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  • My Natural Gas Rates Doubled! What Can I Do?

“I signed a contract with {REMOVED} about 5 weeks ago. It was for three years and the salesman who sold it to me told me that I was guaranteed 20% off my gas starting next month. Ive given it almost two months and my gas bill is now twice as much!! I called up the company and they said they would charge me $500 to release me from the contract! I’ve been scammed by these people what can I do?”

Rick G. Barrie, ON

Image Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

We’re sorry to hear about the bill, Rick. But thank you for writing us regardless. While getting roped into an energy contract that promised more than it delivered can seem hopeless, there’s a few bits of Ontario energy legislation that may work in your favor.

There’s a 10-day cooling off period after signing an energy contract that lets you cancel with no obligation for any reason. Everyone knows this, but what most people don’t know is that there’s a second opt-out period that comes even later.

Typically as late as 45 days, an energy marketer must contract you by phone to confirm your interest in continuing with the contract. This is a required stipulation of energy marketers. If you do not get this call within 45 days of signing, you may cancel without a fee and the energy marketer will have no wiggle room to complain or demand restitution.

Keep in mind that any promises a salesperson makes at the door does not indicate any reality of the contract, and you can’t treat it as such. When it comes to shady energy marketers, an overwhelming amount of complaints we receive are about something a salesperson has said or done.

While we can’t pass a moral judgment on this – salespeople are just the same as any other person – it does reflect some of the unnecessary pressure that causes sales to turn into complaints. If at any point a salesperson make a claim, a promise, or a guarantee it’s incredible important to ask for it in writing. If it’s not in writing, its not binding. And if it’s not binding, it can be enforced as a policy.

In many cases, salespeople may cast a negative light on an otherwise legitimate company by making promises that no company could possibly keep. While your complaint of twice your gas bill is unfortunate, it isn’t the energy marketer who promised the 20% savings – it was the salesperson at your door. Desperate to make a sale and knowing the responsibility can be avoided, he made a claim he wouldn’t have to back up later.

Again, if you haven’t received a call regarding your contract by that 45-day mark, you’ve got a definite case to cancel your contract without paying the rather hefty cancellation fee.

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