Let’s ban door-to-door energy sales

I think I pulled my punches in calling for an end to auto-renewal of energy contracts last week. Today, I’ll go further.

In my view, allowing an army of pushy salespeople to trick people into signing contracts adds no value. It should be outlawed in Ontario.

Companies can continue selling their fixed-price deals, but only online or by phone (as RiteRate does). Doing it face to face just leads to abuses.

The reason I’m so angry is the sheer volume of complaints I get about deception at the door. I also hear from people who can’t seem to contact these companies on their own. They’re frustrated talking to call centre robots, who listen but don’t follow up.

Bell and Rogers, you’ve been outgunned by Direct Energy, Universal Energy, Summitt Energy, Superior Energy and Ontario Energy Savings Corp. That’s the new normal for me and I’m blazing mad to hear how many people are getting duped.

Author: Ellen Roseman

Consumer advocate and personal finance author and instructor.

92 thoughts on “Let’s ban door-to-door energy sales”

  1. I recently signed up for a water heater rental from Direct Energy (little cheaper than what I’m paying now and the one I have now is starting to leak).

    They sent in the troops to replace my current water heater, then the guy said that that they needed to put new piping in. Well… the D.E. sales guy told me about new piping, but not the entire pipe and that I had to open up my basement ceiling.

    Anyway, the techs gave me a card with number phone to book a new appointment for when I’m ready. This was on August 27th and on that same day in the afternoon I phoned to book a new appointment. ….. no word from D.E.

    I phoned again a week later. ….. no word from D.E. Another week later, I phoned again…. no word from D.E.

    I emailed them a few days ago with a complaint to their customer service and explained the situation, next day whohooooo…. a reply….saying that someone will follow up with me within 48 hours… 24 hours went past silently. Only 8 more hours before the 48 hours is up.

    I’ve had it already with these guys, I’ll stick with my current water heater rental guys (Reliance), although I’m considering an alternative supplier, Southwest Energy. I like the idea of the silent operation electric water heater. These power vented things are annoying the X out of me, including Direct Energy.

    They had been at our door a while ago for cheaper gas and electricity, but when I looked up the rates of the other companies we were getting the utilities from they were cheaper. So Direct Energy, get lost.

    People, be forewarned not to trust these Direct Energy deals. What a pathetic club that is. Promises and more promises, but customer service if there are problems and follow ups….NONE.

    I’m done with them. Any door to door sales guy I will personally inform about what a lousy company he’s working for. And I’m happy to see on this site that more people are having issues with Direct Energy (well…glad that I’m not the only one who sees what D.E. is, but sad for the people who are having problems with them that take forever to get solved… if ever).

    Anyway, I’m silently letting this thing pass and after 30 days, I’ll start somewhere else to have my current water tank replaced.

    Thank you for having this website to power vent about this!

  2. AM … OMG, the exact same thing happened to me.. the exact same story. I just received today a cancellation fee letter for $1,100.

    I complained to the Ontario Energy Board, which told me, “sales people will con you, YOU have to be careful of what YOU sign … sorry but we only can help you based on the reaffirmation call recording … if you have reaffirmed, you have entered into a legal contract.”

    All I have to say is that it is absolutely unbelievable that the government is allowing these things to happen. I also can’t pay that much money. There is absolutely no way.
    It is very overwhelming to see the number of people who have been conned into this. I really believe it’s theft and is so unfair and someone has to do something about it.

    Would anyone be interested in starting a petition to the Ontario Energy Board to look into this problem and force these companies to stop luring people and hitting them with fines the same way they are ripping off people. I hate what I’m going through and I really would hate for anybody else to go through it.

  3. So my old water heater started leaking and ruined part of the basement floor. I called Reliance, which came in the same day 2 hours later after I phoned them.

    I waited to notify Direct Energy till a few days after the 30 day period to tell them off. My insurance company is not going to pay for the damage, as the first $1,000 is for me. I’m stuck with the damage because I can’t afford to replace it.

    I told Direct Energy that too, so if they EVER get back to me, then that’ll be something I’ll be smacking them with. I emailed their customer support and officially “cancelled” whatever I had with them. Then I got an email back titled “Dear valued customer”… HAHAHAHAHAHAHA !!! (whatever), “we’ll investigate” blablabla.

    Well, I emailed them back just to let them know I’ve never felt one minute of being either valued or a customer. And as I had stated in my previous email to them, I will not have anything to do with them ever and that’s final, no further discussion necessary.

    But I’ll keep an eye out for anything in the next few months to see if they sneakily, silently, still had something processing and screw me over with quarterly rental fees. If that happens… all hell will break loose here.

    To top it off, a quick story about my inlaws: My mother-in-law signed up some time ago with Direct Energy for natural gas. A month later, someone shows up at their door again and they talk to my father-in-law, who didn’t know and got signed up with them… again.

    So these D.E. salespeople got them signed up for the same thing twice !!! and they had to pay double and D.E. didn’t give a damn. It took some lawyer work to get these punks to finally cancel one of the contracts. Go figure…

    Door to door…I have learned my lesson. Don’t do it but research yourself or ask others.

