Could this be the end of doorstep sales?Which? supports call for energy sales suspension

23 July 2011

Door to door salesman

Which? is supporting calls for an immediate three-month suspension of cold-call doorstep sales, encouraging companies to think more about the effect of poor sales tactics on consumer confidence.

Richard Lloyd, executive director of Which? said: 'People tell Which? that they really don't like doorstep selling and feel pressured to switch when approached on the doorstep. We support the call for an immediate three-month suspension on cold-call energy doorstep sales.'

The energy industry has been plagued by mis-selling scandals relating to doorstep sales, and it is becoming clear that the majority of consumers do not like it when energy companies come to their door uninvited.

Mis-selling investigations

The call for a three-month suspension came from watchdog Consumer Focus, who pointed out that currently four out of the 'big six' energy companies are having their doorstep sales approach investigated by Ofgem. Ofgem is yet to decide whether the companies have broken the rules.

The call comes shortly after Scottish and Southern Energy announced that they would be suspending all doorstep sales.

Don't ramp up phone sales

When the topic of doorstep sales was first raised on Which? Conversation, users overwhelmingly voted that they'd rather energy salespeople didn't come to their doors at all. 

Which? is urging energy companies to review their sales techniques across the board. Any suspensions on doorstep sales should not encourage companies to ramp up their sales techniques in other areas.

Richard Lloyd said 'the problem of dubious sales tactics is not limited to the doorstep, so energy companies must scrutinise all of their sales practices to restore customers' trust.' He added: 'It's vital that companies do not simply use this as an excuse to ramp up other forms of cold calling. We found that 44% of people have been phoned by an energy company in the past 12 months.'

No smart meter selling

Last week Which? launched its smart meter challenge to try and prevent energy companies from selling to consumers in their homes when they had a smart meter fitted. Although seven of the smaller energy companies have accepted the challenge, as yet, none of the 'big six' have signed up. 

In the calls to end doorstep selling, Consumer Focus is also supporting the suggestion that energy companies should not sell during smart meter installation. Richard Lloyd said 'we're calling on energy companies to focus on installing them safely and efficiently, and not on lining their own pockets.'

Which? energy campaigns

Which? campaigns to make people's lives fairer, simpler and safer. We're currently campaigning on energy issues such as the Green Deal, confusing energy tariffs, and smart meters. To find out more about our campaigns, follow Which? Action on Twitter or facebook.