FEARS ARE BEING expressed that homes could be subjected to a return of door to door energy sales.
Scottish Power have been calling on changes that would make it easier for them to sell energy face-to-face – which many fear would spell a return to the tactics that were abandoned by companies four years ago following fierce criticism over the methods used.
Now the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) is claiming that recent proposals from Ofgem to relax sales rules could lead to the return of unscrupulous methods returning.
Doorstep sales was voluntarily abandoned by the six main energy companies following an Ofgem report that indicated over half of those who accepted deals at the doorstep ended up with a worse deal than their existing one – despite their having been led to believe they would be saving money.
CTSI’s Steve Playle said: “A return to face-to-face marketing may lead to consumer detriment at the hands of commission-hungry sales representatives and agencies.
“Time and time again the activities of sales reps over a whole range of sectors have generated complaints to trading standards. All businesses need to be aware that deceptive, misleading and illegal sales practices are not acceptable and can lead to investigation and ultimately prosecution.”
Energy companies were forced to pay huge fines for breaking energy sales rules with E.On paying £12million back to duped customers two years ago – a year after Scottish and Southern Energy were fined £10.5million when customers were encouraged to switch to contracts that proved more expensive.
According to Scottish Power a return to doorstep selling would help people who do not shop around for deal online to find a cheaper tariff.