Australian Defence Department funds controversial development training

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Australian Defence Department funds controversial development training

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Australia’s Department of Defence spent thousands of dollars on controversial development seminars, Australian media reported Wednesday. The seminars are run by a San Francisco, California-based training company called Landmark Education. The company evolved from Erhard Seminars Training “est”, and has faced criticism regarding its techniques and its use of unpaid labor.

Australia’s Defence Minister Warren Snowdon said that the government is in the process of reviewing Defence Department expenditures on career development. “We’re in the process now of doing an audit, completely unrelated with anything to do with Landmark, which is being undertaken into learning and development to make sure that they meet our needs. … We have to be very sure that the courses that people do undertake are relevant, appropriate and indeed in line with what community expectations might be,” said Snowdon in an appearance on ABC Radio.

We’re in the process now of doing an audit, completely unrelated with anything to do with Landmark, which is being undertaken into learning and development to make sure that they meet our needs.

The Australian and Australia’s ABC News reported that Landmark Education had been listed in France as a “possible cult” in the mid 1990s. When asked about this on ABC Radio, a spokeswoman for the company in the United States, Deborah Beroset, responded: “What happened in France was that a commission established by the French parliament issued a report in which they listed almost 200 organisations as being possible cults … We were never contacted. We were inappropriately included in that list”.

In a program which aired Wednesday, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio program AM reported that Australia’s Defence Department spent at least AUD12,270 of taxpayer funds to send government employees to Landmark Education courses. According to AM, the Defence Department said it does not appear that further funds have been sent to Landmark Education since 2004.

In a statement released by the Defence Department, the government stated: “A search of Defence records does not indicate exactly how many individuals attended courses with this training provider, however it is believed it was a small number of individuals. … Defence has been unable to determine individual reasons for why groups within Defence choose this training provider.”

AM also reported that the use of unpaid labor by Landmark Education “has attracted the attention of the US and French governments,” and that some individuals in the mental health field have accused the company of brainwashing. When asked about the allegations by mental health experts that Landmark Education’s techniques amounted to brainwashing, Deborah Beroset responded: “Well, there is absolutely no credence to that whatsoever.”

Decisions on the appropriateness of staff attending courses by Landmark Education are made by individual managers who remain best-placed to assess the development needs of their staff.

In a March 9 article in the Herald Sun, Peter Rolfe reported that taxpayer money was used to send at least 37 police and government staff from Victoria, Australia to seminars run by Landmark Education. Police and Emergency Services Minister Bob Cameron said that “Decisions on the appropriateness of staff attending courses by Landmark Education are made by individual managers who remain best-placed to assess the development needs of their staff,” but State Liberal MP Murray Thompson told the Herald Sun that the funds should have been put towards fighting crime. Apple Inc., Reebok, and Mercedes-Benz have sent employees to Landmark Education seminars, according to a spokeswoman for Landmark.

In October 2006, Landmark Education took legal action against Google, YouTube, the Internet Archive, and a website owner in Queensland, Australia in attempts to remove criticism of its products from the Internet. The company sought a subpoena under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in an attempt to discover the identity of an anonymous critic who uploaded a 2004 French documentary of the Landmark Forum to the Internet. “Voyage au pays des nouveaux gourous” (Voyage to the Land of the New Gurus) was produced by Pièces à Conviction, a French investigative journalism news program. The Electronic Frontier Foundation represented the anonymous critic and the Internet Archive, and Landmark withdrew its subpoena in November 2006 in exchange for a promise from the anonymous critic not to repost the video.

Landmark Education is descended from Erhard Seminars Training, also called “est”, which was founded by Werner Erhard. est began in 1971, and Erhard’s company Werner Erhard and Associates repackaged the course as “The Forum” in 1985. Associates of Erhard bought the license to his “technology” and incorporated Landmark Education in California in 1991.

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The Declining Term Life Insurance Option

By Dennis Jarvis

There are all types of term life insurance on the market and one of the various flavors is declining term life. It’s not nearly as common as level term life (the heavy weight on the market) but it is available and typically for a lower rate when comparing apples and apples (term benefit, etc). Let’s take a quick look at declining term life and size it up versus level term.

