NI Customer Codes of Practice

Marketing Code of Practice

Overview

Vayu Limited (“Vayu”) is a supplier of natural gas and electricity to business Customers.  We offer businesses real alternative to other energy suppliers currently in Northern Ireland. The aim of any marketing campaigns undertaken by Vayu is to:

  • Win new Customers
  • Communicate clearly with our existing Customers
  • Promote awareness of the Vayu brand
  • Compete with other energy suppliers in Northern Ireland.

Set out in this code of practice on marketing and sign up (the “code”) are the rules by which Vayu governs itself and its employees regarding any marketing procedures to protect our Customers against unwanted, unfair or misleading marketing methods.  Within the Code are the following conditions:

  • Vayu will adopt a transparent and fair approach to the marketing of our products and services. This includes printed material, information on websites, twitter and LinkedIn and in the manner in which we sign up Customers.  No Vayu representative shall provide misleading information nor shall we apply any undue pressure on any person in order to gain/retain business.
  • Vayu will prepare marketing material that is legal, decent and truthful. This material will be jargon free, easy to understand, accurate and clearly states the product on offer and the time period it covers.
  • Vayu does not currently offer tariffs to Customers, but if we did so in future, the information on the comparison of these tariffs would be displayed based on unit rates or standing/fixed charges or discounts to those of our competitors, which will be dated to show when all tariffs were in place. Any comparison made will be done on a like for like basis and Customers will also be made aware that competitor tariffs and charges are subject to change.  If Vayu is aware that competitor tariffs are due to change within 3 months of the comparison, we will notify Customers of this.
  • Vayu will highlight on any sales/marketing material and make Customers aware that components of a fixed rate charge are, or could be, subject to change.
  • In all circumstances where Vayu’s marketing material or literature states that a Customer may save money if they switch to Vayu the literature will provide a comparison which will be clear and transparent with the Customer’s current unit rates including and excluding VAT.
  • If Vayu offers a Customer a discount on a tariff or on that of a competitor, those discounts will clearly set out any difference in all charges, including any standing charges the Customer will have to pay.
  • Vayu will ensure that our employees or agents employed on our behalf, do not misrepresent the company or portray competitors in a negative or inaccurate way. Furthermore, Vayu’s employees or agents will not exploit a person’s inexperience or vulnerability when sending marketing material to a potential/current Customer.

Marketing Information

Vayu will carry out marketing activity using one or more of the following channels:

  • Telesales
  • Face-to-face selling/contact
  • Email, SMS and social media (eg. twitter, linkedIn)
  • Direct mail campaigns
  • Print advertising
  • Online advertising.
  • Inbound telephone calls
  • Website

Telesales

Upon making a marketing related telephone call, the Vayu employee will clearly state as soon as practicably possible:

  1. His/her name;
  2. Vayu’s name;
  3. The purpose of the call; and
  4. Contact number (if requested by Customer).

If, at any time during the call, the Customer does not wish to continue with the call, the caller will cease the phone call immediately without attempting to change the Customers mind.

If told that the Customer does not wish to be contacted again by Vayu for telesales, Vayu will adhere to this and place the Customer on their ‘not for contact list’.

Vayu will exercise reasonable judgement outside the Customers normal business hours before contacting the Customer.  Vayu will follow up to the telephone contact by:

  1. Providing a copy of our Customer Sign Up Checklist (for the Customer to keep) prior to the commencement of the sales pitch. This is to ensure the Customer Vayu has followed the correct procedure. (see appendix A);
  2. Providing the Customer, where applicable, in writing or by means of electronic display, the unit rate which the Customer will be charged for all products;
  3. Where Vayu state we may be able to save Customers’ money, we will provide clear and transparent information that illustrates the offering adequately and any potential savings quoted on energy supply, if they switch from their current supplier to Vayu. Vayu employees or agents will provide a comparison with the Customer’s current unit rate (including current discounts given), in writing or by electronic display;
  4. Where the Customer enters into an energy supply contract with Vayu, the employee will provide the Customer with a copy of the written unit rate(s), where applicable, in writing or by means of an electronic format.

