Energy retailers improve their behaviour, but Simply Energy & Red Energy didn’t get the memo

335 complaints about door-to-door salespeople have now been lodged with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission through www.donotknock.org.au. And while the latest round of complaints suggests that energy retailers as a whole have responded to the community’s concerns about door-to-door sales, it appears Simply Energy and Red Energy didn’t get the memo.

Energy retailers represented 60 per cent of the first 100 complaints Consumer Action Law Centre received through www.donotknock.org.au, but in this latest round of complaints that figure has dropped to around 32 per cent. Of this 32 per cent over half were complaints about Simply Energy or Red Energy.

‘We’re pleased to see a drop in complaints about energy salespeople, it’s a welcome turnaround and a testament to the fact that the three biggest retailers have announced that they’ll stop doorknocking. But the industry will struggle to regain public trust as long as companies like Simply Energy and Red Energy continue to use this high-pressure form of selling.’ said Gerard Brody, CEO of Consumer Action.

Recent complaints about Simply Energy and Red Energy include allegations that salespeople:

  • refused to leave when asked;
  • misled the residents about the purpose of their visit;
  • door-knocked despite being listed on the retailer’s “no contact” register;
  • made it seem like they were from the Government; and
  • switched energy accounts over without the account holder’s permission.

‘The complaints we still hear about energy retailers are fairly typical of the door-to-door industry as a whole. You’d be amazed at the amount of salespeople that begin their spiel with “I’m not here to sell you something”. But it’s safe to say that the overwhelming majority of people who knock on your door representing a business are there to make a sale.

‘We’re about to see the introduction of flexible tariffs in the Victorian energy market which will add an extra layer of complexity to energy prices. We’d like to see retailers move to marketing methods that explain tariffs in a format that is easy to understand, and that makes comparing offers simple,’ said Mr Brody.

Consumers wishing to opt out of door-to-door energy marketing can do so by filling out Consumer Action’s ‘No Contact’ form at www.donotknock.org.au/no-contact.

Victorians can find out more about flexible pricing at www.switchon.vic.gov.au

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