First, what is declining term life? Essentially, it’s a payout option where the life insurance benefit decreases during the life of the policy. For example, with 15 years of total term length, the life benefit may be $500K in the first 5 years, then $250K if triggered in the next 5 years, and finally…$100K if triggered in the final 5 years of the 15 year policy. In a nutshell, this is declining term life. Why would anyone go this direction?

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Price. Declining term life insurance will be less expensive than Level term and it’s obvious why…the benefit is decreasing with time. With level term life, the $500K benefit (or whatever amount you select up front) stays the same for the full duration of the policy . Whether it’s year 1 or year 15, the benefit is $500K if the insured passes away. To some extent, to make a fair comparison, the above example of $500K/$250K/$100K is probably more akin to $250K of benefit if we want to price it out. Also keep in mind that on average, the chance of passing away increases as we get older. Accidents may happen any time but diseases that affect mortality (cancer, heart attacks, etc) occur at a higher frequency as we get older. To some extent, the carrier is reducing it’s risk with such a declining benefit set-up. So what’s our take on declining term life insurance?

So often with insurance in general (be it life, health, or others), people like to play fortune teller. It’s interesting since risk is risk regardless of what shape it comes in. It’s similar to someone taking health insurance and opting out of chemo/radiation therapy to reduce the rate. The savings may be big but you gambling that you won’t need these services. This is only a step away from gambling that you will not need health insurance at all. We’re all familiar with someone who went without health insurance and had a huge medical bill that financially wiped them out. Life insurance is no different. To gamble that you will be less likely to trigger the benefit in the last 5 years than the first is counter-intuitive and the life insurance companies love taking this bet (since they know better).

Maybe there’s a rationalization such as “Well, my mortgage debt is decreasing with time so I can match the term life insurance benefit to that fact”. The actual debt (as opposed to equity) is decreasing but the monthly payment is the same. Keep in mind that life insurance is generally used to replace income over a period of time. It’s hard to believe that income in year 11-15 will be any less needed than in 1-5. If anything, most people will agree that financial responsibilities only increase with time…especially for a family with children that will one day go off to college (translated as expensive).

Our recommendation is to not play a guessing game for the trade-off of lower rates. If you guess wrong, you’re loved ones suffer as a result. It makes more sense to purchase level term life insurance that fits within your budget. There may be situations where a person truly has a decreasing financial responsibility for which, the decreasing term life payment option might fit, but this is usually in addition to a traditional term life policy used for general protection of your family.

About the Author: Dennis Jarvis is a licensed insurance agent concentrating on

term life insurance

. Shop, compare, and instantly quote multiple carriers with professional guidance and resources.

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Australia: Victorian government to trial driverless vehicles on public roads

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Australia: Victorian government to trial driverless vehicles on public roads

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Yesterday, the state government of Victoria, Australia announced their decision to trial self-driving vehicles on two of the state’s major connecting motorways, the CityLink and Tullamarine Freeway. The trial is to use autonomous vehicles from automobile companies including BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, and Tesla. The two-year trial is to have three phases.

The cars are to drive alongside commuters, but in public testing a driver is always to be present, as Victorian law requires drivers always keep a hand on the steering wheel. However, in occasional closures of the Burnley Tunnel, with no other drivers to endanger, the cars are to be tested with nobody in the vehicle.

Lane assist, cruise control, and recognition of traffic signs are in the trial’s first phase, expected to complete before the end of the year. This includes monitoring how the driver-less cars respond to road conditions, including lane markings and electronic speed signs.

“Victoria is at the forefront of automated vehicle technology — we’re investing in this trial to explore ways that this technology can be used to reduce crashes and keep people safe on our roads”, said Luke Donnellan, the Victorian Minister for Roads and Road Safety. He noted, “Ninety per cent of the fault of accidents is human error […] so we know that if we can take out human error we will have less accidents”.

Tim Hansen, Victoria Police’s Acting Assistant Commissioner, said that police had founded a project team to investigate how self-driving vehicles would change policing on roads. “Can we intercept vehicles more safely to avoid pursuits and ramming?”, he asked.

