Formal Notice of BES Group Action

edited 5 April 2015 at 9:50PM in Energy
73 replies 32.9K views
neil-ukneil-uk Forumite
54 Posts
edited 5 April 2015 at 9:50PM in Energy
With formal notice from Ofgem in relation to an investigation of BES, it is considered reasonable to make the following information public;

It is with some satisfaction I can finally reveal that a major London law firm has now agreed to look into BES with the intention of starting a group action.

At this stage, anyone reading this that has received a 'gagging order' in theory will still be able to bring their case to the group action as evidence - any attempt to stop you doing that will be taken very seriously, and is almost certainly perverting the course of justice, so please do contact the group action in confidence.

I am unable to divulge who this law firm is at the moment, as there are a couple of loose ends and the QC wants to see the cases in more detail (and needs a few more to look at). However, rest assured that the person I have looking at BES is one of the best QC's in the UK. He is vastly experienced with over 30 years experience in litigation both representing and taking actions against banks, investment companies and even the Government over contracts worth billions of pounds. He is the man for the job!

The lawyer is also concerned about any letters anyone may have received from law firms Harrison Drury or Field Fisher acting on behalf of BES threatening defamation. This is clearly defended by True Comment, Honest Opinion, Public Interest and Fair Comment, which under the circumstances are entirely reasonable. Some concern has also been cited in relation to the apparent time scales in the letter in question, and in fact whether the law firm had been correctly instructed.

The group action is bring organised by someone else, but I can advise you it will seek to;

1) Investigate and if possible prove an unlawful connection between BES and brokers .

2) Investigate and if possible prove that contracts had been miss sold via bullying, intimidation, harassment and unwanted pressured sales calls.

3) Investigate and if possible prove that the contracts in question should be voided and the Contractees awarded damages.

4) Investigate and if possible prove that a number of telephone calls have been edited to serve the purposes of winning a judicial process.

5) Investigate and if possible prove that BES and companies herein have colluded and conspired to decept a court of law in order to obtain warrants for bailiff action and/or supply disconnection.

6) Using the evidence provided show our findings to a judge before a court of law with the intention of proving that BES and companies herein have acted unlawfully, wrongly and unreasonably - and to award the victims damages.

The QC has kindly offered to look at cases free of charge, with the intention to mount a case once he has in the region of 10 cases - which I think will be somewhat of an underestimate of what he will receive.

Once the Ofgem investigation is complete, the QC will be leaning on them for evidence to support the claims set out above.

If you feel that you would like your case to be looked at, please email (text removed by MSE Forum Team) with your details, they will be passed on and you will receive a reply in the upcoming weeks.

The review process will be free of charge, and you will be notified if the QC is prepared to take on your case.
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Replies

  • CardewCardew Forumite
    28.9K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Rampant Recycler
    Forumite
    For those not aware BES is Business Energy Solutions.


    A 'Google' will reveal more information.
  • BESUtilitiesBESUtilities Organisation Representatives - Private Messages may not be monitored
    13 Posts
    We are happy to comply with Ofgem and always have been, following an almost 10 year untarnished record as a supply business. Investigations are common place in the energy industry and this is one of 16 live investigations across all energy suppliers currently including many of the ‘Big 6’. We treat all Ofgem intervention seriously but we also see it as an opportunity to seek guidance on how to improve our processes and in this instance, as every other, we will be looking to Ofgem to help us tweak our processes for the future. I would encourage people to respect that an investigation is neither admission nor an accusation of any wrong doing, it is simply an opportunity for the regulator to understand in more detail how we approach compliance against a small handful of the many supplier licence conditions which are in operation in the market. Any outcomes of this process we therefore intend to use to strengthen for future growth as we look to continue to take the fight of the smaller independent suppliers to the wider market and in particular, the ‘Big 6’.

