Switching to a cheaper supplier is a great way for you to save money on your energy bills. One of the ways you can switch is through sales people offering deals face-to-face, such as on the doorstep or by phone.
Remember, you do not have to speak to a sales person. Ofgem’s Be An Energy Shopper website gives free, impartial information on how to shop around for gas and electricity. For more details and links to Ofgem-approved comparison sites where you can switch online, visit www.goenergyshopping.co.uk
However, a sales call can offer another way to find out about deals in the market.
As the independent, impartial energy markets regulator Ofgem doesn't practice in door-to-door sales or calls, nor do we ask companies to do so on our behalf. If you do get a call remember these four tips:
1 DO ask for ID
Always ask a doorstep salesperson to show their ID and ask a telephone caller to state where they are calling from.
Make a note of the following details for future reference:
- Their name
- The supplier they work for
- Their contact details
Remember that most sales people only sell for one supplier at a time. So they will only be able to offer you deals from that supplier. However, some switching sites are also piloting direct sales and may offer you deals from a range of suppliers.
2 DO have your own facts to hand so you can compare deals
Your bills provide valuable information on how much energy you currently use, how much it costs you, and the exact tariff name. Give the salesperson these details.
If you have been with the same supplier for 12 months or more, your bills now have to clearly show:
- How much energy you used over the previous year.
- How much it will cost you over the coming year, if you use a similar amount of energy.
Using real information from your energy bills gives you the best chance of a more accurate estimate and comparison with your current deal.
3 DON’T be pressured into signing, or agreeing to a contract
Ofgem has rules on companies selling you energy to ensure they do it properly. If you give a salesperson information on your energy use, they must use this when calculating your estimate and comparison.
A salesperson must provide you with a cost estimate of their offer. In most circumstances, a salesperson must also show you how their offer compares to your current supplier’s deal.
All sales people should summarise the important elements of the proposed contract. You should also ask a doorstep salesperson for a copy of the terms and conditions.
Take your time:
Check facts and consider the details
Discuss it with someone else (family, friends)
- Ask yourself questions like:
“Is this the best deal for me based on my own energy use?”
“Do I have enough information to decide?”
Be aware of misleading statements that some sales people may use. For example:
“We have been sent by Ofgem to save you money.”
“We own the local power distribution network, so we’re the cheapest supplier.”
4 DO think carefully before agreeing to switch
If you do decide to switch, you have the right to change your mind for a 14-day cooling-off period. You may want to check this with the sales person.
BEFORE you sign, or agree to switch, ask the salesperson:
“How long do I need to sign up for?”
“Does the contract provide a right for me to cancel?” (Be cautious if they say no – suppliers are obliged to offer at least a 14-day cooling-off period.)
“If so, how do I cancel the contract?” (The contract may say, for example, that you can cancel only in writing, within a certain timeframe.)
“Will I have to pay a termination fee if I want to leave early?”
On the phone, agreeing to switch is the same as signing a contract.
Conduct of energy sales people
If you feel a salesperson has behaved inappropriately or you are worried you may have been mis-sold an energy deal, call the energy company they work for or Citizens Advice on 03454 04 05 06.