MSE News: Supermarket mis-selling 'costs energy customers £100s'

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This is the discussion thread for the following MSE News Story:

"Energy firms have been accused of mis-selling in shopping centres and supermarkets, following an undercover probe ..."
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  • eve_1979
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    Funnily enough yesterday i was walking down my local high street and was approached by a known energy supplier and asked if i wanted to be put in for a FREE prize draw (shopping vouchers, night away and football goodies signed and free gas and engery from them for a year) - all I had to do was a take a phone call on a selected date from said person and tell them who my supplier was; what i was paying per month and that they would be able to reduce it for me and if i wanted to switch to them i could (NO OBLIGATION though). Unfortuantely i put my name forward as they clearly said that there was no obligation to swap (although i have yet to fully read the T&Cs on the form they gave me which is in very small print). After reading this i may well tell them where to go (politely of course). It's a shame i gave them my mobile number as no doubt i will get pestered!!
    I did hear quite a few of the sales people use the FREE PRIZE DRAW as their opening line...i wonder if they can do that???
    Eve

    :rotfl:

    In need of saving money!
  • KPanton
    KPanton Posts: 19 Forumite
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    I agree, it's bloody horrible when you're stuck dealing with one of these high pressure types. I've now got a front door with a spyhole so I can leave the !!!!!!s to stare at it and knock in futility from now on.

    However, before then I found, being not one of strong will, that just giving in and letting them sign me up was generally quicker than trying to battle them, and then write to the company the next day to cancel. With any luck it wastes the time of both the company and the salesman and he doesn't get a bonus.

    I had a similar case with a charity, but the guy was so high pressure and so psychologically manipulative that I ended up signing up and having to cancel, which made me feel like a !!!!!!!, but I just can't afford £10 a month out of the little I have to live on. It's a shame that we even need charities, but more so that they have to use such high pressure tactics to get money out of people tho.

    IMO however, if you want to give to charity, change your phone/gas/net/leccy supplier, surely you're capable of doing it yourself, you don't need a paid stooge to come and hold the damn pen for you.

    I rarely even answer the door any more, as I don't remember the last time anything good came of it (friends call me to say they're coming, so I don't have to miss them!)
  • EstherH
    EstherH Posts: 1,150 Forumite
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    I got stopped in a supermarket foyer by an energy salesman. I told him no thanks but he stood in front of me and kept talking. It told him I would check on line and he said that the offer they had wasn't on line and was only available in store. In the end, because I was tired and wanted to get home, I signed up. But then I phoned up the company and asked if what I had signed up to was only available in store and was told no, it was available on line too. So I asked to make a complaint and gave them the name of the salesperson as it was on the contract that I had signed. I told them I was cancelling because I had been lied to and wouldn't be doing business with them again on principal.

    Esther x
    Second purse £101/100
    Third purse. £500 Saving for Christmas 2014
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    Started 9/5/2013.
  • davidgmmafan
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    To be honest this isn't a huge surprise. I'm stunned anyone takes their claims at face value. A friend of mine signed up in M & S or somewhere like that. The girl promised they are cheaper? Right and did you then give your power company a call to see if they could save you any money on your groceries? I thought not. Anyway when she looked into it properly it was much worse off, she was transferred back but that in itself is an awful process which IMO doesn't do what it says on the tin as it takes so long.

    Back on topic always be suspicious of someone flogging something when they have approached you rather than the other way round. They will lie cheat and steal to make their commission and you will be the one facing the consequences. I've never been stopped by one in a shop but if they got in my way they'd get out of it sharpish as I have nothing but disdain for such practices.

    I realize there will be honest ones, but I think the bad ones do such damage the whole thing is a joke.
    Mixed Martial Arts is the greatest sport known to mankind and anyone who says it is 'a bar room brawl' has never trained in it and has no idea what they are talking about.
  • Consumerist
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    I've found that giving a false name, address, phone number, etc gets me past them fairly quickly without any subsequent hassle. If they approach you on your doorstep, NEVER let them see your meter(s).

    In the event of any approach, I always email my current supplier to confirm that I have not agreed to any transfer.