The trial is a partnership between the state government, Victoria’s road management authority VicRoads, owner of the CityLink toll road Transurban, and insurance company RACV.

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US government files lawsuit against BP Exploration in Alaska

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US government files lawsuit against BP Exploration in Alaska

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The United States government has filed a civil lawsuit against BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. (BPXA) alleging that the company “violated federal clean air and water laws” by “illegally discharging” more than 200,000 gallons crude oil during two oil spills in 2006 on Alaska’s North Slope in Prudhoe Bay.

BPXA previously pleaded guilty to one count of criminal negligence in illegally discharging the oil and paid US$20 million in damages. As a result of the plea, the lawsuit was filed saying that they “failed” to prepare for such a disaster by implementing “certain [sic] spill prevention measures” as the law requires.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the [DOT]-Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), alleges that BPXA “illegally discharged more than 200,000 gallons of crude oil from its pipelines” and “violated the Clean Air Act by improperly removing asbestos-containing materials from its pipelines” It also says that they “failed to comply in a timely manner with a corrective action order that the [DOT]-Pipeline and PHMSA issued to BPXA pursuant to federal pipeline safety laws.”

According to the Associated Press (AP), BPXA spokespeople state that the company has taken certain measures, making sure daily operations are safe.

“We have taken significant steps to ensure that our operations are safe and reliable, and protect the environment. Those include building a new $500 million system of oil transit lines at Prudhoe Bay,” said spokesman Steve Rinehart to the AP.

The spills were discovered on March 2, 2006 and covered nearly two acres. It was initially estimated that nearly 270,000 gallons had spilled. The official loss was put at 212,252 gallons.

BPXA, a subsidiary of BP America, specializes in exploring and finding locations to drill for oil, as well as drilling for it.

Posted: February 23rd, 2018 by

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British Airways CEO set to step down in the summer

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British Airways CEO set to step down in the summer

Monday, March 7, 2005

The Sunday Times and Observer newspapers today both stated that British Airways CEO Rod Eddington is planning to step down in the Summer. Althought no official announcement has been released from the airline about Mr Eddington’s future, speculation is already mounting on who the successor will be.

Possible internal candidates include marketing director Martin George and finance director John Rishton. However it is quite possible that an external executive such as Willie Walsh, former CEO of Aer Lingus, could take the post. Mr Walsh successful turned around Aer Lingus into one of the most profitable national carriers in the world after it had almost bankrupt in 2002.

Mr Eddington took over the top job at British Airways in May 2000

Posted: February 22nd, 2018 by

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Md Eger | Fountain Of Youth}

Submitted by: John Shealey

INSTANTLY AGELESS from Jeunesse is a powerful anti-wrinkle micro cream that works quickly and effectively to diminish the visible signs of aging. The revolutionary ingredient is argireline: a peptide that works like Botox without the needles. Instantly Ageless revives the skin and minimizes the appearance of fine lines and pores for a flawless finish.

This amazing product that works 100% of the time on 100% of persons that uses it within 2 minutes has been dubbed the 2 minute miracle, as can be seen here at www.2minuteyouth.com

The Jeunesse Global tagline – The Science of Youthful Aging. The company was established just over three years ago on September 9, 2009 by Wendy Lewis and husband Randy Ray. The focus of the company is to aim on improving the quality of life for individuals as they look forward to their age, through provision of science based anti-aging products. While aging is inevitable Jeunesse Global believes that we can influence and mitigate the effects of the aging process by making positive life style choices and using quality supplements and skincare products.

Jeunesse Global is headquartered in Orlando, Florida and runs offices in Korea, Mexico, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia and the European Union. Several South American countries are currently being readied for office openings. Product currently ships to over 80 countries worldwide with sales already in excess of $10Jeunesse Global Business Review0 Million annually. Wendy Lewis and Randy Ray have exceptional experience at running large direct sales companies, having developed and administered the back offices, compensation plans, shipping and customer service systems for several companies. Randy has a background in the computer industry and designed, sold and installed over $300 Million worth of computer hardware and software to organizations like NASA.Product currently ships to over 80 countries worldwide with sales already in excess of $10Jeunesse Global Business Review0 Million annually. Wendy Lewis and Randy Ray have exceptional experience at running large direct sales companies, having developed and administered the back offices, compensation plans, shipping and customer service systems for several companies. Randy has a background in the computer industry and designed, sold and installed over $300 Million worth of computer hardware and software to organizations like NASA.

