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ScottishPower stops outbound sales


ScottishPower is to stop selling energy for the next 12 days after Ofgem found it had failed to deal with a backlog of ombudsman cases. The ban on outbound sales activities begins today until the 15 March.

The decision goes back to November when Ofgem investigated how ScottishPower treated its customers.The regulator found customers were receiving late bills; had to wait a long time for their calls to be answered and that the company wasn’t completing decisions from the ombudsman.

ScottishPower was set three targets:

  • Speed up the customer call response time by the end of January
  • Cut the number of bills going out late
  • Reduce the backlog of ombudsman decisions

 

The CEO of ScottishPower Neil Clitheroe blamed a new customer management system introduced to improve customer service. He said the process of moving customers to the new system resulted in some problems but that the company is “determined to put this right.” He said, “We continue to correct problems, pay appropriate compensation and ensure no customer is left financially disadvantaged.”

Customers affected by the problems (estimated to be over 2,000) have been receiving free energy and their past debt has been written off.

Neil Clitheroe said that there are now less than 30,000 overdue bills and that calls are now answered quicker.

By 1 December the company had closed 2575 ombudsmen cases and achieved their target of zero cases by the end of November. But it appears around 30 of these cases were closed incorrectly and so in agreement with Ofgem the energy provider will stop outbound selling. The sales staff normally involved in this process will support the customer service teams while they try to resolve the issues.

Ofgem’s senior partner in charge of enforcement Sarah Harrison said “A sales ban illustrates the difficulties ScottishPower is having in delivering the levels of service customers deserve. While Ofgem’s targets have driven significant improvements in ScottishPower’s performance, we remain very concerned about how customers are being treated.”

She added that Ofgem requires “ScottishPower to undertake an independent audit of its progress on improving customer service.” And that the regulator “will keep the need for any further action under review.”

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