Tuesday, October 11, 2011

In hot water over morEnergy scam

A man wearing a hardhat, yellow reflector vest and carrying an official clip board knocked on the door this weekend. He told me that he needed to check my rental hot water tank because of a new safety regulation passed by the Federal Government. He handed me his business card from morEnergy, declaring himself a "Hotwater Tank Specialist". In the bottom corner there was a small Canadian flag, similar to the Canadian government logo, making him appear more official.

I was skeptical but he led me to believe that this was some sort of government program to verify that we all have a safe hot water tank that meets the new safety regulations. But once I let him in the house, I realized that there is no way such a program would be launched without a public awareness campaign and at least one written announcement by mail. I realized that I had a salesman in my house, but he was already walking down the basement stairs. I was not surprised when he confirmed that it needed replacement because the government was phasing out all pre-2010 hotwater tanks. My hot water tank is only 5 years old. Obsolete already?

At that point, the sales double talk got worse.He asked if I was the type of person who cared about the environment & wanted to save energy. Suddenly I'm the bad guy for not saving the environment? I asked him for some written materials about the program, saying that I'd like to think about it and call him later.But he didn't have any brochures. He said that we could talk again when I was in the mood to listen. That was warning sign #2.

I did a quick Internet search revealing that this scam is not new. An Ottawa woman signed a contract thinking that she was getting a free replacement tank that was necessary due to safety, but then she noticed the small print revealing an increased price of 30%.

According to an online article, water heater fraud is common. If somebody comes to your door, do not sign anything! You will most certainly be left with extra fees and higher rates. The only good news is that you have 10 days to cancel the contract without penalty. But be warned: they will not make it easy for you to cancel. They will try to talk you out of it, but stick to you plan and INSIST that they cancel your contract. I know because Direct Energy tricked me into signing with them for gas delivery. They told me on my stressful moving day that I would not have gas delivered to my home unless I signed, despite the fact that I had arranged the gas hook-up with Enbridge in advance. There are several companies that use these underhanded tactics to trick homeowners into switching services that unfortunately are not usually better.

I called morEnergy to complain and it was no surprise that one of the main menu options was the legal department. How often do you hear that with other companies you call. Makes you think! So please be careful and do not fall for the morEnergy scam.


Anonymous said...

Similar situation happened to me last Sunday with official looking MorEnergy scam artist claiming he "needed to check my water tank for safety reasons" . He even had an Enbridge logo on his shirt . These little tricks and double talk should be classified as fraud since the intent is to deceive a homeowner.

Anonymous said...

I just had one of these guys come to my door today. He said he was an authorized agent of Enbridge. I asked him what company he was with, and he just repeated that he was an authorized dealer. Hmmm. The first red flag was that he was wearing a hard hat and a construction reflection vest; presumably to make sure the traffic in my basement can see him and that he doesn't get crushed by falling cinderblocks:) Looking at water heaters is dangerous business I guess.

I asked him if they had an appointment with the house, and he said no, that they were doing the neighbourhood. I asked him what would have happend had I not opened the door. He repeated that he was just making the rounds. I knew at this stage that this was certainly one of those water heater scams. I told him I didn't want him to look at our water heater, and he left in a grumpy sigh.

A minute or two later, it occurred to me he was about to go off and try to scam the rest of my neighbours, so I went out to the street to get a bit more info. I saw him coming out from my neighbour's house, and asked him for his credentials (I had not seen any paper work, business cards, emblems on clothing or anything to identify him or his company). He said he was with MorEnergy and walked right passed me. I caught up to him and asked him how to spell that (so I could search online when I got back home). He was visibly sheepish, avoiding eye contact, looking straight ahead marching away from me. He obviously realized that I knew that he was not the real deal. He said that he had told me all I need to know and to call Enbridge to confirm his legitimacy. I said, "you won't tell me how to spell your company name?". He said, "I told you, we are MorEnergy". I replied "is that M.O.R.E?", he replied, "I've told you all you need to know" and marched on. It was clear that he wasn't going to give me any more info. I told him I was just curious because of all the water heater scams out there... (this did not elicit any response at all). He just looked straight ahead and marched on. I asked him to leave our neighbourhood... I let him walk off, and watched him until he turned the corner. I suspect just moved on to the next street to try and trick some more folks.

These poor guys have a terrible job, tricking people into costly contracts etc., It's a spiritually brutal way to make a living, and I feel sorry for them. I know someone who once had this job, they were treated horribly by the employer, made about $30/day, and ultimately quit when he realized how wrong the whole thing was. That being said, that does not excuse their actions.

Would it have been alright to call the police on him? I don't know... I just left it at that.

Anonymous said...

Not all "car salesmen" are dishonest. Sales Reps promote the same products, some honestly, some dishonestly. It doesn't make the company into a scam. It is a dishonest scam artist using a reputable company to carryout his/her deceptive ways! MorEnergy offers great savings! I know someone that is saving about 40% on her utilty bills.

Lynn said...

BEWARE-RESIDENTS IN PAPE & DANFORTH AREA, CITY OF TORONTO, water heater scam company, Ontario GoGreen, rep Shawn Galarnhav 1-705-622-2792, insist on checking your water heater to determine if you qualify for FREE new one. It's glass, more green & will save you $7.00 to $12. a month. He's dressed credibly, i.e. safety vest, I.D. card, clip board, has pamphlet with web site address & application forms. Claims the heater, installation & removal of old one is ALL FREE, which begs the question, how does his company make money????

Lynn Feb. 17/12

Anonymous said...

Thank you Lynn. I live in the Danforth area and this same person came to me. I didn't let him in my house (my water tank is old). I lied to him bold face and told him that my tank is already being replaced next week.

I hate scammers!

I do need a new water tank though. Who do I trust?

Lisa said...

Mark - If you are in need of a new hot water tank, try a plumber. I use Mach Mechanical. Paul is a great guy.

My hot water tank is a rental with Enbridge. When it blew a leak a few years back, they replaced it at no charge within 36 hours. But I've heard it is less expensive to own your own, but then you have to pay up front and worry about repairs.

Stripping and Rust-Removal said...

The first red flag was that he was wearing a hard hat and a construction reflection vest; presumably to make sure the traffic in my basement can see him and that he doesn't get crushed by falling cinderblocks:) Looking at water heaters is dangerous business I guess.

Anonymous said...

Greenwood/Queen area... 2 people (young guy, young woman) with clipboards caught me at door. "... upgrading all water tanks... for free ... my job is to measure for removal/replacement..." blah-dee-blah. 1st clue : NO!!! Where's the official notice/media info? 2nd clue : smooth talking, but not professional. PEOPLE, let NOONE into your house for any such scammy talk! NO COMPANY sends someone over to just waltz into your house, OK? Best thing is just NOT to answer door for "clipboard" people (unfortunte timing for me that I opened door), and 2nd, ALWAYS ask for a card/info so that you can then call your current provider. ... This guy was still trying to object even as I closed the door with a (3rd) firm "No".

Steve Corke said...

BEWARE ALL. Morenergy is also Blue Power and now scamming people with solar panels.



Anonymous said...

ya put they get the seniors to buy their scam. The government should insert clause in contract, at least to be able to buyout at reasonable rate. This scam is also going to affect the resale of the home again seniors are penalized foremost by having these crooks push themselves in to the home.