Energy retailers provide consumers with water, electricity and gas. They are also known as essential services, as problems with them can seriously affect consumers.
Energy retailers promote their services and products in a number of ways, including online, TV, radio and newspaper ads, and through door-to-door selling and telemarketing.
Consumers have rights when choosing or changing energy providers. As an energy consumer:
- Do not feel pressured to decide on the spot. Read and understand documents before you sign them.
- Shop around. To help you make the right choice when choosing your energy retailer, visit the Victorian Energy Compare website.
- If you are offered a discount, check if it applies to all or part of the bill. Also, ask whether you must meet conditions to qualify for the discount, such as paying on time.
- Make sure you have been provided with an offer summary, which explains everything you need to know about the energy plan that is being offered.
- You have 10 business days to cancel an agreement made from door-to-door or telemarketing sales.
- Make sure you see the salesperson's identification. They must show it to you without being asked. Record their full name, the company and date of their call.
- Ask questions. Ensure salespeople provide you with all the facts you need before signing up to a contract.
- If you do not want a salesperson to contact you by phone, join the 'do not call' register. If you do not want salespeople to come to your door, display a 'do not knock' sticker.
- Watch out for energy salespeople who give the impression they are from the government when they are not.
- Be wary of any salesperson who gives the impression that you will receive a discount or some other benefit relating to smart meters if you sign a new energy contract. This is not true. Electricity distributors are responsible for installing smart meters and they will contact you by letter before installing your smart meter.
- If a salesperson says you have no choice but to change as they are taking over supply in your area, this is not true. You can choose from a number of energy retailers.