Two Fleetwood women are furious after an energy firm they had never heard of became their supplier without asking their permission.
Now Deborah Craft and Val Forshaw are embroiled in a wrangle to return to their original suppliers and may even be faced with having to fork out a £25 “cancellation” fee.
The man was trying to get me to switch gas and electricity suppliers but I told him I was not the householder and could not make that decision
The problems began when a representative of a firm called Economy Energy cold-called at Val’s home on St John Avenue, while family friend Deborah was house-sitting.
Deborah, 33, of Wansbeck Avenue, said: “The man was trying to get me to switch gas and electricity suppliers but I told him I was not the householder and could not make that decision.
“He asked me for Val’s name and phone number and said he would phone her and discuss with her if she wanted to switch over and save money, so I gave him her number. I also gave him my details and number and we were both expecting a call in a couple of days. But we never got any phone calls.”
Instead, they received a letter and electricity meter key in the post informing them that they had now become Economy Energy customers, even though they had not given any consent to make the switch.
Val, 56, said: “I have been back and forward on the phone, between my own supplier and Economy, tying to switch my account back, but it still hasn’t been sorted out and soon I won’t know which firm I have to pay bills to.”
A spokesperson for Economy Energy said: “While we can’t comment on individual accounts in detail for confidentiality reasons, we’re concerned and sorry to hear about this experience. We’ve already contacted the two customers to resolve this matter.
“We have stringent policies, procedures and training in place to ensure our sales agents follow the correct process when they’re talking to potential customers.
“We investigate any issues thoroughly and take appropriate action where necessary.”
Julie Waddington, principal trading standards officer for Lancashire County Council, said: “Energy providers should not switch you to another provider without your express permission. Any concerns about such practices should be reported to OfGem and to Trading Standards, via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 040506.
“Although in this case no contract existed, consumers are reminded that if they do sign up to goods or services in their own home they have 14 days to cancel.”