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protecting customers in the open market

The competitive water market for business and other non-households in England is focused on customers. To ensure that all eligible businesses can benefit all retailers have to comply with Ofwat’s customer protection code of practice.

The customer protection code sets out minimum standards that all retailers have to stick to.

how customers are protected

The biggest protection for customers in the market is their freedom to shop around, choose and move retailers.

But customers are also protected by:

Customers can also seek advice from the Consumer Council for Water.

Trade or representative bodies can also contact Ofwat for advice on behalf of customers.

the code at a glance

The code to provide customer protection in the business retail water market has been put together after listening to feedback and taking lessons from other utilities markets.

Based on a set of simple principles the code defines minimum standards for:

  • sales and marketing
  • contract information
  • switching retailers
  • billing and data
  • handling complaints

The customer code of conduct offers the greatest protection to micro-businesses with 10 employees or fewer.

principles of the code

The customer code of conduct demands that all retailers:

  • be fair, transparent and honest
  • put customers at the heart of their business
  • communicate with customers in plain and clear language
  • provide appropriate information whenever needed
  • allow customers to make informed choices
  • respond to customer queries appropriately and in good time
  • have accessible and effective customer services
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