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Ofcom Probes Shell Energy Over Missing End-of-Contract Letters

Friday, Apr 29th, 2022 (11:41 am) - Score 4,296
contract notification letter example

Energy provider and UK home broadband ISP Shell Energy is facing a new investigation by the UK telecoms regulator, Ofcom, after the provider indicated that it might not have sent the required end-of-contract and annual best tariff notifications to customers.

The regulator’s End-of-Contract Notifications (ECN) system – as introduced in February 2020 – requires all fixed broadband, mobile, home phone and pay TV providers to issue such notifications to existing subscribers at the end of their term (sent by text, email or letter). The move was intended to help tackle the so-called “loyalty penalty” by keeping customers informed about the best deals and encouraging switching.

However, information provided to Ofcom by Shell Energy itself indicates that it “did not send these notifications to some customers for a period of time starting in February 2021“, while other customer letters may not have contained all of the required information.

The move comes only a day after Shell Energy was shamed by Ofcom’s latest quarterly study of consumer broadband complaints (here). As part of that, Shell Energy was found to have generated the highest volume of fixed broadband complaints, with the main complaint drivers being related to faults, service and provisioning issues (44%).

Ofcom’s Statement

Following consideration of information provided by Shell Energy, Ofcom has decided to open an investigation into Shell Energy’s compliance with its obligations to send end-of-contract notifications (ECNs) and annual best tariff notifications (ABTNs) as required by General Conditions (GCs) C1.23 and C1.32 (formerly C1.10 and C1.17) respectively.

The information provided by Shell Energy indicates that it did not send these notifications to some customers for a period of time beginning in February 2021. It also indicates that some interim letters sent before a full solution was put in place may not have contained all of the required information. As such, the investigation will also examine whether Shell Energy has failed to comply with its obligations under GCs C1.24 and C1.33 (formerly C1.11 and C1.18) which set out (respectively) what information should be included in ECNs and ABTNs.

The regular plans to complete the evidence gathering phase by the end of Summer 2022, and it will probably then take a bit longer before they reach the final conclusion (this could run into 2023). Depending upon the scale of the problem, if Ofcom finds against Shell Energy then it could hit them with a significant fine and or require that the provider make key process / system changes.

UPDATE 12:18pm

We’ve had an extra comment from Ofcom.

Ofcom Spokesperson:

“These notifications play a vital role in helping people save money. More than a million broadband customers have secured a better deal since their introduction, but millions more are still out of contract and paying more than they need to. We’re investigating whether Shell Energy is meeting its obligations to send customers these important alerts.”

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Mark-Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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Comments
8 Responses
  1. Avatar photo GMorris says:

    Personally, I think they should be made to refund the extra charges made to people that didn’t move.

  2. Avatar photo El Guapo says:

    Well I’ve literally never had one from Virgin Media. Are they also required to give end of contract letters?

    I’m an off-again-on-again customer as there’s no loyalty discount with them and it’s often cheaper to wait for a deal. So in 5 years and 3 contracts .. not a single letter from VM about it.

    1. Avatar photo Iain says:

      Virgin Media are required to. But as Mark says, it’s relatively recent (February 2020) requirement.

      FWIW, I received the required notification at the end of my Virgin contract a few months ago.

  3. Avatar photo Margaret Cross says:

    Since She’ll took over my broadband account from the post office last December it has been a nightmare. Will not answer my queries, bills coming every two months instead of monthly. Account details have only just started to appear nearly four months from when they took over.

  4. Avatar photo Johnson says:

    Terrible ISP. Father in law getting 1.5mb instead of 5mb, no problems their end apparently. His in home connection is perfect.

    Well, it was until yesterday when he had 100mb FTTP installed with Sky.

  5. Avatar photo Christopher Taylor says:

    I Was with Shell and can confirm that they are not only the worst ISP I’ve ever had but the worst company I’ve ever had the displeasure of having to deal with, wasn’t connected when I should of been at the start of our contract but was charged, was over charged for months on my bills and had debt collection agencies chasing me for bills I didn’t owe. Had to report them to get it sorted out, which took months of worry before I was given a good will payment. Stay away from these cowboys!

  6. Avatar photo Montaque says:

    Why is Shell allowed to advise it’s broad product public advertise on every day offers cash back via third party Lloyds Bank.

  7. Avatar photo JH says:

    No end of contract notification sent by Virgin Media:
    Received my latest bill from VirginMedia for fibre broadband, which was double what it cost previously as contract ended half way through. I then phoned up and ended my contract immediately, but this meant I was 17 days into the more expensive period with no discounts. No end of contract notification sent by email, text or letter. But on investigation, there is a letter online (not dated) which says I’m approaching end of contract. But this was never sent. I think Virgin think they can get away with not actually sending the letter to customers, but sneakily have it online without sending notifications!

    I raised a formal complaint, cited the fact that they are legally obliged to send this end of contract notification which I did not get, and eventually got the additional money (the escalation out of contract for the17 days) refunded. So I still paid for the additional 17 days post contract, but at the cheaper contract rate.

    Never using Virgin again.

Comments are closed

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