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Customer Contact

Energy firm Iresa has been banned from accepting new customers until it starts to clear a backlog of complaints. The Nottinghamshire-based firm is among scores of smaller suppliers taking on the big six energy firms. It regularly appears on price comparison tables.

Issues such as a 40-minute average wait for answering calls and concerns from vulnerable customers has led to a rare intervention by the regulator. Iresa apologised and said it was improving its service.

When BBC News attempted to contact the company, our call was said to be 38th in the queue.

A later emailed statement from the company said: “We are confident that our customers will see a noticeable improvement in our customer service response times and we apologise to customers who we have let down in the past.

“We are committed to improving our quality of service to deliver a much better customer experience.”

Investigation

Iresa is already facing an investigation from energy regulator Ofgem into whether the firm treated customers fairly in its call-handling and complaints process.

Concerns included unexpected increases in direct debit demands, an inability for customers to log complaints, and the firm not having a system to identify and manage potentially vulnerable customers.

Ofgem is examining whether Iresa gave sufficient notice to customers facing financial difficulty that debt repayments were being taken out of their accounts.

Customers have complained of long waits on the phone or a lack of response to enquiries, with many venting their frustrations on social media.

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