Lumo Energy Vows To Rein In Sales Agents After ACCC Investigates
Consumer protection in the energy sector has come under the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) spotlight. “The ACCC has previously put energy retailers on notice that it is closely watching their use of door-to-door sales,” says ACCC acting chair Delia Rickard. “Consumer protection in the energy sector is a priority area, due to the large number of complaints and the considerable detriment caused by the conduct of some salespeople at the door.
“Businesses should be aware that even when they rely on agents or other third parties to perform door-to-door selling for them, they have strict obligations to consumers under the unsolicited selling provisions of the Australian Consumer Law.”
The ACCC says Lumo Energy breached the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) at least four times in Victoria during 2012.
Sales agents did not clearly advise consumers of their names or the name and address of Lumo Energy, that their purpose was to seek consumer agreement to purchase energy products from Lumo Energy, or that the agent was obliged to leave the premises immediately on request. “Lumo Energy admits that by engaging in the conduct described above, it is likely to have contravened the ACL,” says the ACCC.
Lumo Energy has provided a three-year court enforceable undertaking that it will comply with the relevant provisions of the ACL. “In response to complaints from consumers experiencing difficulty exercising their ‘cooling off’ rights, Lumo Energy has also implemented improvements to its contract cancellation processes,” says the ACCC.
The ACCC says it has started action against a number of energy retailers over door-to-door selling. In April, two AGL companies were ordered to pay a total of $1.555 million for illegal door-to-door selling practices, and CPM Australia Pty Ltd, the marketing company used by AGL, was also ordered to pay $200,000 for its role in the conduct.