Message from the Ontario Government: Door-to-Door Water Heater Rentals
Complaints about door-to-door rental agreements for water heaters jumped into third place on the Ontario Ministry of Consumer Services Top Consumer Complaints list in 2010, a sign that some businesses and salespeople may be using aggressive or misleading practices.
This post is not about water heater installation prices or about how much money we can save, it is not about saving the world and this is not about the energy-efficient water heater. It is about the sleazy sale tactics use by some door-to-door sale men. This is about being properly informed and at least has the opportunity to make an informed choice.
The power of high-pressure sales: From CBC aired on March 20, 2009
We would be more than happy to pay $2 or $5 dollars more each month for something we needed, instead the door-to-door salesman tried to replace our 50 gallon gas water heater that was only 7 years old (life span up to 15 years) and doesn’t need replacement. The salesman was an “independent” energy agent who mislead us by saying our natural gas water heater was out dated, might blow up, need to replace some piping and contain dirty water. When he only looked at my tank for 10 seconds. Also, he wasn’t a water heater technician, he was a sale man, an “independent” energy agents and how would he knew what was inside the tank without opening it?
On top of that the “independent” energy agent didn’t even mention the long-term contract and left out many details on the contract and did not clearly disclose all the water heater installation prices, terms and conditions. For example, the “independent” energy agent left out the large fine for their cancellation fees and the fine for transferring my contract if I was to sell my home and the new home owner does don’t carry over the contract.
I don’t work for any other hot water heaters company like Direct Energy or any other. I agree if you have a gas hot water heater over 15 – 20 years old, it is time to replace it, but make sure you know all the terms, rules, and the cost. I hate being mislead, for that reason alone I would never buy anything or support a company that use misleading information.
Here is an article from The Star “Don’t sign sales deals at your door”, about door-to-door agents making misleading and incorrect information.
Here is another article from The Star about poor installation, needing the exhaust fix after the installation. Read here: Beware door-to-door hot water tank sellers
What you should know before signing for a water heater upgrade?
- Cancellation fees, long-term contract, pushy sales people and misleading marketing tactics.
- Be in a long-term contract
TERMS & CONDITIONS
2. Term and Payment
“…and for the useful life of the equipment…”
- No pipes need replacement. If there is something wrong with your current water heater, call your current provider and ask about it. These “independent” energy sale agent love to use fear tactics and they will say anything to get your signature so they can get their commissions. Door-to-door sale are well known for their deceptive practices.
- Pay $4000+ dollars in total. More than our current provider.
- When we sell our home we will need the new home owner to carry over the hot water heater contract. If the new home owner does not want to carry the contract for whatever reason. We will have to pay hundred of dollars to break the contract. (Again, “independent” energy agents doesn’t want you to know, unless you ask )
- Door-to-door sale agents may falsely claim to be from your current provider or made themselves sound like they were sent by the government on a routine checkup or say your current provider (Direct Energy, Reliance) no longer provide hot water heater service or say they want to give free water heater check up, when in fact they are not licensed technician and Direct Energy, Reliance are still in business.
- Why are the “independent” energy agents are wearing a full uniform by the company? If these sale agents really “independent” energy agents, shouldn’t they be wearing their “independent” uniform and not the company? You should only be allowed to wear a full uniform by a company if you work for the company and that company should take full accountability for all of their employees.
- Sale agents will replace your old natural gas water heater and install the new tank for FREE. Also include 2 months Free. (It’s not free installation)
If your natural gas water heater is over 15 years old, contact your current provider to see if they will replace it with a newer energy-efficient water heater, usually they do at no charge. It doesn’t cost anything to ask.
They are now installing the water heater tank the next day without 10-60 days reaffirmed by the customer. If their product is so good why are they installing the tanks without the 10 days cooling off period?
Here is an article on TheStar.com on what happened when an “independent” energy agent came to someone’s home in Ajax and after 20 minutes of signing. A technician came to remove their natural gas water heater tank.
If you are here, it is probably because you are one of their victim. But you can always fight back. Don’t let them walk all over you and does nothing about it. We all have to speak up and tell our stories. Read below to find what you can do to stop this company from hurting you and other people in your community.
Did a door-to-door salesman come to your home and:
- Create confusion in your mind about water heater?
- Mislead or misrepresent any aspect of their offer?
- Abuse your trust?
- Unduly pressure or harass you to enter into a transaction?
- Exploit your lack of experience or knowledge in purchasing water heater or legal contracts?
- Did they harass you?
- Did they deal with your spouse or other that has language or comprehension issues?
- Did you end up signing anyways, after you told them to leave?
If you answer “YES” to one or more, write down what happened and call or send complaints to The Ministry of Consumer Services. Tell them your horror story.
Canceling Your Contract
* The contract is subject to a cooling off period. You have the absolute right to cancel (for any reason) within 10 days of receiving a written copy of the agreement.
* The vendor has made a false, misleading or deceptive representation about the goods or services you agreed to buy or lease.
* The information about the goods or services, or your rights as a consumer required by the Consumer Protection Act, 2002, are not provided to you in the agreement.
Bottom Line: any strangers show up at your door offering to save you money is highly likely to be lying. No one get out of their way to go save you money, they only do it because they need to get pay.