More than 20 chips shops and fast food outlets are reported to have joined a £2 billion legal claim aimed at getting compensation from energy giants who are alleged to have paid secret commissions to third-party brokers.
The undisclosed broker commissions which were added onto the unit cost of gas and electricity are said to have falsely inflated energy prices for up to two million businesses and organisations in the UK.
Law firm Harcus Parker is launching group litigation to reclaim these secret commissions from the energy suppliers who paid the money to brokers without customers’ knowledge.
So far, Harcus Parker is representing 22 chip shops and fast food outlets but believes there are thousands more who could be eligible to join the legal claim.
The claims come at a time when takeaways face a variety of increased costs caused by high energy prices, increased food and drinks costs and higher wages.
Damon Parker, senior partner at Harcus Parker, said: ‘With the cost of energy and the increased cost of fish, potatoes and other ingredients plus higher staff wages we’re very aware that for many chip shops and takeaway outlets there’s huge financial pressures.
‘Chip shops and takeaway outlets are generally high consumers of energy. With claims stretching back years we would expect many outlets to have a claim worth thousands of pounds. We hope that by returning these commissions it will help ease some of the financial burden.
‘We believe that there must be thousands more chip shops and takeaway outlets that are eligible to join the claim.
‘I would urge any chip shop or takeaway owner who has not yet joined the legal action to contact us to see how we can help.’
Harcus Parker has so far signed up more than 2,000 businesses ranging from big manufacturers and high street stores and sports clubs to community organisations, shops, faith groups and charities.
Research conducted by the law firm found that one energy supplier offered brokers as much as 10p/kWh in commissions that were then added to customers’ bills, frequently without their knowledge. A large number of suppliers offered brokers secret commissions of between 1p – 3p/kWh.
Unscrupulous brokers are accused of being more interested in getting themselves the highest amount of commission possible rather than getting the customer the best financial deal.
Harcus Parker has set up a dedicated website for those wishing to make a claim: Home – Harcus Parker | Energy Claims (energylitigation.com)