Customer default-listed after door-to-door energy salesperson signs up account without consent (October 2013)

Getting connected and changing energy company, Debt collection and credit default listings
Case Number 2013/9006
Outcome Conciliation

The Issue

The customer discovered in late 2011 that he had a debt of about $850 from an energy company he had never signed up with. Knowing that this was a mistake, he contacted the energy company to raise his concerns and dissatisfaction. The company said it would take up to two months to investigate the matter as it would obtain the call recording and a copy of the signed contract from its third-party sales company. However, this time passed and the customer did not have any further contact from the company. Late in 2012, the customer discovered that the company had since listed a default for the arrears on his credit file. Dissatisfied with the delays, and with the default listing impacting his ability to access credit for a home loan, he contacted EWOV for assistance. On 18 February 2013 an Assisted Referral was raised.

However, the customer was not contacted by the company within the required timeframe and so when the customer recontacted EWOV, a complaint was lodged via the Real Time Resolution process on 8 May 2013. During this process, the company confirmed that it would waive the account balance and remove the default listing. However, it did not fulfil all of the agreed resolutions and the customer recontacted EWOV again on 9 May 2013 and an Investigation was raised.

The Investigation

During the Investigation, the company said that it requested the contract from its third-party sales company on 19 March 2013, but that it could take two to three months to obtain it. The customer’s employer produced a letter during the Investigation which confirmed that the customer was in fact more than 200 kilometres away from his home on the day the company said he accepted the door knocker’s offer and completed the phone recording. Also, EWOV found that the phone number provided by the salesperson in the call recording did not match the customer’s mobile phone number. The company could also not produce a copy of a signed contract.

The Outcome

In recognition of not being able to substantiate that the customer had provided explicit and informed consent via a signed contract, the company waived the debt of approximately $850, removed the default listing from the customer’s credit file and ensured that there were no accounts open in the customer’s name.

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