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Supermarket energy deals cost consumers more, says Which?

Thursday 16th February 2012

In an undercover investigation at shopping centres and supermarkets, Which? has uncovered sales tactics used by large energy companies which could leave consumers who switch tariff in-store worse off by hundreds of pounds.

The watchdog carried out an investigation in across the UK in November and its undercover researchers posed as customers. Which? spoke to five M&S Energy (SSE) reps, four from Sainsbury’s Energy (British Gas), three from EDF Energy and one from Eon.

Which? found that energy companies’ salespeople were quoting annual savings of between £20 and £142, whereas customers who switched would actually have been worse off by anything between £39 and £311, depending on the supplier.

In the worst case, the salespeople quoted that switching to Sainsbury’s Energy Standard tariff would mean annual savings of between £43 and £68, whereas Which? discovered the customer would actually be between £299 and £311 worse off.

At the time of its investigation, the watchdog could not find any salespeople from Scottish Power or Npower.

 “It’s simply not good enough for energy salespeople to be quoting misleading individual savings to people who sign up to switch in supermarkets,” said Richard Lloyd, executive director at Which?.

“It’s little wonder that trust in the energy sector is so low. We want the energy suppliers to build confidence among consumers that switching is both simple and worthwhile.

In a separate investigation, Which? also found that when people call up energy companies asking for the cheapest deal, they might not be getting accurate information and quotes every time.

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Editorial Contact Details - Conor Shilling
0845 672 6000
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