Door-to-door sales and win-back offers to be outlawed in Victoria

The days are numbered for Victorian energy providers conjuring up last-minute deals to keep customers from switching to another provider.

From December 31, ‘win-back offers’, also known as ‘retention offers’, will be outlawed as part of a suite of new rules coming into effect across Victoria.

These changes mean that power companies will need to make their best energy deals publicly available at all times.

Other notable changes include an end to door-to-door sales and cold-calling, often known as pushy sales tactics within the industry.

These new measures aim to protect Victorian households and businesses from aggressive and exploitative practices by retailers, Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said.

“We are banning high-pressure sales tactics like unsolicited door-to-door sales and cold-calling to protect Victorian households from being taken advantage of by dodgy energy companies,” she said.

This ban includes agents employed by energy providers – with any contract entered using these tactics to be void. Solar companies in Victoria were already banned from engaging in door-to-door sales back in September 2021 under the Solar Homes Program.

Changes to the Energy Fairness Act also introduced huge fines for retailers that wrongfully disconnect customers.

“We’re putting energy companies on notice – if you have wrongfully disconnected households, you will pay a penalty of up to $1 million,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

Electricity Prices Compared Victoria

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. Costs are based on the Citipower network in Melbourne but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4000kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area and to see other products in our database that may be available. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision. The next three tabs feature products exclusively from AGL, EnergyAustralia and Origin.

Here are the AGL Energy plans on our database for Victoria. These are products from a referral partner†. These costs are based on the Citipower network in Melbourne but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4000kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area and to see other products in our database that may be available. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Here are the EnergyAustralia plans on our database for Victoria. These are products from a referral partner†. These costs are based on the Citipower network in Melbourne but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4000kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area and to see other products in our database that may be available. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Here are the Origin Energy plans on our database for Victoria. These are products from a referral partner†. These costs are based on the Citipower energy network in Melbourne but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4000kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area and to see other products in our database that may be available. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

ReAmped Energy: “We are happy to see win-back offers banned”

Market disruptor and low-cost provider ReAmped Energy explained that banning these tactics is a win for customers as power companies will need to be upfront about what offers are generally available to the public.

“Win-back offer activity is a barrier to competition primarily used by incumbent retailers,” said ReAmped Energy’s CEO, Luke Blincoe.

“By offering customers they know are leaving an improved deal removes the need for them to offer better prices to all customers in market.

“In some cases, the retention offer won’t be better than the deal customers could get by switching but may be enough to convince them that switching is a hassle and they do not need to go through with it. But customers should ask themselves, why is their energy provider only giving a sh*t about them once they threaten to leave?”

Mr Blincoe said there’s an easy way for Victorians to ensure they’re not getting ripped off.

“If you want to know if you’re getting your current retailer’s best deal, leave, if they offer you a better deal ask them to backdate it.

“We want to promote a healthy market where customers can switch to better deals without their existing retailer suddenly conjuring up a better offer for them to stay. It’s a really cynical tactic to retain customers and we are happy to see it banned in Victoria.”

Retailers in Victoria must inform customers if they are on the company’s best energy offer. Information about a provider’s best offer should be listed on its electricity and/or gas bills at least once every four months.

So, my existing energy provider can’t entice me to stay if I decide to leave?

In Victoria, your energy retailer will no longer be able to engage in win-back activity from 31 December 2021. Under the updated Energy Legislation Amendment (Energy Fairness) Act 2021, losing retailers will be prohibited from contacting domestic customers to renegotiate a contract, or arrange the offer of a benefit, privilege or service.

Losing retailers will still be allowed to contact customers for any administrative matters, such as the transfer process or outstanding bill payments, as well as general marketing campaigns they may have running.

The Australian Energy Regulator noted in 2019 that win-back offers reduced the effectiveness of its government comparison site, as retention deals were not listed for consumers to compare prices.

Natural Gas Prices Compared Victoria

Here are some of the cheapest gas deals on our database for VIC. These estimated annual costs are based on the Australian Gas Network in Melbourne and yearly gas usage of 29,830MJ, but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of lowest estimated cost. These are products from referral partners†. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

Image credit: eamesBot/Shutterstock.com

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