Symbio Energy given formal warning after ‘aggressive’ response to negative reviews online as customers complain about meter readings being ignored
- Symbio Energy has been given a ‘cease and desist’ warning by Trustpilot
- It was accused of ‘aggressive’ responses by customers who left bad reviews
- Complaints included bad customer service and meter readings being ignored
Symbio Energy has been slapped with a formal warning by Trustpilot after receiving complaints about how the small supplier responded to negative reviews on the site.
Many frustrated Symbio customers complained on the review site and on social media about customer service issues at the small electricity-only supplier.
Other complaints the provider received centred around the estimates it uses to calculate bills, with people saying the provider has ignored the meter readings they’ve provided and used inflated estimates instead.
Symbio had been replying to the negative reviews on Trustpilot with a link to an unrelated BBC News article regarding a man that was forced to pay thousands in libel damages to a legal firm over a bad review.
Symbio Energy has been given a formal warning over the way it responds to reviews online
Customers of the firm said they feel this is ‘aggressive’ and Trustpilot has now launched an investigation – sending Symbio what it calls a formal ‘cease and desist notice’.
Symbio Energy told Money Saving Expert, who first reported the story, that it has a back office in Goa, India, and that ‘due to pandemic issues in India there have been operational issues resulting from curfews and lockdowns’.
As of today, the supplier was still responding to reviews with the BBC News link attached and in the last few hours it has ceased responding at all.
However, there is an alert on Symbio’s Trustpilot page saying it is investigating the company and the reviews on the page.
Currently, the provider has 1.7 out of 5 stars on average on the website.
Another common complaint, aside from ignored meter readings and bad customer service, was from customers who said they struggled to get a response to their queries from the company at all.
This is Money has contacted Symbio for comment but had no response at the time of publication.
When trying to call the firm, it was advised a large number of people were trying to get through and it would take around 50 minutes before it would be answered.
An alert on Symbio’s Trustpilot page says it is currently investigating the company & reviews
This is one of the most common responses from Symbio to those leaving negative reviews
A Trustpilot spokesperson said: ‘Trustpilot is a place where consumers can provide publicly open feedback about the experiences they have with any business – positive or negative.
‘We expect everyone to be a respectful contributor to our platform. Amongst other things, our guidelines for consumers and businesses require everyone to “Play nice”.
‘Where consumers or businesses act in a way that is threatening, or is perceived to be so, we treat this as a breach of our guidelines and take steps to put a stop to it.
‘In this instance, we have taken swift action, sending a formal Cease and Desist letter to the business demanding that all responses contravening our guidelines be quickly amended.
‘As we investigate the business’s profile further, we have also placed a Consumer Alert to warn everyone of our latest actions. Should a positive response from the business not be forthcoming in the next week, we will take further action.’
Below are just some of the complaints from customers on social media.
This Twitter user said they were charged double what their meter reading indicated
Another user said the Symbio app wasn’t working and they couldn’t get through on the phone
One customer said they still hadn’t heard back from Symbio after several months of waiting
This isn’t the first time Symbio has found itself in hot water.
It was revealed in January that the Watford-based provider could be fined as much as £100,000 for making late payments into government renewables schemes.
Ofgem said it failed to pay four instalments on time, something it added that other firms had managed to achieve despite problems arising from the coronavirus.
Symbio Energy did eventually pay the money it owed – totalling around £1.2million – when Ofgem threatened or began enforcement action.
If you are a customer affected by Symbio Energy, you are advised to first contact the supplier directly before making a formal complaint if the matter is not solved to your satisfaction.
If you feel that, after that, there is still no resolve, you can contact the Energy Ombudsman which will investigate the dispute.