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Doorstep energy sales rules tightened

Action taken to prevent energy miss-selling


About a quarter of people struggle to understand what they owe when looking at energy bills.

New rules giving more protection to consumers against doorstep miss-selling of energy contracts have come into force.

From 18 January 2010 anyone sold a new energy contract on the doorstep, over the telephone or in a shop must be given a written quote before the sale goes through. 

The change is part of a package of measures introduced by energy watchdog Ofgem to ensure fairer treatment of energy customers following its 2008 investigation into the state of the UK energy market. 

Switching energy suppliers

Which? energy expert James Tallack says: ‘Which? welcomes this new rule, but remains unconvinced that doorstep selling is particularly beneficial for consumers. There are hundreds of energy tariffs available to householders from a range of energy suppliers, but to get the best deal people need to be able to compare them side-by-side.

‘If you’re door-stepped by a salesperson, you’ll only be told about the tariffs offered by the energy company they work for. Anyone signing up this way should check their written quote against what’s available on our independent switching service, Which? Switch, and cancel their contract if they find a better deal elsewhere.’

Other changes introduced by Ofgem include pre-payment meter customers being able to switch energy supplier even if they have debts of up to £200 – the previous limit was £100 – and more protection for small businesses.

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