Chair says ACCC continuing to act against some energy retailers for “reprehensible treatment of consumers”

In February, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Chairman Rod Simms outlined his enforcement priorities for 2013 in a speech to the Committee for Economic Development of Australia.  His comments about energy providers and addressing consumer problems caught our eye, and are reprinted below.

“On the energy side, we continue to drive energy retailers to fix what has been, in our view, reprehensible treatment of consumers by many involved in door to door sales.  Actions against two traders last year will be followed by more this year, with investigations continuing into a number of traders.

And let me say that there was no ambush by the ACCC on this front. We had been warning for some time that industry needed to fix this problem, yet the complaints have continued. As I mentioned earlier, we said what we would do, and then we followed through.

It is not all about enforcement, we also use education to address matters of concern. Last year, at the same time door to door investigations and proceedings were being progressed, the ACCC launched its ‘Knock! Knock! Who’s There?’ consumer awareness campaign.

The focus was to stop unfair door to door sales practices and the put the word out to consumers about their rights and ability to refuse door to door sales. We have handed out close to 70,000 ‘Do Not Knock’ stickers, 39,000 door hangers and 16,000 consumer guides”.

You can read his full speech on the ACCC’s website here.

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