Issued By
 Northumberland Trading
Standards Service

Northumberland Trading Standards together with the North East Trading Standards Authorities Group (NETSA) acts to help the Public in relation to Power and Fuel Suppliers during National Consumer week.

The theme of National Consumer Week is “Doorstep Selling - Consumer Rights or Consumer Confusion?”. We have concerns, shared by Energywatch about Door to Door sales techniques employed by some Companies who recruit new clients on behalf of the Energy suppliers of Mains Gas and Electricity.

Michael King, County Trading Standards Officer says, “ complaints about this problem persist in the Area, in fact one of our own Officers has had first hand experience of being “Poached” by a service provider using a forged signature! We hope to use National Consumer Week to focus on the problem and educate consumers so that they are prepared for the door to door activities of some of the companies, and hope they will quickly report dubious practices to us so that we can respond to them before they become endemic in an area.”

Council Spokesperson Peter Hillman adds “ the County Council is dedicated to providing assistance and protection through our services to all our residents. We hope to achieve greater public awareness of their rights and by providing easy access to this information we aim to contribute to a more inclusive society”.

energywatch North East Director, Carole Pitkeathley said: "While energywatch supports direct selling of energy over the doorstep, we are very concerned at the level of harassment and plain lying that is being reported to us by consumers. Our StopNow campaign highlighted this issue and called companies to account. The responsibility for forged signatures and bullied consumers rests with them. They need to be working harder to spare their customers and any potential customers from these appalling incidents!"

The Energywatch website, www.energywatch.org.uk has a guide on how to cope with the Door to Door sales techniques and we have adopted this and provided a link from our own website, www.tradingstandards.gov.uk/northumberland to it for anyone to read. For those who do not have access to the Internet, Leaflets are available to anyone, by telephoning 0845 906 0708.

The Department can be contacted at Loansdean, Morpeth, NE61 2ED, on 01670 534585, by fax at 01670 534590, by E_Mail at tradingstandards@northumberland.gov.uk and viewed online at www.northumberland.gov.uk and following the Service finder to Trading Standards or direct to www.tradingstandards.gov.uk/northumberland/