    No problems so far.
    >:)Warning: In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.
  • WestonDave
    WestonDave Posts: 5,154 Forumite
    Rampant Recycler
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    I got stopped by one of the companies who had a trailer out in the shopping street, and I was curious about rates due to a deal coming to an end let them do a comparison. However I made it clear that I wasn't going to sign up there and then but if on checking out it was a good deal I would come back to see the same guy the following day so he got credit for the sale. That put him in a difficult position as he could hardly argue with me checking it out if he was going to get the credit for it. As it happened he was telling a load of porkies (much like post 4 above) as there was a better online only rate - needless to say I didn't bother going back. I thought about going back and explaining very loudly why I wasn't signing up in front of their other punters but frankly I had better things to do.

    I've long had a standard line that I won't sign up to anything on the spot, be it chuggers, energy muggers, or doorstep pests. If their deal is good and they want the credit for it they are welcome to leave me with details and a means of contacting them, but if they aren't going to allow me time to consider the deal it can't be that great.
    Adventure before Dementia!
  • Rusper
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    I'm an energy consultant, and whilst I know that a great deal of mis-selling takes place, I would like to say that there are some of us that actually offer an honest quote and make a living without misleading people and ripping them off. The company I work for provides me with a pentablet computer which I must refresh every morning to ensure I am showing the customer accurate rates as a basis for comparison. I have all the tariffs and ask everybody I quote whether they have a specific online tariff or if they've fixed their prices, and we are mystery shopped regularly to ensure we are not mis-selling. This will come as a surprise to everybody who has commented on here already, but I am also polite, and I'm not pushy; I just don't see the point in wasting my time and energy forcing somebody who is clearly not interested to sign up, when the next person behind them might genuinely see the benefit. True, this leaves me at a disadvantage compared to some in my team who inflate people's current annual spends to show greater savings, and I could probably earn a lot more if I lied to people. However, the people that do switch (and I usually only save people about £30-40 pa), are happy that they have had an honest quote, I have won their trust and most importantly, although I know I am not exactly saving lives, I can sleep at night.

    I just wanted to say something after reading the article and related comments as it's extremely damning of the industry in a totally blanket fashion, demonising everybody who works for an energy company including those like myself working hard to do the job in a legitimate way. Whilst I admit that sadly a great deal of mis-selling goes on, please don't immediately tar us all with the same brush as there are a few good eggs out there. I would say though that if you are offered a saving of hundreds of pounds, an upfront cash incentive or big cash rewards after 12 months, be wary - generally there is very little difference in price between companies, but you can still get small savings, get a better tariff and gadgets such as energy monitors and even free home insulation so it's still worth looking at what's on offer.

    If you get a quote - MAKE SURE that the salesman enters your annual consumption ACCURATELY - if you are paying £30pcm for your electricity, make sure you are quoted £360pa and not £750 etc. Make sure the comparison is against your current tariff - if you know you are on a standard tariff then go ahead and do the quote, if you are on a fixed deal, don't do it unless they have those rates and keep in mind if you are fixed, it is likely your current supplier will charge you an early redemption penalty for leaving early; work this into the saving. Companies do not take on your debt if you are behind with your current supplier - switching may mean that the previous company ask for the total outstanding amount up front.

    Don't live in fear of us, just be informed and if you don't get a good feeling, don't be afraid to simply tell them no thanks and just walk away - we're not a sensitive bunch; we hear it hundreds of times a day and would much rather move on to the next person than have somebody spend fifteen minutes signing up only to cancel the following day.
  • Plushchris
    Plushchris Posts: 3,592 Forumite
    edited 17 February 2012 at 2:19PM
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    Sorry Rusper but why do you refer to yourself as an energy consultant and then refer to everyone else as salesmen?

    Do you approach people or do they approach you? If its the first you are a salesman. Even if someone does approach you, if you are in the middle of a high street or in a supermarket aisle/doorway you are still a salesman.

    I realise there must be "some" good ones out there and that you probably are one of them, but your admission that your colleagues are known to inflate the savings and push to make a sale SHOULD make people wary and should put people off dealing with energy salesmen.

    If you know there are members of your team conning people have you reported them?
    Missing Tesco R&R since Feb '07 :A & now a "Tesco veteran" apparently! ;)
  • Dave_C_2
    Dave_C_2 Posts: 1,827 Forumite
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    Rusper wrote: »
    ... don't be afraid to simply tell them no thanks and just walk away
    Rubbish! If only it were that simple. Why is it that these types never take the first "No thanks" and we have to resort to rudeness to get past!

    Dave
  • u704446
    u704446 Posts: 185 Forumite
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    "I don't pay for electricity/gas, I just tap into next door's".

    or

    "I generate my own electricty and gas :D"

    usually works.
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