One of the most valuable aspects of the Auditel service is that once we’ve identified and implemented steps to reduce our clients’ expenditure, we don’t just walk away and leave you to look after things going forward, that’s our job. Essentially, working with Auditel is like having an additional, dedicated management team, quietly working in the background to take care of all the complicated, annoying, time-consuming and, let’s face it, quite dull issues associated with cost and purchase management, leaving you to focus on your core business.
One of the more irritating of these is the daily phone calls from suppliers of goods and services offering fantastic, can’t-be-beaten-but-you’ve-got-to-sign-up-now deals. We all get them and most can easily be dealt with by a firm but polite ‘not interested and please don’t call again’, but some are more persistent than others and use techniques to make their sale that could, at best, be called bullying and, at worst, sharp practice. Energy companies have already been taken to task about this by Ofgem but their powers don’t extend to energy brokers and, as a result, many small businesses have been panicked, or even tricked, into signing up for cripplingly high gas and electricity rates, usually on the basis of a verbal contract made during a high-pressure sales call. And the consequences can be dire as this article in the Daily Mail illustrates.
The Utilities Intermediary Association (UIA), of which Auditel is a founder member, is a voluntary membership organisation established to provide a code of practice for companies acting as Third Party Intermediaries between energy suppliers and end-users and operates a redress scheme for dissatisfied clients, and they are pressing Ofgem to ban verbal contracts. However, until and unless Ofgem’s powers are extended to cover brokers, rogue operators can do pretty much want they want.