Let’s stop the madness

I’m angry. Believe me, it takes a lot to make me angry. If I flew off the handle all day, I’d never last in this job.

What makes me furious is seeing people pay too much for energy at home and at business because of deceptive marketing. This racket has been allowed to go on for more than a decade.

Ontario has introduced a bill to curb energy sellers last December, which will take many months to pass into law. What about all the victims who are still being roped in?

Today, I got a bunch of new complaints, which I’ll post below.

— One marketer is tricking people to enrol in long-term contracts by sending them cheques in the mail. If they cash them, they’re in.

— One marketer signed up a person who had passed away a few months earlier. His executor had a hard time getting the contract cancelled.

— One marketer signed up a newcomer to Canada to a carbon offset plan, costing about $150 a year and delivering nothing but the dubious benefit of a clear conscience.

Why, oh why, is this allowed to go on? When will it stop?

Author: Ellen Roseman

Consumer advocate and personal finance author and instructor.

29 thoughts on “Let’s stop the madness”

  1. Ellen, you’ve written several articles about dangers of signing long term contracts.. Everything from cell phones to Energy…

    Here’s another example of how long term contracts usually don’t benefit the buyer… this is also true in the mortgage biz as we have seen too many consumers hand-cuffed to high interest mortgages because the prepayment penalties are outrageously high and unfair in many cases….


  2. It was very easy to get out of contract (a few years ago): transfer the utility bill to a different name (a spouse, a relative, etc) and get a new customer number. The old contract was then canceled without any penalties, because the old account no longer existed.

  3. These complaints seem to be a clear statement of fraud on the part of the energy firms who come door to door. It has been going on long enough that the provincial government is clearly aware of the issue and show no haste to fix it.

    There are newer and more offensive tactics every month as the slimeball re-sellers invent new scams. At some point, the lack of government action becomes the issue. Arguing with these fraudsters is fruitless….. it is time to point the finger at politicians and force them to fix what they created.

    I hesitate to ask how the government allowed the situation to get this bad, but somebody is benefiting from the consumers’ losses.

    Maybe it is time to start emailing your MPP en masse and see if the heat creates some urgency.

  4. All these utility providers should be banned from selling door to door. There are far too many unethical sales going on. Someone who reads this blog and Ellen’s columns on a regular basis would know better, but a lot of people don’t know better until it’s too late.

    They don’t understand how these utility contracts work and when confronted by unscrupulous sales people, someone who’s naive may be duped into signing a price commitment that he or she clearly doesn’t understand.

    I think the province should set up a compensation fund that these resellers should contribute to in cases of dispute or when customers are duped into signing a contract.

  5. Listen, I am very sorry to hear about all of your misfortune. The people who sold you these products were clearly misleading and manipulative. However, the government has done things to prevent this, and just as Ellen Roseman says, it’s been going on for years. Figure it out.

  6. Yesterday, my husband misguidedly signed a price protection registration form with Summitt Energy for our home, which we recently moved to a month ago.

    The salesperson told him that he was representing Enbridge & PowerStream and that this was to set up our accounts. Since my husband didn’t know about this sales tactic, he thought that this was legitimate.

    When I got home and found the form, I called immediately to cancel this agreement, as I know that we have a 10-day cooling off period.

    I’ve sent 3 emails, talked to two different representatives and have faxed a cancellation request. I have not heard back from the company confirming my cancellation.

    As for the conversations I had with the two reps, they said that they could not cancel the agreement for the following reasons:

    – The paperwork has not been submitted by the salesperson, which they told me takes about 10 days (interesting enough, this is exactly how long the ‘cooling off’ period is).

    – They themselves cannot access the email (customerservice@summittenergy.ca) and a different person during the day can cancel the agreement.

    So I tried calling two times today during business hours and have been on hold for a total of 1 hour with no luck.

    I am planning to send a registered letter to the company advising them (again) of the cancellation tonight.

    Is there anything else I can do? What if I never receive a confirmation of the cancellation?

  7. Hi Ellen, the same thing happened to me tonight! Luckily I had the advice of my dad telling me not to sign anything until I research it first.

    This is what I am doing right now and found your article and some other online forum complaints.

