Home Scams

You’ve just sat down to dinner and the doorbell rings. You answer the door and an earnest young man is standing there holding a clipboard and wearing a jacket with a logo on it. The logo says Ontario Energy Group (OEG), or New Home Comfort (NHC) or any other equally innocuous semi-credible business title. He says he’s there to inspect your water heater, or your furnace and air conditioner to ensure they are compliant with current energy efficiency standards.

What do you do?

  1. Invite him in to take a look and write down all sorts of details about the interior set-up of your home and equipment;
  2. Leave him at the door but provide him with a copy of your hydro bill so he can “ensure you are getting the energy rebate owed to you by the province” or
  3. Politely tell him to get lost and close the door in his face. Do be polite – most of these salespeople are victims of their own employers.

Just remember – good businesses don’t go door-to-door. They don’t need to.

If you picked anything other than c) you are asking to become the victim of a door-to-door scam. Oh sure, they have all sorts of convincing lines. The most recent such representative to visit our home said, all in the course of a single pitch, that his company was working with home-owners in the area. Then they were doing inspections on behalf of the province. Then finally he said that energy efficiency standards had changed and based on the exterior pipes he could see protruding from the side of our house, he could tell we did not have energy-efficient equipment heating our home. When we told him he was representing a scam, he protested and claimed his business was accredited by the Better Business Bureau. I looked his company up on the BBB site – not only were they not accredited, they have been in existence for less than a year. The BBB listed the name of the CEO and indicated the company had only that single employee – which is how the listing remains the last time I checked it. By the way, an earlier version of this blog post provided a hyperlink to the Linkedin profile of the BBB-listed CEO showing that he’d gone from new university grad to Sales Executive to Director of Marketing to CEO of his own (scam) company in less than four years. Now that’s entrepreneurial! The CEO has since removed that level of detail from his public profile. Hmm, wonder why?

By the way, I don’t really endorse the BBB as a credible source. They will essentially ‘accredit’ any business that pays to join their organization. They will record complaints about businesses, but don’t have any teeth to enforce any sort of a resolution or to undertake mediation. And as long as the business owner provides a response, which the BBB then retransmits to the customer, the BBB marks that complaint as resolved and the case closed. The business response didn’t need to be useful or actually resolve the customer’s complaint mind you. In the worst circumstances, when sufficient complaints are received to cause a negative rating from the BBB, there is nothing stopping the business owner from shutting down his business and starting up again under a new name with a brand-spanking new BBB rating. What does the BBB care? They’re getting their membership fees! Don’t believe it? Check out this BBB is a useless institution article.

It isn’t even unusual that we’ve had two such scam visits in the period of two weeks. This is the time of year when our furnaces are working the hardest, and some of us may be noticing that they aren’t as efficient as we would like, or that they’re perhaps making some odd noises that could indicate they are approaching the end of life, or a potential breakdown. It seems like a prime period to send out the door-to-door scammers to see if they can convince home-owners to let them in. And who doesn’t feel sorry for the earnest young guy with the clipboard going door-to-door in cold winter weather? Do not let your sympathy blind you – this is a scam and he’s working with a script to get the info he needs to earn his commission by locking you into some scam deal with his company.

The Ontario Ministry of Consumer Services maintains a Beware List of shady businesses that have been reported to them. They have a list of over twenty names doing business in the water heater industry that are scams. Several of them have the same name located at different addresses. The same sort of result appears when you search for furnace scams. That’s great info when you’re looking up companies online that you may want to do business with – be sure to check them out first. But even if the company does not appear on the Beware List, don’t let them in your door or share any info with them. Note that the Ministry finally seems to be going after some of these clowns. Here’s a story about a guy recently convicted for the third time of offences under the Consumer Protection Act. Philip Slobodzian of Pembroke, operating in the Ottawa area as PSC New Home Construction Inc. is a self-described roofer who undoubtedly went door-to-door telling people they could get a great deal because he was already down the street doing work. Instead, he took their deposits, stripped all the shingles off their roofs and then pulled a vanishing act leaving the homeowners out of pocket and without a roof! Scum.

My personal rule – one I adhere to without exception – is that if I didn’t call your company to my home for a consultation, then you are not crossing my threshold. Nor am I showing you any of my utility bills or providing you with equipment model numbers. It’s not going to happen. Just remember – good businesses don’t go door-to-door. They don’t need to.

