Albertans no longer have to deal with aggressive door-to-door sales people since a prohibition on the activity went into effect on Jan. 1
“In 2016, we heard from Albertans who were fed up with aggressive sales pitches at their doors, and that’s why we are putting a stop to door-to-door energy sales. I’m happy that the New Year brings relief for Albertans and I look forward to taking further action to better protect Alberta consumers throughout 2017,” said Stephanie McLean, minister of Service Alberta.
Energy goods and services prohibited from door-to-door sales include:
-natural gas and electricity energy contracts
The prohibition applies to unsolicited door-to-door sales. Companies that do not comply with the ban could face charges under the Fair Trading Act (FTA).
-Penalties under the FTA include a fine of up to $300,000 or imprisonment for up to two years.
-Other sanctions include administrative penalties of up to $100,000, director’s orders and licensing actions.
Alberta’s energy companies use a variety of customer outreach channels to sell their household energy products, including telephone and online sales, kiosks and advertising. All of these options remain open to them, as will the ability of Albertans to contact a company and invite them to their homes.
In all door-to-door sales visits, consumers should:
-Always ask for official company-issued identification.
-Never feel pressured to sign contracts on their doorsteps.
-Be cautious of any door-to-door offer.
-Call the consumer protection line at 1-877-427-4088 with any questions.
-Visit servicealberta.ca to learn more about consumer rights.
The Alberta government has also put out a tip sheet for consumers in identifying and dealing with door-to-door marketers. Some of the red flags people should watch out for include:
-The salesperson misrepresents or implies they are from the Government of Alberta. (The government does not send furnace inspectors to homes nor does the carbon levy appy to any feature on your furnace.)
-The salesperson says they are inspecting the furnace venting for safety purposes or are part of a government-sanctioned upgrade program.
-A sense of urgency that there is an immediate safety concern is created in order to persuade the customer to purchase or rent a funace.
-They may ask to see a utility bill and inform the person they may qualify for an upgrade program or that there is a government rebate for changing their furnace. (There is no government rebates for furnace replacement in Alberta.)
-They may be extremely persistent and pushy.
If you have purchased an energy-related product or service (furnace, hot water heater, air conditioner, windows, energy contract, and energy audit) through a door-to-door salesperson on or after Jan. 1, 2017, you can file a consumer complaint at http://www.servicealberta.gov.ab.ca/File-a-consumer-complaint.cfm.