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Citizens Advice calls for others to follow British Gas’ lead as it suspends  doorstep selling, and calls for a wider debate on ethical fuel selling

12 August 2011

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of the national charity, Citizens Advice said:

“Citizens Advice welcomes British Gas’ suspension of doorstep fuel selling by incentivised sales people. We urge other companies to follow suit and call for a wider debate about how to make the business of fuel-selling more ethical.

“Squeezed consumers increasingly need a market they feel they can trust, one in which they can make informed choices and find suppliers that offer them the best deal. We welcome approaches by companies looking for advice on how they can achieve the improvements needed.

“Citizens Advice helped with almost 104,000 fuel debt problems last year alone. We have lots of evidence that shows that doorstep fuel selling leaves too many people worried, confused and worse off.

"We urge anyone in debt or worried about how they will pay their bills to get advice from their local Citizens Advice Bureau. 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.

Notes to editors

For more information on the Energy Best Deal campaign, go to:

http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/index/partnerships/financialskillsforlife/fsfl_projects/fsfl_projects_energybestdeal.htm

If you think you have signed a contract with a doorstep fuel seller but are having second thoughts, act quickly and get advice from your local CAB, or visit: www.adviceguide.org.uk. You have a right to cancel within seven days and there is an industry code on face-to face sales which you can find by visiting: http://www.energy-retail.org.uk/salespractice.html. The EnergySure Code was created in 2002 to ensure every company operates honest and independently-audited doorstep selling practices.

Information on the best energy deals available to you can be found here: http://www.ofgem.gov.uk/Media/PressRel/Documents1/Energy%20Best%20Deal%20video%20release.pdf

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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_statistics
  4. 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).
  5. Most Citizens Advice service staff are trained volunteers, working at around 3,300 service outlets across England and Wales.