New Door to Door Sales Regulations
Door To Door Sales
National Home Services
This is the piano player by night sales con man by day
This is a public service message,
and this guy should think twice about deceiving prospects
with internet search available
Just tonight, an agent from National Home Service - Water Heater Division came by to check my water heater. He said since it is 10 years old, I should probably change it. So then he explains how National will replace mine with a high efficiency model with $0 installation fee but a slight increase to my monthly rental charge (to $24.25). They will also return my existing one to Enbridge and there will be no charge to me. Now here is the problem...
This agreement is for a 15 year term which he never even mentioned.
Its in the fine print.
- Which he doesn`t give you a chance to read.
- Hustles you on the point of when can we install the new unit.
- He leads you to believe that this is an Enbridge program all heaters are being replaced,
- He has to come in and check the heater for installation of the new one.
- Enters under a completely false pretense and costume
- Dresses like a blue collar meter reader , construction type with orange vest and clipboard.
He says whats a good day to do the installation
then he says sign here to authorize our installers to do the work.
What you are signing is a 15 year rental contract for more money then Enbridge charges and that is never mentioned by design.
He may look like blue collar enbridge installers, but they talk like vacuum cleaner sales people ready to steal your money for huge commissions. Beware and Don`t get sucked in.
They are thieves and you are their next prey. I showed them the door, they would NOT allow me to read the contract and they would not leave the contract. 24.25 x 15 year = $4365.00
Warning! DON'T LET THEM STEP INTO YOUR HOUSE AND DON'T SIGN ANYTHING
SCAM ALERT DO NOT BUY FROM
Never assume you're dealing with the same company that currently rents the equipment to you.
It may be a rival firm, hoping to lock you into a long-term contract and charge penalties to get out early.
National Home Services – part of Universal Energy Corp. –is making sales pitches to homeowners who rent water heaters from Direct Energy.
It's offering two months of free rent to those who replace their hot water tanks – and two more months if they refer others.
Laura Thornton, who lives in Ajax (east of Toronto), signed with National Home Services after someone came to her door.
"They said they were with the gas company and wanted to replace the water heater. It was sitting on the floor and there was a combustion problem with the gas," she says.
She realized she wasn't dealing with her current supplier only when she got a letter from Direct Energy, warning her about National Home Services.
Thornton now understands that her contract with a rival firm requires her to pay rental charges for the next 15 years.
She will be faced with penalty fees to cancel any time during that period – for example, if she sells her home to a new owner who doesn't want to keep the rental equipment.
Direct Energy customers can remove their rented water heaters without paying a penalty. That's because of an agreement between Enbridge Gas and the federal competition bureau in 2001.
Enbridge had been charging high exit fees for customers who rented water heaters – fees that the competition bureau felt were designed to keep out rivals.
(Enbridge sold its home services business to Direct Energy in 2002.)
Direct Energy rents about 1.4 million water heaters to Enbridge Gas clients. It says the sales agents working for National Home Services are providing "misleading and incorrect information."
The company has received 1,700 customer calls in the past two weeks about agents going door to door for National Home Services, said Bob Huggard, president of home and business services.
Rival sales agents are telling people that Direct Energy's water heaters are unsafe, he says.
They're saying the tanks are inefficient if more than five years old. In fact, the average lifespan is 16 years.
Finally, some agents claim that Direct Energy is no longer in the water-heater rental business.
"We do not make any statements about Direct Energy no longer being in the water heater rental business," says Shawn Dym, senior vice-president of National Home Services.
"It would make no sense whatsoever for us to say anything that could be so easily disproved,"
Both sides are trying to discredit each other.
Direct Energy took the initiative to call me and talk about its competitor's tactics.
National Home Services sent me an internal memo from Direct Energy to its call-centre staff, telling them how to coach customers on cancelling their contracts.
My advice: Don't sign contracts with people who show up at your door. Don't show them your gas bill. Don't make any decisions before reviewing your options.
If you do sign, try to cancel before the 10-day cooling off period ends. For more information, call the consumer ministry at 1-800-889-9768.
Ellen Roseman's column appears Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday.
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