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  • Do I Need to Sign a Contract at the Door?

“I was approached at my home by a teenager who said he worked for {NAME REMOVED}. It was early March so the weather was cold and I let him inside to warm up for a bit.

He gave me a sales pitch and said I had to sign a form to let his boss know he visited this house. I asked if he had any literature so I could think it over before I made a decision, and he didn’t have any. I have his number and Im not sure if I should call him back and make a deal. I would appreciate a quick response, thank you.”

Karim M. Toronto, ON

Thank you for your question, Karim. We’ve sent you an email containing this reply so you’ll get it before you make a decision.

It’s of Ontario Energy Group Consumer Watch’s opinion, Karim, that you carefully avoid making a deal with this individual.

Image Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The number one volume of complaints we receive at Ontario Energy Group Consumer Watch involves door-to-door salespeople asking a homeowner to “sign this form” under a number of different guises. The primary of which we’ve heard is that it “confirms that we’ve spoken to you”.

Very often, these forms are actually cleverly, or not so cleverly, disguised contracts that can lock you into their service without your knowledge or consent. Many consumer complaints regarding unfair energy practices center around the unfair or fraudulent signing of energy contracts which result in homeowners paying high premiums on their utility bills down the road. It’s for this reason that Ontario Energy Group Consumer watch emphatically recommends you never sign anything without being aware that it may be a contract.

Additionally, the representative who spoke with you had no literature on hand. This is in itself a big warning sign that the person you dealt with may have been a scammer. Literature on hand is a useful tool for sales reps to give their potential customers a chance to look over the details of a deal and decide if it’s right for them. Not having literature on hand suggests that the rep doesn’t either doesn’t want you to know the full details of the deal (because it’s a bad deal), or they’re relying on pressuring you into an impulse sale by cornering you and making the door-to-door encounter a “now or never” situation.

These tactics are well known among door-to-door businesses that receive the highest volume of complaints, and there’s a reason why they’re so common. Legitimate businesses do not rely on impulse sales and shady tactics because they’re not conductive to good business practices. Nearly any business that operates door-to-door (Ontario Energy Group included, mind you) that operates with any form of integrity does better long-term business by giving customers the space and time they need to make informed decisions.

Scammers don’t want you to make an informed decision because the information actually works against them in the long run. It’s no surprise that the company you’re dealing with receives the volume of complaints that it does. If they’re unable to provide an accurate picture of the services they provide, it’s very likely that they services they provide are not to benefit you.

Keep in mind that no matter what, all contracts signed at the door have a 10-day “cooling off” period, which allows you to sit back and determine if you did the right thing by signing. Before this 10-day period is up, you can call to have your contract cancelled without repercussion if you feel it’s not in your interests. So don’t feel pressured at the door, and don’t let scammers pressure you at the door – your home deserves better.

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