Did you enjoy our first part of exploring how other businesses have responded to their reviews?
Good – because here is another!
This article, by This is Money, explains all about a company called Symbio Energy who received a formal warning from Trustpilot after their responses to their negative reviews were… ‘aggressive’.
This is Money: Symbio Energy Given Formal Warning After ‘Aggressive’ Response to Negative Reviews Online as Customers Complain About Meter Readings Being Ignored
Symbio Energy has been issued a formal warning by Trustpilot due to how the business responded to negative reviews on their site. Many frustrated Symbio customers complained, both on the review site and on social media, about the customer service issues they had experienced.
Other complaints Symbio received come back to the estimates they use to calculate bills, with customers saying the provider has ignored their own meter readings and used inflated estimates instead.
Symbio had been replying to the negative reviews on Trustpilot with a link to an unrelated BBC News article regarding a man that was forced to pay thousands in libel damages to a legal firm over a bad review.
Customers of the firm said that they feel like this is ‘aggressive’ causing Trustpilot to launch an investigation – sending Symbio what they call a formal ‘cease and desist notice’.
Symbio Energy told Money Saving Expert (who first reported the story) that it has a back office in Goa, India, and ‘due to pandemic issues in India there have been operational issues resulting from curfews and lockdowns’.
It has only been recently that Symbio have stopped responding to their reviews all together, after they were still responding to reviews with the BBC News link.
There is now an alert on Symbio Energy’s Trustpilot page saying that it is currently investigating the company and the reviews on their page which is rated 1.7 out of 5.
Another common complaint, as well as ignored meter readings and bad customer service, was from customers claiming that they struggled to get a response from the company at all. This is Money has contacted Symbio for comment but, like their customers, received no answer at the time of publication.
In addition, when trying to call the provider, the caller was told that many people were trying to get through, and it would take around 50 minutes before they would be answered.
A spokesperson for the review platform said, ‘Trustpilot is a place where consumers can provide publicly open feedback about the experiences they have with any business – positive or negative.’
‘We expect everyone to be a respectful contributor to our platform. Amongst other things, our guidelines for consumers and businesses require everyone to “Play nice”.
‘Where consumers or businesses act in a way that is threatening, or is perceived to be so, we treat this as a breach of our guidelines and take steps to put a stop to it.
‘In this instance, we have taken swift action, sending a formal Cease and Desist letter to the business demanding that all responses contravening our guidelines be quickly amended.
‘As we investigate the business’s profile further, we have also placed a Consumer Alert to warn every one of our latest actions. Should a positive response from the business not be forthcoming in the next week, we will take further action.’
It may, or may not, shock you to know that this is not the first time Symbio Energy has found itself in hot water.
It was revealed in January that the Watford-based firm could be fined as much as £100,000 for making late payments into government renewables schemes.
Ofgem said it failed to pay four instalments on time. Something, it added, that other firms had managed to achieve despite problems they were having from COVID-19.
Symbio Energy did eventually pay the money it owed which totalled to around a whopping £1.2million – but this was only when Ofgem threatened them or began enforcement action.
If you are a customer affected by Symbio, it is advised to first contact the supplier directly before making a formal complaint if the matter is not solved to your satisfaction.
If you feel that after contacting them that there was no resolution, you can contact the Energy Ombudsman which will then investigate the dispute.
How to Correctly Respond to Reviews
Responding to reviews in the correct way can have a huge positive impact for your business. So, whilst it can be easy to react strongly to negative reviews immediately, we recommend remaining professional and appropriate in your response. We recently published an article all about our top tips to make the process of responding to reviews even easier.