By Claire West

Ofgem has begun investigations to establish whether four suppliers (npower, Scottish Power, Scottish and Southern Energy and EDF Energy) are complying with new obligations to prevent misselling, brought in following Ofgem’s retail market probe.

Andrew Wright, Ofgem’s Senior Partner, Markets, said: “Suppliers have existing obligations to detect and prevent misselling and new licence conditions were brought in following our probe to further increase protection for customers. We expect all suppliers to comply with these tougher obligations but if our investigations find otherwise we will take strong action.”

Last October Ofgem introduced tougher obligations meaning suppliers have to be proactive in preventing misselling to customers both face to face and over the phone. Also, if suppliers are selling contracts face to face they must provide customers with an estimate before any sales are concluded. In most circumstances customers should also receive a comparison of the supplier’s offer with their current deal.

The obligations reflect the importance of these issues in the energy sector and are underpinned by tougher sanctions than those available under more general consumer protection law.

Ofgem and Consumer Focus have also published a leaflet with practical information and advice for consumers when an energy salesperson calls at their door or telephones them at home.