A law firm that is helping businesses and community organisations recoup money from UK energy giants is donating a percentage of its success fees to a host of charities.
Leading litigation law firm Harcus Parker is helping organisations reclaim money from energy firms who secretly added broker fees to the unit cost of their customers’ gas and electricity, which in turn falsely inflated their bills.
Millions of non-domestic energy customers are said to have been affected by this practice with the total claim estimated to be as high as £2 billion.
Harcus Parker is acting on a no-win no-fee basis and is donating part of its own fee to charities that have been particularly badly hit by the cost-of-living crisis.
Damon Parker, a senior partner at Harcus Parker, said:
“We are well aware that many charities and their activities have been severely hampered by the cost-of-living crisis. For many of these organisations and their dependents, the high price of energy has had particularly detrimental effects. With this in mind, we thought it would be appropriate to give part of our fees to charities.
“Should the claim against the energy companies proceed in the way that we hope, and expect, we are confident each charity will receive a six-figure sum.”
The charities chosen by Harcus Parker to benefit from the legal fees accrued from the claim against energy firms are:
- Mummy’s Star
- Liberty Choir
- Widowed And Young
- Dravet Syndrome UK
- Lights Up
- The Loss Foundation
- Something To Look Forward To
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Support Through Court
The legal action comes as many organisations, including charities, struggle to keep their doors open due to soaring gas and electricity prices.
Harcus Parker has already begun to send letters before action to energy companies in the first step in group litigation to reclaim undisclosed commissions paid by suppliers to brokers without customers’ knowledge.
Gas and electricity suppliers are accused of offering these undisclosed payments to incentivise brokers to sign up customers with little or no consideration of whether the energy is or, is not, cheaper for the end user. The commission amount does not appear on energy bills and the law firm says if the broker and the gas and electricity companies have failed to disclose to the customer how much they are being paid then this amount can be claimed back from the energy company.
Small and medium-sized businesses including charities, schools, faith groups, sports groups, care homes, local authorities and other community organisations are all said to have been targeted by unscrupulous brokers.
In some cases, the secret payments have inflated bills by 50% in a practice that appears to have developed over the last 20 years.
Research conducted by Harcus Parker found that one energy supplier offered brokers as much as 10p/kWh in commissions that were frequently undisclosed to the customer. A large number of suppliers offered secret commissions of between 1p and 3p/kWh.
Harcus Parker has already signed up thousands of claimants and has in excess of £10m of litigation funding to fight the case.
Mr Parker added:
“Charities who obtained their energy through a broker and were not told about the commissions that they were charged may also have a claim against the energy companies. We are keen to help them as well.
“The claims are fully funded and insured and, as a result, we are able to act for clients who ordinarily would not have the resources to access justice in a claim of this kind, on a ‘no-win, no-fee basis.’”
Harcus Parker has set up a dedicated website for those wishing to make a claim: Home – Harcus Parker | Energy Claims (energylitigation.com).