Energy marketing and consumer rights (July 2016)

Victoria has one of the most competitive energy markets in the world and there are many ways a consumer might be encouraged to switch their energy contract to a different retailer to take advantage of a better deal.  You might be approached by a marketer at a pop-up stall in a shopping centre, contacted over the phone by a sales agent or perhaps at your property by door-to-door marketer with an offer of a better deal.

It is up to you – as an account holder – to make the decision to switch and it is important to remember at all times to only provide your personal information when you are completely certain of what it is you are agreeing to.

For most customers, changing energy companies is a smooth and trouble-free process. However, EWOV handles hundreds of complaints annually from customers who have been provided misleading or false information by marketers, or where their energy account has been switched over without their full consent or knowledge.

How can you protect your personal information?

If you are approached by a marketer (at home, on the phone or out in public) remember that you are never required to provide any personal information if requested to do so. This might include:

  • your driver licence or other identification
  • a utility bill
  • a concession card
  • anything containing your personal contact details
  • signing your name to confirm a marketers visit at your property.

Can you ask a marketer to provide identification?

Yes, you can also request the following from a marketing representative at any time:

  • identification or verification
  • which company the marketer is representing
  • to leave your property.

How can you avoid being approached by marketers?

If you do not want to be approached by marketers (at your property or over the phone) you can:

A marketer must comply with any stickers or signs that indicate that you do not want door-to-door marketing at your property or business. Additionally, your details (mobile, home or business number) will be retained on the Do Not Call register (which is operated by the Australian Government) until you request its removal.

What are marketers prohibited from doing?

Marketers – in person, at your property or over the phone – are prohibited from:

  • using pressure sales tactics
  • using misleading or deceptive sales tactics
  • making contact in person outside of 9am and 6pm Monday to Friday
  • making contact via phone outside of 9am and 8pm Monday to Friday
  • making contact via phone or in person outside of 9am – 5pm on Saturday
  • making contact via phone or in person at all on a Sunday.

How can I find out what the best energy deal for me is?

Victorian Energy Compare is an independent website where you can compare electricity, gas and solar offers from all energy retailers. The website is updated regularly with current offers from retailers and individual comparison information is based on the information you provide about your household or small business’s energy consumption needs. Head to Victorian Energy Compare for more information.

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