Approximately 3.2 million small businesses have experienced unfavourable interactions with energy brokers in the past year.
Octopus Energy has unveiled concerning findings from its recent survey, shedding light on damaging practices within the energy broker sector.
The survey’s results have unveiled a range of unsettling practices that small businesses have encountered when dealing with energy brokers.
These include the concealment of commissions, coercing businesses into unfavourable energy contracts, and employing aggressive cold-calling tactics.
Shockingly, brokers have also been found to impersonate energy suppliers.
A significant portion, 38% of the respondents, have reported unsolicited contact through persistent cold calls and spam emails.
Around a third or 36%, have revealed that their dealings with energy brokers have led to feelings of stress.
Nearly 24% of respondents expressed that they felt pressured to change their energy supplier due to interactions with brokers.
Notably, 20% have encountered brokers who falsely posed as energy suppliers during their interactions.
According to the survey, a significant 78% of small businesses are calling for brokers to clearly state their commissions at the point of sale.
Furthermore, 70% of respondents are advocating for a cap on broker commissions, highlighting the urgent need for stricter regulations.
Zoisa North-Bond, Chief Executive Officer of Octopus Energy for Business, said: “The pandemic, inflation and the cost of living crisis have increased pressures on small businesses to colossal levels.
“It’s simply not right that some energy brokers have been capitalising on this. The business energy market has become the wild west and bad broker behaviour is running rampant.
“It’s fundamental we raise awareness of these damaging practices – and there are things that can be done now to drastically improve transparency in the market. We need to stand up for small businesses to help drive down bills – and we need to get moving today.”
The survey was conducted from 23rd June to 28th June, encompassing responses from 1,000 small businesses in the UK (defined as enterprises with fewer than 50 employees).
To provide context, Octopus Energy utilised official government data concerning the number of small businesses in the UK, which stands at 5.47 million.
Based on the survey findings, wherein 59% of these small businesses reported unfavourable interactions with brokers over the past year, the aggregate number of such businesses affected reaches 3.2 million across the entire country, according to Octopus.