    Summitt Energy, the way they conduct business was totally unethical. The guy lied to me and said that he was with Enbridge and Toronto Hydro and even showed me of billings to try to mislead me (even though his badge states Summitt Energy).

    He said I had to sign the Consumer Protection Program with them because it was mandatory and everyone in the neighbourhood was doing so.

    I’m just curious at how they are still in business, pretty shady business practices to me and why does the Canadian government allows this.

    Just googling it online, you can see that so many people are being suckered into this.


  8. After a year and a half I have finally convinced my brother in law to cancel the electricity contract he was with our house from Superior. The cancellation fee was a “mere” $650, but at the current rates they’re charging, we’ll recover that in about 8 months.
    What really floored me was what they said to try and convince him to stay! And that he almost listened to them! “The rate you’re paying is 8.5 cents per kwh, and that’s locked in for the next 4 years. The regulated rate is 9 cents per kwh during peak hours.” When pressed for information about the Provincial Benefit, he got defensive and proceeded with the cancellation process. He’s still not actually canceled, we need to pay their cancellation fee first (which is unbelievably stupid! I have never encountered another company that did this!) but we’re doing that tonight or tomorrow; we’re just going to drive in, and drop off a cheque. Pray that they don’t try to convince us otherwise at the office because I don’t know I can hold my temper.
    Still fighting over our gas with Direct, but even though they’re charging almost 3 times the regulated rate, it still isn’t worth it for us to pay the cancellation fee they want.
    And on a good note, I recently had some new neighbours move in. A few days after they finished the move, I returned home to see a Direct Energy consultant walking away from their door. I immediately went up to their door and explained that energy resellers (specifically their salesman) are liars and crooks and if anyone calls from any energy company to say nothing but “no” the entire call. He thanked me and I really hope he took my advice. It’s a good thing the salesman was already on his way, otherwise I might have become very vocal towards him, and I don’t think that would have been a good thing.

  9. Here is something new. I cancelled my 5 year contract with Just Energy (after 4 years and 2 months) and expected to get charged a termination fee of around $86, based on my examination of my monthly bills over the last 4 years. The penalty is 5 cents per cubic metre for the months of February to November 2010 (10 months).

    The bill came in and was for $125. The reason for the difference … Just Energy takes the annual gas usage from the previous year, divides it by 12 and then multiplies by 10 for the 10-month period.

    This method assumes you use the same amount of gas each month. but we all know this varies dramatically and given the 10-month period noted above, did not include December or January. This is the reason for the wide difference.

    I also noted they add GST to the bill and the contract clearly states the penalty as 5 cents – NOT 5 cents plus GST; also, the 34.9 cents per m3 I am now paying includes GST, so why would the 5 cent penalty not include GST?

    I tried to deal with these people and even offered to send them a cheque for $86, but they didn’t want it. I have now offered to send them a 5 cent penalty on the actual gas used, which I will send them in December of this year once I have the ACTUAL usage (and I know it will be around $80 or less). I sent a second letter to them to this effect.

    Just got back from vacation and they now have a collection agent on me. This is a first for me as I always pay what is owed (never had a collection agency come after me), but I will not pay for an amount which has been calculated in a ridiculous way.

    I will send the cheque in December to them and see if they cash it. I will be sure to write on the cheque that by cashing it they are agreeing to the amount being a fair payment of the liquidated damages owed (how can they argue that one, as it will be at that point the actual gas usage).

    I have complained to the OEB as liquidated damages, legally speaking, need to be backed up with proof that the company actually lost this much revenue. I write contracts for a living, so I know a thing or two about liquidated damages.

  10. In keeping with the spirit of those who have been taken by these and to honour three years of great work from Ellen:

    SOMEONE please tell me who ACTIVE ENERGY are. Did Union Gas sell a contract to them?

    In November (dates inexact due to some family events), Ellen was kind enough to contact Universal Energy and Direct Energy about the contracts I had (blood sucking contracts; .42 per .. signed before I had to make a major furnace purchase (way overpriced; watch out for those 21 Degree flyers; but since I had no heat on a rural Friday night, limited choice).

