Energy supplier E is to pay £260,000 for failing to ensure its sales agents were transparent or had sufficient background checks.
Ofgem found sales representatives for E contracted by third party agency Energy Watch UK were “misleading” in their approach as they failed to tell potential customers they were working on behalf of the supplier.
They instead presented themselves as an independent price comparison service.
E “did not act quickly enough to put things right” – the regulator said the company’s management knew of these failures in 2014 but did not correct them until 2017.
Ofgem added E has however worked with Energy Watch UK to make their face-to-face sales process more transparent and changed the processes to carry out sufficient checks, including criminal records.
It found no evidence any customer suffered directly or financially from the breaches.
E is paying the £260,000 to Ofgem’s new Voluntary Redress Fund, managed by the Energy Saving Trust, which will be given to charity to help vulnerable customers.
Martin Crouch, Ofgem’s Senior Partner in improving regulations aid: “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 with Ofgem and has changed its processes to make sure its agents have sufficient background checks and carry out sales in a transparent way.”