How are they mis-selling?
Most people think that brokers simply request and present supplier prices to their clients, but the truth is that it is the brokers that are setting the prices in the first place. The broker always has access to the supplier's base prices and they simply add as much commission onto the rates as they feel they can get away with before presenting it to the client as the best price.
Then for every unit of energy used the broker is earning commissions from the supplier.
The way you work out broker commissions is as follows:
Amount of commission (pence per kWh) X Annual Consumption X Number of years contract will run for / 100 = Commissions
(eg. 1p X 79,500 kWh X 3 years /100 = £2,385 commission)
If you don't believe us, why not ask your supplier what amount was added to your contract by the broker (in pence per kilowatt hour)? Most suppliers will not give this information to the client and will refer you back to the broker even though they are collecting the commissions for the broker every time you pay your bill.
And if there is no regulation in place how can you trust the broker to give you an honest answer? We have seen many examples where the broker has lied when asked this question by their client and had it not been for our pricing knowledge it would have gone unnoticed.
Most brokers recommend long term contracts even though short term contracts are usually the cheapest. This is because the longer they can convince you to fix in for the more they will earn.
In order to increase the commissions they will earn many brokers will tell you that the energy market is volatile and recommend that long term contracts on the basis that they will protect you from rising costs. There is no doubt that the market is volatile, but prices do go up as well as down.
Impartiality and whole of market
A lot of brokers claim that they are impartial, and that they will simply present the best prices from the market. Sadly, a large portion of brokers have commercial relationships and targets with suppliers and are anything but impartial. It's usually the case that the larger the brokers business is then the less likely it is to be impartial as they need a reliable source of revenue to keep their sales teams functioning and they get that by agreeing targets with suppliers.
Very few brokers can claim that they are able to search the whole of the market, this is especially true when they try to secure prices earlier than 6 months from your contract end date as some suppliers will not even offer prices so far out.
For all of the reasons detailed above it is rare for a broker to present the best price. To most people best price means the cheapest contract indiscriminate of duration that they are able to find. Brokers on the other hand want to sell you to whoever will pay them the fastest, pay them the most upfront and who they have commercial targets in place with. Some of the best prices often come from suppliers who do not pay big amounts of upfront commissions, cap commissions and restrict durations of contracts and so these suppliers are rarely presented but clients are none the wiser as they are not energy experts.
Same supplier renewals
The easiest job a broker can do is sell you back to the same supplier you are currently with. This is because if the supplier accepts the contract then there is no way they can lose the contract and the broker is certain to earn their commissions. If a broker switches supplier there is always the chance that somebody else such as another broker or supplier could come in and undercut the deal and keep you with the current supplier meaning the original broker would lose the deal. So, there is much less risk in simply renewing with the incumbent supplier and for this reason a lot of brokers play it safe. It should also be said that sometimes the incumbent suppliers' prices may also genuinely be the cheapest but this can be checked at a later date.