Energy companies misleading customers looking for cheaper contracts: ACM

Energy companies are increasingly misleading consumers looking for cheaper energy bills. Consumers receive unsolicited, urgent calls to switch to a new contract, which often turns out much more expensive than promised, the Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) told De Telegraaf.

“Unfortunately, with the energy market getting going, we are seeing an increase in the number of reports of aggressive and misleading recruitment for new energy contracts,” said Edwin van Houten, consumer director at the ACM. He did not name companies. “We are investigating companies that we receive a lot of complaints about.”

For a long time, households whose energy contracts expired had few options beyond variable rates for a short time. But now that the energy market has cooled down after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine made prices skyrocket, suppliers are trying to recruit new customers again.

“Now we see that supply is increasing again, and recruitment is happening again. We are again seeing a lot of complaints about misleading recruitment, especially misleading phone calls,” Van Houten said to the newspaper. “Consumers are told, for example, that their current supplier is on the verge of bankruptcy and that they must switch quickly. While that is not the case at all.” And the offer is usually not in the household’s best interest or turns out much more expensive than the caller said.

“Be alert,” the ACM urged consumers. “Don’t just accept an unsolicited offer of a new energy contract. An unsolicited telephone offer is never really the best choice,” Van Houten said. “Do not agree to a new contract during the conversation. First, compare the offer with that of other suppliers. You can also disconnect the call.”

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