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Trading Standards David and Goliath Court Result

Picture of a person knocking on a doorThe Trading Standards Institute is delighted at a great result for Surrey Trading Standards at the Court of Appeal.

Scottish and Southern Energy’s appeal against a conviction for misleading potential customers, in order to persuade them to switch energy supplier, was rejected on Friday 16 March.

Surrey Trading Standards' Investigations and Enforcement Manager Steve Playle said: "Make no mistake – we aren’t talking about the actions of just one door to door sales agent in this case.  We are talking about SSE meticulously training every sales agent to lie to prospective customers with the sole intention of signing up new contracts in order to increase profitability. 

"Somewhere along the way, SSE amazingly lost sight of the law and it was left to Surrey Trading Standards Service to put them straight.  SSE has fought us all the way and this was a classic case of David against Goliath."
The Trading Standards Institute has been calling for a ban on energy doorstep selling since 2009 in the face of growing evidence of high pressure selling and misselling tactics, that were shown to be pushing consumers to switch to a higher tariff.

Ron Gainsford, Chief Executive of the Trading Standards Institute, said: “This is fantastic and well deserved victory for Surrey Trading Standards that will further pave the way for a safer switching environment for consumers.
 “After years of campaigning against energy doorstep selling we are delighted to see the increasing impact on the biggest energy companies, and this result in the courts is just yet another nail in the coffin for this dubious practice.
 “We would now like to see the final one of the Bix Six utility companies, e.on, to join the ranks of the five that have already put a stop to doorstep selling to see an end to this unhelpful and damaging practice once and for all."

SSE are due to be sentenced back at Guildford Crown Court on 4 May 2012.