Regardless of whether a Customer sign up has occurred or not, Vayu will maintain records for not less than 2 years, including the date of contact with the Customer.

Face-to-Face Selling/Contact

Vayu will often engage a Customer in person or at a Customer’s premises, generally by appointment. However, if this occurs without a prearranged appointment and if the Vayu employee(s) in question has not previously visited the Customer’s premises, we will:

  1. Be courteous and professional at all times;
  2. Produce an identity card detailing their full name, a photograph, Vayu’s name, address and contact details;
  3. Inform the Customer what is the purpose of the visit/contact and enquire if the Customer wishes to proceed with the visit;
  4. Leave the premises/cease contact with the Customer if he/she does not want to continue further with the visit/contact;
  5. Not call on any premises where there is a message prominently displayed in the form of a visible, clearly worded unambiguous notice that the company does not wish to receive uninvited doorstep sales callers;
  6. Exercise judgement and common sense when it comes to contacting Customers outside of normal business hours (Vayu are aware that business hours do vary between business consumers); and
  7. Will take all reasonable steps to ensure the Customer receives written information by post or electronically within 7 days of entering into the energy supply agreement.

Email, SMS and Social Media

Vayu may market to Customers through on-line advertising, email, SMS, twitter and linkedIn for direct marketing purposes. Where we state we may be able to save you money we will provide clear and transparent information in line with appropriate regulations.

Email

Where Vayu markets to a Customer via email, Vayu will provide the following information in the email:

  1. Vayu’s name and address;
  2. Vayu’s email address or any other form of electronic contact;
  3. Vayu’s contact phone number;
  4. An easy and free method to be removed from any future marketing via email (unsubscribe link).

SMS

Where Vayu markets to a Customer via SMS, we will provide the following information in the SMS:

  1. Vayu’s name;
  2. An easy and free method of unsubscribing/removing the Customers mobile number from any future marketing via SMS; and
  3. Vayu’s contact phone number.

Social Media

 Where Vayu markets to a Customer via twitter or linkedIn, we will provide the following information:

  1. Vayu’s name and address; and
  2. Vayu’s twitter and linkedIn address.

If told that by the Customer they do not wish to be contacted again by Vayu through social media, we will adhere to this and place the Customer on our ‘not for contact list’.

Direct Mail Campaigns

  • Where Vayu markets a Customer via direct mail, we will ensure all marketing material and information is legal, decent and truthful. It will be jargon free, easy to understand, accurate and clearly states the product on offer and the time period it covers.
  • Vayu does not usually offer tariffs to Customers, but if we did so in future the information on the comparison of these tariffs and charges to those of our competitors will be dated to show when all tariffs were in place. Any comparison made will be done on a like for like basis and Customers will also be made aware that competitor tariffs and charges are subject to change. If Vayu is aware that competitor tariffs are due to change within 3 months of the comparison, we will notify customers of this.
  • Where applicable, if Vayu offers a Customer a discount on a tariff or on that of a competitor, those discounts will clearly set out any difference in all charges, including standing any charges the Customer will have to pay
  • Vayu will highlight on any sales literature and make Customers aware that components of a fixed rate charge are, or could be, subject to change
  • If told that by the Customer they do not wish to be contacted again by us through a direct mail campaign we will adhere to this and place the Customer on our ‘not for contact list’
  • Vayu do not currently offer dual fuel bundle tariffs to Customers, but if we did so in the future, the tariffs (gas and electricity) will be shown separately with additional components of the tariff.

Inbound Telephone calls

Vayu will follow up inbound calls by providing a copy of our Customer Sign Up Checklist (for the Customer to keep) prior to the completion of the sales process.  This is to ensure the Customer, that Vayu has followed the correct procedure (see appendix A).

Where a sale is made via inbound calls Vayu will not exploit the caller’s vulnerability, credulity, loyalties or intimidate the Customers in an attempt to restrict their ability to make an informed choice.  Vayu’s representative will not give any misleading information and will not use high pressure tactics or make false assumptions, in particular over potential savings.

Vayu does not offer fixed tariffs, but for differently composed pricing such as tiered unit charges, time of day charges, fuel price pass through, wholesale price pass through and all other relevant required information will be clearly displayed.

