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Energy supplier slapped with £260k fine

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
Small energy firm E is to pay £260,000 for sales and marketing failures, the regulator has confirmed.

The Birmingham-based energy supplier is to pay the sum for failing to make sure its sales agents were transparent or that sufficient background checks had been made.

Energy regulator, Ofgem, found that the sales representatives for E, contracted by third party agency Energy Watch UK, were “misleading” in their approach.

The reps failed to tell potential customers they were working on behalf of E, instead purporting to be an independent price comparison site.

Ofgem found that between 2014 and 2017, E failed to make sure its face-to-face sales agents had sufficient background checks.

It also didn’t act quickly enough to put things right. E was aware of the failures in 2014 but only corrected them in 2017.

Following the investigation, Ofgem said E has acted to put things right, working with Energy Watch UK to make the face-to-face sales process more transparent, and changing the way it processes criminal records checks for prospective and existing sales staff.

While Ofgem found no evidence that any customer suffered directly or financially, E is to pay £260,000 which will go to charity, including to help vulnerable energy consumers.

‘No room for misleading behaviour’

Ofgem’s senior partner in improving regulation, Martin Crouch, said: “E did not put security and transparency first when it came to face-to-face sales, and risked the trust and wellbeing of potential customers.

“This payment sends an important reminder to all suppliers that there’s no room for misleading behaviour when it comes to selling energy.

“E has since worked well with Ofgem, and has changed its processes to make sure its agents have sufficient background checks and carry out sales in a transparent way.”

An E spokesperson, said: “We accept the failures identified by Ofgem and rectified them promptly. We welcome Ofgem’s recognition that the errors were not deliberate and that they are not ongoing. Most importantly, there is no evidence that any of our customers was caused financial loss, harm or inconvenience at any time.”

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