Saying that the doorstep selling format is ‘outdated’ British Gas has said that it will stop this sales technique for three months.

The BBC reports that this decision by British Gas follows on from a similar decision by Scottish and Southern Energy, which was recently criticised by MPs and had even blatantly ignored no cold calling zones (NCCZ) [1].

A British Gas spokesman has said that the 400 agents involved in cold calling, already reduced from 1,300 in 2006, would be re-assigned to advisory roles within the company.

British Gas said that this form of selling was no longer the ‘preferred or trusted’ way of doing business.

Ian Peters of British Gas said "Doorstep selling, in its current form, is no longer a sustainable way to engage or build a relationship with customers”.

This will come as welcome news to those who are plagued by cold callers or who are worried that they, or someone they are concerned about, will fall victim to a commission hungry sales person and, in the process, become one of the 40% of doorstep switchers that end up on a worse deal than the one they originally had.

The executive director of Which? Richard Lloyd said this would not amount to much if it was only a temporary arrangement. "Energy companies must now focus on making it easy for everyone to get access to the best domestic deals, which is more important than ever at a time when people's personal finances are under so much pressure. They should make a start with the millions of people in the UK who have never used the internet and so miss out on the cheapest rates."

Consumer Focus wants there to be a move towards pre-arranged appointments and a total ban on cold calling, with Adam Scorer, director of external affairs, saying ‘British Gas has responded to our call for action. We applaud the move and call for others to follow the lead set by British Gas and SSE. This is the sort of move that responsible companies make when it becomes clear that consumers are unhappy with the way they do business.

You may not have heard of a ‘No Cold Calling Zone’ before. To find out more and to see if you can set one up locally, contact your local council or trading standards offices or check their website.


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