Spain's Audax slapped with EUR-9.26m fine for alleged illegal customer acquisition
Spanish renewable power and gas supplier Audax Renovables SA (BME:ADX) and its retail subsidiaries have been slapped with a fine totalling EUR 9.26 million (USD 9.03m) for using fraud to acquire household customers from rivals, Spain’s competition regulator CNMC said on Monday.
The subsidiaries were accused of making contact with consumers by posing as their regular power and gas provider, and using various tactics to deceive households into switching to retailers of the Audax group, according to CNMC.
The strategy included telling consumers that their tariffs were up for a renewal. The consumers were offered a discount and assured that they would remain with their regular provider. Then, they were told that they had to switch providers because their regular one either ceased to exist or changed the company name, the antitrust watchdog alleges.
The scheme lasted from January 2018 until October 2021, well after CNMC announced it was launching an investigation into the company's practices.
CNMC said that its investigation found that the group’s misconduct had affected thousands of consumers, including vulnerable ones, and significantly changed the behaviour of the demand in the residential power and gas market.
Audax can file an appeal against CNMC’s resolution to fine within two months, the regulator added. The company said in bourse filing on Monday that it has “solid grounds” to initiate the appeal proceedings.
Sladjana has significant experience as a Spain-focused business news reporter and is now diving deeper into the global renewable energy industry. She is the person to seek if you need information about Latin American renewables and the Spanish market.