    In my case, I was going to be OK with whatever I signed up with, but they didn’t deliver anything of their promises, so no hardware, no pay, no deal.

    I put off everything for an entire month to give these punks a chance to come and do their work. Did not make any appointments, just in case these guys would call me back for an appointment.

    I’m still angry about this. And if I’m being presented with a cancellation fee…. hahaha….you going DOWN, Direct Energy.

  4. Dear Ellen, Great news!!!

    I wrote my story Sept. 14, and today finally I got a letter from Summitt cancelling my contract without penalty.

    I THANK YOU a hundred times for giving me the info. It was not easy, I will tell you that, but I kept writing them, and then writing some more. It is the stress of waiting and not knowing what is going to happen that affected me the most.

    I still can’t quite believe this ordeal is behind me!!!

  5. Hello Ms. Roseman,

    You appear to have had alot of success helping individuals overcome the duping schemes of various ‘energy protection’ companies. I, too, was scammed (by Summitt Energy) and have hit a wall in trying to resolve the issue without charge. If you could please contact me, I would explain my situation and hopefully you could help. I am in despair..

    Thank you.

  6. This is a letter that I have sent to the Premier of Ontario and the Ontario Energy Board:

    Honourable Dalton McGuinty,

    The reason I have to write this letter is maddening. I’m sure this is not the first complaint you have ever had regarding the “energy wholesalers”, who use pushy, aggressive door-to-door sales tactics (read: scams) to dupe unsuspecting citizens into signing multi-year contracts for gas and electricity at near twice the price they’d be paying without any contracts (this is a fact).

    Why does our elected government allow these businesses to practice? Why are they not run out of town with torches and pitchforks and their CEOs locked up in jails for white collar crimes? Why is this not considered a crime at all? Because it is a well written contract? I’m sure Al Capone had some iron clad contracts as well.

    Please. Ban this practice, revoke their licenses (whatever they are).

    In these economic times, when honest-working families are struggling to make ends meet, these leeches are allowed to run and expand their scam. Basically sending bills and asking for “free money”! With severe consequences for those who refuse to dole up the cash.

    I admit I’ve fallen victim to this crime. I have broken my contract by moving out of the house that I’ve bought, anything to avoid feeding the leech. And now I’m an unhappy recipient of a collection letter for “cancellation fees”!!! How dare they? I’ve been feeding them my hard earned money for years, and now I have to pay more because I’m refusing to keep doing it (this technically breaks my “ironclad” contract, I no longer live at the house, I’m the one who signed the contract, the rental I am in now pays for its own gas).

    Please do all possible to make sure these companies do not have a leg to stand on in this province. We do not need them, we do not want them, and this outright theft must stop.

    Those of us who have fallen victim to this scam feel alone and defenceless, our hard earned money (as much as $200 a month for some people, that’s on top of the actual gas price) goes towards feeding the scammers.

    Unlike HST, or any other past or future tax, we get nothing in return but the “satisfaction” of seeing individuals with less than stellar morals enrich themselves. This sad state of affairs is business as usual in Ontario. Mr. McGuinty, I’m asking you, why must this be so?

    Sincerely yours,
    Gregory Fedorov

  7. Hi. I have been entered into a contract with Universal Energy without my consent or knowledge.

    They came to my door, I told them to get out, the guy begged my boyfriend to sign just so he could get 25 dollars for getting a signature…said that I, not my boyfriend, would get a call from Universal Energy to confirm the contract and to just tell them I didn’t want it. I never got a call.

    After 3 months of outrageous Hydro One bills, I called them, only to be informed that I had been signed up with Universal Energy and that is why my hydro bill was so high. I called Universal Energy and was told that it was a valid contract.

    I told them that I didn’t sign, that no one but me has a Hydro One account at this address and they basically told me that someone at my house had signed it. Asked for a manager and was refused.

    I never got a letter or contract in the mail or anything else! How can I have entered into a contract? How can Hydro One just assume I signed one and bill me?????

  8. HI… I had a “gentleman” arrive at my door while I was flustered with children (one with a disability in full behaviour) shortly after we moved into a new house.

    He barely spoke English. I told him several times I was not interested. He was very persistent and kept asking me to show him my Gas and Hydro bills. Finally in exasperation and just wanting him to leave, I gave up and got him the bills from my old place as I had yet to receive bills for the one we had moved into.

    He told me I was paying too much. I told him that I couldn’t deal with this right now (as my children got crazier running around the yard waiting for us to leave). I do not recall signing anything and I do not recall getting a re-affirmation phone call, but the Summitt Energy rep says that I did.

    Anyway, I moved about a year later as my utility bills were so astronomically high. I assumed at the time that it was because we had moved from an apartment to a large house.

    After moving to another apartment, I continued getting bills that were twice that of my friends and family. As a single parent, I was drowning and fast. I cashed out my vacation time at work to pay my utility bills.

