If the TPI uses a third party, it’s their responsibility to make sure that anyone working on their behalf understands and follows this Code.
Any actions of the third party are deemed to be the action and responsibility of the TPI and this is relevant throughout all principles laid out in this Code.
The TPI must keep details of any third parties they use. They must share them with suppliers, regulators, the Code Manager, the Independent Code Panel and their representatives, if asked.
TPI’s must issue any third parties they use with unique identifiers that they must share with suppliers and upon request with the regulators, the Code Manager and the Independent Code Panel and their representatives.
The TPI must have a robust, continuous screening and selection process in place to determine which third parties they choose to use.
TPI’s must have robust recruitment processes to find people with the skills and professionalism to do their job to the high standards required by this Code.
TPI’s must have an effective training programme in place. They must be able to show that all their representatives have gone through a thorough induction and assessment, before they’re allowed to provide services to a customer.
They must also update their training as regularly as required, in line with the latest changes, for example (but not limited to) in the market, laws or regulations.
TPI’s must keep training records for each of their representatives which show they’ve been through regular training and assessments, and when.
TPI’s must make sure that any sales materials they use, including web-based sales tools are written in a simple, accurate and transparent way.
They mustn’t use any false or misleading information – or try to hide or gloss over any facts about which the customer should be made aware.
TPI’s must share copies of their sales material with regulators, the Code Manager and the Independent Code Panel and their representatives, if asked.
They must also share copies of their sales material about suppliers’ products with the relevant supplier.
TPI’s must respect the customer’s right to say no. If a customer says it’s a bad time or they don’t want to talk, the TPI should accept this straight away – and not make a return visit and/or call back if the customer asks them not to.
TPI’s will give the customer full contact details, including a phone number they can call, if they want to get in touch.
The TPI will treat everyone they talk to with the same courtesy and respect, whatever their background, beliefs or abilities. They won’t use sales tactics that make people feel excluded or alienated.
The TPI won’t use high pressure sales tactics to push, force or bully anyone into buying anything.
They will not exploit a person’s inexperience, vulnerability, suggestibility or sense of loyalty to make a sale – and will treat them with sensitivity and respect.
The TPI must keep records of every quote they give out and every sale they make for at least 12 months from the first call or visit – or if a contract is agreed, 12 months after the end date whichever is later).
If the customer agrees a supply contract either in an electronic or paper format, a copy needs to be stored on file for at least the length of the contract.
If there are any issues with the contract, the TPI must get in touch with the customer to resolve them before the contract goes to the supplier. If the supplier rejects a contract, the TPI must let the customer know.
TPI’s must have a fair, transparent and effective system for handling any complaints from customers.
TPI’s are responsible for making sure all their representatives are fully trained on their complaints and escalation procedures.
Any complaints not resolved between the TPI and the customer within 7 days must be escalated to the Code Manager.
Permission must be granted from the customer before any information obtained is shared with the Independent Code Manager.
The TPI must have a system for logging and tracking all customer complaints – and share this information with the suppliers they associate with, regulators, the Code Manager and the Independent Code Panel and their representatives, if asked.
The TPI and Supplier agree to be bound by the Code Manager’s decisions, including compensation.
TPI’s are responsible for making sure they have robust controls and systems in place for making sure their representatives comply with this Code and monitor compliance against the Code.
They must also be able to show proof of these systems to suppliers, regulators, the Code Manager and the Independent Code Panel and their representatives, if asked.
Each year, TPI’s will be expected to submit a self-assessment questionnaire on their compliance to the Code to Suppliers. Any failure to complete this self assessment will be regarded as a breach.
Compliance with this Code is subject to audit and TPI’s will be audited by suppliers signed onto this Code, also the Code Manager or other independent auditors can check them at any time.
Audits will be in line with data protection and subject to commercial confidentiality.
No sensitive or personal information will be sent to or retained by auditors; the Auditor will require visibility of this to complete the audit but this will not be removed from the TPI’s premises.
The TPI will agree service level agreements (SLAs) for responding to requests from auditors – whether a routine or unscheduled audit, from a supplier, regulator, independent auditor, the Code Manager or the Independent Code Panel and their representatives.
TPI’s are responsible for making sure all their representatives (including any third parties they use) know and comply with this Code.
The TPI should also make their customers aware of the Code. They’re also answerable to the suppliers they associate with, external auditors, regulators, the Code Manager and the Independent Code Panel.
The Code Manager will also appoint an independent auditor to audit the Code at least once a year and whenever the Code Manager thinks it is needed.
If a TPI fails to comply with the Code, it will be treated as a breach, either minor or major.
Breaches will typically be identified by direct reporting by the TPI or the supplier, for example complaints made to the supplier, Code Manager or via the Code audit process.
Defined as: a violation of the Code and/or control weakness resulting in potential harm or damage to the customer and/or customers business.
These will be managed between the TPI and supplier who will agree what action to take. The supplier will share information about these breaches with the Code Manager.
