According to a recentfrom the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission ("the ACCC") Revtech Media, the company behind group discount website One Big Switch, has paid penalties of $25,200 after the ACCC issued two for alleged false and misleading energy price representations.
The alleged offences took place between July and November 2017, where One Big Switch advertised a 27 percent discount for consumers in South-East Queensland who switched to Click Energy’s “Big Switch Up” offer.
One Big Switch also advertised that consumers would save up to $372 a year if they switched to Click Energy. The ACCC alleged that the advertised savings were false or misleading because they were based on a comparison between Click Energy’s discounted market offer and the undiscounted “standing” offers of EnergyAustralia, Origin and AGL.
The discount on offer from One Big Switch was based on rates that were higher than Click Energy's standard rates. The rates were increased then a discount was applied.
The ACCC also alleged that One Big Switch did not know what a particular customer was paying under their current plan with another retailer, and so did not have reasonable grounds to estimate the savings which could be achieved by switching.
ACCC Chair Rod Sims said of this matter:
Speaking to the, Mr Sims explained that many customers of Click's competitors were getting much better pricing, making any potential savings smaller:
In a statement made to the, RevTech Media said it:
It is to be noted that the payment of a penalty specified in an Infringement Notice is not an admission of a contravention of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) (the “Act”) as the ACCC can issue anwhere it has reasonable grounds to believe a person has contravened certain provisions of the Act or the Australian Consumer Law (the “ACL”).
In March 2017, the(the “Inquiry”) commenced and started by identifying the root causes of high electricity prices across the entire electricity supply chain. The final report from the Inquiry examines the many causes of problems in the electricity market and sets out 56 recommendations that will bring down prices and restore consumer confidence and Australia’s competitive advantage.
On 11 July 2018, the ACCC released itsinto the Inquiry, with its aim to significantly improve electricity affordability for Australian consumers and businesses, with the Report noting at page 234 that:
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