Tuesday, 22 March 2011

How energy brokers make life even tougher for small firms

Here's something many of the country's smallest businesses might identify with.

You're busy just trying to keep your head above water, so when you get a call from a supposed expert who says he can get you a better energy deal, you welcome the news. Afterall, you don't have the time to wade through the many complex electricity and gas tariffs.

What you might not know is that the so-called expert may be a broker who hasn't read through all the different tarrifs either and, worse, is being paid commission by the energy supplier he'll recommend.

It's a situation that must change, says Consumer Focus in its report Watching The Middlemen.

Brokers are important because they can guide a busy business through the range of complex tariffs, says the watchdog. Often, it will be a direct approach from a broker that makes a micro-business realise they could get a better deal.

But the report highlights some serious problems. One of the most common is that brokers often aren't clear about their role or don't explicitly say that they do not have to search the whole market for the best deal.


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