HC Deb 15 May 1996 vol 277 cc948-9
22. Ms Church

To ask the President of the Board of Trade what discussions his Department has had with gas companies about the methods they have used to persuade consumers to switch their custom from British Gas. [28379]

Mr. John M. Taylor

Marketing approaches are a matter for gas companies, subject to the provisions of their licences and normal contract and consumer law. The Office of Gas Supply has produced a range of leaflets for consumers, including one that explains cancellation rights under general law in relation to doorstep sales. Further cancellation rights are provided under the standard licence conditions for gas suppliers.

Ms Church

I thank the Minister for his answer and for the answers that he gave to my hon. Friends the Members for Plymouth, Devonport (Mr. Jamieson) and for Renfrew, West and Inverclyde (Mr. Graham). Will he give an undertaking that, where there have been proven instances of mis-selling of gas by gas companies which have not been fit and proper, compensation will be made available to the consumers who have suffered?

Mr. Taylor

The correct approach for anybody who feels that there has been irregular negotiation of new contracts with alternative suppliers is to report the matter to the local trading standards officer or the Gas Consumers Council, where advice will be readily and sympathetically available.