Their energy bill explodes: Mint Energie customers cry foul

the essential
The supplier Mint Energie is in turmoil. Since the beginning of the month, its customers – who have sometimes seen their bills increase by 800% – have been criticizing the methods of the Montpellier company which has decided to modify the conditions of their contracts without their agreement. Explanations.

For several days, anger has been brewing against the supplier Mint Energie. “Bravo for the scam”, “My bill has gone from €70 to €609? How is this possible?” “Company in no way worthy of the trust of its customers and especially not up to its very flattering sales arguments!” Several customers complain of an exponential increase in their bill with this supplier, whose headquarters are based in Montpellier (Hérault), which prides itself on selling “green” energy at a lower cost.

“Before the energy crisis, Mint was a rather ‘discount’ operator which offered prices that were around 10% cheaper than the regulatory sales price, explains François Carlier, general delegate of the CLCV (Consumption, Housing and living environment). To save money, he does not buy in advance and does not stock up. As a result, this operator is very dependent on price fluctuations on the wholesale markets. When there was the In September, prices on these markets were multiplied by three or even four and those who had not covered themselves found themselves in a very problematic situation. but they quickly understood that it would not be enough…”

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A “prohibited commercial practice”?

In November, Mint therefore decided to modify certain contracts made with its customers: while the signed offer was indexed to the regulated tariff – that is to say EDF’s “blue tariff” -, the supplier indexed according to market fluctuations. According to the CLCV, the Montpellier operator notified its customers by email, saying that if they did not object in writing, these new prices would apply the following month. The acceleration of the energy crisis, linked to the war in Ukraine, largely explains the explosion in invoices received this month.

The process used is more than debatable according to the CLCV association which sued the supplier in mid-November. She criticizes him for having resorted to a “prohibited commercial practice” by transforming a consumer’s current contract “without his explicit consent”: “By going from a rather stable price to a downright unstable price, it is in makes a new offer that Mint puts in place, assures François Carlier. And since it is a new offer, it requires the clear consent of the customer.

The national energy mediator claims to have been made aware of this modification of the contracts: “They have the right to modify them if they warn their customers at least one month in advance, in accordance with article L224-10 of the consumer code, explains Caroline Keller, head of the information and communication department of the public authority. Nevertheless, it is important that customers understand what this change means.”

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In view of the current energy market, professionals fear that contract modifications in favor of indexation on the wholesale markets are increasing: “They allow the risk to be borne by the customer and no longer by the suppliers. Other operators have already started to do so, which is why it is important that we win because this case will make it possible to set a precedent”, indicates the CLCV.

For its part, the Montpellier supplier welcomed, in February, a turnover up 40% in 2021 compared to 2020, in the columns of La Tribune. A good financial health which even enabled it to buy, on February 24, the green electricity and biogas supplier, Planète Oui. Thanks to this acquisition, worth around 1.5 million euros, Mint has doubled its customer portfolio and with nearly 250,000 residential customers at the start of March, it claims to have “entered the top 5 energy suppliers in France”.

“All injured parties will be reimbursed”, assures Mint Energie

Contacted, Mint Energie assures that the explosion of invoices is explained by two factors: “For certain contracts, a recalculation of consumption has been carried out and it is possible that errors have been made. We updated the deadlines on the 5 April. The sharp price increases can be explained here. We are studying all this, but all those affected will be reimbursed.”

For the takeover of contracts from ex-Planète Oui, Mint recognizes that “part of the migration was painful. Mistakes were made. For some, the reference consumption was not the right one. people have been contacted to make refunds or compensation.”