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Prior to launching Jeunesse Global Wendy and Randy successfully built their own direct sales company, paid out over $77 Million in commissions and created 15 millionaires. They brought all the experience and business acumen from that venture to bear on the creation of Jeunesse Global.

This is exciting time for the company who has a global mission to feed kids and make a difference to all that are in need worldwide, and has been doing just that, making a huge difference.This is exciting time for the company who has a global mission to feed kids and make a difference to all that are in need worldwide, and has been doing just that, making a huge difference.

For more information on this amazing opportunity and product view below.

www.2MinuteYouth.com

www.Lookyounginstantly.com

Info on the comp plan: www.2minuteyouthcomp.com

Info on opportunity: www.2minuteyouthbiz.com

After reviewing for order questions or to get started contact

800-763-0885

Ask for Mardy Ege

About the Author: For more information:

wealthdecision.combuyfrommardy.com

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Posted: February 22nd, 2018 by

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The Onion: An interview with ‘America’s Finest News Source’

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The Onion: An interview with ‘America’s Finest News Source’

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Despite the hopes of many University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW) students, The Onion was not named after their student center. “People always ask questions about where the name The Onion came from,” said President Sean Mills in an interview with David Shankbone, “and when I recently asked Tim Keck, who was one of the founders, he told me the name—I’ve never heard this story about ‘see you at the un-yun’—he said it was literally that his Uncle said he should call it The Onion when he saw him and Chris Johnson eating an onion sandwich. They had literally just cut up the onion and put it on bread.” According to Editorial Manager Chet Clem, their food budget was so low when they started the paper that they were down to white bread and onions.

Long before The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, Heck and Johnson envisioned a publication that would parody the news—and news reporting—when they were students at UW in 1988. Since its inception, The Onion has become a veritable news parody empire, with a print edition, a website that drew 5,000,000 unique visitors in the month of October, personal ads, a 24 hour news network, podcasts, and a recently launched world atlas called Our Dumb World. Al Gore and General Tommy Franks casually rattle off their favorite headlines (Gore’s was when The Onion reported he and Tipper were having the best sex of their lives after his 2000 Electoral College defeat). Many of their writers have gone on to wield great influence on Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert‘s news parody shows.

And we are sorry to break the news to all you amateur headline writers: your submissions do not even get read.

Below is David Shankbone’s interview with Chet Clem and Sean Mills about the news empire that has become The Onion.

Contents

  • 1 How The Onion writes an issue
  • 2 The headlines
  • 3 The features and the columnists
  • 4 The photojournalism
  • 5 What The Onion will not publish
  • 6 Reactions to Onion stories
  • 7 The Presidential Seal
  • 8 The Onion’s readership
  • 9 Future features
  • 10 Handling national tragedies
  • 11 The Onion movie and Onion News Network
  • 12 Relationship with other satirical news programs
  • 13 Unsolicited material
  • 14 Source

Posted: February 22nd, 2018 by

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Police crackdown on illegal tow operations in Sydney

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Police crackdown on illegal tow operations in Sydney

Friday, June 30, 2006

New South Wales Police, in connection with the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority, Tow Truck Authority and Centrelink (the agency responsible for providing income support) conducted random checks on tow trucks on Thursday. The checks were carried out in Bankstown, a suburb in Sydney’s South-West.

According to police, 50 tow trucks were pulled over during the operation, coined “Operation Hook” between 8:30 a.m. AEST and 4 p.m. Of those, 26 were directed to report to a vehicle inspection facility for further investigation.

Police issued 70 infringement notices (fines) during the operation. 11 were for being unlicensed to conduct business as a tow truck driver or business, and 13 for having incorrectly secured loads. 17 vehicles were issued defect notices as part of the operation.

Tow truck operators (business owners) are required to make a payment of AUD$770 per year to the NSW government, while drivers are charged $152 per year for their licence. An additional charge for tow truck number plates of $292 per year also applies.

