Supermarket energy salesmen routinely misleading shoppers

UK consumers have been warned to be wary of roving energy sellers after an investigation by Which? found that homeowners who fall for their deals could be actually end up paying more their gas and electricity.
The consumer watchdog revealed that switching suppliers via sales teams based in supermarkets and shopping centres could leave people hundreds of pounds worse off a year.
Undercover researchers posing as shoppers were quoted annual savings of between £20 and £142 by staff from large energy companies for switching to their gas and electricity tariffs . However instead of saving them money, the energy deals would have actually cost them between £39 and £311 each year.
Salesmen for Sainsbury’s Energy, for example, promised annual savings on a standard tariff of between £43 and £68, when in fact switching would have cost between £299 and £311 more.
Which? said the discrepancy was due to the fact that all of the energy salespeople involved in the investigation based their predicted savings on the assumption that customers were on a expensive standard tariff, despite many being on cheaper tariffs .
The watchdog is calling on all energy firms to ensure customers are aware that the quotes they receive in-store are only estimates.
Richard Lloyd, executive director at Which?, said: “It’s simply not good enough for energy salespeople to be quoting misleading individual savings to people who sign up to switch in supermarkets . It is little wonder that trust in the sector is so low.”
“Which? wants the energy suppliers to build confidence among consumers that switching is both simple and worthwhile. That is why we’ve launched The Big Switch,” he added.
“By joining together we can bargain harder and negotiate the best possible deal. The more people who sign up the stronger our bargaining power will be with the energy companies.”
The Big Switch is a new collective switching campaign that aims to help Britons save money on their energy bills by negotiating a cheaper deal with the UK’s major energy suppliers . Around 80,000 people have so far signed up for the scheme.