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How to Avoid Cowboy Energy Brokers

Every year, thousands of complaints are lodged against firms operating within the energy industry. And it is not just suppliers like the ‘big six’ who get a bad rap – a number of energy brokers and other third party intermediaries fail their customers time and again. Business energy buyers just want good advice and an honest deal; but in a market where every broker claims to find ‘the very right price’, customers are right to be sceptical. How are customers supposed to distinguish between the bad apples and the real honest brokers who work hard for their clients? Luckily, there are a few ways to tell the cowboys from the sheriffs.

Do they meet the TPI Code of Practice?

The Third Party Intermediary (TPI) Code of Practice is a set of standards introduced by Ofgem as a means of identifying responsible, high quality organisations acting as intermediaries between small businesses and suppliers. You can check if a broker complies with the TPI code of practice here. The code was set up to protect the smaller businesses which were being taken for a ride by smooth talking salesmen who promised the world but were unable to deliver. To comply with the code, intermediaries must be open and transparent. That means they have to be honest with their customers on their fees, the contracts they offer and the suppliers they represent. This openness allows businesses to make more informed decisions over their choice of broker.

What do their customers think of them?

No sales pitch can compare to a good old-fashioned recommendation. Ask your network if they can recommend a broker to you, or use LinkedIn to identify who your connections are working with. You can also evaluate trustworthiness by looking for testimonials or case studies on the broker website. Bear in mind though, that while glowing recommendations could indicate a trusty intermediary, a sinister cowboy might just make up a testimonial. Twitter is another tool you can use to evaluate trustworthiness. Search for the broker on twitter and see what people are saying about the company and if they are addressing any complaints.

Avoid the energy scam by knowing your broker

Some brokers can be slippery. Stories tell of disappearing brokers who ‘vanish’ as soon as the contract has been finalised – leaving you to deal with any problems by yourself, or directing your queries to a faceless call centre. At Utility Helpline we pride ourselves on doing things differently. From the moment you pick up the phone, we connect you with your own personal adviser who will set up and manage your account as well as trying their right to answer any questions you might have. Talk to one of our advisers today, freephone 0800 043 0423.

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