    I switched to energy-efficient bulbs in every room, unplugged everything but the fridge and stove during the day, had no lights running during daylight hours, didn’t use the dryer or the air conditioners throughout the summer… and still my bill was ridiculous.

    My neighbours at the duplex were paying half what I was and running electric heat in the winter and two air conditioners all summer. So, I began to think our meters were mixed up, but had that looked into and it was not the case.

    I called Hydro One, which went over the bill with me and told me the only thing I could do was contact Summitt Energy and find out what rate I was paying per kilowatt.

    That was the first time I realized that I was not with Hydro One (stupidity on my part, I will admit, because I never looked closely enough at my Hydro bill to see the Summitt Energy phone number on the front).

    I called Summitt Energy, and was told that I was locked in to a 5 year contract, paying 9.55 cents a kilowatt hour. (As of Nov. 1, Hydro One is at 5.8 cents a kilowatt hour for the first thousand or something)

    I said I wanted to cancel and was told they would send out the papers immediately. I would have to pay a cancellation fee, and of course, have all bills completely paid up.

    I still have not received the papers.

    I called the company again today and spoke to the same rep. I asked why I had not received the cancellation papers and he said he can only put in a request to mail them.

    I asked to speak to the people who mail them and he said that they don’t receive calls. He also informed me the cancellation fee is $269 plus tax.

    I told him this was becoming unfair, as my gas bill is $400. I have to pay that, pay $269 plus taxes for the cancellation, and then pay whatever I am accruing in usage while I wait for them to actually send me the cancellation papers.

    By the time it’s all said and done, it will cost me nearly $1,000 to get out of this “contract”.

    I also asked the customer service rep to send me a copy of my contract so I can see what I signed, as I do not have one.

    And this is just Hydro… now I need to look at my gas bill and see if I am with Summitt Energy as well. I have contacted the Energy Board of Ontario to see if there is anything I can do, or if I just need to suck it up. And I am going to contact my local MPP as well to see if they can help me navigate this system.

    I am now in a position where I either struggle to pay the crazy-high bill, or come up with a thousand dollars right before Christmas… what a nightmare!!!!

    These door-to-door sales people should be banned. For me, a lesson learned. Once I get out of this mess, I will be very firm in telling the salespeople to turn around and head off my lawn.

  9. Never sign up — no one ever comes out on top. The people who work for the company are not even signed up. If this is such a good program, why don’t all Just Energy employees sign up?

    The door to door people are paid only commission and most quit before their second day. Retention is close to 4%!!!

    Door to door agents in Ont are paid $90 for a natural gas contract, $40 for hydro.

    If a company wants to see your bill, they can pull it up on their screen. No reputable business (newspapers, magazines aside) would send someone to your door (likely at night during dinner, prime time!!) to see your bill.

    This company preys on the uninformed, both as customers and when ‘hiring’ people. It’s a scam, whether you sign up with them or work for them.

  10. Hi, we are new immigrants to Canada and recently bought our first home in Brampton. We moved there on Nov. 1st, 2009.

    On Nov. 4th, a person showed up at the door. My wife answered the bell and he told her that he came to make sure that gas and electricity are working. She said yes, they are. Then he said that the gas and electricity rates are going to be fixed for next 5 years for us. He asked my wife to sign the papers and left.

    When I came home, my wife mentioned that a guy from the gas company had come and he said our utility rates are going to be fixed for next five years. Since we had moved a few days back and we thought this is how things work, we didn’t pay any attention to the papers he had left.

    On Nov. 14, someone called and asked to speak with my wife. I asked what is it about? He said he wanted to confirm something.

    I gave the phone to my wife and he asked if someone from Summitt Energy had come and if she has signed the registration form and if these are the rates. She said yes to the questions.

    After the call, I asked my wife that if Eummitt energy was not our utility company, how could they fix our utility rates? She brought the papers, then we realized that my wife has signed a contract with Summitt Energy for 5 years.

    Realizing that this is not something we want to enter, we sent them a cancellation notice via Fax. Both reaffirmation and cancellation Fax took place on Nov. 14th, which is the 10th day after signing the contract.

    Now Summitt Energy people are asking us to pay a penalty of $1,000 because we have breached a contract — although the contract they left with us gives us right to cancel the the agreement within 10 days of signing, and this is what we did.

    It does not seem right. Do we have any rights as consumers to be protected? What can we do to avoid this unjust and cruel penalty?

  11. Hi there, I too admittedly got strong armed into signing a contract with Ontario Energy Savings and now am paying 4 times the rate for gas. I contacted them about cancelling my contract and was informed i could but required the $194.00 early termination fee. (Which if yiu take one of my December bills and it will be the savings) My question is that now that they have changed their name to Just Energy and my contract was signed OES is it still really valid??? These people have been back to my home twice since and literally when i told i would not provide info they stuck their arm in the door so i couldnt close the door … just tired of how they conduct their business.

