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Energy giants to quit unwanted ‘cold calling’

Big six promise to respect consumers' wishes

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People who live in ‘no cold calling zones’ or who display signs saying no to cold callers, will no longer be bothered by doorstep energy salesmen.

The ‘big six’ energy suppliers – British Gas, Eon, Scottish and Southern Energy, EDF, Npower and Scottish Power – claim they are now committed to respecting the wishes of consumers who say no to cold callers.

Evidence has shown that it has been previously routine practice for energy agents to ignore householders’ requests not to be disturbed by cold callers – even when they live in recognised ‘no cold calling zones’ or display ‘no cold caller’ signs.

The energy suppliers’ promise follows campaigning by energy watchdog Consumer Focus and the Trading Standards Institute (TSI). To find out what Which? believes still need to be done to clean up the energy industry, visit our energy campaigns page.

‘A victory for common sense’

Which? campaigns manager Clare Corbett commented: ‘This is good news for consumers who have made it clear they don’t want to be badgered on their own doorstep. However, Energy suppliers shouldn’t need to be told that no means no.’

Consumer Focus’ energy expert Audrey Gallacher added: ‘This is a victory for common sense’. She said that whether people display a sticker saying they live in a ‘no cold calling zone’ or scribble a hand-written note and stick it in their window, energy companies should now respect their wishes.

Gallacher advised: ‘Energy firms should stick to their promise, but if people continue to get cold calls from salespeople, they should contact Consumer Direct (on 0845 4040 506) and complain to the company in question.’

Cheapest tariffs to be found online

In 2008, Ofgem found that just under half of consumers who switched energy supplier as a result of direct sales ended up on a worse deal. This research led to new rules that mean that anyone signing up to a new deal on their doorstep must receive a price comparison proving the new deal is cheaper than their old one.

However, doorstep energy salespeople are under no obligation to tell you the very cheapest deal available to you. So you should always do your own energy comparison, using a Consumer Focus accredited site like Which? Switch to find out the cheapest deals available to you.

Lower your gas and electricity bills

You can compare energy prices and switch to a new gas and electricity supplier on Which? Switch. People who switched with us between 1 October and 31 December 2013 are predicted to save an average of £234 a year on their bills.

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