In the event of a sale/sign up or even no sale is made, Vayu will maintain records for not less than 2 years including the date of contact with the Customer.  Any material shown to the Customer will be maintained, including written information sent to the Customer.

Website

Vayu will follow up the website query by providing a copy of our Customer Sign Up Checklist (for the Customer to keep) prior to the completion of the sales process.  This is to ensure the Customer, Vayu has followed the correct procedure (see appendix A).

Vayu does not offer fixed tariffs, but for differently composed pricing such as tiered unit charges, time of day charges, fuel price pass through, wholesale price pass through and all other relevant required information will be clearly displayed.

In the event of a sale/sign up or even no sale is made, Vayu will maintain records for not less than 2 years including the date of contact with the Customer.  Any material shown to the Customer (via the website) will be maintained including written information sent to the Customer.

Vayu’s website will ensure the details of how the Customer’s account information may be used and raised with respect to debt flagging, is clearly set out in the sign up form and within the sign up process.

Contractual Arrangements

In the event that a sale is made to a Customer using any of our marketing activities, Vayu will clearly state on the application form that the Customer is entering a legal binding contract and the word ‘contract’ is adjacent to where the Customer signs.  Vayu will take all reasonable steps to ensure the Customer receives written information within 7 days of entering into the energy supply contract, which will state the principal terms and conditions of the contract including fixed term conditions, duration, any applicable exit fees and any other specific conditions of the contract.  If applicable, the written information will state the proposed unit rates and any comparison given by our sales representative and state the expected date of commencement of supply.  Where the Customer indicates that they are not content to have entered into an energy supply contract, Vayu will take reasonable steps to ensure the contract is ended and Vayu will not supply the Customer. Vayu will inform the Customer of the standard sales checklist and that this will be sent out to them as part of their written information.

Privacy and Data protection

Vayu respects the privacy of our Customers and potential Customers. If at any time a Customer or potential Customer indicates to us orally, in writing, via email or any other means that they no longer wish to be contacted for marketing purposes, we will log their request and remove the Customer from our marketing database. If requested by the Customer, we will also provide a Customer with written proof they have been removed from our marketing database.

Vayu, in accordance with the Data Protection Act, 1998 will treat in confidence any personal information collected for marketing purposes. Any information that is collected will not be made available to third parties except in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.

Special Promotions

Where Vayu offers special promotions on our products and services, we will make the current or potential Customer aware of any time limits that are associated with the promotion. We will also bring to the attention of our current or potential Customers of any changes in conditions that will occur once the period of the special promotion elapses or any additional terms, conditions or charges which may be associated with the promotion in advance of the Customer signing up for it. 

Prior to signing up a Customer, we will make clear to the Customer if there are any intended changes in tariffs or terms and conditions, which will come into effect once the promotional period has ended. If charges are not known at the time of sign up, Vayu will notify the Customer in advance of any changes, no less than 30 days before the changes come into place or in line with terms and conditions set out in the supply agreement.

Recruitment and Training

Vayu has procedures in place for the selection of all staff and these procedures are compliant with current employment legislation.

Once a representative ceases to be employed by Vayu, Vayu recovers the representative’s ID card as part of Vayu’s exit procedure.

Vayu is ISO 9001:2008 certified in its recruitment processes.  Vayu is an equal opportunities employer and employs individuals on a non-discriminatory basis.  All new staff complete Induction Training on commencement of employment in Vayu and each member of staff undertakes on-going training with regard to Vayu’s obligations as a supplier and changes to the market, products and services, legislation and regulation.  Staff training details are recorded and filed on employees’ files by the human resources department.  Vayu’s recruitment process ensures that the knowledge and skills required to fulfil the role are taken into account.

Staff training details are recorded and filed on employees’ files by the human resources department and are ISO 9001:2008 certified.  Vayu’s ongoing internal training endeavours to ensure it is effective and that up to date details and knowledge are imparted to all staff.

