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ESB Bullyboy debt collection tactics

8 April, 2010

Tallaght Sinn Fein Councillor Seán Crowe has accused the ESB of adopting bullyboy tactics against customers who owe small and medium debts on their bills.

Crowe said he has received a growing number of complaints and claimed that this new aggressive approach in collecting small sums from the ESB would inevitably lose loyal customers and lead to more and more people "making the switch".

Councillor Seán Crowe said:

“I have been contacted on number of occasions over the last few weeks from irate ESB customers angry at the letters they are receiving threatening them with court and legal action, followed up by phone calls promising more of the same.

“One customer from Tallaght said she received a letter coming up to Christmas and saying she owed 3 euros 72 cent.

“Another loyal customer that was contacted has told me that she owed 50 euro, through a simple mix up, and after receiving this type of letter, threatening to bring her to court, she has decided to make the switch and go to An Bord Gais..

“Most Irish people in this State have remained loyal to the ESB despite the fact that many other rivals are offering substantial cuts of between 15% and 20% in bills and packages.

“No one, including even loyal customers likes to get letters in the post threatening legal action. The ESB needs to wise up to this fact.

“I am not suggesting they write off debts but I am suggesting that they show a bit of sensitivity and courtesy to their customer base.

“In the middle of this economic recession most companies are at present experiencing cash flow problems but the stark reality is that so are many of their customers.

“I realise every company large and small are under pressure regarding outstanding bills and debts but this type of new aggressive mode adopted by the ESB will inevitably lead to more loyal customers making the switch to other more competitive companies.

“Most sensible and modern companies would have their ‘dunning letters’ set at a reasonable and cost effective rate.

“The ESB needs to stop their bullyboy tactics on their loyal customers and do the same.

“If the ESB continues with its present campaign more and more will inevitably make the switch.” ENDS

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