IF YOU have a complaint about your utility company you don't have to suffer in silence.
Energy and water consumers have the right to take their complaint to the Energy and Water Ombudsman Queensland (EWOQ) if they feel their supplier hasn't handled their issue appropriately.
Acting Energy and Water Ombudsman John Jones said there were a few key steps to take when it came to getting your complaint heard and coming to a resolution.
"Talk to your supplier first - unless you tell them, they won't know you've got an issue," he said.
"We tell customers, the first step is to let your supplier know what outcome you are seeking and give them a chance to review and fix the problem. In many instances, this is the quickest way to get your complaint resolved."
For many customers, understanding their supplier's complaints process was also helpful.
"Most organisations will have their complaints process listed on their website, but if not, don't be afraid to call and ask," Mr Jones said.
"Often you can request your complaint be reviewed by a team leader, or have your complaint escalated to a higher level if you're not satisfied with how long it's taking to resolve your complaint."
If customers don't feel satisfied with the outcome, or feel they're not being heard, they should contact the Energy and Water Ombudsman.
Five tips to make sure your complaint is heard by the right people:
1. Don't leave it too late. Raise your complaint while the information is still fresh and recent, and the decision maker is still around.
2. Have your facts straight. Be clear about your concerns and the steps you want taken to fix the problem. Most importantly, understand how it has affected you and what outcome you are looking for.
3. Follow the process. Every supplier has an official process - follow it and don't try to skip steps. You're more likely to reach a positive outcome if it's obvious you've done your part to resolve the problem.
4. Keep records. Notes following phone conversations and copies of letters or emails - it's important to keep everything until your complaint is resolved.
5. Follow up. If you've made a complaint, understand your supplier's response time frames and follow up if deadlines aren't met. You're allowed to contact your supplier for updates.
Complaints can be lodged with the Energy and Water Ombudsman Queensland at www.energywatercomplaints.com.au, by calling 1800 OMBUDS (1800 662 837), or in person at offices in Brisbane, Cairns and Rockhampton.