The ACCC Takes Action Against Origin Energy For Sales Misconduct

Getty/ Kevin Winter

Origin Energy and marketer SalesForce are being taken to court by the ACCC over misrepresented door-to-door sales.

The competition watchdog says the energy company’s sales representatives harassed, pressured and coaxed consumers into signing up for products that they had no interest buying, according to a ACCC media release.

Origin sales door-knockers are alleged mislead consumer with false representations including:

  • It was a government requirement to change providers to Origin;
  • The consumer was being overcharged by their current electricity provider; and/or
  • Origin was approval by, or associated with, the Electricity Trust of South Australia.

The action is believed to involved home visits to 13 different consumers across New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia between September 2011 and December 2012.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman, Rod Sims, made a statement on the action:

“The ACCC alleges that SalesForce sales representatives acting on behalf of Origin Energy made numerous false and/or misleading statements to consumers and breached the Unsolicited Consumer Agreement (UCA) provisions of the Australian Consumer Law.

“The allegations also involve several instances of unconscionable conduct as well as instances of alleged undue harassment and/or coercion by sales representatives, which the ACCC considers to be particularly serious,” Sims told the SMH.

Origin is the fifth energy company to be targeted by the AACC for marketing activities carried out by door-to-door sales representatives.

Neighbourhood Energy and its former marketing company Australian Green Credits Pty Ltd were ordered to pay $1 million in penalties for similar allegations in 2012.

Origin Energy has said it will review the action and will comply with ACCC to address to the issue but has not assumed liability.

Read more here.

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