>> – illustrative photo.
Prague – About 87 percent of energy brokers that were inspected by the Czech Trade Inspection last year abused the trust of consumers. Merchants most often used deceptive practices, unfair business practices, or did not inform consumers about the possibilities of a complaint. The Czech Trade Inspection (ČOI) informed ČTK about this today. In recent days, the Energy Regulatory Office (ERÚ) has also drawn attention to fraudulent energy traders, so-called energy scammers.
Inspection carried out a total of 15 inspections last year. In 13 of them, it found a violation of the Consumer Protection Act, which is almost 87 percent of the cases. For misconduct, it imposed 24 fines worth 8.84 million crowns. The most cases were in Prague and the Central Bohemia region.
ČOI's inspections focused on the offer and services related to the conclusion of energy supply contracts, especially the content of concluded energy supply mediation contracts. Intermediaries most often used deceptive practices, unfair business practices or did not inform about the possibilities of complaints. In some cases, they violated several rules at the same time.
The inspectorate started most inspections based on consumer submissions. It was clear from them that the providers mainly targeted older people, whom they contacted by phone or visited directly at their place of residence. “They abused their trustworthiness and, through false and incomplete information, tried to get them to sign contracts for the provision of services, or even a power of attorney, on the basis of which they could subsequently take further steps without their knowledge,” ČOI said.
Since last July, the Energy Regulatory Office has taken over supervision of intermediaries from ČOI. Over 800 legal entities or natural persons applied for registration, ERÚ registered 626 of them. In recent weeks, ERÚ also recorded dozens of complaints about so-called energy scams. Consumers alert the authority to, among other things, violations of the ban on door-to-door sales or false or misleading information provided by traders.