Record fine for energy company
SSE, formerly known as Scottish and Southern Energy, will be fined £10.5m for "prolonged and extensive" mis-selling of energy products.
The energy watchdog Ofgem said it found "failures at every stage of the sales process" across SSE's telephone, in-store and doorstep selling activities.
The regulator said the company provided "misleading and unsubstantiated statements" to potential customers about prices and savings that could be made by switching to SSE.
This is the largest penalty ever imposed on an energy provider and Ofgem said the level of the fine reflected the seriousness and the duration of the mis-selling, as well as the harm caused to customers and the likely gain to SSE.
Management at SSE failed to pay enough attention to compliance, which allowed the mis-selling to take place, added Ofgem.
Ian Marlee, the managing director for markets at Ofgem, told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: "This is a woeful catalogue of failures by the SSE management. This fine represents the fact that what they were doing was allowing a culture of mis-selling to continue. They actually provided misleading sales scripts. Some people were being told they were going to get savings when actually they were being put on a worse deal. People were expecting savings and were not getting the levels of savings. People were being told direct debit levels that made it sound like they were going to be better off when in fact they were worse off.”
You can read more about energy companies in our forthcoming guide to gas and green electricity tariffs due out later this month.
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