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  5. Caution! Growing Number of Consumers Facing Problems concerning Telephone Solicitation for Switching Electricity Retailers

Caution! Growing Number of Consumers Facing Problems concerning Telephone Solicitation for Switching Electricity Retailers

METI recommends consumers be careful with whom they share information with

December 20, 2018

Two years and nine months have passed since the full liberalization of new entry into the electricity retail market started and new entrants began electricity supply to consumers on April 1, 2016.

Since then, the National Consumer Affairs Center of Japan (NCAC) and Consumer Affairs Centers across Japan as well as the Electricity and Gas Market Surveillance Commission (EGC) under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) have constantly been receiving requests for consultations from consumers concerning electricity supply.

In particular, recently, a growing number of consumers are involved in problems caused by telephone solicitation for switching the electricity retailers. In some cases, consumers have received a telephone call from someone claiming to belong to a company that is different from the electricity retailer with which the consumer has a contract. Afterwards, the consumers have found that their contract was switched to a different retailer without their knowledge, intent, or consent.

To urge electricity consumers to take precautions against such problems, METI hereby releases a collection of case examples of consumers’ requests for consultation on telephone solicitation for switching electricity retailers that NCAC, Consumer Affairs Centers across Japan, and EGC have received, and provides advice about how to address these problems.

Examples of consumers’ requests for consultation that NCAC, Consumer Affairs Centers across Japan, and EGC received involving the full liberalization of new entry into the electricity retail market

Case example 1: I received a telephone call from someone who said that he belongs to a major electricity company, and informed him that my customer number of the electricity retailer that I have made a contract with in addition to other personal information. Later, I found that my electricity retailer was switched to a new, unfamiliar one.

Case example 2: I received a telephone call from someone saying that my electricity rates would become lower if I switched electricity retailers and I asked him to send me a brochure about the new retailer. Later, I found that the electricity retailer that I had made a contract with was switched to a new one without my consent. I asked the new retailer to cancel the contract and I was requested to pay a termination charge.

Case example 3: A new electricity retailer charged me higher rates than the rates that the retailer explained to me when I made a contract. I found that the retailer completed a supplemental contract with me without my consent.

Case example 4: I received a telephone call from someone saying that he belongs to an affiliate company of a major electricity company in my area. He invited me to install a smart-meter and asked me to tell him my customer information. Later, I inquired the major electricity company about the telephone call that I had received, and I found that the company have no relation with it.

Division in Charge

Market Surveillance Division, Electricity and Gas Market Surveillance Commission

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