  12. A man knocked on my door in Oakville, blabbing about fixed water meter prices and since we are new homeowners we can get a provincial rebates. Basically he was VERY pushy to get me to sign up with Summitt Energy.

    He wanted to see my Gas and Hydro bill so he could get my account numbers and sign me up. I tried everything to get him to leave.

    I refused to show him my account numbers until I had time to do some research into his offer and Summitt Energy. I got him to leave by signing some paper, but without putting my account numbers on it. I said he could come back in a few days and I would have my account numbers for him if I wanted to sign up.

    I am worried now that even though I signed an empty form he will somehow find a way to sign me up.

  13. I went on-line to see if I could get any help with my problem. I have power of attorney for my mother. Years ago she signed a contract with Ontario Energy Savings now Just Energy. When the terms of the contract were almost complete she was approached at her door to sign a renewal. She did and I called and cancelled it. I also had put on her file \do not solicit\. The company now tells me that they automatically send out an \effortless renewal\ and since it wasn’t responded to, it was automatically renewed. This was after I had cancelled the renewal. This is an unscrupulous thing to do, as they knew she/I didn’t want it. I overlooked that this contract was in effect since last February and she has been paying at least .40 cents more per cubic meter for gas. I wouldn’t have discovered this if they hadn’t recently came to her door and had her sign up for a \renewal\. I had called to complain that they had solicited her again, but before I did I checked her bills. I am furious. I have filed a complaint with the company for the solicitation and for the \effortless renewal\ and waiting to hear back from them. How can this effortless renewal be legal? Isn’t it like what the cable companies did years ago with reverse billing? Do I have any recourse?

  14. I am first time home buyer, didn’t know anything about this business. The guy at the door didn’t explain much to me.

    I thought he was from Enbridge and I signed the paper in early November and confirmed by phone. I really wish the sales agent had explained to me the whole thing better…

    Now I called to cancel and Summitt Energy wants $1,100 in cancellation fees. I am lost and not sure what to do now.

  15. An update to my posting of Nov. 30th.

    I sent an e-mail to Gaetana Girardi, Director of Compliance at Summitt Energy, and presented my case to her. Finally I got an email from her a couple of days ago stating that our contract has been cancelled without any penalty. Which is a huge relief.

    Here’s her contact info if someone needs it. (Appears above as well)

    Gaetana Girardi
    Director, Compliance & Regulatory Affairs
    Phone: 905-366-7020
    Email: ggirardi@summittenergy.ca
    Business Address:
    100 Milverton Drive
    Suite 608
    Mississauga, ON L5R4H1


    Thanks to your website we got the information that helped us get out of this situation.

  16. Hi victims,
    I just discovered that I am also a victim of this evil company and I am paying twice the price for my gas consumption.

    After calling them and Enbridge, I realized that I still need 1 year to finish the 5 year contract with that evil company.
    They asked me to pay a $120 cancellation fee, but they made the process very slow to gain time and postpone as much as possible the cancellation date.

    I am thinking to cancel my account with Enbridge ASAP (and pay a $25 cancellation fee) then switch the account to my wife, so they will stop charging me a higher price for gas especially during these winter months and then let the evil company ask me to pay the cancellation fees.

    I wonder if what I want to do makes sense. Why don’t we get together and do something to increase the awareness about this problem, so new homeowners and newcomers won’t get trapped by this company.

  17. I have discovered a way to deal with these scumbags and get you out of the contract. I was also duped in to signing and by the time I saw the new invoice it was $80 higher than I’ve ever paid and too late to cancel. Which is extremely frustrating. I took it to the BBB …nothing. I talked to lawyers…nothing. It turns out this is perfectly legal to do.

    But I found a way and I am selling it on EBay. I will sell each complete document for $10 for the first 10 documents. Once these people finish the procedure, hopefully they will put the review on my EBay site to let people know it really works. After the first 10 go, I am raising the price to $100, so be quick! Considering what the scumbags will charge you, that is still cheap. I am charging to recoup lost money and peace of mind.

    Go to EBay.ca and search for “How to get out of your utilities contract.”

  18. Nasurj, I think you are in the wrong crowd, coming here and virtually saying “trust me with your money without seeing whether my product works”.

    Don’t you understand that the whole theme here is about scams, abuse of trust and “I go after your money without informing you of anything”? You have the nerve, pal!



  20. What are the formal cancellation procedures for summitt energy? I cancelled the evergreen program and water heat agreement via the number they provided on april 10, 2010 (within the 10 days.) I currently have the cancellation numbers but feel unsure if this is satisfactory. The back story is that my mother answered the door earlier today and allowed the man in. He spoke to me and I unknowingly agreed to the agreements. The rep did not leave anything behind in regards to the evergreen program and did not even show me the agreement. He presented himself as being with embridge so I had some confidence in him. I was wondering if any one could help me, it would be greatly appreciated.

  21. A couple of months ago, I received my first hydro bill and shortly after that my gas bill as well, for the first time without the “protection” from Just Energy.

