The mediator receives more and more disputes, a “red card” for Total

In 2020, the energy mediator received nearly 27,000 disputes. – xavier FRANCOLON / SIPA

Disputes related to gas and electricity contracts brought before the energy mediator are always more numerous, with a “red card” particularly addressed to the operator Total Direct Energie, according to a report published on Tuesday.

“In 2020, 27,203 disputes were received by the national energy mediator. This represents an increase of 19% compared to the previous year, after an increase of 35% between 2018 and 2019 ”, indicate the mediator’s services in a press release.

Total Direct Energie, “not up to the task”

The reasons are various: level of disputed invoicing, unexplained termination, deceptive or aggressive commercial practices… In the end, 8,595 disputes were declared admissible by the independent public authority.

“If part of this increase is inherent in an increasingly open market, another part is linked to dysfunctions and bad practices of certain operators”, estimates the mediator. In this regard, he sends a “red card” to the operator Total Direct Energie, which “has not lived up to what one could legitimately expect from the third largest supplier of electricity and natural gas on the market. French market, subsidiary of an international energy group ”.

Sixteen proposals to improve practices

The mediator explains that he was contacted for problems of unissued invoices, the impossibility of obtaining the reimbursement of an overpayment or the termination of a contract by the customers of this supplier. The Italian group Eni remains for its part the worst student of the French market, with the highest rate of litigation, fruit in particular of its recourse to door-to-door sales, “at the origin of abuse of all kinds”.

The mediator had also recently reported to justice the case of a direct seller on behalf of Eni who had drawn up a false gas supply contract for an elderly person residing in nursing homes. The mediator, Olivier Challan Belval, also formulates 16 proposals to improve practices, starting with a stricter framework for sales canvassing, with heavier penalties in the event of misconduct.

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