    Ben Jones – CEO, BES Utilities
    Official Company Representative
    I am the official company representative of BESUtilities. MSE has given permission for me to post in response to queries about the company, so that I can help solve issues. You can see my name on the companies with permission to post list. I am not allowed to tout for business at all. If you believe I am please report it to [email protected] This does NOT imply any form of approval of my company or its products by MSE"
  • CardewCardew Forumite
    28.9K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Rampant Recycler
    Forumite
    We are happy to comply with Ofgem and always have been, following an almost 10 year untarnished record as a supply business.


    May we ask for your definition of 'untarnished' please.
  • BESUtilitiesBESUtilities Organisation Representatives - Private Messages may not be monitored
    13 Posts
    Cardew wrote: »
    May we ask for your definition of 'untarnished' please.


    Hi Cardew

    Unlike many of our larger competitors, this is the first time Ofgem has ever carried out an investigation into our procedures at BES and we are keen to learn from any feedback we receive, following this process.

    If you have a specific query or complaint regarding your BES account then we are keen to help - please email the details to [EMAIL="forums@besutilities.co.uk"][email protected][/EMAIL].
    Official Company Representative
    I am the official company representative of BESUtilities. MSE has given permission for me to post in response to queries about the company, so that I can help solve issues. You can see my name on the companies with permission to post list. I am not allowed to tout for business at all. If you believe I am please report it to [email protected] This does NOT imply any form of approval of my company or its products by MSE"
  • We are happy to comply with Ofgem and always have been, following an almost 10 year untarnished record as a supply business. Investigations are common place in the energy industry and this is one of 16 live investigations across all energy suppliers currently including many of the ‘Big 6’. We treat all Ofgem intervention seriously but we also see it as an opportunity to seek guidance on how to improve our processes and in this instance, as every other, we will be looking to Ofgem to help us tweak our processes for the future. I would encourage people to respect that an investigation is neither admission nor an accusation of any wrong doing, it is simply an opportunity for the regulator to understand in more detail how we approach compliance against a small handful of the many supplier licence conditions which are in operation in the market. Any outcomes of this process we therefore intend to use to strengthen for future growth as we look to continue to take the fight of the smaller independent suppliers to the wider market and in particular, the ‘Big 6’.

    Ben Jones – CEO, BES Utilities


    Perhaps worth noting that before joining BES, Ben Jones was Head of Customer Services at npower....:eek:
  • edited 31 October 2014 at 9:56PM
    neil-ukneil-uk Forumite
    54 Posts
    edited 31 October 2014 at 9:56PM
    Well Mr Jones, I have to commend your attitude for optimism, and it is really great you optimistically anticipate that this is an "opportunity to seek guidance on how to improve our processes and in this instance, as every other, we will be looking to Ofgem to help us tweak our processes for the future".

    You mention the 'big 6' have outstanding investigations, however these generally relate to Section 12 of the License Conditions, which is essentially using the 'wrong' meter, relatively trivial in comparison to what you stand accused of. In any case the 'big 6' certainly do not have multiple conditions of their License under review to the extent you do. Plus logic dictates as a small company you should be able to managed your processes/company far better than the 'big 6'?

    One of the investigation's focuses is on Section 7B. For those who are unaware, this (in short) relates to being honest, transparent and avoid providing misleading or omitting information.

    You interestingly claim that "an almost 10 year untarnished record as a supply business". Have you ever Google'd your company's name? Have you seen the enormous amount of very upset and angry people there are who feel your company has in some way been the aggregator of circumstances leading to their business's demise?

    What frustrates me more is that you had the audacity to instruct a reputable law firm to issue threatening letters claiming their genuine and honest accounts were "a malicious attempt to start an internet campaign of which [you] deny all veracity". Some of the people that got these letters have been treated for depression and have contemplated suicide since being in receipt of that letter! The letter infers that you had no idea as to why people may be making these claim/posts - and purports those claims to be malicious, false and defamatory.

    How you managed to instruct a law firm claiming what you did and guarantee it as truthful and factual; when there literally thousands of posts from hundreds of users over tens of websites giving shocking accounts of your company, is entirely beggars belief and a cause for some grave concern. The balance of probabilities are that you have probably mislead or omitted information to allow a law firm to issue letters of that nature.

