The Queensland Consumers Association says some energy retailers are slugging South East Queensland consumers with excessively high charges for late payment of bills.
Association spokesperson, Ian Jarratt, says that often the cost for the late payer is out of proportion to the cost to the company, especially for late payers with large bills.
Association research has also revealed that some companies hit late-paying market contract customers with loss of discount and a late payment fee.
For example, with one company contract, a customer with an annual bill of around $2000 a year for anytime power could lose nearly $300 a year in discounts and also have to pay a $12 per bill late payment fee.
The Association is calling on energy retailers to clean up their act and to only charge late paying customers the actual cost to the business, or otherwise for the ACCC to investigate.
Ian Jarratt says this type of business behaviour further erodes consumers’ already low trust in energy retailers and reduces consumer willingness to actively engage in the market and shop around for a deal that best meets their requirements.
Consumers who may have difficulty paying power bills on time should pay particular attention to late payment discount loss and fees when comparing retailers and contracts.
With some market contracts, not paying the bill on time can result in the bill being higher than with a standing offer contract and paying regulated tariff.