    Ellen intervened at my request when not one but 2 young men showed up at the door, claiming they would renegotiate. Universal Energy (who had made major profits on both hydro and gas) did negotiate honorably, but only after 2 months of prepayment penalties.

    Due to family illness, I still have not followed up on the exact status of Union Gas, but what a difference in my gas bill. I also received a letter from Union Gas, to their credit.

    However, I still have not received anything from Veridian; that is to be expected, I guess.

    TONIGHT, I received another one of our door to door sellers, Saturday night at 5:30 p.m. A pleasant woman insisted that she was representing ACTIVE ENERGY, who were suppliers for Union Gas.

    Who are ACTIVE ENERGY? That is my question. She asked for a gas bill, which I could not immediately locate. She insisted I find a bill and pulled out her listing on a Union Gas bill. I KNOW my last bill was from Union Gas, not ACTIVE ENERGY.

    By that time I had suggested that the dog would not leave if she came inside the door, but had given up. She insisted that she needed to know if I had received a rebate cheque (do not think so), and that if I allowed her access she could pull up a bill. NOT.

    Please inform WHO these people are.. I think there are a few of us who need to know. NO literature was given. I would like Union Gas to comment and or inform. Thanks.

  11. Re: What Gord Potter, Just Energy spokesman said in his comment. My mom cashed the $29.99 checque on Feb 01, 2010. without knowing or seeing the binding contract terms on the back of the cheque. She thought it was some gas return cheque from the government she heard about.

    Since April, Just Energy has been billing us at a rate of 32.9 which is almost TRIPLE the market price.

    Oh, about that welcome letter you talked about, we just got it today, the letter was dated June 25th, 2010. That’s FOUR months AFTER the fact. So how exactly could we have cancelled it within 30 days without even knowing we were enrolled till now? Just Energy is ironically VERY unjust, and it uses deceptive marketing/sales tactics. It’s almost fraud targeting the elders with weaker eye sights!

  12. National Home Services AND Just Energy in the same 20 minute period:

    First, last night I was visited by a rep from “National Home Services” and it was a very unpleasant interaction.

    The slick representative blathered on very quickly and very assertively – said that they were in the area replacing water heaters with more efficient models – for free. He kept asking the age of my water heater.

    Said it came with no obligations. You don’t get anything for free, so I tried to get him to say what conditions came with the replacement, and he just kept asking how old the tank was, and saying it was a ‘no-brainer’ that I should jump at the chance to get it replaced with a “more energy efficient” model.

    He did give me a pamphlet – with no fee or cost information on it.

    Since I knew from reading your column that there was probably a scam in there somewhere, I tried to get straight what exactly he was proposing, and finally gave up and said that I was pretty confident that he was trying to get me to sign on to something other than just a free hot water heater.

    He kept shifting what he was saying and his tone was really flippant and rude. He basically said he didn’t want to waste his time or mine (but really implying with his manner that he was being greatly inconvenienced by me – on my own doorstep!).

    I asked for his name or badge number, but he just left and shouted at me that I was ‘really pathetic’.

    Not 10 minutes later, another guy and his partner – representatives wearing overalls with a ‘Just Energy’ logo on it – showed up. They joked that they weren’t trying to sell me a hot water tank like the previous guy, thank goodness.

    They said my neighbours had told them about him. They just wanted to check my ‘energy’ bill, saying it was supposed to have been done 4 months ago and they were just following up on it.

    I asked what they needed to check and I never really got an answer. They launched into a long complicated lecture about how we all were responsible for a certain specific amount of pollution and had a duty to do something about it.

    Then it seemed to be about alternative sources of ‘green’ energy, because they mentioned a Pickering methane from waste project and biofuel from wheat fields in Saskatchewan…..

    When I asked why my Hydro company didn’t just contact me to check my bill, or to offer an alternative energy source contract, one dramatically said “Whoa, we didn’t mention we were from Hydro, did we?”

    They said they weren’t there to get me to change my energy supplier, but never really told me what they were actually proposing.

    I said if they were really serious, they could leave printed materials for me to consider and think about. Predictably, they said they only had one copy and their supervisor wouldn’t let them give any out – to save the environment by saving paper! They said I could look them up on the internet and left.

