Who’s that knocking at your door?

April 15 2007 by Ellen Roseman

If they tell you about great savings on natural gas or electricity and they want to look at your utility bills, shut the door….quickly.

I’m not against locking in a long-term price for energy (and I did it myself once), but I don’t trust door-to-door sellers of energy contracts. Too often, according to what I hear, they misrepresent who they are and what you get if you sign. You don’t have time to do any background research and make up your mind on whether it’s a good time to buy.

Before you agree to anything, check the Ontario Energy Board reports on consumer complaints relating to gas and electricity retailers. You can check each company and see what kind of complaints it has received.

Also, you have to compare the prices you’re quoted with your local utility’s price. If you go to Energyshop you can see whether you would have been better off locking in or staying with your utility. Because of the falling price of gas in the past 18 months, Enbridge Gas customers who didn’t lock in have been ahead of those who did.

8 comments

  1. Joren Carlson

    Apr 16 2007

    Funny story about one of those door to door agents for the gas company. One of them came to my Mom’s (recently deceased at the time) house one day, asking to see the gas bill. I told her she’d have to leave some information with me, as I wasn’t the one paying the gas bill, and I didn’t have one with me.

    She got all testy and refused to leave me any literature because “how did she know who I was”?

    YOU don’t know who *I* am?? I promptly told her to remove herself from the premises.

  2. Dave Ings

    Apr 16 2007

    Twice in the last month I’ve been accosted at the front door by gas and power sales types who wanted to see my Hydro or Enbridge bill to ensure “you’ve got price protection” or some such nonsense.

    Their reaction when I called them on it was amazing – one started laughing at me like I was a naïve sap walking away from the deal of the century.

    I thought the responsible marketing executives made a public commitment to end this scam. Perhaps a new crew is in town? Same old tactics though.

    Dave Ings
    Toronto, Canada

  3. scott

    Apr 21 2007

    I had to ask one of these dorks to leave my property after I bcould not get rid of them. As you state the contracts have not been better than Enbridge and I think that conservation is is the best tool to keep your prices down. Would I show my bills to somebody I just met ? Never.

  4. Paul

    Apr 25 2007

    They show up at my door usually twice a year, spring and fall. They always ask for the gas bill, which I never have since I get rid of it as soon as it’s paid. They always get so upset when I tell them I don’t have it. The last one who came to my door didn’t even know that the contract had a penalty for breaking it early, or at least that is what they told me. I have not signed one and never will and, so far, I have always done better this way. It’s never the same person, so the life expectancy of this job is not long.

  5. Crystal

    Feb 17 2008

    I am currently working for a company in this business. It’s not easy work. As I’ve realized, the company does a lot of lying, even to their employees. I wasn’t told that our price is more then what the GAS company is charging. I then found out that my mom had been tricked into a contract herself. In other words, they do their best not to get into the price of gas and the price they are charging.

    Personally, I am in debt and it’s a good job to get out of it. However, I will never lie to people or even think of tricking people into signing something.
    Please ask a lot of questions. If they can’t answer them correctly or if something just doesn’t seem right, then tell them you would rather wait a few months to make a more informed decision.

    I think this might work for some people, not for everyone but just for the people who wouldn’t be able to afford the gas bill if it went above the going rate. Until then, don’t be ignorant. People lie! Usually you can tell.

  6. Harry Hopper

    Apr 25 2010

    Boo hoo Dave,

    Why don’t you just act like an arrogant prick same as you do at work (IBM), and those marketers will leave you alone?

  7. Gina

    May 16 2011

    Can you please provide a comparison of the top companies selling water heating tanks. The information out there is quite confusing and I have not been able to find an adequate comparison in order to make a decision to switch from Direct Energy or not. Criteria I would like to consider: price (including those hidden), service & reliability, terms, etc

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