E.ON slapped with £12 million fine for breaking energy sales rules

One of the UK’s best-known energy suppliers has just been slapped with a very serious fine for mis-selling to vulnerable customers for a period of three years, the energy market regulator has announced.

E.ON has today agreed to pay £12m to vulnerable customers, after Ofgem’s investigation found it had broken energy sales rules. E.ON has also committed to compensating any customer that it missold to, including automatic payments to some vulnerable customers.

The fine follows E.ON’s extensive poor sales practices carried out between June 2010 and December 2013. Given the large number of contracts signed in this period it is likely a large number of customers were missold to by E.ON and Ofgem took this into account when agreeing the redress package.

Ofgem’s investigation found that E.ON failed to properly train and monitor both its own staff and those it employed through third party telesales agencies, leading to incorrect information being provided to customers on the doorstep and over the phone, which could have misled customers.

Additionally, the investigation also showed failures in E.ON’s management arrangements meant that insufficient attention was paid to ensuring compliance with energy sales rules. E.ON has acknowledged these failings, made considerable changes and improvements to its processes, including ceasing to use the third party agencies involved, and shown good cooperation throughout the investigation. Had this not been the case the penalty would have been higher.

As part of this package E.ON has agreed to: pay around £35 to 333,000 of their customers who are normally recipients of the Warm Home Discount, a redress package that will benefit pensioners, disabled and low income families. Additionally, make automatic payments to some vulnerable customers who may have been affected by E.ON’s poor sales practices.

Sarah Harrison, Senior Partner in charge of enforcement said: “Since 2010 Ofgem has imposed nearly £100m in fines and redress on energy companies for various rule breaches, including £39m for misselling, and introduced radical new reforms to make the market simpler, clearer and fairer for consumers. The time is right to draw a line under past supplier bad behaviour and truly rebuild trust so consumers are put at the heart of the energy market. E.ON has today taken a good step by accepting responsibility for its actions and putting proper redress in place.”

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