The Federal Court has today approved a settlement between EnergyAustralia and the ACCC and AER after its third party sales contractor, Bright Choice (which traded as TeleChoice), breached sales compliance regulations.
An investigation by EnergyAustralia revealed that TeleChoice had engaged in misleading conduct when selling electricity and gas products on EnergyAustralia’s behalf.
The conduct occurred without EnergyAustralia’s knowledge and was in contravention of contractual, training and scripting requirements.
In September 2013, following a thorough internal investigation, EnergyAustralia terminated its contract with TeleChoice.
After a review of its internal sales and compliance processes, EnergyAustralia has implemented stricter training and sales compliance procedures for employees and third party sales partners.
General Manager - Regulation and Compliance, Angela Jaric, said EnergyAustralia had self-reported the matter to the ACCC and the AER.
“Firstly, we would like to say sorry to anyone affected by this matter,” Ms Jaric said.
“Our customers are our priority and we have implemented a remediation program which involved contacting impacted customers to confirm they had agreed to sign up with EnergyAustralia, and to give them options for their ongoing gas and electricity supply.
“Internally, we’ve learned valuable lessons and have made improvements including increased training for staff and enhanced monitoring, reporting and measurement of third party vendors.
“We have also established a quality assurance program to ensure any third party vendors abide by all relevant legislation, laws, regulations, standards, codes and internal policies.
“We expect the highest standards from employees and contractors, and we acknowledge we should have had better processes in place so that this issue did not occur.”
EnergyAustralia will pay a $1 million penalty plus costs to the ACCC and a $500,000 penalty as well as costs to the AER.
Any customer who believes they have been impacted by this issue and would like to discuss their circumstances should contact EnergyAustralia on 133 466.