    Mr Jones, wake up! I am afraid to inform you that your reputation has been tarnished for some years (no matter what you demand removed from the internet, or no matter how many 'gagging orders' people sign). I think quite frankly if it is found that BES have breached or failed to comply with license conditions, in particular 7B and 14 it is untenable that they can continue to hold a license, or remain suppliers to the energy market. Many others manage to keep to their license conditions, what makes you think Ofgem want to give you "guidance" to the pretty simple task of doing your job properly??? Maybe they just don't want companies with your apparent ethics in their industry any more?
  • BESUtilitiesBESUtilities Organisation Representatives - Private Messages may not be monitored
    13 Posts
    This post came up in conversation today and a business owner told me that she herself was disgusted at the harassment she suffered from BES sales people, which was constant when she set up her new business. She said the way to talk to people is beyond belief and their swearing down the phone at those who don't want to sign up is just incredible in today's business world. She could well believe that people felt suicidal after dealing with them and shudders to think how anyone elderly copes. After a blast of disgusting and foul language from one operator, she learned it was actually the owner's son. When she was out and a junior was left in charge of the office, BES were demanding to know the meter serial numbers, claiming that if she didn't tell them, they would be sending the bailiffs in and the meters would be ripped out that day. Luckily, they haven't managed to coerce her into being their customer. Good luck with your investigation. These people need to be removed from the business world and never allowed to trade again. Totally unethical.


    BES does not carry out direct sales to new customers and would certainly not tolerate employees using either bad language or aggressive behaviour, so we are both surprised and concerned to read these allegations. We would be keen to know more about these calls to ensure that BES is not involved as has been alleged. Please would you contact us with some details via email to: [EMAIL="forums@besutilities.co.uk"][email protected][/EMAIL]? Our online team will look into this as a matter of urgency.

    Thank you.
    Official Company Representative
    I am the official company representative of BESUtilities. MSE has given permission for me to post in response to queries about the company, so that I can help solve issues. You can see my name on the companies with permission to post list. I am not allowed to tout for business at all. If you believe I am please report it to [email protected] This does NOT imply any form of approval of my company or its products by MSE"
  • edited 13 August 2015 at 2:14PM
    neil-ukneil-uk Forumite
    54 Posts
    edited 13 August 2015 at 2:14PM
    BES does not carry out direct sales to new customers.....
    This is only partially correct. It is the brokers that cold call new businesses in new premises or newly incorporated.

    HOWEVER, if you have BES as your incoming supplier, you will probably receive enormous amounts of alarmist calls from their 'renewals' (basically sales) team claiming you are on emergency rates and so forth; with the obvious intent to sell you a contract. Of course this will be denied by BES, but this can be proved in numerous ways as entirely factual.
    ....and would certainly not tolerate employees using either bad language or aggressive behaviour, so we are both surprised and concerned to read these allegations.
    Basically rubbish. The person that called me (repeatedly) from BES was aggressive and even apologised for his aggressive tone to me.... Of course BES have always denied this - despite claiming to have listened to the calls...... How many call recordings were they prepared to send me? Just one out of in the region of 5, maybe 6.....

    To claim this allegation is of any surprise is excremental. Months if not years of complaints prove this - to claim any form of surprise is a complete falsehood.

    A quick Google search of BES once again prove their comments quoted above to be false.
    Why is it these gangster brokers only seem to offer BES or Opus as options to the unwitting clients
    Well for a start, a number of these brokers are owned by close friends of [TEXT REMOVED BY FORUM TEAM]... See here:

    http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?435384-BES-have-ruined-our-businesss-home-amp-life-Misled-by-Commercial-Rep&p=4637403&viewfull=1#post4637403

    and here:

    http://www.commercialreduction.co.uk/who-are-we/
    What types of matter have these complaints been about? Have any been over matters similar to those alleged in the post you were commenting on?
    In short yes, the investigation relates alleged breaches of conditions:

    7B - Treating customers fairly, honestly, not misleading customers or omitting information reasonably requested to the supplier's advantage

    14 - Supply transfer blocking

    21B - Ensuring invoices correctly related to meter readings given by the customer.

