I am among the 465,000 Post Office home phone and broadband users who have been collectively sold to Shell Energy, and are to become the firm’s customers.
As a climate activist, I most definitely do not want to become a customer of Shell Energy, something that I did not, and would never have, agreed to.
The Post Office has told me I will have to pay an GBP88 penalty if I wish to cancel my contract and leave.
As I have not changed the terms of my contract – and would have been happy to stay with the Post Office – I can’t see how this is legal.
I suspect that a great many people who signed up with the Post Office won’t want to be Shell customers.
LJ, Milton Keynes
I can imagine that a great many Post Office phone and broadband customers will be in this boat – stuck in a contract with a firm that they didn’t sign up to.
Normally, these deals lack controversy, and customers simply wait until the end of their term, and then switch to a new supplier. However, the climate emergency certainly gives this problem a different dimension.
The regulator, Ofcom, told me that customers have to be allowed to leave a contract without penalty if the supplier makes a change that results in “material detriment”.
Normally, this would mean putting up the price, but being switched to an oil producer would, for some, be detrimental.
Ofcom said it would be up to the Communications Ombudsman to rule on this. However, Shell Energy has told me that you, and others in the same situation, can leave without penalty.
The company, which has set a target to become a net zero emissions business by 2050 or sooner, says the broadband operation will help it achieve this goal by enabling it to “support a more efficient and ultimately cleaner energy grid”, with more connected appliances.
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