Energy giant fined £1.25m for misleading door sale practises
An energy giant was fined £1.25m on Friday for misleading door sale practises in a landmark case.
Scottish and Southern Energy was ordered to pay the fine at Guildford Crown Court after they were found guilty of using doorstep sellers to trick people into switching their energy supplier.
The punishment marks the end of a landmark prosecution by Surrey County Council Trading Standards, the first of its kind against one of the big six energy firms.
Council officers pursued the energy giant after finding its sales agents were using misleading sales scripts on people's doorsteps.
Sellers claimed to have information showing households were paying too much with their current supplier, but in reality they had no such information.
The firm was found guilty of taking part in misleading selling practises relating to a sales script from September 2008 to July 2009.
Steve Playle, Surrey County Council Trading Standards investigations and enforcement manager, said: "This was a real David versus Goliath battle which resulted in a victory for consumers everywhere.
"It should send a message to the energy industry that deceptive, misleading and illegal sales tactics are not acceptable.
"Hopefully this fine will serve as a reminder that no matter how competitive the market, companies cannot lose sight of the law. If they do, trading standards teams will be there to straighten them out. The case shone a spotlight on the dubious practice of doorstep selling. Our advice to consumers remains the same as ever. Never deal with cold calling doorstep traders."