    Ironically, when I told my husband, he said what a coincidence they showed up within a few minutes of each other. Maybe they’re all riding around in the same truck!

    Oddly, when I did an internet search, I found that there really is a business relationship between the two marketers!

  13. I am an Enbridge customer in Ontario. Tonight I received a visit (at 8:30pm) from a guy “selling” Just Energy to me. He was very pushy, and even used my phone to call his company to confirm my enrolment. I did NOT sign anything. As a matter of fact I hung up the phone before he could talk to his agent again and grabbed the 3 part contract he was writing my information on and ripped it up and closed the door. My question is, can they still enrol me without a signed contract? Because he gave the lady on the phone all of my personal information (name, address, phone number and email address) but NOT my Enbridge account number, that was written on the contract that I took and ripped up.

  14. I would truly appreciate it if anyone can give me advice about our family’s situation, thank you.

    Me and my father were always the ones who opened the door to these scammers and we always were able to keep them off by making an excuse that we simply rent the place and we did tell my mom about it as well.

    Unfortunately, when I was at school and my dad at work, when my mom’s work slowed down for a week and she was at home, she opened the door to these scammers (in the 3rd week of November 2011).

    So my mom had been scammed by an agent from this Active Energy Inc., claiming that he was from Enbridge. He had an Embridge ID, a badge, logo on his papers, etc.

    He claimed that Enbridge sent out a notice regarding a refund of $25 related to green omissions. They asked her to see the bill, and unfortunately my mom showed it to them.

    They said that the reason they were coming around was because most people had not read the insert that was sent with the Enbridge bill and that we were required to call Enbridge to receive the reimbursement.

    So he claimed we were paying too much and asked my mom to sign a paper where it would reduce the cost to our bills. He said that they would call on her behalf right then and there to confirm from his boss.

    The guy called on his phone and told my mom that she would be speaking with an Enbridge customer service rep to authorize the reimbursement to my dad’s account.

    Apparently the guy did not let my mom hold the phone and just let her hear through the phone. She said she could barely hear and understand the call at all.

    The person asked her for her name, whether she was the account holder, and how long the furnace had been there. The guy pressured my mom into signing the documents and asked her to confirm on the call.

    Even more unfortunate for us, my mom never told us about it until my dad saw the Enbridge bill a month later (at the end of December), where there is a “New Active Inc. Energy Charges” a whopping $44.98 (Carbon offset $19.99 + Heating Maintenance Plan $24.99).

    This is too much for us since it’s close to our monthly gas bill of $50! Plus taxes and water heater rental amounts to around $80 per month before, and even then we are always behind in paying the bills since my family has a lot of bills to pay.

    So with this extra charge, our bill is now more than $130 per month, and this even makes it more harder for us to pay the bill.

    So I would like to hear anyone’s advice or experience similar to this. Things to note about:

    -My dad is the only one who has an account in Enbridge, but my mom was the one who signed it. Is that allowed?

    -The agent DID NOT LEAVE any copy of the contract that my mom signed.

    -My dad called Active Energy Inc. and requested a copy of the contract to be sent by email 3 days ago and still nothing (even though they claimed it will be sent under 24 hours, it wasn’t in my dad’s inbox/junk/spam folder).

    -Apparently from the phone call my dad made to them, we have been locked in a 5 year contract and that if we wish to cancel the contract then we would have to pay $500 for it. This is too much!

    -We have NEVER received a confirmation phone call, and when my dad talked to Active Energy Inc. about it, they said the confirmation call was made on the spot when singing up the contract (which means it was the call my mom received when the agent was still there).

    -Misrepresentation of the agent’s identity (he has apparently NEVER once mentioned that he was from Active Energy Inc. and told my mom that he was from Enbridge, and even during his confirmation phone call, he told my mom that she was speaking to an Enbridge representative and even that representative never once mentioned that it was from Active Energy Inc.).

    Is there still any hope for us to cancel both the contracts without paying that crazy $500 cancellation penalty?

    This is such a scam. I swear I can’t stand seeing my mom crying and blaming herself about it, and it makes me mad that I wasn’t there when it took place.

