Energy regulator Ofgem has found failings throughout SSE’s sales processes, including doorstep selling and telesales techniques. Customers may be able to claim compensation if they have been missold to.
Ofgem’s investigation into SSE’s sales practices has found examples of misselling, using misleading statements and inaccurate information when talking to customers and potential customers.
The investigation has found multiple breaches of SSE’s obligations to customers, including telling some customers they would save money before switching them onto a more expensive contract. Some customers were also told that other energy suppliers were making ‘all sorts of false promises’.
SSE was rated joint ninth – with Eon – out of fifteen energy companies in our 2013 energy supplier customer satisfaction survey. You can find out more about SSE in our full energy supplier review.
Undermining energy industry trust
Ofgem’s senior partner in charge of enforcement Sarah Harrison said: ‘In order to restore trust in the energy market suppliers must comply with their obligations and play it straight with consumers. Ofgem’s findings show SSE failed its customers, missold to them and undermined trust in the energy supply industry.’
Ofgem’s record fine comes after a winter of price hikes, at a time when customers’ trust in energy companies is already very low.
Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd said: ‘It’s absolutely right that Ofgem has punished SSE for its completely unacceptable past practices. With scandals like this it’s no wonder that less than a quarter of people say they trust energy companies. This record fine sends a clear warning message to all energy companies, but will be too little too late for many customers who were mis-sold.’
£5 million in SSE compensation fund
SSE customers who believe they have been missold to could be due compensation, and a £5 million fund has been put aside. If you think you have been affected by SSE’s sales practices, you can call 0845 0707 388.
Mr Lloyd added: ‘While SSE has contacted customers and has made funds available to compensate those affected, we want the government to go further and ensure that the regulator has the power to force energy companies to proactively contact and compensate those customers who were mis-sold.’
Ofgem is also investigating Scottish Power and Npower for misselling and it launched an investigation into Eon’s energy sales practices last April. SSE were fined £1.25 million last year for misleading sales in a case brought by Surrey Trading Standards.