by Sue Walder
From 1 October anyone clearly displaying a written note or sticker saying ‘No cold callers’ should be free from the irritation of doorstep selling by energy companies.
Campaigning by energy watchdog Consumer Focus and the Trading Standards Institute, has resulted in the ‘big six’ energy companies (British Gas, EDF Energy, E-ON, NPower, Scottish Power and SSE) agreeing to a revised industry-wide code of practice.
The EnergySure Code of Practice now states that sales agents will not call on premises where there is a message prominently displayed by householders in the form of a written ‘No cold calling’ note or sticker.
If cold calling by energy company agents persists even though a sign is clearly displayed, then consumer website Moneysavingexpert advises consumers to make a note of their name and employee number and then report them to the energy company concerned as well as government agency Consumer Direct on 08454 040506 (see also www.consumerdirect.gov.uk).
To help people make the most of this code, Moneysavingexpert is offering a free, printable ‘No Cold Calling’ sign from their website, go to: www.moneysavingexpert.com/phones/no-more-junk#coldcallers.
Did you know?
- In 2008, research by the energy regulator Ofgem revealed that just under half of customers who switched supplier in response to a direct sales approach ended up on a worse deal.
- This resulted in the introduction of new protections around energy sales so that when consumers sign up to a new deal on the doorstep they must receive a price comparison to prove the deal being offered is better than their existing one.
- A Consumer Focus survey in July 2009 revealed that nearly seven out of 10 consumers who had received a direct sales call from an energy supplier rated the experience as negative and a third described the experience as intimidating.