Can I cancel if I change my mind?

According to the 2019 Australian Energy Market Commission’s report, one in four residents decided to switch energy retailers during the past year. Considering the number of new energy retailers now available (with an additional five businesses entering the Australian market in 2018 alone) competition amongst retailers is really starting to heat up. Add to that the ongoing rise in energy pricing and it’s no surprise that so many people are now choosing to shop around for a better bargain.

But when it comes to switching to a new energy retailer you may find that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. This can be particularly true in the case of retailers who employ door-to-door sales tactics. You may have experienced this yourself – one moment you’re enjoying a peaceful morning at home, the next thing you know you’re standing at the front door with your most recent electricity and gas bills in hand as an earnest young “energy consultant” tells you that you’re currently being ripped off and they’d love to help you achieve lower energy bills…

Unfortunately, in situations like this, consumers often come to regret their hasty decision to switch retailers. They may find the new company is difficult to deal with, prefers “estimates” in place of actual readings or that the lower rates they were promised are almost nullified by the higher connection charges. Alternatively, some may realise after doing a more thorough comparison that other companies offer even lower rates.

This leaves many consumers wondering: can I cancel if I change my mind?

The good news? Yes, you can. All retailers are obliged to offer a cooling-off period which will usually be around 10 business days in length. If you change your mind during this cooling-off period, then the retailer is obliged to cancel your contract and won’t be able to penalise you with any cancellation fees. All you’ll have to do is contact the new energy supplier and tell them that you’ve decided to cancel your plan (although be prepared – they may try to talk you out of it!).

But what if your cooling off period has already ended?

Although an energy ‘contract’ sounds like an unbreakable deal, the fact is that anyone can change energy retailers whenever they want to – you are not locked in for the entire term of the contract. While it’s true that some energy retailers will charge an early exit fee, this is often as little as $20 (and is becoming less common in general). If switching to a new retailer is going to save you money on your ongoing bills, then you’ll quickly recoup any early exit fees you may have been charged.

To ensure that you won’t regret switching energy suppliers, why not use a free online comparison tool to check who can offer you the best deal. You’ll be able to compare tariffs, discounts, bonus offers and contract terms to make sure that you end up with an energy deal that you won’t regret.

 

Author: Claire Stapley
Claire Stapley is ElectricityComparison.com.au's Energy Editor, based in Melbourne Australia. Claire is a founding member of ElectricityComparison.com.au News and Energy Team.