EDP Comercial has been warned by the regulator to stop employing “deceptive or aggressive commercial practices” that are designed to frighten former customers into signing up with the company again.
Using expressions that mislead, departing customers receive a “farewell letter” from EDP Comercial, which is both threatening and misleading.
The regulator has ordered EDP Comercial to stop it, now, and forbids the further use of certain expressions.
The ERSE has insisted the offending letters are put on hold until a mismanagement case against EDFP Comercial is judged. The result of the case will determine whether a fine will be imposed on EDP Comercial and what it can and can’t say in the future.
“In the process of changing supplier, marketers must refrain from any contact with former clients (in particular by letter, telephone, written message or home visit) for the commercial purpose of resigning the customer nor resort to unlawful practices or references which could substantially distort the economic behavior of consumers, thereby undermining their economic interests as well as those of competitors,” reads the compact ERSE statement.
To begin with, the company will always have to identify itself as EDP Comercial, not using the generic designation “EDP”. Then, the electricity company can not “mention the absence of switching costs at EDP Comercial,” as in “going back to EDP is easy and inexpensive.”
The company also may no longer mention that the “change to EDP Comercial does not imply an interruption of energy supply.” The ERSE says that EDP raises “an unjustified and unfounded fear of continuity of supply of an essential public service.”
The regulator points out that “any company initiative to re-sign customers must comply with the duties of correctness and integrity required by market practices, not resorting to deceptive or aggressive commercial practices that significantly impair the consumer’s ability to make an informed decision, thus leading him to make a decision that he would not have taken otherwise.”
This is a long winded way for the regulator to tell EDP Comercial to stop frightening customers into re-signing with the company by pretending that their power might be cut off if they leave and that there may be hidden costs in changing to another supplier.
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