SSE has been fined £10.5 million for lying to potential customers to get them to swap to them for their energy supplies. The fine is the largest of its kind dished out to the UK’s energy companies who are all reporting record breaking profits.
They were not isolated occurrence either, as customers were routinely lied to in stores, on the telephone and by door to door sales people who were paid commission for securing the deals.
On the SSE website they have posted on their news section that they fully accept the penalty and apologises to customers unreservedly and that it will set aside around £5million for customers who wish to make a claim against any product that they were mis-sold. In the news post SSE said that it has sent out over 900,000 letters to customers and has already paid out over £400,000 to customers that have been mis-sold products.
Ofgem said that SSE had mis-sold products at every stage of the process, including providing misleading information to potential customers about product prices and the savings that they could make by switching. Sales people also lied to customers, telling them that they were saving money when in fact the opposite was true about the products they were buying.
Sarah Harrison who is in charge of enforcement at Ofgem, said: ‘In order to restore trust in the energy market suppliers must comply with their obligations and play it straight with consumers. Ofgem’s findings show SSE failed its customers, mis-sold to them and undermined trust in the energy supply industry.’
‘These failings did not just take place on the doorstep but also in the management of SSE. Ofgem’s fine reflects an absence of effective management control.’
Energy Minister Michael Fallon said: ‘I have rarely seen a worse case of consumers being misled so badly. ‘