Wrong tariff?

Joseph Bulmer

SIR - My 84-year-old mother has been a widow for just over nine years and lives alone. Until now she has been a customer of EON’s Staywarm (remember that one?), a dual fuel tariff which is no longer available to new customers.

It is based on a flat rate according to your living circumstances, meaning she was charged the flat rate of a single person living in a three-bedroomed house regardless of whether or not she used less fuel than someone else on the same tariff.

She had been paying �84 per month, and on renewal EON quoted �106. My mother queried this and was told that it could possibly be reduced to only �95 and they would call back in a week’s time.

No call came, so my mother decided to venture into the world of switching providers. She found a provider she was happy with and set things in motion. She has now had a call from EON, concerned that she is switching, who now say that because she is over 80 they could do a discounted tariff of �72.

Needless to say, being a woman of strong moral principles, after a polite expletive she put the phone down. So, where was this tariff when she turned 80 four years ago? Or even some time during those four years at renewal times? And why wasn’t she offered this tariff at this renewal time?

My mother had the same problem with a cable TV and telephone package several years ago. When she started a switch-over the company more-or-less pleaded with her to stay with them, offering her a much reduced price. Nevertheless, on principle and saving money, she switched.

It is understood that companies need to compete for customers, but why do they have to have so many tariffs? And why are they not looking after their current customers instead of constantly offering reduced deals to attract new customers, deals which are not offered to their current customers and losing them in the process?

What happened to customer loyalty and customer service? My opinion is – along the line we have been, are being, and until the powers-that-be listen and act on the ever increasing public complaint, will continue to be ripped off!

Valerie Fama (Mrs),