Vayu’s employees are made aware at all times of the up to date standard customer contract terms and conditions.  In the event that a Customer cancels or terminates a contract, our operational processes contain Vayu’s cancellations process details which cover:

  • Managing Gas Supply: Gas Termination Process
  • Managing Electricity Supply: Electricity Termination Process

In the event of a Customer complaint, Vayu’s Complaints and Queries Process documents the procedure for handling Customer complaints.

Vayu does not tolerate any form of mis-selling or deliberately giving false information to a Customer and our disciplinary procedures contain details of the consequences of breaching these rules.

Appendix A 

Customer Sign Up checklist

Upon signing up a new Customer, through a sales representative or Vayu’s website we will:

  1. Ensure the Customer understands that they are entering an agreement with Vayu and not any other supplier;
  2. Confirm that person opening the account has the authority to enter the agreement at the business in question;
  3. Explain to the Customer what products are available to them and the charges associated with each product;
  4. Clarify any discounts related with chosen products and if applicable how they will be applied;
  5. Explain how the Customer will be billed and the frequency of billing;
  6. Explain how the Customer can make a payment against the bill;
  7. Explain the length of the agreement;
  8. Confirm that the Customer understands fully that, where applicable, they are switching to a specified product and payment method. Clarify with the Customer any difference in charges due to the use of a particular payment method;
  9. Explain any deposits or charges associated with the chosen product;
  10. Ensure that the details of how a Customer’s account information may be used with respect to outstanding debts are clearly set out within the sign up process. Explain to the Customer how debt flag or an objection to a change of supplier may be raised against the Customer’s account;
  11. Provide the Customer with a copy of the relevant documentation include terms and conditions and the rates that apply to the product they chose within a reasonable timeframe
  12. Explain any penalty that may apply if the Customer does not meet the terms and conditions of the supply agreement;
  13. Provide the Customer with details of any cooling off period that may be offered and, if applicable, information on how the Customer can cancel switching to Vayu within that cooling off period;
  14. Explain to the Customer how switching suppliers works.
  15. Confirm that the Customer has read and understood this checklist.

In the case of face-to-face selling/contact, a Vayu sales representative will show the Customer their identification card and tell you which supplier they are working for.

If you believe a member of Vayu’s team has acted inappropriately or you would like to confirm any aspect of your new account you can contact our customer service team at:

Vayu Ltd, 24-28 Tara Street, Dublin 2. Tel: 01+353 (0) 1 8849400 Email: info@vayu.ie

 Below is a link to Northern Ireland EU Consumer Checklist

EU Consumer Checklist Northern Ireland Customers

Code of Practice on the efficient use of electricity and gas

In order to promote the efficient use of electricity/gas by its Customers, Vayu will make available information and advice on how to more efficiently use electricity/gas. This will be communicated to Customers upon request by way of face-to-face meetings, e-mail or in writing detailing suggested tips and steps to be taken to use electricity/gas more efficiently.

Customers can call Vayu on +44(0)289073 5883 or +353(0)1 884 9400 who will be able to give you information on various efficiency measures, including:

  • Information regarding controls and use of heating systems that help the Customer to use electricity/gas more efficiently;
  • Reports on the time of use and wastage, made available to the Customer to help them improve their efficiency levels;
  • Relevant information, or facilitate access to persons with the required knowledge, regarding efficient appliances suitable to the Customers line of business;
  • Information, to the extent that Vayu is aware, regarding other organisations where Customers may obtain additional information or assistance about:
  • measures to improve the energy efficiency levels;
  • the availability of financial assistance from relevant Government bodies in respect of the costs of any such measures.

Examples of such organisations or Government bodies and what they provide are listed below:

  1. The Carbon Trust is a world-leading organisation helping businesses, governments and the public sector to accelerate the move to a low carbon economy through carbon reduction, energy-saving strategies and commercialising low carbon technologies.
    http://www.carbontrust.com/client-services/northern-ireland
  2.  nidirect aims to make it easier to access government information and services, including energy efficiency grants. It does this by working closely with Northern Ireland Government departments and other public bodies to collate key information based on users’ needs.
    http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/energy-efficiency-grants
  3.   Energy Saving Trust which is concerned with the domestic green economy.
    http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/northern-ireland/organisations
  4. The Enhanced Capital Allowance (ECA) Scheme is a key part of the Government’s programme to manage climate change. It provides businesses with enhanced tax relief for investments in equipment that meets published energy-saving criteria. This website provides background information about the scheme and its benefits.
    https://etl.decc.gov.uk/etl/site.html

Code of Practice on Complaints Handling Procedure

Vayu strive to effectively and transparently resolve a customer complaint in a timely fashion. It may happen that a customer will have cause to complain about some aspect of their energy supply or the invoicing process.

