SSE the energy company has been fined over £10million for lying to potential customers to convince them to swap to them for their energy supply.
The occurrences were not isolated incidents; customers were routinely lied to in stores, on the telephone and by door to door sales people between October 2009 and September 2012, who all stood to gain commission for securing the contracts.
Ofgem, the energy regulator fined SSE £10.5million, which is the largest fine that it has imposed. SSE has also said that it will set aside around £5million for customers who wish to make a claim against the products they were mis-sold.
On the SSE website the company have stated that they fully accept the penalty and apologises to customers unreservedly.
Ofgem said that SSE had failed at every stage of the process, including providing misleading and uncorroborated statements to potential customers about product prices and the savings that could be made. Sales teams also lied to customers, telling them that they were saving money when in fact they were actually being put on to more expensive tariffs.
Energy Minister Michael Fallon said: ‘I have rarely seen a worse case of consumers being misled so badly. With rising energy prices, and multiple tariffs to contend with, consumers deserve the clearest, fairest and best possible deal. The Government is already acting through the Energy Bill to give Ofgem the teeth it needs in future to get compensation to those directly affected.
And we’re using new legislation to require suppliers to simplify their tariffs and get rid of historic poor deals.’
SSE says that it has sent out over 900,000 letters to customers and has so far paid out over £400,000 to customers.