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CAB welcomes SSE's suspension of doorstep fuel selling

8 July 2011

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice said:

“Citizens Advice welcomes SSE’s announcement that it is suspending doorstep fuel selling, but we join Ofcom in urging companies not to simply resort to cold-call phone tactics instead. “Consumers increasingly need a market where they can make informed choices and find suppliers that offer them the best deal. But CAB has plenty of evidence to show that doorstep fuel selling often leaves people in debt and confused by a system of double billing or money transfers they haven't agreed to.

“CAB advisers have helped with almost 104,000 fuel debt problems in the last year alone. We have seen first-hand how worried people have been made by the poor choices they have felt pressure into making by aggressive doorstep sellers who are driven by commission and who give the whole doorstep selling market a bad name.

“CAB has reported many cases where energy suppliers have displayed a total disregard for all the measures in place to protect consumers, including licence conditions, the erroneous transfer charter, the code of practice, and doorstep selling and unfair commercial practices regulations.

"We urge anyone in debt or worried about how they will pay their bills to get advice from their local CAB. We can help you make sure that you're on the cheapest deal that your supplier provides, look at whether you would be better off switching suppliers, and advise on the help available for making your home more energy efficient.

“Since 2008, Citizens Advice Bureaux in England and Wales have been working with OFGEM on the Energy Best Deal* scheme to help people save money on their energy bills.”

Citizens Advice

Notes to editors

  1. To view an Energy Best Deal advice video on how to deal with doorstep sales people see www.youtube.com/EnergyBestDeal
  2. The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local bureaux, all of which are independent charities, and national charity Citizens Advice. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers. For more information in England and Wales see www.citizensadvice.org.uk
  3. The advice provided by the Citizens Advice service is free, independent, confidential, and impartial, and available to everyone regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality. For online advice and information see www.adviceguide.org.uk
  4. Citizens Advice Bureaux in England and Wales advised 2.1 million clients on 7.1 million problems from April 2009 to March 2010, an 18% increase on the previous year. For full 2009/2010 service statistics see: www.citizensadvice.org.uk/press_20100517
  5. Out of 22 national charities, the Citizens Advice service is ranked by the general public as being the most helpful, approachable, professional, informative, effective / cost effective, reputable and accountable. (nfpSynergy’s Brand Attributes survey, May 2010).
  6. Most Citizens Advice service staff are trained volunteers, working at around 3,300 service outlets across England and Wales.