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Business Water

What Are My Responsibilities With Regards To Business Water?

Under the Health & Safety regulations, businesses are responsible for providing an adequate supply of high-quality drinking water as well as suitable and sufficient toilet and washing facilities, including showers if appropriate to the type of work.

And under UK law, your company is responsible for paying for any water you use and for the drainage of liquid waste from your premises.

This probably doesn’t come as a surprise, but there are other responsibilities of care that you must take into account when it comes to water cleanliness.


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Your rights as a business water customer

The water industry in the UK is regulated by Ofwat, the Water Services Regulation Authority. Ofwat’s primary role is to ensure that water companies deliver high-quality services to customers, maintain fair pricing, and follow strict regulations when it comes to customer transfers.

Ofwat’s Business Customer Code of Practice sets out the minimum standards that all retailers must comply with in their dealings with customers. It also sets out the minimum standards of behaviour that’s expected from retailers at every step of the customer’s journey.

The erroneous transfers that have been reported to us demonstrate malpractice that breaches Ofwat regulations and puts businesses at risk.

How to protect your business from malpractice

  1. Review your contract in full. Always insist reviewing you contract before you make an agreement to switch water supplier. The contract should include full details of the agreement and:
    I. Identify all parties to the contract,
    II. The key terms to the contract including prices, additional fees, and contract length,
    III. Must be agreed to by an authorised representative(s) of your business
    A valid contract provides legal protection to all parties and clarity in the event of disputes.
  2. Verify verbal agreements. If a retail will accept verbal consent, ensure you have a comprehensive record of the conversation, including details of what was discussed and agreed upon, and by whom. This documentation can be valuable in case of disputes. Verbal agreements are valid when:
    • the parties to the contract are identified,
    • the key terms to the contract including prices were are agreed,
    • the contract is agreed by an authorised representative, and the service provider successfully confirms that they are talking to an authorised person.
  3. Direct Debits set up over the phone must comply with the BACS scheme requirements. To be fully compliant the provider must: 
    • Verify that the customer is the bank account holder.
    • Verify that the customer is the only person required to authorise debits from the account.
    • Advise the advance notice period.
    • Provide the DD guarantee.
    • Advise the company name that will appear against the DD on the customer’s statement.
    • Advise that the customer will receive confirmation of the DD set up and when (normally no later than 10 working days before the first collection).
  4. Monitor your accounts Regularly review your bank statements and accounts for any unauthorised Direct Debit setups. If you notice any irregularities, contact your bank and the water supplier immediately to rectify the situation.
  5. Query any unexpected changes in water retailer. If you notice an unexpected change in retailer, or communication relating to requests to transfer your account(s), contact your original water retailer immediately. If you have been transferred in error your water retailer will help you to cancel the transfer.
  6. Do your research. Research potential water brokers and water retailers thoroughly. Read customer reviews on Trustpilot to gauge their reputation and reliability.
  7. Report violations. If you suspect that you have been a victim of fraudulent or unscrupulous practices, report them to Ofwat, who can investigate the matter and take appropriate action.

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