04 March 2015
Scottish Power has been banned from proactive selling for 12 days by Ofgem after failing its customer service target.
The ban is effective from today 4 March 2015 and affects all outbound sales activities as a result of a failure to remove a backlog of outstanding Energy Ombudsman decisions by the end of November.
As well as an ongoing investigation, Scottish Power is required by Ofgem to undertake an independent audit of its progress on improving customer service.
In November, Ofgem launched an investigation into Scottish Power’s treatment of customers. Customers were experiencing long call waiting times, receiving late bills and the firm was not implementing Ombudsman decisions.
ScottishPower signed up to three Ofgem targets to improve customer service within three months or suspend proactive sales activities until the targets were met. It has failed to reach the target to remove the backlog for acting on Ombudsman decisions for individual complaints by the end of November.
Where Scottish Power’s IT systems only allow a partial implementation of the Ombudsman’s proposed remedies, the firm has been providing affected customers with free energy and has been writing off past debt.
Ofgem states that it has been assured by the supplier that these Ombudsman requirements will remain in force for any case where the company can only partially implement the Ombudsman’s decisions. More than 2,000 customers are currently receiving free energy.
Sarah Harrison, Ofgem’s senior partner in charge of enforcement 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.’