Ex-SSE sales rep ‘spills the beans on mis-selling’

A former SSE sales employee appears to have spilled the beans on the energy supplier’s dodgy practices when trying to get consumers to switch to their tariffs. Ofgem yesterday slammed […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

A former SSE sales employee appears to have spilled the beans on the energy supplier’s dodgy practices when trying to get consumers to switch to their tariffs.

Ofgem yesterday slammed a £10.5 million fine, believed to be the largest of its kind to date, as it revealed the company’s “prolonged and extensive” mis-selling and published details of the “lies” told to consumers to get more people to switch to SSE, including cold calls, in-store and doorstep sales.

John, who claims he worked for SSE as part of its sales team but was made redundant last year, told BBC Radio 5 live about “Colleagues signing empty houses in order to earn commission, falsifying figures from bills, switching the usage to make savings, just down-right lies to trick customers to sign.”

The sales agents were allegedly also told to say “anything to get the deal” and were given tips on how to make a sale if they struggled: “They’d say to people that they were put on foreign tariff systems – like npower is owned by a German utility – and they’d say because they were British, we’re affiliated with the people that supply you so we’re cheaper.

“On the paper, they’d put the customer had been paying their bill quarterly when they’d been paying direct debit in order to make an extra saving.”

John added the fine was just a “drop in the ocean” considering the profits the energy firm made last year and believed the reason for stopping doorstep sales is because SSE “knew they were in hot water for what they’d done” and believed the fine was going to be less if they stopped the sales technique.

SSE said it “apologised unreservedly” for the breaches that were made and said it has been working for the last two years to transform its sales processes, including stopping doorstep selling and introducing a £5million compensation fund so customers who believe they may have lost money can claim it back.

A member of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee said SSE have been “extremely successful” in lying to people and hoped the fine will make them change their sales processes.

Peter Lilley MP said: “If I were a shareholder, I’d be pretty appalled that nobody at a higher level… seems to have lost anything but the annual bonus and I’d want to know why not.”

He added the UK Select Committee have suggested that there should be a system or a mobile phone app where consumers can feed in their energy usage for the last year and find out which company tariff best suits the particular household.