    I cried ….it was less than HALF the amount that I had been paying for years, ever since arriving in Canada. I cannot do the math to see how much I have “donated” to Just Energy over the years, but I know I will be sick.

    I have no words to thank Ellen for helping me get out of both contracts. Without stumbling on her article, I would have never even found out that I was paying double for utilities for years. I didn’t know, because I was new to Canada.

    Beware of anyone who sells anything door-to-door. Even better, do not open the door!
    Ellen has another bunch of lifetime fans in me and my family.

    Unfortunately, to add insult to injury, these people still knock on my door regularly, despite the sign on my door “No soliciting, no utility protection, please!”

    There has been one good change. The Hydro provider in my city included brochures with the bill, warning customers not to sign any contracts locking in the utility price, before talking to Hydro.

    For us, this was too late, but I hope saved $$$$ for many other people. God bless and I hope all of you get out of your contracts as soon as possible.

  22. In spring of 2007, I had a man knock on my door and said he had to see my hydro one bill to make sure I was getting the right price. He said he was from Universal Energy and they in fact were with Hydro One.

    He then started writing on a paper and I said that looks like a contract and he said no sir. He had me sign it again, saying it wasn’t and they would contact me in 10 days.

    I looked at the paper with my wife and there was a contract number. I then called Hydro One and was told I was scammed into signing.

    I called Universal Energy and told them what happened and she said I had to wait till after 12 days. Wrong. if we do that, we will be owing over $2,000 to get out.

    I said please cancel and she wouldn’t. Hydro One took over and told them that if they didn’t cancel our contract, they would be sued by us, so 5 minutes later it was cancelled.

    Then a month later, I get a personal cheque in the amount of $100 from Universal Energy and i was like what? My wife read the small print and it said if we cash the cheque we are with them for so many years. We burnt it.

    Then in 2008, who comes to our driveway but Universal Energy and the guy says hi, have you signed for your rebate? He says he workes for the Government. I said really? Your name tag says Universal Energy, does it not?

    He said may I see your hydro bill? I said no, now get off my property before I call the police. He said he didn’t have to leave because I didn’t have a sign saying No Solicitors. I said okay as I picked up my phone and said I’m calling 911. He scooted to his car.

    Then 2 months later, we moved well over an hour’s drive from the old house and I swear, 6 months later the same guy is at the door with a different name tag for an energy company. He smiled and said hi have you signed up for your rebate? I said no thanks, staying with Hydro One.

    He said I need to see your bill. I said no, you need to leave my deck and he said fine, I guess you don’t want to save money.

    Then a year later, he is back and says hi, have you signed up for your rebate with his contract? I cut him off and yelled at him to leave and told him to never come back. Again he said he could come back to our house any time he wanted to because he said we didn’t have a No Solicitors sign up.

    I lost it then and swore at him to leave and said I would call 911 if he didn’t leave. He said the police couldn’t do a thing. I feel he will be back.

    My question: If he returns and asks if I have signed for my so-called rebate from Hydro One, can I call the police? This guy should be arrested for telling a lie (well, many lies) and should lose his job.

  23. Just Energy currently has a wholesale price flexible plan plus 1 penny, which comes with the option as a non-green plan. Green plans are always more expensive. This is a great plan and is not a scam as you state.

    Unfortunately not all independent agents explain the program properly to their customers. All agents must wear ID badges when out in the field, fully identifying themselves as Just Energy Agents.

    All contracts signed in the field are verified from the customer’s phone and customers must agree to the contract over the phone with the agent present. There is also a 10 day cooling off period, which gives the customer time to review the contract before reaffirming registration.

    The customer also has 30 days to cancel their contract with Just Energy after they receive their first bill if they are not satisfied.

    And on the non-green plans, there is only an exit fee of $100, not what has been stated in previous blogs. There is a higher exit fee for green plans, which is fully explained in the contract.

    It’s apparent from this blog comments that people don’t read their contracts and don’t read them within the time frame of cancellation.

  24. All u people are sitting there trying to dis the same ppl who are tryning to help you all cuz u dont understand what ur getting into. who do you really think has more to gain by scamming u …summit energy or the government. half of the comments and hate mail u see on the web is the governments way of getting in ur mind and stopping u from fixing your rate so that the government can get all of your money why do u think market raqte is flying through the roof people who dont even have a fixed rate are trying to blame energy retailers. i suggest next time u take that 60 day waiting period to your advantage and actually reasearh what is best for you and for future reference energy retailers promise peace of mind not savings anyone who told u other wise was personally responsible not the company.

  25. In Dec 2008, Universal Energy’s SR came to my house and asked me if I have received any rebate from the utility company. I said no and he asked me to see my gas bill.

    I gave it to him and he filled out some form and wanted me to sign. I did not sign as I was not sure what it was.

    I was not aware that he took my bill. From Mar 2009, the company put me under 5 yrs fixed rate contract for hydro and gas that is too high.

    I did not notice in my bill that something was wrong and kept paying whatever total both utilities charged. I saw the rate but I thought that the rate was the current market rate.

