Nearly two million homes overcharged for gas are to be refunded, in one of the biggest pay-outs of its kind – the BBC reported last week.
The report went on to say that the 'energy company Npower has agreed to hand back £70m following a long-running row over changes it made to the way it charged customers in 2007.
The firm admits it had not communicated the changes well, and 1.8m people are to receive an average refund of £35.
Npower says it will write to all those affected over the next two months, even if they are no longer customers'.
My refund – and why I’m annoyed
Now the reason I've highlighted this story is because not only was I affected but also to encourage people to actually claim their refunds.
The reason I say this is that I find the claims process a bit farcical. Those eligible for a refund will receive a letter from Npower stating the amount of the refund. Now, strangely in my opinion, claimants have to then take their letter to the Post Office. Then inevitably they have to queue for about half an hour before presenting the letter and two forms of identification (driving licence, or passport etc.) to the counter staff. They will then hand over your refund in cash.
What ever happened to cheques or, for those of us who happen to still be Npower customers, simply crediting our accounts? Why do I have to jump through hoops to get back money that is rightly mine? Are Npower hoping that by making the claims procedure deliberately awkward that most of those eligible for a refund will never collect it? The fact that there is only a 6 month time limit in which you have to visit the Post Office would lead the cynical among us to believe that the answer to that question is 'yes'.
Npower's reason for making me waste my time in the Post Office (I can't even remember the last time I previously visited a Post Office) is:
To avoid disrupting your current billing pattern, and because of the limited space on your bill or statement to allow explanation of what any credit amount is for, we've chosen to send you [a] one-off payment as a letter redeemable at the Post Office.
What a load of bollocks. Npower – you're joke.
(NB -No mention in their letter of paying for my petrol money for making the journey to the Post Office)
All I can add is that if you get a letter make sure you make the effort to claim back your money.