    I know it was my mom’s fault and all, but it was the first time she opened the doors to the scammers and she’s just too kind to flat out refuse them.

    I can’t believe that we have finally fallen victim to these scams after all these years we lived in our house, so any advice is truly appreciated.

    Would contacting Enbridge or the Ontraio Energy Board help? I know from looking at their websites that that we should first try to resolve it with Active Energy, but so far they have been uncooperative.

    They’re just telling us that they don’t condone the agent’s misrepresentation that he was from Enbridge and that they will file a complaint against him and that we will have to contact them again 15 days later.

    They won’t cancel both the contracts together without a penalty. They’re giving us the option of reducing the penalty fee for cancelling 1 contract (not both, either carbon offset or heater maintenance plan).

    Thank you so much for any advice you can give.

  15. Raphael,

    The exact thing happen to us except we found out about it right away and tried to find out who it was. Since we did not find out within the 10 days who the company was we could not cancel. I sent the company a letter stating basically what you have listed – unfair business practices and non-disclosure but they wont budge as they are saying that they have a recording of the charge being agreed upon and that we have a copy of the contract. Our cancellation fee is about half of what they are asking from you. Anyone have any advice on what can be done to avoid the cancellation charge? They say with proof of government id to show that the individual is over the age of 65 will reduce the charge but I don’t trust the company to provide such information.

  16. Rapheal and sonia. our family got scammed by Active Energy too.

    The agent from this Active Energy Inc., claiming that he was from Enbridge and Enbridge sent out a notice regarding a refund of $25 related to green omissions. So he claimed we were paying too much and asked my mom to sign a paper where it would reduce the cost to our bills (which she didn’t sign it).

    The guy called on his phone and told my mom that she would be speaking with an Enbridge customer service rep to authorize the reimbursement the account.

    However, my mom doesn’t speak any English so they ask me to speak it for her and I told him that I’m not over 16. He still said it is fine, you’re just getting money back and told us to say “YES” to everything. Which the guy kept talking beside my ear about something different from the call and I could barely hear and understand the call at all.

    I try to stop him and hear what’s on the phone, but he kept pushing me to say yes to the call. Then the guy pressured my mom into signing the documents, but my mom was worry about this document so she didn’t sign anything.

    So we try to ask the guy to come back again with the document, so he did leave. After a while, my mom is still worry because of the information on the document. So we went out the street to look for him to ask for the document back, as we were looking for him we saw two more of those agents speaking to the other house owner.

    After out in the cold for few minutes, we finally find him on the street. So we ask for the document back, but he said that he can’t give it to us because the company would not let him. Then we ask for his employee ID, phone number and his employee position, so he told us that there is no ID and give the Enbridge phone number.

    So we went back home and call the Enbridge number. Then the Enbridge employee told us that they would never sent out the agents to houses. After this, we quickly went back outside to look for the guy and ask the document back. When we find him, he said he could rip the document up (which he did) but he can’t give back to us because his manger said so.
    So after this we thought we were okay because the he rip the document up and we didn’t commit anything to this company.

    Then a month later, we received the Enbridge bill and saw a “New Active Inc. Energy Charges” that cost $53. So with this extra charge, our bill is now more than $153 per month and this even makes it harder for us to pay the bill.

    So we called the Enbridge to complain about this, they said they will inform the active energy about this and this might take a month or two. And between these two month we don’t have pay the “New Active Inc. Energy Charges”. They also told us that there have been amount of people complaining about this company with the same issue.

    Then after a month, the active company called us about complaining to Enbridge and told us that have been locked in a 5 year contract and that if we wish to cancel the contract then we would have to pay $500 for it. Then we told them that we didn’t sign anything and ask the agent to rip the contract in front of us. However they said that they have a copy of the contract in the office and now they are sending me a copy of the contract to confirm about the signature.

    WE are very angry about this contract that came out of nowhere!!!!


  17. Ellen, please help!

    I started noticing my gas and electricity bills increasing month over month and despite my efforts to change my household usage patterns I just couldn’t get a handle on my bills which were $300-400 each!

