A customer was misled about prices by a door-to-door salesperson (June 2017)

High bills, Billing mistakes
Case Number 2017/6487
Outcome Conciliation

The Issue

In late 2016, a salesperson from an energy retailer visited Mr X’s property to sell him a new electricity contract. During their interaction, Mr X was offered an electricity price of 14 cents/kWh, which he accepted. He gladly signed a contract on this basis.

In early March 2017, Mr X received his first bill. It listed his electricity price as 23 cents/kWh. He contacted the energy retailer to complain. It told him that the higher rate was correct and it could not reduce the price to 14 cents/kWh. The energy retailer said it was the salesperson’s fault for quoting the wrong prices, but they could not be changed. Unhappy with this response, Mr X contacted EWOV.

EWOV raised an Assisted Referral. During this process, the energy retailer transferred the customer back to his previous retailer and offered him $50 for the inconvenience caused.

Mr X remained dissatisfied, so called EWOV back. 

The Investigation

EWOV worked with the retailer to understand the circumstances of the door-to-door marketing, what representations were made to Mr X and whether they were misleading. It was found that the salesperson quoted a tariff price that was reduced by a pay-on-time discount. EWOV believed that a reasonable person would find such a quote misleading. 

The Outcome

To recognise the inconvenience caused to Mr X, the energy retailer apologised and transferred $150 to his bank account. Mr X’s electricity account had already been returned to his previous retailer.

The energy retailer committed to investigate and audit this individual salesperson’s misleading behaviour.

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