Small business bosses don’t read energy small print

Research shows that more than half of small business bosses don’t read the small print of their utilities contracts. The survey by E.ON found that small business owners were least […]

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By Kelvin Ross

Research shows that more than half of small business bosses don’t read the small print of their utilities contracts.

The survey by E.ON found that small business owners were least likely to read the terms and conditions provided by their water supplier (just 2%), followed by energy supplier (24%), broadband supplier (26%) and most likely to give their telephone or mobile contract most of their time (at 48%).

The worst offenders by sector were businesses in telecoms and designers, with over two thirds stating they never read terms and conditions. Engineers followed with 64%, closely followed by the legal profession (63%) and public services (61%), all saying they would file the information immediately, only referring to it if they needed a telephone number.

As a result of the survey, E.ON says it has “radically overhauled the way it communicates with its small business customers, by cutting the number of product names and by simplifying its terms and conditions”.

Previously, customers could have been confronted with thousands of different product names and types. These have been slashed to just five, and the new terms and conditions, which have been radically simplified to signpost key contract details, started going out to customers this week.

Jim Macdonald, commercial director of E.ON’s retail business, said: “We know that business owners lead busy lives, and spending time trying to understand terms and conditions is not top of the list of priorities for most.

“Our customers tell us they want communications to be as simple as possible, which is why we’ve trimmed the number of unnecessary products we offer and reviewed our terms and conditions to make them easier and quicker for our customers to understand.”