E.On sends ‘you’re due to leave us’ letter to dead man

e.on 2German-owned energy giant E.On has been accused of being “insensitive and crass” after sending out a personalised letter to a customer who died nearly a year ago, which attempts to get him to change his mind before he switches to a rival supplier.

Sent to the executor of the man’s estate at his Brighton home which has just been sold, the letter goes on to address the deceased man by his first name and states: “Hi Leonard, you’re due to leave us soon.”

The missive goes on: “You’re due to leave us for another supplier soon – but it’s not too late to change your mind. If there’s anything we can do to make you stay or if you’ve had a change of heart, then please get in touch (you’ll find our contact details at the top of this letter).”

The letter adds: “Didn’t agree to switch supplier? An energy switch can happen for a couple of reasons…if you’re moving or by accident.” The death of a customer is not included.

The man’s nephew, a Decision Marketing reader, who is acting as his executor, said: “This letter is not just insensitive, it is a crass use of personalisation.

“Somewhere in the system, E.On obviously knows its customer has died as the letter is addressed to the executor but then the marketing technology kicks in to use his first name to try to persuade him to stay – even though he died in May last year.

“It does make you wonder how many letters like this E.On sends out each year. Surely a company of this scale – its annual turnover was over €115.6bn last year – would have systems in place to prevent this sort of basic schoolboy error. This is hardly German efficiency at its finest.”

E.On has yet to comment on the issue.

The move follows similar concerns raised by the man’s family about the TV Licensing Authority, which sent out a string of strongly worded “final demand” warning letters to him, nearly six months after he had passed away.

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