Doorstep energy selling
For over a year, TSI has shone a spotlight on the bad practices of utility salespeople employed to sell on the doorstep after mounting evidence from trading standards services from across the country demonstrated the use of aggressive, oppressive or misleading sales techniques, often targeting the vulnerable. Surrey County Council Trading Standards Service is at present prosecuting Scottish and Southern Energy for mis-selling and another investigation is being undertaken.
In leading the fight against misleading sales practices, TSI called for a ban of energy doorstep selling and has since co-ordinated efforts with the Energy Retail Association – representing the big six energy suppliers – and consumer groups to improve the practice of face-to-face marketing and reduce the incidence of mis-selling.
When the new measures were introduced by Ofgem, TSI was pleased to see a strengthening of the conditions for face-to-face marketing and questioned when and whether this would be evaluated. Although it is disappointing that it has become necessary for Ofgem to investigate the sales practices of four of the six big energy companies, TSI welcomes the investigation to ensure that all suppliers comply with the tougher obligations and will be vigilant to see that Ofgem's promise to take strong action if the energy companies are found wanting, is not just an empty threat.