Huron County OPP is investigating after residents in Goderich, Brussels and Blyth were approached by sales agents employing “unscrupulous tactics” to make a sale, according to an OPP press release.
In the reported cases, the scammers claimed to be employed with legitimate home energy companies. In some of these cases, the sales agents have appeared at the doorstep without identification or a company vehicle.
In many cases, the scammers asked to take a look at the hot water heater tanks. After a quick check, of the tank they said the tanks were in poor repair and needed to be immediately replaced. Other times they asked to review hydro bills in order to offer a deal.
Some of the misleading practices that have been reported to police include:
- Saying the current energy provider is no longer in business and they are taking over the contract;
- Dressing in a uniform to imply they work for a utility provider;
- Saying your hot water tank needs to be replaced by a Canadian product; and
- Showing false safety bulletins claiming the tank needs to be replaced.
Some of the questions people should be asking to avoid being scammed are:
- Who are you and who do you work for?;
- What is the length of the contract? Are there high exit fees to break the contract?; and
- What are the rates? Quite often they are higher than current provider.
Huron County OPP is reminding residents of the following suggestions in an effort to protect residents from being duped:
- There is no obligation to open your door and allow a stranger into your home;
- You never have to provide a copy of your hydro bill on demand;
- Call your current provider to verify claims;
- Never feel pressured to sign a contract; take your time and review it carefully;
- Under the Ontario Consumer Protection Act all consumers have the right to cancel a contract, for any reason if it is within the 10 day “cooling off” period; and
- If you want them to leave, ask them to and if they don’t call police.