20 C
Byron Shire
October 25, 2021

Origin Energy fined $2m for illegal door-to-door sales

Latest News

#Bigbadbiomass rally at Condong sugar mill

Around 50 people gathered on Friday morning at the big fig tree near the Condong sugar mill to join the world-wide #Bigbadbiomass protest against the use of biomass to create energy and to emphasise that burning biomass is not ‘environmentally friendly’.

Other News

Jeff Johnson calls for generational change at Ballina

The next in our series of interviews with Ballina Council hopefuls for the December election features Cr Jeff Johnson, who is also nominating for mayor after thirteen years service on council.

Stranded local artist shares stories from India

Vrinda Gleeson prepared for her new exhibition in a small London bedsit where she is living until she can return to her Northern Rivers home.

Northern Rivers Mud Trail this weekend

Local ceramic artists will be opening their studios across the Byron, Ballina and Tweed Shires over the weekend, as part of the Northern Rivers Mud Trail.

Cartoon of the week – 20 October, 2021

The letters deadline for The Echo is noon Friday. Letters longer than 200 words may be cut. The publication of letters is at the discretion of the letters editor.

Reclaim Our Future koalas pay a visit to Federal MP

Today Extinction Rebellion Lismore will make sure the federal member for Page hasn’t forgotten about the black summer bushfires and their devastating impact on NSW’s koala population.

Superior to civilisation as we know it

Indigenous folk of the Australian continent existed in superior fashion to civilisation as we know it   My evidence, your Dishonour?   There were no policemen, no wrongful...

Origin Energy has been fined $2 million for using illegal methods in its door-to-door canvassing.
Origin Energy has been fined $2 million for using illegal methods in its door-to-door canvassing.

Origin Energy has been fined $2 million after the Federal Court found it guilty of illegal door-to-door sales.

Federal Court judge Justice Anna Katzmann said Origin and its marketing company SalesForce had exploited vulnerable consumers in their own homes in order to get them to sign energy contracts.

‘In each case the sales representative practised deceptions on the consumers in order to secure their custom,’ she said in her judgment.

‘They preyed on the vulnerable and the ill-informed.’

Justice Katzmann found Origin and SalesForce guilty of unconscionable conduct, undue harassment or coercion, false or misleading representations and in breach of consumer law provisions.

She ordered Origin to pay $2 million in penalties and fined SalesForce $325,000.

Origin, which purchased Country Energy in 2010, has thousands of the former state-owned company’s north-coast customers still on its books.

Origin’s fine was double that slapped on smaller rival EnergyAustralia last week in a similar case.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims said the Origin fine was the biggest yet stemming from a string of recent legal cases launched by the watchdog against energy retailers.

‘This reflects the serious nature of the contravening conduct, including the fact that Origin and SalesForce were held to have engaged in unconscionable conduct and undue harassment or coercion,’ he said on Monday.

The ACCC accused Origin sales representatives or having harassed and coerced 10 people at their homes in NSW, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia in an attempt to get them to sign electricity contracts.

In one case, a sales representative negotiated a contract with a native Tamil speaker, despite being told the person had difficulty understanding English.

In another, a sales representative instructed a woman to say her husband, who was the authorised account holder, had signed an agreement when that was not true.

Origin Energy said it’s prepared to pay the fine and won’t appeal the decision because it did not support such behaviour.

The company stopped door-to-door sales in September, 2013.

Other utilities companies fined for aggressive marketing after action by the consumer watchdog, include Neighbourhood Energy, Australian Power and Gas and AGL.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Can businesses ask for your vax status?

Currently, throughout the business community, we are witnessing uncertainty with respect to business owners asking the question – should we ask customers about their...

Tracking the hardening coast

Researchers are watching our shorelines get harder and simpler.

Recycling polystyrene just got easier at Lismore’s Recycling & Recovery Centre

The Lismore Recycling & Recovery Centre has a new machine that can recycle polystyrene which will help the facility increase the capacity to deal with this earth-wrecking synthetic-aromatic-hydrocarbon-polymer.

4WDs multiplying on Seven Mile Beach?

Beach users in Lennox Head are reporting much higher numbers of 4WDs on Seven Mile Beach recently, along with an increase in hooning behaviour. Since...