Vayu’s gas and electricity supply agreements contain references to the Code of Practice in place for dealing with complaints and disputes. These are also available on http://www.vayu.ie/northern-ireland/.

We are absolutely committed to providing the highest possible standard of customer service, which includes a fair and prompt mechanism for dealing with Customer complaints and disputes. This is available to all Customers free of charge. Vayu’s Customer facing staff are provided with training to enable them respond effectively to any complaints or disputes, which also includes explaining the role and contact details of the Consumer Council.
The support and complaint resolution process is outlined below:

  • Customer account management is the responsibility of the Customer Service team.
  • An individual account manager will be assigned to large customers and will be responsible as first point of contact for dealing with any complaints.
  • The contact details for the account managers will be provided to each customer on signing the Vayu contract.
  • The account manager will respond to the initial complaint within 3 working days to acknowledge receipt of the complaint and to agree a response time with the customer for resolution of the complaint.
  • It is intended that if Vayu can resolve the complaint internally that all complaints will be resolved within 5 working days of acknowledgement.
  • Details of each complaint will be logged and a case number will be assigned to ensure progress is monitored. The details of each complaint will be retained for a period of two (2) years. Vayu will report complaints in line with the Utility Regulator’s Retail Energy Market Monitoring complaints procedure.
  • The steps Vayu will complete on receipt of a complaint will be to record:
    1. The date the complaint was received
    2. In what format the complaint was made (oral/written)
    3. The identity and contact details of the relevant person making the complaint or on whose behalf the complaint is made
    4. A summary of the complaint
    5. A summary of any advice given or action taken
    6. Whether the complaint was resolved and if so an explanation of why it is deemed resolved.
    7. The date the complaint was resolved.
    8. If the complaint remains unresolved, the supplier must record the date that the consumer was advised that they may pursue the complaint through the Consumer Council.
  • If the nature of the complaint involves a third party such as Firmus Distribution or Phoenix Distribution then the resolution will be subject to the operation of their complaint treatment process.
  • Vayu commit to keeping the customer fully informed at every stage of the process.
  • Depending on the nature of the complaint or dispute the Customer may be entitled to one of the following remedies:
    1. An apology
    2. An explanation
    3. The taking of appropriate remedial action by Vayu
    4. If you believe that we have not adhered to the commitment(s), there may be certain circumstances where you are entitled to a compensation payment of Stg£25 and if it has been agreed that you are due a refund, we will issue a credit note within 10 working days.

If at any point in the process the customer wishes to escalate the complaint they may contact the Customer Service Manager. The details of how to contact the Customer Service Manager are outlined below:

    • Customer Service Manager
      Vayu Limited
      The Mount
      2 Woodstock Link
      Belfast
      BT6 8DDEmail: info@vayu.ie
      Phone: +353-1-884 9400 or +44-28-9073 5883
  • If the Customer believes that the resolution provided by the Vayu process is unsatisfactory they then have the option of referring the complaint to the Consumer Council for Northern Ireland (“CCNI”). The CCNI can be contacted by writing to:
  • Where the Consumer Council has not been able to resolve the Customer complaint to their satisfaction, they can refer the billing matter to Northern Ireland Authority for Utility Regulation, which can be contacted in writing to:
    • The Northern Ireland Authority for Utility Regulation
      Queens House
      14 Queen  Street
      Belfast
      BT1 6ED
      Email: info@uregni.gov.uk
      Phone:  +44 (0) 28 9031 1575

In addition, if the Customer is not satisfied that their dispute has been resolved they retain the right to settle the matter by going to court.