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British Gas calls time on cold call doorstep sales

British Gas calls time on cold call doorstep sales

Category: Gas and electricity

Updated: 12/10/2011
First Published: 12/10/2011

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

British Gas has been applauded for deciding to bring to an end cold call doorstep sales.

The energy giant has become the first of the major gas and electricity providers to call a halt to the practice entirely.

It originally suspended making such sales in August as it considered what course of action to take.

EDF Energy and Scottish and Southern Energy are currently enforcing a temporary ban on doorstep selling, while npower has indicated it will be taking action over the issue.

Of the big six gas and electricity providers in the UK , only E.ON and Scottish Power have so far refused to act.

According to Consumer Focus, more than nine out of ten people who have bought energy products on the door would never do so again.

Half of those who sign up on the door for a product or service, and then changed their mind, signed up because they felt pressurised.

Audrey Gallacher, director of energy at Consumer Focus, said the move by the UK 's biggest supplier heaps even more pressure on other firms to follow suit.

"People feel pressured to switch on the doorstep and thousands have lost out by moving to a worse deal," she added.

"Energy customers have made it clear that they don't want or need this type of unwanted sales technique, which ambushes them at their home.

"If consumers are to be sold to in their homes they rightly want it to be on their terms and at their request."

The action group has been in discussion with all energy firms to suspend cold-calling and explore alternatives, including pre-booked appointments.

However, if suppliers are unwilling to change their practices voluntarily, the watchdog is urging Ofgem to legally require suppliers to take action or consider an outright ban on doorstep sales.

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