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199 posts

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  Reply # 495308 19-Jul-2011 15:13
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gingeralenz: We had some shifty guy come during the day and was hassling my wife to sign offering better deals etc. He came back later in the evening after dark and tried the hard sell on me, wouldnt take no for an answer and had to shut the door in his face while he was still talking. He looked offended when i said not interested! Got to say advertising is really in your face these days.


We've had similar recently, although in our case I wouldn't call the guy shifty - he did very clearly identify himself and show a Mercury ID card. However, he was pretty aggresive in trying to make us change.

The suggested savings obviously sound appealing but I was pretty sure there would be little real world difference at the end of the day (in fact looking now, powerswitch.org.nz suggests that it would be more expensive in our scenario). Normally I like to do my research and then choose my provider based on some careful thought but this guy wanted us to change then and there. I got the spiel about how they have a huge market share in Auckland (I haven't actually checked if that is true), why wouldn't I want to change? I have no idea how that is even remotely relevant to me in Canterbury but ok. I think his line of 'it's up to you, but if you dont like saving money...' must net results because it was used about 3-4 times.

When he realised he wasn't going to get me on price alone, the tactics suddenly changed to their 'wonderful coupon type offers' around the area offering discounts at restaurants / hotels and the like. This just struck me as ridiculous and a clear attempt to bait me with generic & token discounts rather than actually providing market leading service.

Overall I was pretty unimpressed, rightly or wrongly we're sticking with our current provider.

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  Reply # 495316 19-Jul-2011 15:31
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We used the powerswitch website last year and moved from Genesis to Contact, as it said it would be cheaper. However when we got our first contact bill it was many times more expensive than genesis. Contact had signed us up to their business plan, as we operate a small office from the house, and said that was the correct plan for us. The stupid thing is that they did send us advertising that we would save money by switching our electricity to them, as we already had our gas bottles through Contact. So we had to pay the huge bill and then moved back to genesis, where they put us back on the residential plan. So definitely check everything out fully, which can be very difficult, as it is like comparing apples with pears.?

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  Reply # 495318 19-Jul-2011 15:34
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PaulBrislen: I've just blogged about slamming, which is similar to the kind of tactics you're talking about, over at the TUANZ blog (won't link - not trying to drive traffic).

We switched power companies and only then did the pre-provider retention team jump in and start offering us stuff to stay. If they'd bothered to be pro-active and call us even to say "you're on the right plan" we'd not have moved, but they didn't care until it was too late.

Plus I was astounded by the energy they put in - multiple calls, shouting, much angst. Just made my wife even more determined to switch.

I've had a couple of such cold call door knocks over the last 4 years. Both times I've signed up and have ended up with a great deal from my existing supplier coming back with a counter offer. It makes me chuckle a little, I call it lazy marketing - someone else does the leg work and the existing supplier only needs to target those who decide to switch. Everyone who doesn't switch gets a rate rise.

Earlier this year I got a letter from my provider advising the rate was going up nearly 3c/kWh. When mercury cold called about a week later I signed up as their rates looked really good. My existing supplier rang up a week after this and offered to drop my existing rate by a few cents per kWh (to cheaper then mercury) as well as reducing the rort called managed meter charges.

Had to sign up for a year during which time my rate would be locked, which didn't bother me. I looked at pricing comparison websites and was happy I'd made the right decision. My energy bills this year are lower than the same time last year, which makes me very happy, but this could also be an effect of a (so far) milder winter.

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Reply # 495324 19-Jul-2011 15:49
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If in doubt about any communication that you have had with your electricty retailer then you have the right to request ANY recorded information associated with your account. Most Electricity retailers record telephone conversations within their call center so if they record telephone conversations then you will be able to request a copy of the recorded message in order to help your decision making. Remember that if all else fails then there is also the Electricty & Gas complaints comission.


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