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ScottishPower wants to see doorstep selling ban overturned

Published 08/02/2016

ScottishPower is calling for doorstep-selling to be allowed
ScottishPower is calling for doorstep-selling to be allowed

ScottishPower has called for the energy watchdog to overturn a ban on doorstep selling.

The controversial sales tactic was scrapped four years ago after 52% of customers were found to be paying higher bills after signing up to deals with cold-callers.

The Big Six energy company said the competition watchdog should re-think its stance so it can help customers which do not shop around online to find a cheaper tariff.

Its proposal was put forward for the Competition and Markets Authority's (CMA) Energy Market Investigation, which is reviewing ways of making it easier for customers to switch tariffs.

Rival energy company SSE also wants rules around face-to-face selling to be reviewed, but said it would not call on the CMA to reintroduce doorstep sales.

Will Hodson, co-founder of consumer collective the Big Deal, said: "It's depressing but unsurprising that the Big Six are lobbying to bring back doorstep selling."

He added: "If the Government is serious about cleaning up the energy market then they must not allow the return of Big Six doorstep selling."

Industry regulator Ofgem forced ScottishPower to pay customers £8.5 million in 2013 following an investigation into its doorstep and telephone selling.

The energy company was found to have misled customers during sales approaches because its staff were not properly trained and monitored.

In its submission to the Energy Market Investigation, ScottishPower stated the CMA "should give more attention" to the negative impact the ban on "face-to-face marketing has had on customers (whether doorstep or otherwise)" who do not "use the internet or do not like to transact over it".

A spokesman for ScottishPower said it was "one of many ideas" it had submitted to the CMA to help customers switch to cheaper tariffs.

The CMA said it will publish a "provisional decision" on all recommendations by the energy suppliers in March, before concluding its investigation in June.

A spokesman from SSE added: "SSE has not publicly or privately called on the CMA to reintroduce doorstep sales, and does not intend to in the future."

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