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Complainant Name:
Patrick Newell

Clauses Noted: 1, 4

Publication: The Mail on Sunday

Complaint:

Patrick Newell complained to the Press Complaints Commission, on behalf of Business Energy Solutions Ltd, that the newspaper had breached Clauses 1 (Accuracy) and 4 (Harassment) of the Editors' Code of Practice. The complainant considered that the newspaper had published articles which may have misled readers as they: included details of unsubstantiated allegations against the company; stated, wrongly, that the company had not complied with certain legal requirements; contained erroneous descriptions of the purpose of the business, contracts it had entered into and its legal responsibilities; and misquoted the company spokesperson.

Resolution:

The complaint was resolved when the newspaper ran the following letter in print and alongside all six online articles that it had published about the company:

Your articles about Business Energy Solutions (BES) including those on February 26 and March 11 have been unbalanced and inaccurate and your continued pursuit of us is tantamount to harassment. BES is a successful and reputable energy supply company. You describe us as "controversial" suggesting wrongdoing yet there is no evidence to support this. Like almost all suppliers, we rely on independent brokers to contract with customers and we make every effort to regulate their practices to ensure ethical and honest selling. But ultimately we have no control over their sales forces. We operate in a highly regulated market under the authority of Ofgem which is presently investigating five of the "big six" energy firms for "poor customer service, mis-selling and dodgy pricing". BES has operational controls beyond Ofgem's requirements yet we have never been the subject of any formal Ofgem investigation in the seven years we have held a supply licence.

Date Published: 21/09/2012



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