  • BevP

    Thanks for this. We just had a young lady from Ontario Home Comfort come to our door today and latch on to our daughter … said she loved my daughter’s hair and was going to get hers cut the same way the next day. And said she was taking my daughter with her and would pay for her hair cut as well. Uh …. really? She also had a very candid conversation with my daughter, after making her way into our house, and finally ended up giving my daughter her phone number so she could text her to let her know when we got home. The clincher is, she actually came back. She told me about her conversation with my daughter and that I needed to keep being my daughter’s best friend, and that she could tell I was a good person, good mother, that she knew what my daughter was about … then she tried to sell me a furnace. Ontario Home Comfort has reached a new low.

  • Lilliane

    I signed up for a new gas furnace with

    tank less water heater. they promised that I can get out of my contract with other energie provider and will get back to Veridian and Union gas as direct provider.

    how can I out of that now?

    • http://www.patronized.ca The Underground Woman

      Hi Lilliane. Thanks for the question. It’s not quite clear what company you have signed up for the new services with. But the first thing to do is read your contract very carefully (you did get a copy of the full contract, right?) to find out the terms and conditions especially for cancelling. If you can cancel over the phone be sure to get a cancellation confirmation number. If they won’t let you do that, you may need to send a registered letter immediately telling them to cancel the service. If neither of those works contact the Ontario Ministry of Consumer Services, which I mentioned in the article, to see if they can help you out. Worst case, maybe try a consumer advocate like Ellen Roseman, who is mentioned in my article on consumer advocates. I wish you the best of luck.

    • Patronized

      Hi Lilliane. Thanks for the question. It’s not quite clear what company you have signed up for the new services with. But the first thing to do is read your contract very carefully (you did get a copy of the full contract, right?) to find out the terms and conditions especially for cancelling. If you can cancel over the phone be sure to get a cancellation confirmation number. If they won’t let you do that, you may need to send a registered letter immediately telling them to cancel the service. If neither of those works contact the Ontario Ministry of Consumer Services, which I mentioned in the article, to see if they can help you out. Worst case, maybe try a consumer advocate like Ellen Roseman, who is mentioned in my article on consumer advocates. I wish you the best of luck.

    • soinsightful

      Assuming you live in belleville or gravenhurst, these reps cant gwt you out of contracts . They aernt the account holder! If you sit down with them and call under certain circumstances yes you can *possibly* get out of your energy contract free of charge

  • OttawaGuy37

    I just want to warn everyone that SUMMITT ENERGY has been going around
    Ottawa (Avalon neighborhood in Orleans). I had someone at my door on
    July 17, 2013. He said he was affiliated with Ontario Energy Board and
    wanted to verify if I was paying HydroOne’s “new price” or “old price”.
    When he put me on the phone and they asked if I agreed to a 5 year
    contract, I hung up the phone and slammed the door in his face.
    Summitt
    Energy is a scumbag company and Carlo Cavaliere (rep no OK 1364) is a
    DISHONEST, MISLEADING, LYING ****. If he comes to your door, tell him to
    get lost and call the police.

  • Miles Duggal

    Dear Underground Woman,

    I know how important reputation is to a company’s longevity and it saddens me that you would denigrate our name without making any attempt to contact us. We are the only locally owned and operated d2d company in Ottawa. We are also the only d2d company which pays it’s agents salary/hourly so that they don’t have any added pressure-per-sale. Furthermore, we have been victims of having other agents claim to be part of our company at the door to add credibility. We truly are one of the only companies trying to do it right, and our reputation is a testament to that. We have completed about 1,200 jobs to date and have never once received any complaint from any review site or BBB listing *EVER* due to our commitment to customer service. I truly believe that you’ve mistaken our name with another and I very much wish you remove our name until such time that you have proof of any customer EVER being dissatisfied with us.

