Our latest energy telesales investigation has found some great improvements – but Eon and British Gas are still getting it wrong, despite the latter promising to have an ‘honest conversation’ with consumers.
Last time we investigated energy telesales, the leading suppliers failed to tell us about their cheapest deals in nearly a third of the 72 calls we made, despite the fact that we asked for this specifically.
We put pressure on the companies to improve and overall we’ve seen some great improvements in our latest telesales test. But consumers are clearly still being misled.
Incredibly, when we asked how much the cheapest deal would cost us this time, British Gas gave us a different price in every call – only one of which we believe to be correct.
Switching horror stories
But what’s your experience of switching over the phone? In my last conversation on telesales – several of you came forward with horror stories. Alan Irons said:
‘I’ve just spent 10 months fighting Scottish & Southern Energy (SSE) concerning inaccurate tariff advice.’
And Snori complained:
‘SSE’s customer service is truly appalling – the staff appear to be incapable of providing accurate tariff information or providing direct answers to simple questions.’
Meanwhile Andrew Kneeshaw discovered how energy suppliers don’t always offer their customers the cheapest deal:
‘I had a renewal offer from Scottish Power claiming that they’d give me a discount on rolling over an existing internet based contract. Looking at your comparison site, I found they offered a cheaper deal but the tariff code was slightly different. I rang and asked if this alternative was cheaper. They said yes and immediately put me on it. But why didn’t they do that in the first place?’
It’s not all bad
However, there were positive stories too, such as Schnookie’s:
‘I switched to Co-operative Energy in July 2011 and have been very pleased with the result. They provided coherent simple instructions on the transfer and forewarned me, correctly as it turned out, that Scottish Power would try to retain me by offering what appeared to be a good deal.’
John Ward added:
‘Like Schnookie, I recently signed up with Cooperative Energy because I liked their fair, open and ethical conduct and I think we shall stay with them for as long as possible because of their honest approach and intentions taking the long-term view.’
And Dave G reported his experience of Scottish Power:
‘Have been with Scottish Power for several years and have no complaints… they advise me the best deal available.’
Best way to switch
So would you trust an energy supplier to offer you the best deal over the phone? Or would you always want to check how their offer compares using an online comparison site?
Well, right now there is a third option – signing up to The Big Switch. This is a brand new – and rather exciting – opportunity to join together and push energy suppliers for a better deal.
This works by signing up at whichbigswitch.co.uk before the end of March and then Which? negotiates the best deal from energy suppliers using the collective power of the thousands of people who have signed up. Then decide whether you want to switch to the deal on offer.
I’ve already added my name (along with 75,000 others), and while it would take a pretty good deal to tear me away from Ecotricity – I can’t wait to see what savings I could make.
Do you trust your energy company to offer you the best deal they've got?
No (95%, 413 Votes)
Yes (5%, 22 Votes)
Total Voters: 440