SSE has lost an appeal against a conviction for misleading potential customers today.
The energy company was found guilty of two counts of ‘engaging in a misleading commercial practice’ in May last year after a court was told that doorstep salespeople used misleading sales scripts and printouts to try to persuade potential customers to switch to SSE.
Salespeople told householders that they were paying too much to their current energy companies when this was not the case.
SSE’s appeal against the verdict was rejected today by the Court of Appeal, which announced that it was ‘not persuaded that this conviction was unsafe’.
SSE must extend guarantee, says Which?
In response to the court’s decision, Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: ‘SSE should never have dragged this case on for so long and now needs to move quickly to contact the hundreds of thousands of customers who may have been signed up with this misleading script.
‘We want to see SSE extend its mis-selling guarantee scheme so that people who were mis-sold during this time can make a direct claim to them.’
In December, SSE announced a sales guarantee for ‘any customer who shows that they switched their energy supply to SSE after being given inaccurate information’, which applies for any household sale made since October 2009 – but the mis-selling took place before that period.
Energy companies ending doorstep selling
The case, which was brought by Surrey Trading Standards, is thought to be the first prosecution of its kind against one of the ‘big six’ energy firms.
Steve Playle, of Surrey Trading Standards, said after today’s ruling that as a result of the case five of the big six, including SSE, have now stopped doorstep selling altogether.
SSE will be sentenced for the offences at Guildford Crown Court in May.