    Yours respectfully,

    Miles Duggal
    New Home Comfort
    Chief Executive Officer

    • Patronized

      Mr Duggal,

      Reputable companies do not sell their services door-to-door. They don’t have to. It was definitely one of your representatives who stood at my door and told me a series of what I consider to be deceptive stories about why he was there. Would you care to explain how your sales representatives are trained? Are you really working with homeowners in my area? Are you really doing inspections on behalf of the province? Can you really tell what kind of equipment I have based on the pipes sticking out the side of my house? I just checked your website and on it you claim to be an authorized Carrier dealer. Yet when I contacted Carrier Canada for a list of authorized dealers in my area, your company name is not among them. Your Linkedin profile shows you were formerly Director of Marketing with the Ontario Energy Group which is currently on the Ontario Consumer Ministry Beware List with two separate investigations against the company operating out of two different addresses. My blog post stays up.

      The Underground Woman

      • Miles Duggal

        Since you censored my last post I guess I’ll type this up again

        a) Some customers like to buy things in stores, receive promotions by mail, on the phone, by a referred friend, online, or even (drumroll please…) dare I say it… at the door (no way!)

        b) I’m pretty sure that the rep was not from our company, it’s not the first time I’ve heard or spotted agents from other companies trying to use our good name

        c) Yes we do work with home-owners in the areas we visit. We actually perform calls ahead of time letting people know the dates/times we’ll be arriving in the area, as well as conduct mass mailings to let people know

        d) No of course we aren’t and that’s a biased question.

        e) Yes you can tell how old the equipment is based on what safety codes were met at the time of installation. For instance if someone has black abs venting they would certainly have equipment over 6 years old since this has not been permitted for safety reasons since 2007. My last post actually linked the source here as well. I can supply it for those interested parties.

        f) The website will actually be updated in the next 4-6 weeks to reflect the change that we use Trane now, a very highly reputable brand and we are listed as a registered ‘Sales Channel’ meaning that we sell on behalf of their authorized Trane dealers/contractors. We’re the only ones permitted to use this program door-to-door due to their faith in our training process, which leads me to my next point.

        g) Unlike other companies, we have two examinations on ethics and product knowledge. Representatives train for 1 week and then must pass with a 75% score on each in order to partake in the guaranteed salary program we use

        h) I quit for a reason didn’t I? :)

        Now that I’ve answered your questions I have one for you. Wouldn’t it have been more responsible to have asked these questions to us before trying to bash us online? And a second question – why did you delete my previous reply to you, and a reply to another home-owner which I was trying to help with her complaint of another company? If you aren’t going to remove your post about us then at least give us the courtesy of responding and answering the questions you asked.

        Or, do one better and please remove our company name until we actually have a complaint for a home owner (hopefully never)! I strongly doubt this experience you had was with one of our reps.

        Thanks,

        Miles

        • Patronized

          I censored nothing. Your later comments were awaiting moderation.

        • Adee

          One of your reps showed up at my door last night, argued with me when I asked her to leave, also told me she was canvassing on behalf of the province, and that I absolutely had to change my furnace and aircon. When I told her they were new, she still tried to sell the product. She was incredibly pushy and rude, and I would never consider doing business with your company because of this. She wouldn’t even leave when I told her I was cooking. I finally took her card, told her I would research it, and contact her if I felt it wasn’t a scam. I still am not convinced it’s not. So aggravated by all of these businesses trying to come into my home.

          • Patronized

            Thank you for the information Adee and congratulations on taking the time to do your research before making a decision. Of course it is a scam and no one should be trying to talk you into replacing expensive equipment in your home before it is necessary. These businesses should all be named and shamed.

    • Buyer beware NHC!!!

      Mr. Duggal when your reps come to our doors and try to encourage us to rent a furnace and AC at $70 a month each, what your scamming company DOESNT say is that it is for 15 years!!! Guess what? That comes out to be $12,585… EACH!!! And that is without the increase of 3.5% a year!!! It’s a scam people!!!

      • Tony

        NHC has programs available for only 10 year terms. You are confused by another company. Regardless, you can make your own decisions, if you feel a product or service is over-priced then don’t buy it, it does not automatically become a scam. Your comment is laughable. You wanna lease a new Mercedes for $500/month for 10 years? KNOW THE FACTS AND USE YOUR OWN BRAIN!

        • Patronized

          Another sterling representation from a business that prides itself on customer service. We’ve heard from Mr. Duggal and “Tony.” We’d like to hear from others who have received New Home Comfort representatives at their doors. Let’s hear your stories. “Tony” thinks we’re confused. Are we?