The maximum penalty for operators not being licensed correctly is $11,000 or 12 months imprisonment, drivers without the correct licence can be fined $5,500 or sentenced to 6 months.

Posted: February 20th, 2018 by

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A Plethora Of Picnic Tables}

Submitted by: Tonya Kerniva

What do you think of when you think of summer? Outside activities, barbecues, lemonade? When youve got friends and family gathered for a good time, dont make them sit on the hard ground. Grass itches and contains pesky bugs. Picnic tables bring everyone together and grandma will thank you for not having to bend so far. But did you know there are many different types of picnic tables? Its not all rectangular wooden affairs these days.

Some benches take on different, more elaborate shapes. Hexagonal picnic tables, for one, maximize space better so you can fit more people around them. In matters of space, some benches also come with detached benches so they can be moved around as needed, instead of bolted to the table. There are even some tables that fold up, so they are perfect for tossing in the back of the car for an impromptu picnic, and fit much more easily in a garage or shed for storage. If the weather is looking questionable, a sheltered table is just the thing to keep everyone dry. Usually seen with wooden picnic tables, they consist of slanted roofs about the size of and connected to the main table. More commonly seen than roofs though, are umbrellas. These are normally made from a nylon cover and attach through a hole in the center of the table.

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In addition to shapes, picnic tables also come in a breadth of materials. As mentioned, wood is the classic choice. Some popular more durable varieties of wood seen are cedar, teak, and pine. They tend to withstand rotting and cracking better than other types of wood, and are especially effective when paired with rust-resistant metal hardware. Concrete is a material common to public parks and areas because it is almost indestructible and very hard to move. For the home, more consumers prefer lighter materials so picnic tables can be move around at will. Aluminum is a light but durable metal, although other types of metal will work so long as they are coated to deter rust from building. PVC vinyl is another option, and many folks like the look of tempered glass tabletops. But the most eco-friendly and perhaps best choice overall is recycled plastic. Recycled plastic is made using a polyethylene that is both strong and long-lasting. It saves trash from piling up for millennia in landfills, and a lot of tables have cool, modern designs.

Kid picnic tables deserve a mention all their own. They are some of the cutest furniture available for children today. Made from lightweight plastic that has rounded edges to protect from nicks and bumps, these tot tables come in bright cheerful colors. Theyre the ultimate accessory for tiny tea parties and pint-sized picnics. There are also specially designed tables for kids. One type is meant to be a gaming table, whereon classic board games like checkers and backgammon are painted on the tabletop. Another kind are graffiti proof, so no amount of doodling with crayons or paint will permanently stain them.

Picnic tables, in whatever shape or size, bring people together. Whats more important is that they bring people together in comfort. Whether youre at the beach, in the park, or just in your own backyard, get ready to fire up the grill and take out the red-checkered cloth. Summers on its way and lifes a picnic.

About the Author: Tonya Kerniva is an experienced research and free lance writing professional. She writes actively about

Picnic Tables

and

Cedar Patio Furniture

.

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Posted: February 20th, 2018 by

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Four British energy suppliers face investigation into claims of misselling

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Four British energy suppliers face investigation into claims of misselling

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem), the regulator of the electricity and gas markets in Great Britain, has launched an investigation into four of the largest British energy suppliers over suspicions that they not be complying with face-to-face and telephone sales regulations. The four organisations facing scrutiny could be fined up to 10% of their annual turnover if it is found that they are breaking sales regulations. Scottish Power, npower, Scottish and Southern Energy and EDF Energy are all to face questioning by the organisation.

Ofgem has urged customers of the four companies to alert the energy regulator, “if they are concerned about the sales approach any domestic suppliers have taken when selling energy contracts, either face-to-face or by telephone,” according to a statement. “As part of the investigation process Ofgem will examine any evidence of non-compliance and consider whether there are grounds for exercising enforcement powers.”

