Not all cold calls are the same

25 November 2020

Not all cold calls are the same

Like many small businesses across the UK, the Teens Unite office receives many cold calls every week from companies claiming that they can save us money on our utility bills.  Many of these calls are from agencies and brokers whose advisors are little more than salesmen of little integrity, who are seeking to baffle consumers and tie them in to contracts that benefit the suppliers rather than the consumer.

However, when we were contacted by Guild Energy, our view of this market was changed.

We were originally contacted by Guild by phone to see if they he could find us a cheaper deal on our gas and electricity supplier.  As said, cold calls of this nature are frequent in our office, and for the most part, we tend to very quickly say “thank you, but no thank you”.  However, when Guild first made contact, there was something in their manner which meant that we were open to a conversation with them.

Their first call was not a direct attempt to immediately “sell” us a better contract.  They took some time to ask questions about who we are and what we do.  They took time to ask about the office that we work from, its size and our use of energy.  They suggested that we get together our most recent statements and then booked a call for a second conversation, which given this approach, we were happy to do.

In the second call it became clear that we were tied into a lengthy contract with high unit prices for our gas, and our electricity was again tied for a number of years, but thankfully at good prices. In our experience, at this point other consultants would have left the call as there was potentially nothing in it for them.  However, Guild genuinely wanted to help the Charity and understand why the bills were so high.  They also wanted to review the sale and see if everything had been done in line with the regulations – clearly wanting to improve the reputation that some have created for the industry.

The issues that came to light are complex for someone who does not work in the industry.  Our meter was registered incorrectly with Transco, our consumption was registered as exceptionally high, and we were paying both a Climate Change Levy and 20% VAT.  The advisor from Guild was very patient, explained what we needed to do to ensure we paid both the right level of VAT, and were able to make a claim for the past overpayment. They helped us to remove the letter of authority from the account and to obtain copies of the original sales calls to challenge whether the contract was created legitimately.

Even knowing that there was a possibility that we would remain tied into a contract with our current, the Guild advisor was exceptionally generous with his time.  He offered support throughout this process, he shared his vast knowledge (but delivered in such a way as we could understand).  Their advisor is a man of integrity, always doing what he promised he would.  He kept us informed throughout, and maintained regular contact updating us when he heard from his contacts.

Guild’s advisor helped us to secure a very significant refund from our supplier for overpayment, which would not have even known about had Guild Energy not made their initial call.  We were also due a significant refund from the HMRC, and are now assured that future billing will be accurate and appropriate.

Unfortunately, we remain tied into the contract as we were unable to overturn this. However, when the current contract ends, we will be in contact and will move our utilities to Guild Energy.  And, because of the way that this was handled we would have no hesitation in recommending Guild Energy the business owners in our network.

We are extremely grateful to Guild Energy for helping to secure such a significant refund.  For a small Charity, this is incredible and will help us enormously in our work to bring together more of the seven young people aged 13-24 who, every day in the UK, hear the words “you have cancer”.

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