Standard Licence Condition (SLC) 25 of the gas and electricity supply licences regulates face-to-face and telephone marketing and sales activities of licensed suppliers and their representatives. If a supplier fails to meet SLC 25, Ofgem can act (see Chapter 14).
SLC 25 has a principle relating to sales activities. Suppliers and their representatives must not mislead or use inappropriate tactics, including high pressure sales techniques, when selling or marketing to customers. SLC 0 requires suppliers (and their representatives) to take all reasonable steps to ensure they treat consumers fairly.
These broad principles relate to how suppliers behave, provide information and carry out customer service processes. They also relate to how suppliers identify vulnerable customers and respond to their needs. These standards apply to all dealings between you and your supplier.
The standards of conduct cover four broad areas.1Condition 0 SLC
•Behaviour towards consumers: suppliers must behave and carry out any actions in a fair, honest, transparent, appropriate and professional manner.
•Providing customers with information: suppliers must provide information (whether in writing or orally) which:
◦is complete, accurate and not misleading (in terms of the information provided or omitted);
◦is communicated in plain and intelligible language with more important information being given appropriate prominence;
◦is related to products or services that are appropriate to the customer to whom it is directed;
◦in terms of its content and how it is presented, does not create a material imbalance in the rights, obligations or interests of the supplier and customers in favour of the supplier; and
◦is sufficient to enable customers to make informed choices about their supply of energy by the supplier.
•Process: the supplier must:
◦make it easy for you to contact it; and
◦act promptly and courteously to put things right when it makes a mistake; and
◦ensure that customer service arrangements and processes are complete, thorough, fit for purpose and transparent.
•For customers in vulnerable situations: the supplier must:
◦try to identify the customer in a vulnerable situation, in a manner which is effective and appropriate; and
◦apply the standards of conduct in a manner which takes into account any vulnerable situation.