1 in 3 overcharged by utility companies

Better check the bills in future:

More than a third of consumers have been overcharged for a household bill in the past year, research shows.

Around 34% of people said they had spotted an error in a utility or credit card bill in the past 12 months, while 17% said they had been overcharged during the past quarter, according to financial website Moneysupermarket.com.

But despite this 50% of those questioned said they still did not check all of the bills they received.

People are also increasingly paying bills by direct debit, with 63% paying their phone bill and 54% their electricity bill in this way.

It’s not out of choice, mind. There are extra charges imposed for not paying by direct debit!

Nearly half have a direct debit to cover their gas, 34% pay for their mobile phone by direct debit and 25% pay their credit card bill in this way.

The majority of people who choose not to pay bills by direct debit said it was because using other payment methods helped them monitor their finances better, but 11% said they simply did not trust their supplier to take the correct amount.

Rob Barnes, head of broadband and mobiles at moneysupermarket.com, said: “The staggering amount of people who’ve been hit with an incorrect bill only goes to show how inadequate some providers can be.

“Consumers are already facing increased living costs, the last thing they need is to be charged for something they never had.

“Worryingly there are millions of people who still don’t check their bills, meaning they could be paying over the odds for a service they have never received.”

Well, we all know what the answer is: bring the utilities back into public ownership.

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