We all know about the benefits of switching energy suppliers, to keep costs down as much as possible. This holds true for both a domestic environment but also in a commercial context, where increasing energy costs can have a real impact on a business’ bottom line.
At Utility Helpline we are always available to assist that process, sourcing the most competitive deal and smoothly enabling the process of switching.
But some companies are a little more aggressive with their telephone sales tactics. In this article, we share a 15-point guide on what you should watch out for with business energy sales calls and what you should do.
- Read the Ofgem guidelines. The energy ombudsman Ofgem has strictly defined rules compelling energy companies to behave appropriately when contacting you.
- Sharing your energy data. During a sales call, a salesperson may ask for your current energy usage. When you supply this, Ofgem says that the supplier must use your figures when calculating a unit rate.
- Following on from this, if someone phones you, they must legally compare the deal they offer to the true and honest figures of your current deal, and what you are already paying, in order to provide you with an honest position on which to compare deals.
- They should also give you an estimate of what the deal they are offering will actually cost you, in real terms.
- As part of their conversation, they must also go through the key elements of the deal with you on the phone.
- Make sure you also ask them to send you their terms and conditions, so that you, or someone in accounts, can go through the fine print.
- A key one. Take your time. There is no need to make an on-the-spot decision, whatever the salesman might tell you. Consider the key facts and maybe also discuss further with relevant people in the finance side of your business. Make sure it really is a good move for your company.
- Don’t feel pressured. You don’t need to sign anything immediately, so always ask for some time to consider the offer, before committing to signing a new contract, or even to agreeing to do so on the phone.
- Have your electricity bill to hand so you can easily compare what you are being told with current data as to what you are already paying. Your bill should contain clear details about energy usage, tariff and the costs of that tariff.
- Consider the term of the contract and your rights to cancel. All contracts also come with a 14 day cooling off period.
- Watch out for misrepresentations. Some particularly amoral energy sales people will call you up and pretend to be from British Gas, ‘your energy supplier’ or even Ofgem. If a sales call sounds fish you should challenge them.
- Ask for the salesperson to make it clear where they are calling from, and to provide identification where appropriate. Ask for their name, company and contact details and make a note of those.
- If you do feel a salesperson on the phone is not following these guidelines, you are of course able to phone their company to confirm what they are saying or Ofgem itself.
However, if you follow these guidelines, you will have done what you can to protect yourself.