Ban sneaky late payment fees on your energy bills
Big energy companies are charging people exorbitant prices to keep their lights on and warm their homes. What’s more, retailers are disguising massive late payment fees as “discounts” to trick people into thinking they’re getting a good deal.
While energy companies are trying to convince us that they’re doing us a favour, these “discounts” are actually sneaky late payment fees designed to punish people so they end up paying more than they should. If people pay their electricity bill just one day late they could end up paying 58% more on their bill, costing them hundreds of dollars in late fees.*
Graphic illustration based on figures from an actual electricity bill.
The ACCC’s retail electricity report has called for a ban on unreasonable late payment fees, making a series of recommendations to stop this bad practice. But until the recommendations are adopted, big energy companies can continue to hurt people with late payment penalties that cost them hundreds of dollars.
Now’s our chance to convince Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg to act. Join us in calling for an end to sneaky late payment fees that hurt consumers.
* Figure based on a 37% discount off an entire bill, offered by Amaysim in Victoria, January 2018.
Energy is an essential service – we need it to stay happy and healthy. The trouble is, big energy companies are deliberately making energy contracts unfair so that people pay more. Retailers are making people pay late fees as high as 58% of their bill, even if they pay late by just one day. We know that’s an unreasonable penalty, and we need it to stop.
What’s more, some retailers are double dipping – many already charge around $10 – $15 in late payment fees if you don’t pay on time. Punishing people with fees that are more than half the cost of their bill is just another way for retailers to squeeze money out of their customers.
Energy bills need to be fair for everyone. Electricity contracts are designed to penalise people when they can’t pay on time. That means if your bill is lost in the post, you forget the due date, or don’t have enough in money in your bank account, you could be hit by a hefty late payment fee.
These fees are simply unreasonable, and they’re hurting households. That’s why we want to ban pay on time discounts.
The ACCC has just released its final report into retail electricity pricing following a 16-month inquiry. To improve energy affordability for Australians, the report recommends:
- a ban on unreasonable and excessive late payment fees
- strong guidelines to prevent misleading marketing of discounts
- better, lower-price energy offers
Together we can put pressure on Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg to urgently adopt these important recommendations so that big energy companies will start playing fair.
No, we’re saying that retailers shouldn’t be allowed to charge unreasonable late payment fees disguised as pay on time “discounts”.
Some retailers are also double dipping – many already charge around $10 – $15 in late payment fees if you don’t pay on time, but then hit you with hundreds of dollars more by forgoing your “discount”.