      • Jawad Elidrissi-Elawad

        Actually, the unit (s) are maintained, serviced, cleaned, repaired all for the cost of the rental…and I’m getting a new unit every time standards change. If you ever lived in western Canada you would understand stand what that meens. Out there they pay a carbon tax, wich is coming to Ontario :) after the clean air act was singed..any thing under 95%, yeah you are gunna pay. A lot. Have fun with that shit. I’ll take the rental, pay way less in gas and hydro and get new shit for the next 15 years. And on top I’m going to resign haha.why? Simple, credit cards, mortgage, car payment, line of credit… cell phone bill… every thing is a rental now a days. You can think what ever you want. But that’s the truth and you know it.

    • Rogan

      Before I respond to this, I want everyone to know that I know Miles personally and professionally very well. I worked with him for a long time. Miles has many positive qualities about him. Chief among them are his drive and determination. He’s the hardest working, most persistent person I’ve ever met.

      With that being said, in my opinion, his business practices are deceitful to the very core.

      Ya, that part about paying Agents an hourly wage is B.S., Miles. You advertise the job as paying an hourly wage in order to get more recruits, but as soon as the agent starts making a few sales, you switch them to Commission. And what’s the point of mentioning that you’re locally owned? That has nothing to do with the debate. You’re just throwing in cute sounding data to try to make yourself seem friendly and trustworthy. How about staying on topic?

      No, Miles, you haven’t been the victim of other companies pretending to be you. That’s just another one of your classic excuses to avoid responsibility. Any time there is a complaint from a customer, that’s Miles’ first go-to line. If the home owner has proof, such as the agent’s name, then he just moves on to his next “objection handling technique” (LIE!) A common one is “Oh I’m sorry sir or mam, Agent ABC is new to the company (even though Agent ABC has been around for months), and may not have explained it properly…. What the program is all about is…” See that? Without skipping a beat, he just goes right in the the sales pitch himself on the phone, without letting the customer say a word, because he knows he can B.S. people with a straight face like a champ. And then the home owner actually feels bad for being angry with the door-to-door sales rep.

      Another very simple and effective technique Miles uses is paying off the disgruntled customer. Yep, that’s right, just straight up paying them off so they don’t file a complaint with the BBB or file a lawsuit. He told me on numerous occasions that he’d do ANYTHING to have a perfect BBB rating because it’s worth it long-term. I’ve seen the guy give a customer a $6000 furnace to avoid bad press about the deceptive marketing “techniques”. And that’s nothing to him. He has hundreds of thousands, if not millions now, of dollars in the bank from his years of working with LivClean Home Services (Owned by Planet Energy) and Ontario Energy Group, where he would tell home owners some very clever lies. (and yes he knew it wasn’t true the whole time, so he can’t play the ignorant, innocent sales agent card).

      Lies such as:
      - “your water heating could have 20 inches of sediment build-up” even though it was municipal water and that’s impossible,
      - or how about “your furnace loses 1-2% efficiency every year”. Oh really Miles? Where did you learn that? Oh, that’s right, you just made it up. You just borrowed the idea from your years lying to people about how water heaters lose efficiency every year due to sediment build-up…on municipal water! lol. All his agents are trained to say that, even though he knows it’s a lie.

      Keep in mind that Miles makes ridiculous amounts of money on each product sold. In fact, he makes more per deal than the sales rep. Usually a sales manager or executive makes only a small amount of money per unit sold, but has lots of volume. However, his agents also make huge commissions. Now, there’s nothing wrong with making lots of money, but the point I’m trying to make is that he and the agents are not making money on volume of sales. Hardly anybody there is making good money except for him, and 1 or 2 other guys who don’t mind lying to people for a living. He has to have a HUGE mark-up on the product for this very reason. He knows it’s not easy to sell because in reality it’s not a good deal. It’s only a good deal in apparency if you believe the lie of “your furnace / AC loses 2% efficiency every year”. The vast majority of Sales are to very gullible elderly people who don’t know how to use the internet, and trust a young, innocent looking sales person.

      Hmm, what else… When Miles was working for LivClean and Ontario Energy Group, he would tell a number of very interesting lies and use some neat tactics…

      1) That the product (furnace, water heater, AC, etc) was a rental or “rent-to-own” with a service plan, and that they were signing a rent-to-own contract, even though he knew the home owner was purchasing it on credit, and filling out a loan application.

