Unanswered Emails Cost Thames Water £60,000

Customers receive compensation after seven years without response

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A simple dot has cost Thames Water £60,000 after customer emails were left unread for seven years.

The omissions came to light in a report by water regulator Ofwat who discovered that emails sent to 'customerservices' instead of 'customer.services' got lost in the system.

Thames Water admitted it had found some 4,000 unread emails that had been misplaced in this way and said the messages should have "bounced back" if sent to the wrong address.

A spokesman for Thames Water told BBC News : "As soon as we found the error we told Ofwat and put our hands up straightaway. The messages should have bounced back when customers missed out the dot but they somehow ended up in an inbox we were not aware of.

"We are sorry for the error but putting it into context we get 3,000 contacts from customers every day and this is over seven years."

He added that 1,200 customers had received £40 compensation and 600 had been given £20 each.

Water companies are subject to a statutory requirements under which they must pay £20 compensation if they fail to respond to complaints or account inquiries within 10 working days.

For complaints, if the firm has failed to pay 10 working days after the payment was due they are bound to make an additional payment.

October 29, 2010