Energy marketing and you
Have you ever been contacted about a better deal on your energy? Here’s what you need to know about marketing by energy retailers.
What are your rights?
In marketing their services to you, energy retailers are bound by strict rules, laws and legislation to protect your rights as a consumer. When marketers from an energy retailer approach you, irrespective of whether it’s by phone, by email or in-person at a shopping centre or your door, they must comply with:
- the National Energy Customer Framework (NECF), including the National Energy Retail Rules
- Australian Consumer Law
- all applicable Commonwealth and State laws, such as the Competition and Consumer Act.
- state their full name and who they work for – if a salesperson knocks on your door or approaches you in a shopping centre, they must show you a photo identity card
- tell you why they are contacting you
- make sure you understand what you are agreeing to
- let you know you can change your mind – this is called a cooling-off period
- stop visiting or calling you if you tell them to.
They must not:
- be pushy
- make promises that aren’t true
- let you sign anything if they think you don’t understand.
When can I be contacted?
Energy retailers and their salespeople aren’t allowed to contact you whenever they want. They can only knock on your door between:
- 9am and 6pm Monday to Friday
- 9am and 5pm Saturday.
They can only phone you between:
- 9am and 8pm Monday to Friday
- 9am and 5pm Saturday.
They must not knock on your door or phone you on:
- public holidays.
How can I stop being contacted?
The law says you can tell energy retailers and their sales representatives to stop contacting you. You can do this by:
- placing a ‘Do Not Knock’ sticker at your front door or gate
- telling an energy retailer or salesperson to put you on its ‘no contact’ list
- getting on the Australian Government’s Do Not Call Register by registering online or calling 1300 792 958.
What if I have been misled by energy marketers?
Energy retailers are not allowed to make false or misleading claims about their service. Some energy marketers may give you misleading information, such as:
- saying your electricity or gas will be disconnected
- asking to see your previous bills to confirm you’re getting rebates
- offering discounts for your area
- telling you there will be no exit fee for leaving your current retailer
- asking you to sign a document to show they have spoken with you.
They may also try to pressure you into signing a contract. Keep in mind that some marketers may be working on commission.
Listen carefully, take your time reading any documentation and consider any offers thoughtfully. Don’t simply rely on claims about saving money.
Have I agreed to a new contract?
Remember, you don’t have to sign a piece of paper to sign up to an energy offer.
You can sign up:
- over the telephone
- face-to-face with a salesperson.
However, the energy retailer must give you written information about the:
- terms and conditions.
If you agree to an energy offer, you can change your mind and pay nothing. You have 10 business days to tell the energy retailer. This is called a cooling-off period.
If a salesperson from the energy retailer has not done all the right things, the cooling-off period could be longer – 3 or 6 months.
Early termination fees
You may have to pay a fee if you end your contract early. These are capped at $20 but check what your contract specifies.
Read the fine print and keep copies
A contract is legally binding. Read it carefully and don’t feel pressured into agreeing to a contract that you haven’t read or don’t understand.
Always keep copies of the information provided to you by energy marketers, as well as a copy of any contract you sign. Remember to print off or save documents that are available on the energy retailer’s website in case they are removed from the site in the future.
Another way to find the best energy deal
It’s important to remember you are under no obligation to agree to proceed with a new energy plan based on these marketing approaches. Visit Energy Made Easy to find an energy deal that best suits your needs.
How EWOQ can help
If you have a complaint about marketing by an energy company, contact them first so that they can fix the issue. If your complaint hasn’t been resolved or you are still unhappy, you can contact us.