Damning report from MPs
Regulators urged to investigate ScottishPower
It is claimed the company failed to fulfil a cashback promise made to thousands of customers who bought a warranty through a company called PowerPlan.
A cross-party group of 28 MPs took evidence from some of the 625,000 consumers across the UK – many of them pensioners – who say they were entitled to a total of £75 million in compensation.
The warranties were sold between 1998 and 2001. However, by then ScottishPower had sold the chain of electrical retail stores to Powerhouse, which subsequently went into administration.
Two firms which administered and insured the warranties also went bust, and attempts by their administrators to claim money from ScottishPower yielded only £6m of the money the claimants say is due.
With ScottishPower refusing to give evidence, the inquiry has dragged on but the MPs are now calling for a formal Select Committee hearing so that executives of the company can be called to account before Parliament.
Launching the report, the chairman of the group, Andrew Percy (pictured), said; “Over the past year this group has been compiling evidence from many sources, including liquidators, regulators, former customers and employees on how this came to pass.
“We have been shocked by the complete lack of uptake by regulators and authorities to date, and I expect this report to make them sit up and take notice.
“It is high time they [ScottishPower] were held accountable and I look forward to taking this report to our meeting with the Minister next week. I am sure he will agree with our assessment.”
Alan Campbell, the whistleblower who originally brought the claims to the attention of Parliament and who has fought relentlessly for ScottishPower management to answer for their actions, said; “I’ve spent the past five years fighting to get this issue the attention it deserves – all in the face of ongoing legal threats and smear attempts from ScottishPower. I’m incredibly grateful to the MPs.
“This group has now seen with their own eyes an evidence trail that stretches back to the late-1990s and drawn their own conclusions.”
He noted that ScottishPower has not attended any of the evidence sessions.
“I only hope that now in light of this report that Parliament acts to drag ScottishPower out into the open to truly account for themselves.”
He has launched a Government e-Petition.
ScottishPower has previously rejected any suggestion of improper conduct and said it intends to defend strongly any claim made against it.
Daily Business has followed this story for several months. See our archive here.