Consumer Ombudsman investigating telemarketing of electricity contracts

Consumer Advisory Services and the Consumer Ombudsman have received numerous notifications from consumers concerning 365 Hankinta Oy, which markets electricity contracts and related power distribution by telephone. The complaints started coming in the spring, and have increased at an accelerating pace in July. According to the complaints, electricity sales contracts have materialised even when consumers have not agreed to the contract that was offered.

Consumers have been invoiced for basic fees for electricity contracts even though they have had valid electricity contracts with a different supplier valid for another year and a half, for example. In such a situation a contract with 365 Hankinta could not take effect until 2022. Many consumers have not received confirmation of the contract from 365 Hankinta or the confirmation has come by mail only after the 14-day withdrawal period had lapsed.

The Consumer Ombudsman has submitted a request for clarification to 365 Hankinta on the company’s telemarketing and contract practices and urges consumers to exercise caution if they receive a call from the company concerning the sale of electricity contracts.  The methods used by 365 Hankinta and the problems are largely the same as the ones involving Fi-Nergy, an electric utility, whose activities led the Consumer Ombudsman to bring the matter before the Market Court for evaluation.

Instructions for the consumer

A consumer has the right to dispute the validity of an electricity contract that has come into existence under questionable circumstances. If you have received a bill from 365 Hankinta Oy or from Nordfin Capital Oy, which handles its billing, take the following action:

  • If 365 Hankinta has not sent a confirmation of the contract, or if the confirmation does not arrive until after the 14-day cancellation period, inform 365 Hankinta that you dispute the validity of the contract. You should also inform your local power grid company that you dispute the contract. If you do this, the system operator will not execute the vendor change. Save the complaint that you have submitted.
  • You can make your case that the contract is invalid by arguing, for example, that you did not specifically accept the contract over the telephone.  Meanwhile, the electricity vendor must have evidence, such as a recording of the telemarketing situation, to show that the contract is valid, and that it has been freely entered into by both parties.
  • If the cancellation period of the contract is in force, inform 365 Hankinta that you want to cancel your electricity contract. In distance selling the consumer always has the right to cancel a contract within 14 days that the agreement has been entered into by telephone.
  • If recovery proceedings are initiated, inform the debt collection company by e-mail that you dispute the debt. Under the law the debt collection company is not allowed to proceed with the recovery if the consumer disputes having an obligation to pay the invoice and submits justifications for this.
  • To help you make a complaint you can utilise the Complaint Assistant. If the problems persist in spite of this, it is best to contact Consumer Advisory Services.