Energy industry in hot water over door-to-door sales

Covered mag, presented by
  • | by Kristian Dando

The din from last week’s Scottish and Southern price rise debacle has barely subsided, but there are already more rumblings of discontent with Britain’s under-fire energy suppliers.

Now, a crack team of MPs has stuck the boot in to energy suppliers’ door-to-door sale fleets, going as far as accusing them of ‘Del boy’ tactics. If it wasn't for the regular price hikes and multi-billion pound annual profits, you'd almost feel a pang of sympathy for the industry…well, we did say ‘almost’.

The Energy and Climate Change Committee, led by Tim Yeo, reckons that about 40 per cent of people who switched their suppliers after being sold it on their doorstep didn’t end up with the better deal which they were promised. It also said that hard-evidence exists that vulnerable people were being targeted by salespeople.

At present four of the so-called ‘big six’ energy firms are under investigation - Scottish & Southern Energy, Scottish Power, EDF Energy and npower. The committee has also recommended that customers which have been mis-sold deals should be reimbursed and compensated.

Yeo said: “If it turns out that consumers are being persuaded to switch contracts when it's not in their best interests, by salespeople keen to earn commission, then it would only be right for the energy companies to cough up compensation."

Scottish and Southern was found guilty of misleading nearly one million households in a doorstep sales campaign over the course of 2008 and 2009. It has since wound down its door-to-door operations. Rival firm npower was fined £1.8million in 2008 over the actions of its own doorstep sales force.

Life’s a switch

Looking to switch energy providers, but don’t know where to start? Then why not give’s gas and electricity comparison service a whirl?