Some of our customers are getting calls from other Energy Brokers who are very persistent in trying to get them to agree to a verbal contract over the phone. They use pressure tactics to their advantage leaving some customers confused and resulting in them being trapped in unfavourable contracts with very poor rates.
Anybody who answers the phone is a potential target, so it is important to ensure that all household members are aware of what to look out for. Unfortunately, elderly people are easier to get caught out by these people and in most cases, that contract will still stand.
Here are some tips to help you and your family members avoid being caught out:
- If you were not expecting a call, it’s highly possible that it’s an unsolicited call. They may tell you that they’re calling on behalf of your supplier or even NFU Energy which isn’t always true. If you suspect anything, hang up and call us back direct on 024 7669 8885 or contact your supplier using the number on your bill.
- It is very unlikely that your supplier would phone you directly to discuss your renewal as most simply send you a letter in the post or an email.
- Just because they have your address or meter details doesn’t mean they’re working with your supplier. These details are public on the energy database and can be accessed by most brokers.
- Ask them to confirm your supplier account number or NFU Membership number. If they do not have this, they’re not genuinely calling from NFU Energy or your supplier.
- Common scare tactics included quoting high rates they tell you that you will default to if you don’t take the slightly better (albeit still very uncompetitive) prices they’re offering. This is not true. Terminate the call and call us for advice if you’re concerned.
Overall, if somebody is pushing you to agree to prices that you did not ask for over the phone, end the call.
Are verbal contracts legal?
Most energy suppliers accept verbal contracts and even provide brokers with templates to use. They are legal and we even find them useful for our buying group members who don’t have either the facility or time to get a signed contract back to us. Unfortunately, as with many things, they’re open to abuse with some brokers misleading customers, getting them to agree to a contract they didn’t realise they were accepting.
Will it be clear that I’m entering a binding agreement?
Technically it should be made clear to you. However, some of the less reputable brokers may not say things clearly or say things at such a speed that it is not always clear. Often, they will read a passage of information with certain binding sections where you simply have to say ‘yes’ or ‘ok’ so avoid saying anything along these lines unless you’re certain it’s genuine. It is not always obvious that they are doing this, so it is important that you listen to everything being said as you could easily fall into a trap. If you have any doubts, ask them to send you the information in writing or simply terminate the call.
If you have any questions or concerns, please give the team a call on 024 7669 8885.