      2) He would have the agents only fill out the absolute bare minimum on the loan application so the home owner has very little time to see it. Then later they would fill out the rest of the application in the car or at the office.

      3) If the homeowner demanded a copy of the application, like I said before, the customer’s copy would be missing most of the important details. But most of the time, he would himself, and train the agents to take the home owner’s carbon copy of the application so they could not study it and see what they’re actually agreeing to. That carbon copy would just be thrown in the trash. In the customer called the agent or the office and asked about it, Miles would himself, or train the agents to lie and say they would be sent a copy after the installation.

      4) When selling water heater rentals for LivClean, Miles wasn’t Miles, he was “Chaz”. That way when the customer called the office to make a complaint, nobody would know who the customer was talking about. (This one isn’t nearly as bad as the other stuff he’s done, I just think it’s funny lol)

      Miles does not care too much about proving a good service for the customer or community. He as no real, practical, understanding of Ethics. He will, however, claim that he cares deeply about it, if he knows YOU care about it. Miles will say virtually anything to you to be in your favor. Then the next minute display behavior that goes against that. At one time there were a number of agents that quit other companies because they hated how dishonest they were, and Miles would constantly give speeches about how honest his company is. At the same time he knowingly has an agent, for months, falsifying information on the contracts and forging signatures. And only after other agents find out about it, does he fire him.

      In fact, he’ll even admit he does this to his customers and employees. In you’re a customer of his and you love hockey, he loves hockey. In you love football, he loves football. After working with Miles for a number of years, you begin to see how disingenuous he is. This is the reason he hasn’t been able to keep any of his agents or Sales Managers around for any length of time. Anyone who works for him leaves after a relatively short amount of time. And he has no real solid friendships anywhere in the business, and many enemies.

      This post could have easily been twice as long. Miles, I went easy on you. I don’t hate you, brother. I want to look out for, and protect, and serve, the people of my community, my province, my country, my planet. And that includes you. I mean it. And you’re hurting people by lying to them. And when you hurt other people you hurt yourself the most, Miles. If I see another person hurting himself, I want to stop them, out of love. It’s the right thing to do to be honest about it. Miles, there are lots of Ethical ways to make money. Go and be the great person I know you can be. You’ve got what it takes and I’ll support you every step of the way.

  • no_sales_please

    ontario home services – a young man with a clipboard a name badge from this company, as well as a shite York emblem on the right sleeve of his navy golf shirt literally tried to force his way into our house when my husband answered the door. Had he told me this last night I would have called the police.

    • Patronized

      Thanks for naming another one of these companies – Ontario Home Services. It still may be worth calling your local police service and letting them know the name of the company and the tactics they are employing. If the police receive a few similar complaints, they will often put out a warning in the local area to let people know there is a scam company in the neighbourhood. Were they trying to lock you into a new water heater contract do you know?

  • roy

    don’t ever..ever…let anyone from Ontario Energy Group into your house..or don’t even talk to them.my brother just got scammed by this company.a salesman going by the name Mohamed Ozzy Ozman ill advised my brother to replace his 6 yr old furnace, he told him his energy bill will be a lot lower after the change.the opposite was true, his bill doubled.Ozman also told my brother he would take off all third party charges he had on his current embridge bill….ne never did that. Ozman has refused to answer or return any phone calls. my brother contacted Ontario Energy Group to get help resolving the issue…they told him they can’t help. he need to speak to Ozman… Ozman would not return/answer calls.. if you are stupid enough to even consider doing business with Ontario Energy Group call me (647-709-4452) before you do so….i will give you a million reasons why you shouldn’t

    • Patronized

      Thank you for sharing your experience with us. Would you mind mentioning what city/community this salesman was working in so others in the area can be warned?

