Say No to Cold Callers and Avoid Rogue Traders, says Energy Advice Line

Small business owners have been urged to avoid contact with cold callers following reports that rogue energy salesmen have lured thousands of firms into pricey contracts.

Julian Morgan, Managing Director of the price comparison, switching and advice service said reputable brokers should not resort to cold calling because it placed business owners under pressure to make hasty decisions about energy supplies.

He said many cold callers pretended to be impartial when they were, in fact, representing one particular energy supplier and therefore unlikely to be offering the cheapest deal on the market.

Recent newspaper reports have claimed that rogue middlemen ‘preying’ on firms that have just started up have locked thousands of small business owners into expensive energy contracts.

“We have long been campaigning for the energy regulator OFGEM to ban cold-calling as we believe it is often used unscrupulously as a high-pressure sales technique,” Mr Morgan said.

“Energy bills are a substantial cost for most businesses and choosing a supplier needs careful consideration and research.

“After all, business energy users do not enjoy the benefits of a cooling off period like domestic customers, so if they make a hasty decision they’re stuck with the consequences.

“This can often mean paying substantially more than they need to for their business electricity and gas, and sometimes they find themselves locked in for a considerable period.

“Our advice is to politely hang up on brokers who make unsolicited calls and seek the advice of a reputable and completely independent switching and advice service.”

Cold callers give the impression of being impartial when in fact they only represent one supplier

Mr Morgan said new businesses were a favourite target for cold callers who exploited the fact that they were busy, anxious to keep costs down and often paying an expensive out-of-contract energy tariff after moving into new premises.

But he stressed it was crucial for business energy users to distinguish between rogue brokers and legitimate price comparison services.

“Even the regulator acknowledges that reputable and truly independent price comparison services can help customers navigate what can be a complex minefield of energy tariffs, contracts and products,” Mr Morgan said.

“Our whole purpose is to save customers money so that they keep coming back to us when their contracts end to find more good deals. And our service is transparent because the prices we quote and any commissions we receive from suppliers are freely available and on our website.

“Cold callers, on the other hand, often hide behind their anonymity and don’t set out their prices in writing, or reveal the commissions or bonuses they’re receiving.

“We don’t understand why the regulator tolerates this kind of sales technique as it’s not in the best interests of the consumer.”

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.

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