    At first I thought it was attributed to HST and I kept reading that energy costs where rising and therefore thought everyone’s costs were sky rocketing. It wasn’t until I was at the point of disconnection because I just couldn’t keep up with the payments anymore that I started questioning why these charges were so outrageous.

    It was Enbridge who pointed me in the right direction as one of their customer service agents suggested I call Just Energy and discuss my rates since it appeared to her that I was paying 3x more then the going rate with Enbridge! It was then that I remembered a door sales man who had visited my home when I first moved in back in 2007, and his promises of ‘saving money’, ‘capped rates’ and ‘never paying more then the going rate’!!

    Needless to say I was shocked, angry, and felt completely taken advantage of since the promise of ‘saving money’ had been a complete farce. Here I’ve been paying 3x more then what I should have been paying, struggling to pay these high bills and making sacrifices because I thought I was providing the basics to my family. When the reality is that I’ve been taken complete advantage of.

    I called Just Energy and found out that my ‘contract’ doesn’t expire for another 3 year (even though I signed up in 2007 for a 5yr term). The explanation I received was that I had initially signed up with Universal Energy and when Just Energy took over, my contract was automatically restarted for 5 years with Just Energy. I don’t recall ever seeing a renewal letter or any communication from Just Energy for that matter.

    When I asked to cancel my ‘contract’ I was informed of a hefty penalty (which I just can’t afford) and the only option is to agree to a new contract at a lower rate, even though this rate is till higher then Enbridge.

    I hope you can help me cancel my contract with these goons (without penalty of course) and I think I should be reimbursed for the years of overpayment I’ve made.

    Look forward to your advice.

  18. Dear Ellen,

    I have been reading through your website relating to Summitt/Active energy. Basically, my 84 year old dad experienced the same scenario as “Raphael” (Jan. 12).

    He is being billed for a carbon offset and heating maintenancepand did not recall requesting these services.

    If there was someone stopping by the house, the agent certainly did not present these services as carbon offset and heating protection services.

    I requested a copy of the contract and was told that there is a cancellation penalty.

  19. Well, we got roped in. The emphasis was on getting a budget plan. Needless to say, the gas price was 33.2 cents in 2009 and it is still 33.2 centsw. The new offer from Just Energy is 15.3 cents. The current market price for gas is about 8 cents. Now where’s the budgeting?

    This is crippling us. I cancelled after attempting for 3 years to phone these people. Yes, 3 years trying to contact them. I got through 3 weeks ago. Cancelled.

    I was told effective immediately, only to be told by the customer complaints department it will be 2 billing periods, after asking them to replay the call I had when cancelling. They waived the contract ending fee. Great!!

    The current Manitoba Goverbment seems not to care at all.

  20. Hi Ellen, what next?

    My wife got tricked in May by Active Energy scam to sign a Carbon Offset contract and a Total Home Maintenance Plan, apparently for 5 years.

    The scenario matches the one presented by so many others: salesperson presents himself as working for Enbridge, requests to see the gas invoice in order to check if she qualifies for waiver of customer monthly charge.

    Upon seeing the invoice, he asks my wife to sign two papers without mentioning any contract. Wife speaks very little English. Then agent calls the company and tells my wife that in order to receive the rebate she has to confirm he was there, “just answer yes to all questions”.

    My wife follows the instructions without thinking, even confirms that she received a copy of the contract. To her credit, I listened to the call and the speed of the lady asking the questions made it completely impossible for my wife to understand the question. It made everything sound like a pure formality.

    Needless to say, the agent did not leave a contract, business card, phone number, company name, anything.

    My wife told me that a guy came by and spoke about saving money on gas bill. I knew it is a scam and asked for contact info, company. We had none, no way to contact scammers. I would have called that same day!

    My wife’s name is not on the invoice or account. Enbridge would not talk to her as she is not the account holder anyway.

    In July, I get the first invoice with Active Energy charges of $54. I called the same day to have it cancelled.

    I did not have any contract number. The Active Energy representative mentioned cancellation fee of about $500. I refused to pay the fee, as I did not have any contract. She promised to send me the copies of the contract and terms&conditions.