    Those are in short, you can find more details on the Ofgem website. See here:

    https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications-and-updates/investigation-bes-and-its-compliance-its-obligations-under-gas-and-electricity-supply-licences-standard-licence-conditions-7a-7b-7-14-and-21b
    You also say you are surprised by the allegations. How many similar allegations about your business or its brokers have you heard?
    Quite literally hundreds if not thousands. A quick Google search of BES will show you the extent to which these allegations exist and have done for a good 6 years with little mercy.
    Does BES accept business via brokers?
    Yes this is issue here. Supposedly these 'independent' brokers, at least two of which are owned by [TEXT REMOVED BY FORUM TEAM] best mates only part record the calls.... So as has been written previously, the harassment etc begins - and only when the broker has backed you into a corner do they start the 'recording' of the verbal contract, which is binding and seemingly has no cooling off period!!

    The reason 'recording' is in inverted commas above is because to date it has always been claimed that the calls are started and stopped at the point of verbal contract........ However a BES employee made a bit of an error and has admitted in writing they have access to entire recordings - so it is debatable how honest the part-recorded call claim is; or whether the information is being purposely omitted.

    Hope that helps. Any more questions?
  • BESUtilitiesBESUtilities Organisation Representatives - Private Messages may not be monitored
    13 Posts
    Like most other suppliers, BES does acquire new contracts from brokers and we have in place strict procedures to ensure they are of a high standard, including a compliance check on all new contracts submitted. We also complete a comfort call for every new customer, which is intended to check key contract details and also confirm that the customer was happy with the way the sale was conducted. This is something we introduced ourselves and we believe we are one of, if not the only, business supplier to do this. We carry out regular audits of new and existing brokers and will terminate relationships with brokers who breach the high standards we expect.

    Brokers work on behalf of one or a range of different suppliers, so it’s not correct to assume that every call a customer receives relates to BES. We are keen to identify and address rogue broker behaviour where BES is involved, but it’s very difficult for us to do this unless we are given firm details, such as the name and / or phone number of the company, etc. Please send this feedback to our dedicated online team mailbox, so we can investigate: [EMAIL="forums@besutilities.co.uk"][email protected][/EMAIL].

    Customers not wishing to receive calls can find more information from the Telephone Preference Service: http://www.tpsonline.org.uk/tps/index.html
    Official Company Representative
    I am the official company representative of BESUtilities. MSE has given permission for me to post in response to queries about the company, so that I can help solve issues. You can see my name on the companies with permission to post list. I am not allowed to tout for business at all. If you believe I am please report it to [email protected] This does NOT imply any form of approval of my company or its products by MSE"
  • Like most other suppliers, BES does acquire new contracts from brokers and we have in place strict procedures to ensure they are of a high standard, including a compliance check on all new contracts submitted. We also complete a comfort call for every new customer, which is intended to check key contract details and also confirm that the customer was happy with the way the sale was conducted. This is something we introduced ourselves and we believe we are one of, if not the only, business supplier to do this. We carry out regular audits of new and existing brokers and will terminate relationships with brokers who breach the high standards we expect.

    Brokers work on behalf of one or a range of different suppliers, so it’s not correct to assume that every call a customer receives relates to BES. We are keen to identify and address roguebroker behaviour where BES is involved, but it’s very difficult for us to do this unless we are given firm details, such as the name and / or phone number of the company, etc. Please send this feedback to our dedicated online team mailbox, so we can investigate: [EMAIL="forums@besutilities.co.uk"][email protected][/EMAIL].

    Customers not wishing to receive calls can find more information from the Telephone Preference Service: http://www.tpsonline.org.uk/tps/index.html

    The gall you lot have is frightening.

    You know exactly what is going on, a decent business would take precautionary measures before accepting clients from brokers that hadn't been vetted and approved.

    I hope OFGEM finally grow a pair of balls and kick you lot into the long grass once and for all.
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