SSE to launch investigation into training practices
Big six supplier says "remarks are clearly inappropriate".
The UK’s second largest energy supplier SSE is to launch an investigation in to their training practices after it was revealed that customers may have been misled and misinformed.
The allegation stemmed from a video of sales training that took place in SSE’s Cardiff call centre, which was then released by the Mail on Sunday.
Some of the accusations against SSE include, not warning customers that they may incur cancellation penalties, persuading customers to fit prepayment meters that are more expensive and more difficult to switch away from, exaggerating how difficult the process of switching suppliers can be, and inciting the fear of switching among customers.
Since news broke, SSE has immediately suspended their training contractor Pareto Law after acknowledging that some of the comments were “clearly inappropriate”.
An SSE spokesman said: ‘Some of the verbal remarks apparently made by individuals are clearly inappropriate. They are not reflective of SSE’s culture or agreed practices and are being investigated.”
Industry regulator Ofgem has also launched a probe in to the sales technique incorporated by the big six energy supplier, and says that they will review the footage.
An Ofgem spokesperson said; “We’re very concerned by these serious allegations and will conduct a thorough review of the evidence provided by the Mail on Sunday. Energy suppliers have a duty to treat customers fairly when selling energy. Ofgem has taken strong action against companies that have failed customers and has imposed penalties of more than £200m on companies since 2010”
Mark Todd, co-founder of price comparison service energyhelpline has commented:
“Customers need to understand that if you start a switch through a price comparison company then your supplier is likely to call you to try to win you back. These teams are not your friends; they are highly trained salesmen, who are likely to try to convince you to stick with their company.
The secret recording made by the Daily Mail at SSE clearly showed their sales trainer teaching agents how to plant fear and doubt in people’s minds so that they might cancel their switch for a higher priced plan with them. While this may not be reflective of general SSE policy, as the supplier insists, undoubtedly these tactics are out there and you need to aware that you might receive such a call. A call designed to keep you paying more than you need to for your energy.”