  • ITS NOT ALWAYS A SCAM – Pete

    I have an OEG tank in my home. Everything, from when a gentleman
    knocked on my door, up to this day has been done with no problems whatsoever.
    All information that the representative explained was 100% true. I checked
    everything out extensively. Note to roy: if he advised switching a 6 year old
    furnace was not likely just for savings reasons which can be huge if the machine is more than 10 years old. After doing my homework,
    extensively, I have found that there are a few other justified reasons to
    switch that most people tend not to think of (or forget after the representative
    leaves). In 2007, regulations for exhaust piping carrying exhaust from the
    furnace, water heating system and other various gas appliances was changed due
    to issues with carbon monoxide leakage. This means any piping installed after
    2007 is classified as white coloured PVC 636 piping and has been the new
    standard for all installations. The number of leaks has not been significant
    enough to make it mandatory for all residential homeowners to switch out their
    old black coloured ABS piping, however, now it is illegal to install this
    exhaust piping for any home and that must tell you something. I moved into my
    home and luckily had white piping. Next reason is the option to rent vs. own.
    Most people, just like me, my family and my friends rent their tank and it
    comes on the gas bill. Having the furnace on there too, all on the same bill,
    sorta makes sense doesn’t it? I looked at prices for the furnace rental plan
    and was very surprised. I pay $24.70/ month for a $1400 tank. The furnaces are
    around $65/month for a $4000 machine (if you include installation). Pretty
    close to the same value vs. price, if not better than the tanks. The only other
    thing that I could really see as a justified reason to switch out furnace is
    some of the new furnaces cause less allergy, dust and asthma issues. The 2
    stage multi-speed blower can provide a huge difference in the homes
    circulation. Less dust gathers since there is more circulation. My brothers old
    house was always covered in dust (31 year old single stage furnace) before he
    moved into a brand new town home community. He still barely cleans, like at his
    old place but it never seems to get even close to as bad as it did before.
    I believe having a brand new furnace and duct work are the main reasons for
    this. All in all friends, I think everyone can agree most people overreact when
    they “believe” they’ve been cheated or scamed. When people read this post I
    hope they keep in mind there are honest people like the gentleman than got me
    my tank and my cousin his furnace. And remember the scam is not the program, idea, or company it is the
    delivery of the message by the representative. Lots of scams aren’t even scams
    they’re just a few bad representatives delivering the message incorrectly or
    flat out lying to make the sale. If they are fully honest and you can benefit
    from the program whether it be through gas and electricity savings, new exhaust
    piping, no more maintenance costs by renting or less dust, asthma and allergy
    issues, you are in good hands with OEG. Verify all the hard facts about the program and
    your current situation and see if what the representative is saying matches up.
    Don’t just search Ontario Energy Group, or any other company for that matter,
    see that some people have had a bad experience and assume your in the same
    boat. If you had a good experience and you have one of the above reasons to
    change things up then than I’d say thumbs up and go for it. I hope I was
    helpful and informative for anyone curious about this topic. Cheers!

    • Home owner beware NHC and OEG

      Sounds like a door-to-door scammer to me, that sounds very much practised.

      • Tony

        This conversation is a little one-sided as whomever is the moderator has
        blocked every single one of my posts. What is the point of this if all
        of you just complain to one another about misleading and incorrect
        information. What a waste of time…

  • FurnaceIsFine

    Ontario Energy Group in Kanata, Ottawa this week. Using the coloured pipe lines. Last month it was Canadian Consumer Energy group. My neighbour ended up renting an air conditioner from them even after he realized they were scammers. My neighbour did tell me that there are rules that protect consumers against door-2-door contracts. Apparently you have 7 days to back out of a contract signed/agreed to as part of a door sale. Perhaps the site mods could confirm this.

    • Patronized

      Thanks for letting us know what’s going on in Kanata! As a matter of fact, the consumer has up to 10 days to cancel a contract signed in their home.You have to do so in writing and I would also recommend sending a registered letter so you have proof of delivery. You can get more information from the Ontario Ministry of Consumer Services page on this very topic which is at:
      http://www.sse.gov.on.ca/mcs/en/Pages/Door_to_Door_Sales_Rights.aspx
      Hope that helps!

  • No door-to-door

    A young man posing as a technician, in blue uniform with York on the right sleeve, clipboard and ID card (no picture) from “Ontario Home Services” company, tried to convince me that he is from this legal company and that I require service. He wanted to check my furnace and all air vents through out the house. I told him I don’t need his service, that I am not familiar with the mentioned company, and that I already seek service from my own provider. He was persistent and kept flashing his card and inching forward even when I kept saying no. He paused as if thinking what to do next while looking away in irritation, didn’t say anything and just left. Truly, he is no professional and suspicious. Homeowners beware and never let anybody you did not seek service from into your home, especially from this so called company! Firmly say no and close and lock your door right away. If they continue to be persistent, call the police!! Be safe.

