# Saturday, 30 July 2011

According to this article Consumer Focus is calling for energy firms to abandon doorstep cold calls for a three month period. The watchdog is asking the energy firms to make the changes voluntarily but if they don’t may ask the regulator Ofgem to legally require suppliers to take action.

Personally I think all cold calling by energy companies should be stopped completely. The practice which has been going on for at least ten years often involves misleading and intimidating sales techniques. I have been subject to these sales calls on a number of occasions and remember one in particular where two large men tried to gain entry to my home to obtain an electricity bill or a meter reading. They had claimed to be from my existing provider but clearly were not. If this were the case they would have had details of my current price plan and energy usage and would not have needed further information. Needless to say I did not let these crooks into my house.

I have received a number of other calls since this one with less aggressive techniques but none the less still misleading. In each case the caller has said they are from my electricity provider rather than being honest and saying they are from a rival company. Being wise to this selling technique I greet them by letting them know that firstly I am aware they are not from my supplier. Secondly I am aware they are trying to get me to change my supplier and thirdly if I did want to switch I would not make this decision as a result of a cold call on my doorstep but would do my research online. This seems to get rid of the sales people very quickly and effectively. I do wonder, however, how many more vulnerable and perhaps less informed people are misled into switching to deals that are no better and can often be worse than their current rate. With four out of the big six suppliers being investigated to see whether their doorstep selling have broken the rules, it is clearly time to stamp this practice out once and for all.

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