One Big Switch fined for false energy discount claims

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Revtech Media, the company behind group-discount website One Big Switch, has paid $25,200 after being penalised by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

The ACCC issued two infringement notices for alleged false and misleading energy price representations between July and November 2017.

One Big Switch advertised a 27 per cent discount for consumers in South East Queensland who switched to Click Energy’s ‘Big Switch Up’ offer.

“The ACCC alleged this representation was false or misleading because calculation of the 27 per cent discount was based on rates under the Big Switch Up offer which were higher than Click Energy’s ‘standing’ offer rates,” ACCC chair Rod Sims said.

One Big Switch also advertised consumers would save up to $372 a year if they switched to Click Energy.

The ACCC alleged 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 ACCC also alleged 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.

“The actual savings for some consumers were much less than the amount advertised by One Big Switch,” Mr Sims said.

“We allege as a result of these claims, consumers were misled into assuming they were getting bigger discounts and savings than they would actually receive.

“Electricity costs are one of the most significant expenses households have to face. “Businesses are reminded that any misrepresentations made to consumers about electricity prices will be met with ACCC action.”

The ACCC recently made a number of recommendations to reduce the price of electricity.