Typically minor breaches will be isolated incidents or oversights e.g not giving contact details, mistakes in verification scripts, etc.
Defined as: a violation of the Code and/or control weakness resulting in potential and/or immediate harm to the customer and/or customer’s business; also an illegal and/or fraudulent practice.
These will also be managed between the TPI and supplier and the supplier will report them to the Code Manager straight away.
Typically major breaches will be systemic or repeated breaches of the Code or any evidence of fraud or deliberate manipulation e.g. editing call recordings or evidence of fraudulent changes of tenancy.
An accumulation of minor breaches may also be considered to be a major breach.
The Automated Direct Debit Instruction Service allows Direct Debit Instructions (DDIs) to be electronically transferred between originators and paying banks.
An evaluation of the systems, processes and controls in place that monitor compliance to this code.
A system, process or control that fails to meet the requirements of this code.
The Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008 and subsequent variations which prohibit businesses from advertising products in a way that misleads traders and sets out conditions under which comparative advertising, to consumers and business is permitted.
A Change of Tenancy is where ownership or occupation of a site is transferred from one legal entity to another and it is proposed that the energy supply will be transferred to another legal entity. A site will always be under the responsibility of a legal entity; if a site is vacant, responsibility lies with the landlord and/or owner of the site.
The Independent party who administrates, supervises and manages the day-to-day running of the code.
A payment made to a TPI by the supplier a contract has been agreed with, either in the form of a one-off payment or uplift on price.
Defined as “any expression of dissatisfaction” by a customer towards their TPI or activities by a TPI.
The process where a supply contract is presented by a TPI on behalf of their customer to a supplier.
Any business falling outside OFGEM’s “Micro Enterprise” definition.
A central opt out register where corporate customers can register their wish not to receive unsolicited sales and marketing telephone calls to either all their organisation’s telephone numbers, or to certain numbers. It is a legal requirement that companies do not make such calls to numbers registered on the CTPS.
The agreement between a TPI and their customer to provide them with their services.
A person who (either alone or jointly or in common with other persons) determines the purposes for which and the manner in which any personal data are, or are not to be, processed.
A set of requirements that a company follows to determine how long it should keep records.
The regulations which implement the Directive of the European Parliament concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector.
An electronic version of the paper contract which can be emailed to the customer.
A body of legislations that governs the relationship between employer and employees.
The process of informing the Code Manager of a complaint that has not been resolved between the TPI and their customer within the set time line.
A panel of independent professionals who are responsible for confirming final sanction decisions and taking an overview of the Code.
The UK’s independent authority set up to uphold information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.
A central opt-out register where customers can register their wish not to receive unsolicited mail.
The key components of a contract which must be presented by the TPI to the customer before the customer enters into a legally binding contract, also known as the “Principal terms”.
A person or organisation who act on behalf of a property owner and who may use a TPI for procuring their supply contracts.
The capture of customer’s preferences whether they wish to receive marketing information from a TPI through any channel.
Has the meaning given to “relevant consumer” (in respect of premises other than domestic premises) in article 2(1) of The Gas and Electricity Regulated Providers (Redress Scheme) Order 2008.
The Office of Gas and Electricity Market that regulates the electricity and gas markets in Great Britain.
An agreement made on a printed document that has been signed by both TPI and the customer and is legally binding.
Public authorities or government agencies responsible for exercising autonomous authority within the Energy market, e.g. Ofgem and the Office of Fair Trading.
A supply contract submitted to a supplier that is not compliant with the suppliers requirements and therefore returned to the TPI.
Refers to any person(s) that represents the TPI directly (uses the TPI’s business name), such as employees, telesales agents, field agents, account managers, etc; whether employed directly or by self-employed agreement.
Timescales for processes agreed between the TPI and their stakeholders, for example suppliers and the Code Manager.
Small and Medium Enterprises.
The licence condition in gas and electricity supply licences which regulates the sales and renewals of micro business energy contracts.
The license condition in the gas and electricity supply license that states the standards of conduct that suppliers work to with their customers.
A legal and binding contract between a TPI’s customer and a supplier for the supply of gas and/or electricity to business premises.
A central opt-out register where customers can register their wish not to receive unsolicited calls.
Another person or company working on behalf of the TPI, such as sub-brokers and aggregators, to sell supplier products.
A Third Party Intermediary acting on behalf of a customer, using a letter of authority, regarding their energy supply, also includes third parties the TPI uses (for example Sub-Brokers).
A document that a customer signs or a script read and recorded which gives authority to the TPI to act on their behalf. Letters of Authority can be of restricted or full scope.
An agreement that is spoken between the TPI and customer and recorded (e.g. a telephone conversation) and is legally binding.
A form of words provided by a supplier which must be read by the TPI to their customer prior to them verbally agreeing a supply contract.
This refers to a business property that has a residential element and where there an individual or individuas that have a reliance on an energy supply for their well-being.