Energy Advice Line hails e·on fine as overdue victory for consumers
e·on’s record penalty for mis-selling energy was a long-overdue victory for consumers, according to the UK’s leading energy price comparison, switching and advice service.
Julian Morgan, managing director of the Energy Advice Line, said the £12 million fine imposed on the Big Six supplier was evidence that Ofgem was finally doing its job, but called on the regulator to go further and ban cold calling across the energy industry.
In announcing the penalty, OFGEM said it was the largest fine to date paid by an energy supplier, and underscored the seriousness of the “extensive poor sales practices” among staff selling door-to-door and on the telephone.
The company has estimated that the bill for compensation payments is likely to range between £3 – £8 million in addition to the penalty.
“We have been shouting for years, on behalf of our customers, about the questionable sales practices employed by some of the Big Six suppliers,” Mr Morgan said.
“OFGEM’s investigation finally bears this out. Potentially tens of thousands of customers might have been given incorrect information by sales personnel and not given key facts before being signed up to energy contracts.
“As a result, it’s possible thatthese consumers have paid more than they needed to for their energy supplies at a time when energy prices are skyrocketing anyway.”
Mr Morgan said the penalty was an endorsement of the Energy Advice Line’s campaign for OFGEM to ban cold calling as a selling technique across the industry. e·on has stopped doorstep sales and telephone cold-calling in the wake of the investigation.
“The regulator’s job now is to restore consumer trust and confidence in the energy market. Cold calling puts consumers under undue pressure to agree to energy deals without being fully and impartially informed. It’s a practice that has no place in today’s reformed energy market,” Mr Morgan said.
“OFGEM needs to ban cold calling now across the industry. Reputable suppliers and services like the Energy Advice Line don’t need to use this kind of heavy-pressure selling technique.
“It’s very important for consumers to engage with the market and obtain independent information about the energy deals available to them.
“This isn’t possible by dealing with cold callers, who are not independent and often working in the interests of a particular supplier or a narrow range of suppliers.
“The key message for consumers is to shop around using an independent and reputable price comparison and switching service like the Energy Advice Line.”
OFGEM has imposed nearly £100 million in fines and redress on energy companies for various rule breaches over the last four years, £39million of which have been for mis-selling.
The Energy Advice Line is the UK’s leading impartial comparison, switching and advice service for businesses and householders. It actively campaigns for reform of the UK’s energy market to boost competition, get consumers a better deal from suppliers and lower energy prices.
The Energy Advice Line’s price comparison and switching service is free and completely impartial. Consumers can obtain energy quotes with a few computer strokes based on a diverse panel of energy suppliers including the major players and smaller independent utility companies.
Join the Say No to Cold Calling campaign by visiting the Say No To Cold Calling page