ACCC takes energy retailer to court over contracts

A SOUTH Australian energy retailer will face court next year after it moved customers to a new contract without telling them first.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission took court action against Energy Australia and its telemarketing company Bright Choice this week.

It alleged that the SA-based company had signed up customers in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland to plans over the telephone without the consumers' knowledge or consent.

The ACCC has alleged the companies breached consumer laws by doing so, and the firms will go to the Federal Court next February on allegations of engaging in misleading or deceptive conduct.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims said regardless of whether a consumer was contacted by phone or at home, consumer laws still applied.

He said the regulators message was "clear", that energy companies must ensure their sales agents did not engage in "unlawful sales tactics".

The regulator is seeking penalties, declarations and costs against both companies in the Federal Court action.

Topics:  accc consumer affairs court energy

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