British Gas will stop doorstep selling

15 August 2011

British Gas will suspend its "outdated" doorstep selling practices for three months in an attempt to rebuild trust in the energy sector.

The energy giant said doorstep selling was no longer suitable for customers choosing a new energy provider and it was an outdated method used by providers to find new customers.

This type of selling was heavily criticised by a committee of MPs in July and the move follows the example set by Scottish and Southern Energy, which has now stopped doorstep selling.

British Gas employees around 400 people in doorstep-selling roles and the company says they will now be moved to other advisory roles.

The company will suspend doorstep selling for an initial three-month period. During this time it will seek the views of customers, the independent British Gas Customer Board and Consumer Focus in trying to find a suitable alternative to this kind of selling.

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Outdated practice

Ian Peters, spokesperson at British Gas, said: "Doorstep selling, in its current form, is no longer a sustainable way to engage or build a relationship with customers. We want the energy advice we give our customers to be trusted and delivered at a time and place that is convenient to them."

Consumer Focus has called for all the energy companies to stop this kind of selling. It says consumers need an energy market they can trust and welcomes the decision by British Gas to stop "fuel selling by incentivised sales people".

Gillian Guy, chief executive of Consumer Focus, says the group has lots of evidence that shows doorstep selling leaves many people "worried, confused and worse off".

"We urge anyone in debt or worried about how they will pay their bills to get advice from their local Citizens Advice Bureau. We can help you make sure that you’re on the cheapest deal that your supplier provides, look at whether you would be better off switching suppliers, and advise on the help available for making your home more energy efficient," she adds.

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