The owner of a Sutton café is taking legal action as he fears his energy bills could have been falsely inflated for over a decade.

Faisal Khan, who owns Frankie’s Café & Restaurant in Sutton, has joined a no win, no fee group legal claim to recoup the hidden charges that a law firm says inflated business’ energy bills by up to 10 per cent, on average, for more than ten years.

Harcus Parker, a London-based law firm, claims that millions of non-domestic energy customers had their bills inflated when the unit cost of their gas and electricity supply was increased to pay secret third-party broker commissions.

The firm is launching a legal action to reclaim this money on behalf of businesses from the energy firms.

Harcus Parker said its research has revealed that energy companies, on average, added a cost of 1.7p to each unit of gas and electricity to pay brokers’ commissions.

It adds that this additional amount was frequently paid during a time when the cost of energy was only 10p per kWh, or even less. It has found some brokers were allowed by suppliers to add as much as 6p per kWh.

Faisal said he had used an energy broker for nearly 15 years hoping they would find him the best deal for his business.

Your Local Guardian: Frankie’s Café Sutton owner fears bills falsely inflates for yearsFrankie’s Café Sutton owner fears bills falsely inflates for years (Image: Harcus Parker)

But he says he was never told of the secret commission and believes he could have got a better deal elsewhere.

Faisal said: “I could see when I shopped around that the energy prices were lower than I was paying, but because I have an outstanding balance on a month-to-month basis, it was difficult to change supplier.

“Instead of going to another energy company I stuck to the same broker, which just increased my balance.

“We trusted the brokers fully and allowed them to do what they could to get the best prices - we were too busy trying to keep our business running.

“But over the years, it all adds up to a lot of commission.

“It’s very annoying, and ridiculous.”

Faisal’s monthly electricity bill has increased from £700 to £1,400 over the past two years, putting a huge strain on his business.

He added: “It got very difficult when the energy increased.

“Especially with food pieces going up by 40 per cent, labour costs going up, and footfall down because of Covid.

“We’ve had to cut more and more hours and lay off staff in order to pay for the energy.

“Now I have to do more of the work myself.

“To get some money back, in our situation, would be fantastic, a great bonus.”

Harcus Parker has, so far, signed up 6,500 businesses and organisations to the claim.

Damon Parker, Senior Partner at Harcus Partner, said: “When you hear they’ve added 1.7p per unit in third party broker costs it doesn’t sound much but if you’re only paying 10p per unit in total for your energy that’s a hefty percentage.

“On average, it works out at about ten per cent.

“We know it’s a particularly tough time for restaurateurs with the increasing costs for food, staff and heating bills.

“The claims are fully funded and insured and, as a result, we are able to act for clients who ordinarily would not have the resources to access justice in a claim of this kind, on a ‘no-win, no-fee’ basis. 

“I would urge all businesses who have used a broker to source their energy supply and were not told how much and how their broker would be paid to see if they are eligible to claim.”