo and CovaU’s standing offer rates.
“As a result of using higher market offer rates to calculate the percentage discount, we allege the actual savings offered to consumers were much lower than advertised,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.
“Energy retailers are reminded that any discount must be genuine and not based on confusing and inappropriate calculations which result in inflated percentage discount claims being advertised to consumers,” Mr Sims said.
From 1 July 2019, the Retail Electricity Code limits the standing offer prices that are charged to consumers in NSW, South Australia and south-east Queensland using a cap called the Default Market Offer (DMO). The Code also requires retailers to advertise the prices of their plans by reference to the DMO. Similar obligations apply in Victoria under its ‘Victorian Default Offer’.
“While the Australian Consumer Law allows us to pursue misleading claims after the fact, the Code and the new default market offer will help consumers to compare plans in a much more transparent way,” Mr Sims said.
“With the default market offer now mandated as the standard base rate, energy discount claims can now be easily understood, enabling consumers to shop around for a better deal without being potentially misled by confusing discount advertisements.”
Are you with Dodo for your energy plans? Do you expect to get a refund?