Since the beginning of this year, the Consumer Advisory Services and the Consumer Ombudsman have received more than 200 reports on problems with the electricity sales company Fi-Nergy Voima. Consumers report errors and shortcomings in contracts, invoicing and customer service. The Consumer Ombudsman will initiate supervisory measures to address the situation.
Many of the problems encountered by consumers are related to Fi-Nergy’s invoicing. Electricity delivery is invoiced in advance on the basis of the estimated consumption, and the estimate has in many cases been considerably too large. Advance invoicing starts before electricity supply starts, even if the contract would not begin until several months later. Invoicing is not adjusted at regular intervals to reflect the customer’s actual electricity usage.
Consumers have found it difficult to correct error in invoicing after the contract has terminated, for example because it is difficult to contact the company by telephone or by e-mail.
Customers have not received a final invoice within 6 weeks of the termination of electricity supply, which is required by the Electricity Market Act. The refund of advance payments by the company has also been unreasonably delayed.
Vague worded contracts cause headaches
According to the reports, electricity sales contracts have been concluded without consumers having accepted the contract offered to them. Many Fi-Nergy customers have received no contract confirmation even though they have started to receive invoices at short intervals.
The consumes have the right to dispute electricity sales contracts concluded under unclear circumstances. If the seller has not submitted a confirmation of the contract or if the consumer receives the confirmation only after the 14 days’ cancellation period has terminated, and if the seller nevertheless starts invoicing, the consumer may inform both the new seller and the local electricity distributor in writing that he or she will dispute the contract. In such cases, the network manager will not carry out an exchange of the seller.
Some of Fi-Nergy’s sales contracts have been concluded to begin only after a long period, as the consumer has had a fixed-term contract with another supplier. A period between the conclusion of a contract and its entry into force exceeding 6 months is in many cases unreasonably long as the conditions and, for example, electricity pricing may change during this period.
In addition to electricity, the company also sells two-year fixed-term service contracts, which include competitive tendering of transfer prices; i.e., the company promises to find out whether the consumer’s transfer agreement can be changed to a better one. According to the company’s terms and conditions, a service contract may enter into force even if the sales of electricity would start later.
Reports being received at an accelerating rate
Consumers have already reported more than 200 problems with Fi-Nergy this year and more than 500 times last year. The reports include contacts with the Consumer Advisory Services, reports to the Consumer Ombudsman and cases recorded through the complaint assistant. The Consumer Ombudsman will initiate supervisory measures in this matter, of which more information will be provided in the coming months.
In problem situations, consumers should submit a written complaint to Fi-Nergy, for example by e-mail. You can use the complaint assistant to file a complaint. However, if your problems persist, it is advisable to contact Consumer Advisory Services.