Personal information about our customers has been changed to protect their privacy.
Steven's story: Difficulty cancelling inappropriate energy contract
Marketer signs up dementia sufferer and retailer delays contract cancellation
Steven has Power of Attorney for his 83 year old mother, Lorraine, who suffers dementia. Lorraine was approached by a door to door marketer from Retailer A and signed a three year dual fuel contract.
The next day, Steven contacted the retailer to explain the situation and request the contract and transfer be cancelled. The representative he spoke with requested a letter from Lorraine’s doctor as proof of her medical condition, so Steven obtained this and emailed it to the retailer immediately along with documentation of his Power of Attorney.
When he called the retailer four days later, they said it would take at least five days to process his email. Concerned that the cooling off period would expire in the interim, Steven came to EWON for assistance.
EWON spoke to Retailer A and arranged for Lorraine’s accounts to be returned to her previous retailers.
Lin's story: customer with limited English misled and pressured by door to door marketers
Customer with limited English misled and pressured by door to door marketers
Lin, who does not speak English well, was approached by two door to door marketers. They opened her mailbox, took out an energy bill and asked her to open it. She refused, saying she was not the account holder and it was addressed to her landlord.
The marketers then told her that if her electricity is included in her rent, then her rent may decrease if she took their survey, so she handed over her details and signed a form. She was prompted to say yes into the phone and told she could cancel anytime.
Lin was not aware she had agreed to electricity and gas contracts in her name until she was notified by her landlord. She called the energy company to cancel the account and was advised to wait three months or pay a $110 early termination fee. Her landlord did not agree to this and contacted his previous supplier and organised a transfer of the electricity account.
Lin called EWON for help when she was contacted by a debt collection agency threatening to credit list her for the $110 early termination fee. She had also received bills for electricity and gas.
EWON contacted the energy company to discuss the marketing action and account transfers. As a result the retailer retrospectively transferred the electricity and gas accounts to the original retailer, reversed the bills and cancelled the $110 termination fee, which removed the risk of credit listing.
Aphra's story: Retailer doesn't action cancellation within the cooling off period
Retailer doesn't action cancellation within the cooling off period
87 year old pensioner Aphra was approached by a door-to-door marketer one night and felt pressured into signing a contract to transfer over to the electricity retailer represented by the marketer. She was uncomfortable with the situation, so decided to cancel the contract.
Two days after the marketer’s visit an advocate at Aphra’s local council contacted the retailer on her behalf to request the cancellation. Aphra also posted a letter to the retailer requesting the cancellation of her contract.
Some weeks later, Aphra was advised that her account had been transferred, despite the letter and phone call made within the cooling off period to cancel the transfer. The retailer advised that they hadn’t received Aphra’s letter, but she had retained a registered post slip confirming the letter she sent had been received and signed for.
Aphra considered that her account should never have been transferred and wanted it returned to her previous retailer at no cost. EWON spoke with the retailer, who agreed to transfer Aphra back to her previous retailer without charge or penalty.
Hayley's story: Marketer signs up 16 year old non-account holder
Marketer signs up 16 year old non-account holder
Hayley was alone at her sister’s home when a door-to-door marketer arrived. Hayley took down the details of the offer to pass onto her brother-in-law, Tim, who was the account holder. Tim did not want to take up the offer. He was then contacted by his existing retailer about the transfer and he explained that he did not want the transfer to go ahead.
Some months later, a bill for $412 arrived for Hayley from the retailer that the door-to-door marketer had been promoting. As Hayley’s advocate, Tim contacted EWON for assistance to get the account transferred back into his name and returned to his preferred retailer.
We spoke to the new retailer who said that while they were able to do a retrospective transfer to the previous retailer, their records showed that Hayley was 19, that she had agreed to the contract and that she provided her Medicare card to the marketer. They confirmed that the company could not sign up a 16 year old.
The account was transferred back to Tim with his preferred provider. We established that Hayley was in fact 16 years old and reported this to the retailer, who advised that they would be following up the matter with the marketer who signed Hayley up.
Kimberly's story: Householder misled by door-to-door marketer
Householder misled by door-to-door marketer
Kimberley was approached at home by a door-to-door marketer from Retailer A who advised her that her current retailer was no longer issuing bills to customers and that she would have to sign an agreement with Retailer A to issue her bills now. Kimberley believed the story and signed the papers.
Soon after, she was contacted by her previous provider to ask why she was transferring. Kimberley explained what the marketer had told her and, realising now that she had been misled, she decided she did not want to go ahead with the transfer. When Kimberley called Retailer A to cancel the contract, she was told she would have to pay a significant amount in termination fees. Kimberley came to EWON for assistance.
When we spoke to Retailer A, they maintained they hadn’t received a cancellation call from Kimberley, but agreed nonetheless to transfer the account back to her previous retailer at no charge and to investigate the marketer.
Gayathri's story: transferred without consent
Customer’s electricity account transferred without consent
A marketer from Retailer A came to Gayathri’s apartment while she was out and spoke to her cousin Henry. Henry was on day-release from a refugee detention centre and he spoke limited English.
The marketer advised Henry that Retailer A was the new electricity provider for the area, and that the form needed to be signed to ensure that Gayathri's electricity supply would continue. Henry signed the form the marketer gave him.
When Gayathri found out what had happened, she contacted her previous retailer to cancel the transfer request. She was told that it was too late as the transfer had been completed. Gayathri emailed her previous retailer, but she received no reply. Gayathri called her previous retailer, who referred her to EWON for help.
EWON contacted Gayathri's previous retailer who said the transfer had not been completed as yet and the account was still in her name. We contacted Retailer A who agreed to cancel the transfer.
We advised Gayathri that we would be reporting the misleading marketing to the regulator.
Iris' story: Misleading marketer signs up elderly customer
Elderly customer misled by false claims of door to door marketer
A door to door marketer came to Iris’ house and said that she would need to transfer her account to Retailer X as her existing retailer had closed down. Later Iris discovered this was not true and spoke to her friend Jenny about the experience.
Jenny contacted EWON for help in having Iris’ account transferred back to her preferred retailer. She explained that Iris is 91 years old and vulnerable.
EWON discussed the complaint with Retailer X, who acknowledged that Iris had been provided with incorrect and misleading information by the marketer. They agreed to retrospectively transfer Iris back to her previous supplier without charge.