The ACCC has filed proceedings in the Federal Court against Australian Power & Gas Company Ltd (APG) in relation to false or misleading representations made by sales representatives as part of their door-to-door sales of retail electricity or gas.
The alleged conduct involves sales representatives misrepresenting that:
- APG had approval from, or was affiliated with, the consumer’s current energy retailer or distributor;
- APG had approval from, or was affiliated with, government; and
- the consumer could receive a certain discount off their energy bill by agreeing to receive supply of retail energy from APG, when APG did not offer such a discount.
The ACCC also alleges that APG engaged in unconscionable conduct involving a consumer from a non-English speaking background, and that APG breached various unsolicited consumer agreement provisions of the Australian Consumer Law.
This action follows the ACCC’s focus on the energy sector, and its successful prosecution of Energy Watch Pty Limited last year for misleading advertising, resulting in a $2 million penalty for the company and its CEO. This marks the fourth proceedings that the ACCC has instituted as part of its focus on door-to-door selling practices in the energy industry, and the first to include an allegation of unconscionable conduct.
The focus on this sector looks set to continue and we will keep you updated on all developments.