    • Patronized

      Thanks for naming and shaming! Would you mind advising what area this company was trying out its door-to-door scam activity?

    • Patronized

      Interesting story. I checked out the company and they have a very convincing website. However, a Google Street View perspective of the ‘business’ address shows only residential homes. And, much as I don’t like or trust the BBB, when a company has an F rating with that organization, as Ontario Home Services Inc. currently has, I would take that as a warning to stay very far away. Good call.

  • blacky

    All businesses go door-to-door if they can. Bell, Rogers,reliance,direct energy, sears need I go on?! these are just a few i’ve had a my door!
    Be smart people. It YOU who allows yourself to be scammed. Think before you make a decision..its not hard. Don’t blame these people. Some underhanded but many good.
    Its your fault you blindly believe.
    Think. plain and simple.

    • Patronized

      Blacky – your experience clearly differs from ours. We’ve never had reputable companies like Rogers, Bell or Sears approach us through door-to-door sales. (Door-to-door Sears sales, really?!?). In fact, the only companies who in our experience typically attempt the door-to-door sales channel are those that are trying to pressure you to make a purchasing decision on the spot. Which is never a wise choice. And statistically, a significant percentage of people will never buy on the spot – which makes such an approach an extremely expensive sales channel, as explained by Reliance Home Comfort’s blog article on defeating a deceptive door-to-door saleperson, which you can read here: http://blog.reliancehomecomfort.com/2012/04/door-to-door-sales/
      Bottom line, yes, it’s people’s own responsibility to make informed decisions. What we have a problem with is salespeople who try to deceive or obfuscate the facts so the consumer can’t make an informed decision. Not all homeowners are equipped to deal with these kinds of scam approaches. Therefore, we are simply trying to warn and inform.

  • vindicator

    …some scammers also try to sell electricity and/or natural
    gas contracts D2D! As I understand things – if a homeowner allows the D2D
    “salesman” to view his/her gas or electricity bills(s), then the
    scammer’s outfit can switch the homeowner over to their company- and it’s
    all legal! I am 99% sure that this is the case. As usual, the best advice -
    with any or all D2D jerk-offs, is caveat emptor – buyer beware!!!!!!!

  • Tony

    Why is it that you say good businesses don’t go door-to-door? How do you
    suppose a small business competes with large companies in this industry
    such as Direct Energy who if you had done some research would know are
    locking customers into far worse contracts of monthly payments towards
    equipment “protection plans” which are included with other companies.
    This discussion is not an open-closed book as there are many details
    that have been left out.

  • tony

    How many of you are paying Direct Energy monthly payments towards any type of “protection program” for heating or cooling? How about a carbon offset? Did you know that those are also by your words “scams”?

  • Neighbourhood watch

    I actually got a really good deal from these people, the installation process could of been better but they gave me a high efficiency furnace and i didn’t pay anything for it! I was very skeptical at first but this site gave me some assurance savingsonenergy.ca. Actually since they have came I have been saving $50 every month! Mostly because I was locked in with a third party. The person that came to my door (Jose) was able to break my contract 3 year contract where I was paying 3 times to much. Hope that helps anybody who was in the same boat

  • Mamile_rarity

    “Reputable companies do not sell their services door-to-door. They don’t have to.”

    Your words, so let me codify that. I’ve worked for over six years a registered fundraiser, and we’ve employed a number of methods to drum up support for various international charities. And to legitimize that, I’m not talking about tax-pot schemes run by 1% bankers looking to shore their cash in frivolous causes. I’m referring to legitimate humanitarian organizations like UNICEF, Red Cross, what have you.

    Over the years, we’ve run the numbers and results on various fundraising models, from phone solicitation to street marketing and yes, to door-to-door solicitation.

    As it turns out, and I’m sure this flies in the face of your main thesis, that door to door is in fact one of the last physical marketing mediums to remain effective. We’re talking about an 8-9% conversion ratio to the <1% for street marketers. Even online marketing for paid ads has a lower conversion ratio than that.

