M&S Energy mis-selling details emerge
An M&S Energy salesperson-turned-whistleblower has revealed more details about how customers were mis-led.
M&S Energy actively targeted 'Gladyses', older female customers who were said to be easiest to sign up, the whistleblower said.
While a M&S Energy spokesperson flatly denied that the company had targeted any type of customer in its sales process, they did confirm that 'customer profiles' were used in the training process.
It first emerged the retailer had mis-sold energy deals to some customers by inflating competitors' prices in its sales literature back in April, when the energy company it partners with, SSE, was fined £10.5 million for ripping off its customers.
The whistleblower, who came forward over the weekend, said: "The only people I didn't mis-sell to were the tiny minority who brought their energy bills to do a proper comparison, or the small percentage who did genuinely save with us."
Back in April, M&S said that less than 1% of customers had been affected by mis-selling and changed the sales process of its in-store salesteams - some of which were reportedly earning up to £3,000 a week in commission - from fully signing up new customers.
Instead of signing up in-store, customers were made to finalise the switching process at home, by phone or via the website.
The M&S Energy spokesperson told Moneywise: "This is a past issue which SSE has taken action to resolve. We have not banned any M&S Energy advisers from selling to our customers in store. We take our responsibility for selling energy very seriously and believe our new in-store sales process follows best practice by allowing our customers to finalise the sale process at home, staying in control of the final decision making."
Commenting on the mis-sellign fiasco, Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at uSwitch.com, said: “This yet again reinforces the importance for consumers to get an independent, impartial, whole-of-market comparison before switching energy supplier. This is the only way of making sure you are getting a truly accurate and bespoke comparison based on your household’s actual needs.
"The fact is that any salesperson, even if representing a reputable brand such as M&S, will only be able to tell you about their energy deals – by listening to them you could be missing out on a far more suitable and cost-effective deal elsewhere. With around £250 difference between the cheapest and most expensive deals on the market, consumers cannot afford to lose out in this way.”
Any customers who think they may have been mis-sold an M&S Energy deal should contact either SSE on 0800 975 0485 or the M&S Energy helpline on 0800 975 3341.
Have you been affected? Share your experience in the comment section below.
The practice of a dishonest salesperson misrepresenting or misleading an investor about the characteristics of a product or service. For example, selling a person with no dependants a whole-of-life policy. There have been notable mis-selling scandals in the past, including endowment policies tied to mortgages, employees persuaded to leave final salary pensions in favour of money purchase pensions (which paid large commissions to salespeople) and payment protection insurance. There is no legal definition of mis-selling; rather the Financial Services Authority (FSA) issues clarifying guidelines and hopes companies comply with them.