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MSE News:Energy firms' tariff advice slammed

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Energy
5 replies 1.4K views
MSE_GuyMSE_Guy MSE Staff
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edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Energy
This is the discussion thread for the following MSE News Story:

"Energy firms are giving poor information to people who ring up to switch providers, consumer lobby group Which? says ..."


  • JimmyTheWigJimmyTheWig Forumite
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    Seems slightly harsh on the energy firms, I think. Particularly on their staff.

    I mean, finding the best tariff is a very tricky game. That's why even the best of us use comparison websites.
    But you can't possibly expect a company to say "try the comparison websites" when a customer phones up as they'd be losing business.

    It all depends on what the customer says. A three year fix is long - that's its benefit if you want a long term fix. A one year fix is short - that's its benefit if you want a short term fix.
    If they'd tried to sell the one year fix because it was long or the three year fix because it was short then that would be out of order.

    But there's not much in the article that they're doing much wrong. Certainly not much worse than any other company.
    If you phone up BT or Sky and ask for their best deal, do you think you get it straight away? If you go into a garage and ask for the best price they can do on a car, do you think they tell you the absolute lowest they can go?

    I think as consumers we need to use sites like this to share stories of our best deals and tactics, so everyone knows what to aim for and how, potentially, to get it.
  • davidgmmafandavidgmmafan Forumite
    1.5K posts
    I don't think you can blame the staff, some companies tell thier staff NOT to promote the online tariff for example which is usually cheapest. In fact I was told quite honestly by EDF are online tariff is competitive, but we aren't allowed to work it out for you it has to be done online.

    So as usual its the foot soldiers taking the flak for decisions made higher up...
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  • daveyjpdaveyjp Forumite
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    An average of 1500 tarriffs per company. Madness. Fining them isn't an viable option anymore, they pay it and put up prices. Prison sentences for Directors is the only way to go, especially if they are advising call centre workers not to highlight the best options.
  • jrawlejrawle Forumite
    243 posts
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    I posted the following in another thread earlier today before the official one was created:

    Hardly surprising, given that they are businesses not charities. Next Which? will be complaining that the suppliers don't tell people it would be cheaper if they went with a diferent supplier. If you want to know what the cheapest deal is, use a comparison website. Then read all the small print yourself (for exit charges etc.) Only then sign up with a supplier.

    The person who is going to sell you something is the last person you should go to for advice how to make your bill - and their profits - lower! I would have thought that was obvious, not just for utility bills but for anything.

  • Cheapest deal? If I rang British gas and asked for the cheapest deal 3months ago Web saver six would have come out on top! But was it the best deal? No! it went up in price! Cheapest isn't always the best. And as for not selling online tariffs on the phone, isn't the title a bit of a give away 'online!', when I worked in a call center for when of the 'big 6' we could only sign up online tariffs if the customer specifically asked for it and did not have access to the internet.

    And lastly, as for EDF not selling there only tariff to customers on the phone as the cheapest, could this not have been for 2 reasons, 1) There cheapest tariff is and has been for a few months a fixed tariff and 2) they don't and haven't for quite a few months had a online tariff!

    Bit of a slip up by Which?

    Yes energy companies make to much money but for the 2 companies I have worked for I have never been paid or targeted on what tariff I sold only the amount (and how the customer paid eg by direct debit or cash), so I sold on which tariff would be best for the customer for one reason, not because I really cared about them but because if the tariff was the best one for the customer they were more likely to buy!
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