Shocking Levels of Britons Being Overcharged on Bills Revealed by Survey

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20th June 2013 16:53 - Financial Services

A survey by online comparison service uSwitch has discovered that more than two thirds of British consumers were overcharged on at least one bill last year, with a third being overcharged more than once.

Furthermore, seven in ten households were overcharged by around £200 in household bills last year and for one in ten the charge reached over £400.

Average overpayment costs were £196, with only a quarter ever getting their money back and customers having to wait almost two months for restitution. Respondents were found to have spent an average of eight hours and £23 on phone calls and correspondence while trying to sort out their overcharging issue, and in only 7% of cases were these costs refunded by the company.

Additional worrying findings were that almost half of bill overcharges were due to erroneous fees, while 32% were because the consumer had been put on the wrong tariff or product and 25% because a special offer or discount had not been applied.

The survey of over 1,000 Britons highlighted the importance of checking bills for mistakes, since in 95% of cases the errors were spotted by customers themselves.

Overall, the survey results indicated that companies responsible for essential bills, such as utilities, telecoms and mortgages, may have overcharged customers by as much as £6.7 billion in the last year alone.

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