Age UK has been caught up in an investigation following claims that the charity has been promoting unfavourable energy deals in return for cash.
Earlier in the month, newspaper The Sun claimed that Age UK had been recommending a special deal that was £245 more expensive than E.ON’s cheapest tariff. The deal recommended would cost pensioners £1,049 for the year according to their investigation, some £245 more than E.ON’s cheapest tariff. The Sun further alleged that Age UK has received around £6m from E.ON in return for promoting the more expensive deal, and that for each person referred to the new deal, Age UK was paid around £41 commission.
Age UK refuted the claims immediately, while E.ON said their tariffs remained competitive with the rest of the industry. A spokesperson for Age UK said “We strongly reject the allegations and interpretation of figures,” further adding that the commission was typically only £10 per customer, not the £41 claimed by The Sun.
However, that investigation is now being followed up by two regulators, Ofgem and the Charities Commission, to get to the bottom of the claims.
The regulators are going to examine the deals made between Age UK and E.ON to see if they are breaking any regulations. Specifically, they are going to look into the promotion of unfair and costly gas and electricity deals for pensioners.
This comes as little surprise, given that over a hundred thousand pensioners rely on Age UK’s energy deal recommendations every year when renewing their contract.
However, the fact that Age UK is receiving a commission for recommending certain energy deals will come as a surprise to many pensioners. 86 year-old Sue Barker, from Sussex, regrets taking out a fixed deal with Age UK.
“I trusted Age UK to recommend to me a good energy deal,” she told us in an email.
“I have very little money to work with on my state pension and I really can’t afford to get an energy bill that is double what I usually pay.”
“The revelations that Age UK is receiving a commission from E.ON explains it all. They appear to be promoting energy deals that aren’t a good deal at all just to make an income.”