    In Sep 2010, I found out from my friend that the gas rate is very cheap and I am still paying more than double. I compared my bill and my friend’s bill and found out that I’m under 5 yrs fixed rate contract.

    I called the company and asked them how come I’m in contract without my knowledge, signature on any paper or phone confirmation. They told me I signed the contract and confirmed over the phone.

    I asked them to provide both documents. They sent me copy of contract and audio cd of phone conversation.

    When I checked both, I was shocked. There is NOT MY SIGNATURE (someone else’s) and NOT MY VOICE in phone conversation.

    Now I thinking what is the first step should I take? Some people are suggesting I should contact lawyer, but I’m not sure what to do? Any suggestion would be appreciated. Thanks.

  26. Much like dbt’s story above, I too was locked into a contract signed by someone I don’t know, and the voice affirmation isn’t me. I have called repeated times to Just Energy and continuously get the runaround.

    I complained to the Ontario Energy Board as well, and they are equally useless at returning calls.

    I’m now being harrassed by Bond Street Collections for the exit fees. I think my only recourse is to hire a lawyer (which I currently cannot afford).

    Maybe just cheaper to pay them and shut them up… but that’s probably what they want you to do. Don’t deal with Just Energy!

  27. I had to write. I am so angry now. Found out my elderly parents who do not speak English as first language have been scammed by Superior Energy for 2 years.

    I visited them for the holidays and during discussion reviewed their Enbridge bill. To my surprise and theirs, I explained another company claimed a fixed rate contact of $0.41/cubic meter of gas for 5 years. What a scam.

    I tracked them down, which wasn’t easy, and got a copy of said “contract”. What a scam. Someone’s name was on the contract and wasn’t even close to being correct. Faked name and signature.

    This is the 4th time someone close to me has been scammed or nearly scammed.

    Word of advice, treat these people like they are the worst of criminals and don’t talk to them or tell them you don’t pay the utilities or are renting the home, anything to keep them away. Sometimes this doesn’t even stop them when they fake signatures, but just stay away from these people.

    Check your gas and electric bill. If you get scammed, act fast, contact the authorities and bring down the law on these people.

    As of January 2011, the Ontario government has passed new rules for the energy sector. Stay informed and good luck.

  28. My mother only could only speak and read a little English, and the sales person let her sign the contract. Since she sign the contract, every month we double the monthly bill.

    I called several times to cancel it. And they said they already send out the cancellation letter twice, but we never receive it. Now nearly 2 month past, we will still need to wait for the cancellation letter??? and after we receive the cancellation letter they need 2 month bill cycle to make the cancellation effect??? I can’t believe it.

    Now I called them today, and they told me that I need to pay the cancellation fee including tax it’s $881.33

    I don’t know how long we have to pay for that unfair bill, please help!!!!!

  29. It really leaves a bad taste in ones mouth when people trade unfairly. Unfortunately, they muddy up the waters for those who are sincere.

  30. I signed a 5 year contract with Alberta Energy Savings L.P. back in 2006, which was supposed to end in late January 2011.

    So I called them around November 2010 and asked them to verify the date, because I didn’t have the contract details. I wanted to know when to call the default supplier, which happens to be Direct Energy and Epcor here in Alberta.

    Then I got a call in December from a Just Energy representative from Ontario, offering fixed rates and telling me how I was going to save bundles. I didn’t have anything to lose, because I could cancel any time before 30 days were up.

    It sounded like a good deal and I wanted to save money, but I declined because he wanted me to get a credit check done. I told him that I have had utilities for most of my life and I wasn’t going to have people check my credit rating just so I can get utilities

    He said sorry and he couldn’t sign me. So, I thought that was the end of it.

    Then later, I get a bill from Just Energy Alberta L.P. and I was furious. I called them and said I didn’t sign anything.

    They told me I had signed a 5 year contract with Alberta Energy Savings and was automatically renewed for another year because they had changed their name and were now calling themselves Just Energy Alberta L.P.

    What the heck is this, I thought. So, I cancelled with them right away, but they managed to get me for over $400, plus overdue charges now.

    I called them back and told them I didn’t want their services when I was asked to join by one of their representatives before my contract renewed. They deny the fact that he or anyone from their company even called me.

    Now they keep harassing me and I don’t know what to do. Is there some regulating body here in Alberta I can phone??

    I’m not sure if the Ontario Energy Board will help me here in Alberta.

    Look forward to hearing back from anyone with any helpful tips. Thank you for your time and consideration.

  31. Completely agree! Door to door sales are all lies!
    A guy from Summit energy showed up today said he wants to check if the water heater is up to code or not.
    So I let him in which I shouldn’t
    Even my water heater is just 1 year old. He suggests to replace it just because it’s not Energy Star.
    Be aware this tactic.

  32. I just got home from work and then I was about ready to go out. A sales person asked me if he could see my gas bill.

    The funny thing is that he was advertising the company with his tag, which said he was from Dominion Gas company. I thought to myself if they wanted to see my gas usage, they should have access to it.

