Energy suppliers should pay compensation to customers conned by "Del Boy sales tricks", MPs suggested last night.
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The Commons Energy Select Committee claims thousands of consumers are subjected to the 'hard sell' as energy firms use door-to-door sale people to pressurise them into switching suppliers.
MPs also found that vulnerable members of the community, such as the elderly, were being targeted with some companies exploiting those in sheltered accommodation.
Such doorstep selling techniques and the seemingly endless number of complex and confusing tariffs available, however, left many customers out of pocket.
In fact, energy watchdog Ofgem suggests that some 40 per cent of consumers may end up worse off after switching suppliers.
Committee chairman Tim Yeo said: "There is mounting concern in Parliament about the doorstep-selling techniques of large energy companies.
"If it turns out that consumers are being persuaded to switch contracts when it's not in their best interests, by salesmen keen to earn commission, then it would only be right for the energy companies to cough up compensation."
Mr Yeo claimed that even the Energy Minister had been confused by the array of complex tariffs offered by the Big Six - Centrica, EDF, E.ON, RWE npower, Scottish Power and Scottish and Southern Energy.
While he welcomed the news that both Scottish and Southern Energy had suspended doorstep selling, Mr Yeo added: "The rest of the Big Six should ditch the Del Boy sales tricks and concentrate on giving customers the information they need to choose the correct contract."
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