Rogue energy salesmen driving the nation to despair

14 October 2009


In any given week, around 40,000 people change their energy supplier following a knock on the door from a cold-calling saleshuman.

But how many of them really want to switch and how many of them are bullied into it by the sales-hungry goon who invades their privacy with flash talk of ‘amazing savings’ and ‘brilliant gas’?

It’s a question that’s been raised following a poll commissioned by Consumer Focus in which a third of householders visited by a doorstep energy rep described the experience as “intimidating”.

Shockingly, one in 14 admitted to signing up for a deal in a bid to get rid of them, later cancelling it once the danger had been averted. But for those who don’t cancel, one third go on to find that they end up paying MORE for their energy instead of less.

Consumer Direct have revealed that they’ve received more than 2,000 complaints about door-to-door energy reps this year. Among some of the disturbing grievances from customers were tales of reps…

…claiming to be there to read the meter and requiring a confirmation signature from the customer.

…brazenly claiming they’re from Consumer Direct, the Office of Fair Trading and Ofgem.

…cornering victims in their home.

…forging signatures in order to clinch non-existant deals.

Here’s a guide to dealing with these shitehawks that we’ve nicked wholesale from the Daily Mirror. Thanks Daily!

1. Ask to see their company ID. Check with the supplier they claim to be from (get the number yourself).
2 If you’re worried, never let them in.
3. If you do, tidy away documents bearing your signature.
4. Never sign anything unless you have already decided that you will switch supplier.
5. Demand written proof of the amount you’re currently paying and the new price.
6. If you’re switched without consent, contact Consumer Direct (0845 404 0506).
7. Doorstep Selling Regulations give at least seven days’ “cooling-off” period when you can cancel a contract.
8. The salesmen must have given you this in writing. If not, they shouldn’t have a leg to stand on.
9. Cancel in writing by post or email – and keep any proof such as a recorded delivery slip or copy of an email.
10. The cancellation is effective from when you send it, not when it is received.

Chilling stuff – but it beggars belief why people should have to adhere to guidelines such as these in the comfort of their own homes. It almost makes you yearn for the days when Papa Lazarou would come to the door and try and take your wife…

TOPICS:   Utilities   Scams


  • TFEB
    I have a standard policy for cold calling via telephone or doorstep. Sales rep: "Hello sir are you interested in...." Me: "Not interested" Sales rep: "I could have been offering a million pounds" Me "Still not interested" now F... Off lol
  • SK
    I tell cold callers that I'm a tenant and they take a hike. Works most of the time. There's no way they can check if you are or not.
  • David
    I got switched to another provider without even discussing it or filling in a form! I always tell them to go away.
  • Mick T.
    Had one round recently from Southern Electric and I was going to change supplier anyway so decided to give them a chance, he asked how much I was paying per much and knocked £15 off and thought he had done! Imagine his look of despair when I asked him for his tier one and tier two gas and electric prices per kilowatt, input them into the spreadsheet I had created from my last 18 months usage history and proved to him that he was in fact £200 more expensive per annum than my current provider. Charlatans, the lot of em, but it shouldn't take a bloody spreadsheet to find out they are in fact more expensive!
  • Gunn
    Agree with SK, that line gets rid of most sales calls.
    Agree with SK too. Do you fancy forming a government SK, if so, I reckon we could get something up and running to challenge for next years election! Rock on! :)
  • oliver
    what do people say about a preference scheme, like with telephones to opt out of cold calling?
  • charitynjw
    I just remind them of the proximity clause (proximity re my size ten steel toe-caps & their backsides, that is!)
  • Keisha D.
    Possibly 1 with the most utilised seats in your household is the kitchen bar stool. When a single thinks of this item, they could envision a youngster sitting on it undertaking homework although mom or dad prepare dinner.

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