    I guess there is one thing to do. I am putting a sign up, no sales allowed. It needs to be outlawed.

  33. http://powershock.ca/

    On the surface Tim Hudak and his Progressive Conservative party seem to be all-around nice guys. They are concerned about you and your family and want to do everything they can to help ends meet and ensure your family doesn’t get ripped off by anyone.

    They are in fact so nice that they are willing to promise an HST rebate on your hydro and gas bill just to show how much they care about your ability to pay for your needed utilities.

    What you may not know is that this very same party lead under Mike Harris and Ernie Eves de-regulated the energy sector during their time in power.

    Have you ever gotten a knock at your from a representative of an energy reseller such as Universal Energy or Just Energy? They want you to sign up for fixed rate contracts. Does this sound familiar?

    In fact, many people believe that fixed rate energy deals like this are some kind of illegal scam. They are not illegal at all because Harris and Eves passed laws which allow third party companies to make contracts with the consumer and your local utility is required to honour the deal by co-operating with it.

    Do you remember agents like this coming around before Harris? If you find that the price you signed up for far greater than the market price, even after you’ve been on it for years, there is no legal recourse that will allow you to renege without paying a cancellation fee.

    The business plan is called commodity brokering. Companies claim they buy gas and hydro from the spot market in bulk, at times that it’s cheapest, natural gas in the summer for instance. Then they sell it back to the consumer at a fixed price.

    Because natural gas is expensive in the winter, in theory they will be able to sell it back to the consumer for more than the original purchase price but less than the current market price. Thus, they can save you money while turning a profit. It all makes sense, right?

    The argument is logical. Nevertheless, many consumers who have signed up for these contracts since the time they were first offered have found that in the long run they lost money, often to the tune of thousands. Where is this money going?

    Frank Klees, sitting Progressive Conservative MPP for Newmarket-Aurora, is running again in the Oct. 6, 2011 provincial election. He is the guy that came in second to Hudak in the last provincial leadership race.

    He is a high profile Tory who held cabinet positions under Harris and undoubtedly will again if the Progressive Conservatives make it in this time. The owner of Universal Energy Alternatives underwrote one fifth of his entire campaign with a donation of $34K.

    Not only did Universal give Klees a big donation, they also gave him a seat on their board of directors. Now that Universal Energy is sold to Just Energy, he has a seat on the board there too.

    In other words, if you want to vote for the guy that comes to your door to sign you up for a price protection plan, then Frank Klees and his cronies, like Hudak, are the names you should check on your ballot!

  34. I am from Surrey, BC and we were fooled by Superior Energy in 2009, telling us that our monthly payments will not increase and definitely will be cheaper than Terasen Gas (not Fortis BC). We have paid $200 every month for the past 2 years. Now that we have been informed that if we were just with Terasen Gas, our highest bill would be $94!, and this would just be for February, our highest consumption. Knowing this, I called Superior Energy and they said I have to pay $500 to terminate our contract (which actually they locked it for 5 years!). Is there any way we can dispute this termination fee…or probably sue them for something? Are there any good-hearted lawyers there who are willing to represent consumers like us against such deceiving agreements?

  35. I just want them to stop coming to my door! I get a new person at my door for one of these companies almost daily! They are rude people to top it off.

    Grrr, I hate the constant door knocking from these people.

  36. I used to work for Ontario Energy Savings.

    By law, after you sign, you will get a call back from them to confirm that you actually still want it before it goes into effect.

    This is to protect you from forged contracts, and to make sure you did not get mislead into signing a contract.

    If they don’t hear from you or you say you don’t want it when they call, it will not go into effect.

    Alot of the sales agents fail to explain exactly what the contract is because they themselves don’t know much about the service.

    I remember the morning meetings at Ontario Energy Savings, the leaders would try to motivate people with sales speeches, by setting goals, or by offering a prize to the top salesperson.

    Unfortunately, not alot of agents where really tought about the service to actualy be able to explain it to the cleints.

    That is why some of the agents don’t actually explain the service. Some use different tactics, e.i. try to look like the utility man, to get a contract signed (which is probably illigal). But not all of them are like this.

    I agree that door-to-door is NOT the best way to offer this service (from the clients perspective). People should inform themselves first so they can shop around. And like locking a mortgage rate, the benefit can vary depending on when you lock in your rate.

    Before you sign a contract, if possible, I would recommend you check out all the competitors out there. And if no-one’s offering anything reasonable for the moment, hold off on it. Here is a list of all the energy supliers in Ontario:
    MyRate Energy, Superior energy, RiteRate, Active Energy, Direct Energy, Just Energy (Ontario Energy Savings)

    You can also get all of the competitors current rates from this neutral website. If you just locked in your rate, you can find out if you got the best price here:

    And you can view the current market rate and history of natural gas from a bunch of places on the web.