New regulations on sales tactics by energy suppliers were recently introduced, and, Ofgem has said, energy suppliers must be “proactive in preventing misselling to customers both face to face and over the phone. Also, if suppliers are selling contracts face to face they must provide customers with an estimate before any sales are concluded. In most circumstances customers should also receive a comparison of the supplier’s offer with their current deal.” Only one in five consumers consider energy suppliers to be trustworthy, and 61% of people feel intimidated by doorstep sales people from energy companies. According to the organisation Consumer Focus, “complaints have declined since new rules came into effect this year, but suppliers still seem to be flouting the rules. Some customers are still being given misleading quotes and information, which leave them worse off when they switch provider.”

The newspaper The Guardian has reported that “householders are reporting that sales agents working for the energy suppliers are giving them misleading information and quotes which leave them worse off when they switch supplier.” Consumer Focus has said that if energy companies continue to break the rules, they could be banned from doorstep-selling completely. The report goes on to say that “new figures from helpline Consumer Direct show that while the number of complaints has fallen since last year, about 200 cases of mis-selling are being reported each month.” However, Scottish Power said it insists on “the highest standards possible for all of our sales agents”, and npower told the Financial Times that it was “confident that the processes we have in place mean that we comply with our regulatory obligations”. EDF added that it was “fully compliant with all obligations regarding sales of energy contracts”.

According to the regulator, the obligations are serious and must be followed by energy supplies, or they will face “tougher sanctions than those available under more general consumer protection law.” Ofgem has published a guide advising consumers what they should do should an energy salesperson contact them in person of by telephone. Improper sales tactics are still common in the industry—in 2008 an Ofgem investigation found that 48% of gas customers and 42% of electricity customers were worse off after switching supplier on the doorstep. Npower was fined £1.8 million in 2008 by the organisation, and Ofgem insists that they are “committed to taking action” over improper sales activities by energy companies. “Suppliers have existing obligations to detect and prevent misselling and new licence conditions were brought in following our probe to further increase protection for customers,” said Andrew Wright, a Senior Partner of the regulator. “We expect all suppliers to comply with these tougher obligations but if our investigations find otherwise we will take strong action.”

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What are your experiences with doorstep salespeople? If they persuaded you to change energy providers, were you worse off as a result?
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Head of energy at Consumer Focus, Audrey Gallacher, called the investigation “a welcome step … to address years of customers getting a bad deal on energy prices on their doorstep. While many doorstep sales people will do a good job, the pay and rewards system continues to encourage mis-selling, despite years of regulation and voluntary initiatives. If better advice for customers and enforcement of the tougher rules doesn’t end the flagrant abuse of this form of selling the big question will be whether it should be completely banned.” Christine McGourty, director of Energy UK, which represents the leading gas and electricity companies, said that “the companies involved will collaborate with the Ofgem investigation and are awaiting further details from the regulator. Any sales agent in breach of the code will be struck off the approved energy sales register.” Which? chief executive, Peter Vicary-Smith, has said he considers the situation “shocking”, saying that the investigation “will do nothing to improve consumer trust in energy suppliers. We’re pleased that Ofgem has promised tough measures against any firms guilty of mis-selling. We hope it uses this opportunity to tighten rules around telesales so they are in line with those for face to face sales.”

SNP Westminster Energy spokesperson Mike Weir MP, however, said that the investigation “does nothing to tackle the real problem of fuel prices which leave many Scots facing great difficulty in heating their homes … Rather than tinkering around the edges Ofgem should be looking at how to reduce prices for vulnerable households.” Gareth Kloet, Head of Utilities at Confused.com, one of the UK’s biggest and most popular price comparison services, also welcomed the inquiry. “It is unacceptable for energy companies to mislead customers like this,” he said, adding that Confused.com has previously “urged energy providers to either stop the practice of doorstep selling or make it very clear to households that better deals are available online. There is no reason why door-to-door salesmen can’t show people online deals and even help households switch to them.”

“Our research reveals customers could end up paying £167 more than they need to as door-to-door salesmen are unable to offer the discounts that are applied online. The changes that have been made to date are a welcome addition to safeguard customers; however this review has been much needed for a long time. Hopefully it will mark the end of customers being overcharged and missold,” Kloet continued. “Our message to energy consumers remains the same: they should shop around online to make sure they’re getting the best deal possible and turn these salesmen away.”

Posted: February 20th, 2018 by

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