SSE record £10m mis-selling fine

Energy giant SSE is to be fined £10.5 million for mis-selling in what would be the largest-ever penalty imposed on a supplier, regulator Ofgem said.

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Former SSE staff 'taking advantage' of customers

ITV News spoke to one of those who did the selling for SSE. He spoke anonymously, and only stayed in the job for a short time:

"You would go to the door and you would say, we realise you're on a high energy tariff - and basically that wasn't true, we didn't know what tariff they were on, or what company they were with. All we knew was their name and address.

"Once you got into the script, you would wipe your feet on the mat and point at their groin so they would move out the way so you could walk into the house.

"I used the first two or three lines [of the script] to get to know the customer, but other than that I found it very difficult - I felt I was taking advantage of a human being, not just a customer."

Former SSE staff member Credit: ITV News

In a statement, SSE says it "does not regard behaviour of the kind alleged as acceptable and is committed to the highest standards possible in sales, backed up by our industry-leading Sales Guarantee."



'Very small number' of M&S Energy customers affected

A spokesman for M&S Energy has admitted that some of its customers were affected by SSE mis-selling, but insists the number accounts for less than one percent of the total:

We are aware that today’s announcement by Ofgem regarding SSE may have unfortunately affected less than 1 per cent of M&S Energy customers.

SSE has apologised unreservedly to those affected and has taken significant action to remedy the situation and ensure this will not happen again.

Anyone who believes they may have been affected should contact SSE directly as soon as possible.

– M&S Energy spokesman

The company refused to reveal exactly how many customers were affected, but said it was a "very small number".

Energy Minister: SSE misled consumers 'so badly'

I have rarely seen a worse case of consumers being misled so badly.

With rising energy prices, and multiple tariffs to contend with, consumers deserve the clearest, fairest and best possible deal.

The Government is already acting through the Energy Bill to give Ofgem the teeth it needs in future to get compensation to those directly affected.

And we’re using new legislation to require suppliers to simplify their tariffs and get rid of historic poor deals.”

– Energy Minister Michael Fallon

Consumer Focus: SSE 'not a case of one bad apple'

Consumer Focus has welcomed Ofgem's decision to fine SSE for the "systemic failure" in its direct selling operations.

This is not a case of one bad apple or one rogue sales team. The problems at SSE affected the whole direct selling operation and represent a fundamental failure at one of our biggest energy companies.

Other companies have also broken direct selling.

This has been a stain on the energy market since the introduction of competition. While the situation has got better and many companies have decided to end doorstep sales, the recent history casts a long shadow and Ofgem are right to take this scale if action.

– Adam Scorer, director of policy at Consumer Focus

SSE 'very sorry' for mis-selling breaches

In response to Ofgem's £10.5m fine for mis-selling, energy firm SSE's corporate affairs director Alan Young said the firm was "very sorry" about the breaches of the rules.

He told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme

What we were doing was not adequately telling people about the terms and conditions of their contract or adequately making sure they had the information they needed to switch.

We have set up an independent compliance unit to make sure, to monitor, to audit, to randomly check energy sales across all channels now so customers can have the assurance when they are dealing with us there are safeguards in place and proper structures.

We have totally reformed our business in this area, we have restructured it.

Mr Young also defended the management team still being in place, insisting SSE was one of the "best companies in Britain".

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