21st Nov 2023 10:53
(Alliance News) - Shell PLC on Tuesday was fined by Ofcom after the UK regulator found that Shell Energy had violated "important" consumer protection rules.
Ofcom gave Shell Energy the GBP1.4 million fine for failing to prompt over 70,000 phone and broadband customers to review their contracts, and to let them know how much they could potentially save by signing up to a new deal.
The regulator said Shell's "failures" affected 72,837 between March 2020 and June 2022. Some customers were issued end-of-contract and annual best tariff notifications with inaccurate or incomplete information, and others did not receive these notifications at all.
Ofcom added that of 7,750 customers who received inaccurate information, 6,054 went on to pay higher charges than they were originally quoted.
The GBP1.4 million fine included a 30% discount from the amount Shell Energy could have incurred, due to the firm admitting liability and agreeing to enter Ofcom's settlement process.
Additionally, Ofcom noted that Shell self-reported the violation, co-operated with investigators, and proactively taken steps to remedy the problem including by "quickly" refunding affected customers.
"Everyday tens of thousands of customers come to the end of their phone or broadband contract and can make significant savings by switching provider or signing up to a better deal," said Ofcom's Enforcement Director Suzanne Cater. "That's why our rules...are so important.
"Shell Energy's failings represent a serious breach of our consumer protection rules and they must now pay the price. This sends a message to the whole industry that we won't hesitate to step in on behalf of customers if they don't play by the book."
Shares in Shell were down 1.2% at 2,610.50 pence in London on Tuesday.
By Emma Curzon, Alliance News reporter
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