Cold-callers give me the shivers. Add a misleading sales pitch and you’ve got a consumer rights issue that’ll give anyone chills. Today SSE were sentenced for misleading doorstep sales. So what’s next?
I’d like to think that if someone had given me the wrong information about a product, I’d be able to call them and get my money back straight away. But unfortunately it’s not always as simple as making a complaint and getting a refund.
On Which? Convo we’ve been keeping up with the saga of SSE, and its dodgy sales script. Sales reps went out to consumers’ homes and told them that they were paying too much to their current energy companies. Does that sound like a compelling sales pitch? Perhaps, until you realise that it wasn’t actually the case.
So, it’s good that the company is being punished for this – today SSE was issued with a fine for £1.25m. I personally want to know that companies take their responsibilities towards us, their customers, seriously.
But is this the end of the matter? SSE pays the fine, apologises, and we all move on? I don’t think so.
Compensate your customers!
It might sound like a crazy idea, but I think that if people have been sold a product on the basis of a fiction, they should be compensated for the money that they’ve effectively wasted.
We spoke to Steve Playle at Surrey Trading Standards – one very determined individual, who has been working on this case for over a year. He told us that SSE should be able to identify the customers who were given this sales patter and subsequently signed up.
My reaction? Great! It’ll be easy to contact them then. But at the moment we’re not sure if SSE is going to – and that’s not acceptable.
Doorstep selling woes
A poll on Which? Convo told us that around 95% of you didn’t want salespeople knocking at your door. This poll was very close to my own heart – I’m bothered on a very regular basis by people wanting to sell me something. Even with a sign saying ‘no cold callers’, I still get people mistakenly ringing my bell looking for the flat upstairs.
So it’s good news that SSE (along with all other major energy suppliers, except Eon) has stopped selling to people on the doorstep. But while this is good news, it will be very cold comfort to those who have already been victims of poor sales practices.
When we last talked about the SSE sales fiasco, commenter William said he’d had some SSE salespeople at his house before. He added that he was ‘just glad I told them where to go.’
Exactly. Those who didn’t open the door must be relieved that they didn’t end up on a more expensive tariff. But for those who opened their doors to SSE’s salespeople, listened to their patter, and switched their tariff? It’s about time those people got another surprise at the door – a letter from the company offering an apology and their money back.