    Upon receiving the contract and terms and conditions I wrote them a registered letter:

    I received a copy of the contracts for Active Green Program and Active Home Services on Fri Jul 20, based on our phone conversation with your call centre following receiving my first Enbridge invoice that shows Active Energy charges.

    Your letter is dated May 15th. This is an obvious mistake, considering that it was sent in July.

    It is the first time I received this contracts. Your consultant used gross misrepresentation in presenting himself, the papers and the scope of the discussion on May 14. Your company did not even bother to check with me, the account holder, using the phone number on record!

    Your “Independent Marketer” did not leave ANY business card, phone number or contract copy on May 14th in an effort, probably deliberate, to prevent me from complaining earlier.

    Based on Article 2 in Terms and Conditions, I cancel these agreements today (Sat., July 28). Cancellation refers to ANY contract that Active Energy Inc. may have with me. As per Article 2 in Terms and Conditions, I do not have to give any reason for that.

    I hope your company does not support fraudulent marketing tactics such as the ones used by Shawn Ford and will terminate collaboration with him, especially considering the multiple similar incidents he was involved in.

    Also I logged a formal complaint with Enbridge, it is still in process.

    I spoke again to Active Energy, which offered a reduced amount of “liquidated damages” of $100 but would still demand payment for two months of delivering absolutely nothing. Alternatively, they request direct-debit form.

    It is clear that they support the sales tactics used by their agents. There is no responsibility for their behavior, even if this is very close to fraud.

    They keep telling me that my wife has to take some responsibility for signing the contract and for her answers on the confirmation call.

    I have difficulties in accepting that my wife has to take responsibility equal with the thief’s if her wallet gets stolen…

    What do you think? Is it possible that this company would have ANY non-misled customers?

    Thank you,

  21. My family got scammed by Active Energy too. The bill was about $53 for Aug 2012. It showed on my Enbridge invoice.

    I really didn’t know anything about this company and its Active green program. I never heard of it!!!

    What should I do now? Do I need to pay for it??

  22. My family got scammed by Active Energy….they have been billing us for a heating maintenance plan and carbon offset costs.

    After calling them and asking for a copy of the contract, they emailed me a grainy photocopy of my Dad’s signature with numerous spelling errors.

    He does not recall signing any agreement, nor did we receive a copy of the contract, or any information about the sales person or company.

    My story is very similar to Horia’s. Any advice/help regarding this matter would be greatly appreciated.

    I hope you can stop this from happening to other unsuspecting homeowners.

  23. This happened to my family too. Now they said that if we want to cancel the 5 year contract they said we “signed,” we would have to pay $208 for Carbon Offset and $208 for the Home Protection Plan.

  24. Just to let you know, Active Energy is under investigation (for the second time in two years) by the BC Utilities Commission for fraud & forgery (associated with natural gas contracts issued before May of 2010) involving 24+ commercial customers.

    The investigation has taken some strange twists and turns. And Active has lawyered up.

    But my sense is that Active is going to either have to reimburse all of these customers for the difference between their price for natural gas(typically $8.99/GJ for 5 years) and the significantly lower rate that our REAL provider would have charged (now below $3/GJ), had their salesperson not accepted an unauthorized or forged signature on the “contract.”

    BEWARE – Active’s settlement approach is to offer to cancel your contract (yes, the one you never originally entered into as the legitimate signing authority) and WAIVE THE PENALTY!!??

    They, then, are inclined to tell the Utilities Commission that our complaint has been “satisfactorily resolved” when, in fact, they know we are seeking full compensation for the difference in what we paid!

    Go to http://www.bcuc.com and click on Current Proceedings.

    Luckily, Active Energy Compliance Investigation is at the top of the list and you can peruse all the proceedings and, hopefully soon, the final decision of the Commission.

  25. Wow, JM,

    I read your comment and could not help but respond to it here. Sounds like your girlfriend got really taken advantage of….BY VIRTUE OF HER COMPLETE LACK OF COMMON SENSE AND INTELLIGENCE!

    How do you deposit a completely random check without even reading what the check is for?

    I don’t mean to be rude, but that’s just downright DUMB! She got what she deserved for not reading the “fine print,” or in this case, ANY print.

    “Oh look a check! I should deposit is IMMEDIATELY!”

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