How energy price comparison websites exaggerate savings - Part 10
10. Who pays?
To the extent that consumers may have been mis-led and / or mis-sold, and they almost certainly have, then the following questions arise.
- Are consumers due compensation?
- If so, how much?
- If so, who pays?
- And finally...who is going to do the fining?
Remember that Ofgem has in the past fined energy suppliers for mis-selling. In May 2013 SSE was fined a record £10.5m for....wait for it...you won't believe this...failing to provide "accurate information on prices and potential savings"
"In particular, SSE consistently failed to conduct its sales activities in a way that would provide clear and accurate information on prices and potential savings to enable customers to make an informed decision about whether to switch suppliers."
Ofgem, May 2013
The matter of fault and compensation is likely to be an issue of some contention. While the "inflated" savings are clearly being quoted on price comparison websites using the "inflated" methodology, the sites in turn are likely to argue that the methodology is based on an approach recommended by the regulator. It is however important to remember this. The sites were never forced to adopt this approach by the regulator (not yet anyway). Ultimately it was their decision to follow mis-leading approach and we know that most of them jumped at the opportunity with little apparent hesitation. However, given that Ofgem has clearly been complicit in this process then it is important that the issue is investigated by a body that is genuinely independent of the issue - perhaps the Competition Markets Authority which is already conducting an investigation into the energy market.
Campaign to stop dodgy and mis-leading comparisons
Support our campaign to stop this dodgy and mis-leading practise.
If you feel you've been given an "inflated" saving by a price comparison website or energy supplier we'd like to know about it.