    Sometimes I went to some peoples doors and they wanted nothing to do with signing a contract. But when they let me look at their last bill, we would notice that they where already signed up. So they had been enrolled from a year or two before. What was ironic is that alot of these people had been saving money because of this; even if they where not aware that they had even signed a contract.

    Here’s an online tool to find out if you’ve been saving or loosing money so far from locking in your rate in Ontario:

    I’m not saying you should or shouldn’t lock your price. I think people should inform themselves first. And depending on when you lock in your rate, you could see a different benefit. Plus the principle reason for locking your rate should not be to try and save money. You can save money, but what the service does is give you the peace of mind your price won’t sky rocket because of economy, war, disaters, or godzilla attacks, e.t.c…

    Locking the price is similar to locking your rate on a mortgage.

    Since your agent may have not have given all the information correctly on what the service is, for those who want, I will sum it up here. Electricity is the same as natural gas:

    If you get your natural gas from endbridge and signed with a supplier (Energy savings, Direct Energy, e.t.c…), you will continue to get your gas from endbridge (or union gas, depending where you are in ontario). Your utility will never change. What happens is the supplier pays for a 5 year supply of natural gas for you ahead of time so that you can pay the same price for the next 3-5 years.

    It’s as if Ontario Energy is buying a 5 year supply of gasoline at todays gas price so you can pay the same price for the next five years. You pay as you use it and no matter what the market does, your gas price stays the same. It’s not a scam and these suppliers are lisceneced by the government to offer this. I just think door-to-door is the wrong way to go about offering this service.

    Now, you may or may not save money, depending on how the rates play out. But at least you always know that your rate will not change for the term of the agreement. (unless you locked at some rediculously high price)

    And on the other hand, if you pay market price… you pay the average price of the market. Endbridge will charge what it thinks the average rate will be for that month. Then you will have to pay the difference for the actual market price on the next bill (e.i. pay less if overcharged; and pay more if got undercharged). And like locking in your rate, you may or may not pay more.

    Hope this information helped.

  37. Hello. I have been played with by a few energy companies the last 3 years.

    The thing is I cannot say no to people who come to my door. I know this may sound really stupid, as no is one word, but I just can not say it.

    I have a mental disability and I am on disability support for it. I live in income-geared-to-rent housing because of this disability.
    I trust quickly and too much.

    I truly wish people would stop coming to my door because I keep switching suppliers due to the lack of saying no and I keep owing cancellation fees that I know I cannot pay by signing with someone else.

    I really do not know what to do.

  38. I am from Ottawa, where an energy supplier rep just knocked at my door. He “needed” me to check my hydro bill to see if I would get affected by the November 1st increase.

    They don’t say who they represent and when I told him I wasn’t interested in his business, he said “if I check your name on my list, you are ok with a price increase?” How deceptive is that!

    You try to tell them off, but they insist, saying you go check while they stay at the door. Pushy and deceptive!

    These practices should not be allowed be because they are not straightforward about what they want (selling you a contract!) and are simply trying to trick people to sign up!

  39. Here in Ottawa I’ve had 4 reps knocking my door this year already, one with a fixed rate electricity contract, and three for water heater rentals.

    I did decide to change my 2004 water heater once I had read the contract carefully and knew what I was getting into – it was the easiest way to get rid of Direct Energy.

    Of course, the contract is for 10 years, or 120 months as it is known, because they think we are stupid.

    A different rep from the same company knocked the door a month later, they don’t even give them records of their own customers!

    Then tonight a rep from National at 8.30 pm. He commented that my outdoor light was blinding him! Maybe they should try not knocking after dark in an area where there are many older residents.

    What concerns me are people who don’t know they’re already in a long term contract if they bought their house after 2010. If they fall for the pushy tactics suggesting they are with a government agency and have to inspect the tank, they will be stung with the crazy exit fees.

    I can’t imagine how vulnerable people or new immigrants are supposed to cope with this; I moved here from the UK before deregulation, but I would have been afraid to say no, as a new Canadian unfamiliar with the way things work here.

    Maybe when the politicians start knocking on our doors to beg for votes, we should all tell them that it’s time for door to door energy sales to be stopped. Let’s see if any of them really care about consumers and aren’t in the pockets of the energy companies.

  40. I would not sign up again with one of these companies.

    But my goodness! The sheer volume of energy sales people who come to my door is getting annoying.

    Usually once a week. But today there were two separate companies trolling my neighborhood.

    I have been lied to and insulted and have given up even trying to be polite with them. Now when I see that name tag and clipboard I just say “No no no no” as I’m closing the door.

  41. So how do we know which floor types can be slippery. Use the mortar on the left to grind each rock; you can combine them
    as well for green, purple etc… Place the blue rock to grind.
    While you are planning that great kitchen, or living room, or front entrance, what thought have you had to the stairs.

  42. I fell for this same scam yesterday from Summitt Energy. Anyone know what I can do about it?

    I’ve read that sending them a cancellation letter by email and registered letter will do the trick. Is that true?

    I’m now on my 4th call to their 1-800 number and I get no answer. Always on hold. No human voice whatsoever.

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