    And you can't really argue that businesses should switch to an internet marketing medium as these platforms are A) Prohibitively costly, and B) Grossly underrepresented in search traffic and relevant SERPs. Imagine how many people we get donations from for charities direct from our website and the numbers would just depress you.

    As a fundraiser for charities, I'm a deep and vocal supporter of door-to-door marketing. It's not a scam, it's just a low-cost marketing medium that scammers won't lose money on. If paper ads were more cost effective, they would be running paper ads. If anybody shopped for water heaters online, OEG and NHC would advertise online.

    They don't because there's no business in it. So you say Reputable Companies don't go door to door. I counter that neither company could avoid those models because there's no way they'd stay in business without it.

    Your knee-jerk reactionary attitude towards door-to-door belies your pandering demagogue to frustrated consumers. I get that scammers can make dealing with door solicitors frustrating and taxing. It makes my job harder, and it makes the work I do a lot harder to represent legitimately.

    I've hit the pavement and gotten nothing but slammed doors in my face when talking about the Crisis in Syria because your attitude poisons people's understanding of a fully legitimate marketing model. And i dare say that in some businesses, it may be the only thing keeping them afloat.

    So I ask you to consider the vitriol of your article. Consider how you have failed to relate scamming practices to door-to-door sales, consider that your piece is reactionary by it's very nature, and consider that it in no way teaches us anything but to remain steadfast in these childish prejudices.

    • Patronized

      Fair enough. Can I ask why your IP address (recorded by Disqus as 76.66.216.2) resolves to MDG Newmarket Inc., operating as Ontario Energy Group – a company that is listed on the Ontario Consumer Beware List and was fined $54,000 last July for violations of the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules? I’d be very happy to debate your points, but you first need to explain how a charity fundraiser can access our blog from an IP block registered to one of the companies mentioned in this post.

      • jordan

        Ok just posting 2 cents gere but I have worked for companies like reliance in which u posted they do more door to door sales then any company ive seen ever and they go door to door handing out dont knock things so other companies cant I have worked door to door and im not a bad person just do research on the product if u dont like it don’t buy it end of story

  • Mark19

    Kinda a little confused that you lump those scammers together with more legit sales agents who make their living door to door. Ive only had trouble turning away people who worked for energy companies and yeah i totally agree that door 2 door has a ton of scammers. But i think its a little unfair to say that all door agents are untrustworthy. Yeah definitely not always welcome but you see the same kind of aggressive sales in a lot of retail (oh god, ever go by a cosmetic section of sears?) and at the door i feel like there’s more power to shut them out.

    So maybe invasive, but all sales are like that. I think a lot of people disagree that all businesses who do door to door are bad. No one is disagreeing that the scammers arent there

    Great post tho

  • truthfully

    Being a former nhc employee ill tell u this much…garbage company. miles is a good guy but his partner is one of the worst businessmen and person in general that i have ever had the displeasure of meeting..he is the perfect example of a sleezy salesman. They treat their employees like livestock and all this bs about getting paid hourly is just that…bs they EXPECT u to get off of the hourly pay as soon as u make ur first couple sales…I wouldn’t recommend anyone to ever get involved with this company whether ur a homeowner or desperate for a job…

  • Rodik

    Direct energy used to always go door 2 door in the past and they’re considered reputable.. Rogers communication started as Rogers marketing and they would go door to door signing people up on yearly internet/cable contracts before it was popular.

    So although I’m not a fan of the way these furnace/water heaters do business. To say that reputable companies don’t go door to door is far fetched. Direct energy is simply banned in ontario, but they have huge door to door campaignns in USA and Alberta. And Rogers still goes door to door in buildings, we had a rep knock my condo door a month ago.

    A reputable business has nothing to do with door to door, it has to do with the integrity of the owner.

    Sorry that I’m not precisely talking about these companies, I’ve heard negative things about them from colleagues, but I don’t own a detached house. And in my condo, I’m tired of seeing Rogers or bell reps trying to sells internet/home phone/ cable/satellite services. Like why the hell am I paying monthly for maintenance fees! Isn’t concierge not suppose to let them in !

  • SpeakSoftly&CarryAStick

    Your opening story was almost word-for-word what I experienced TWICE. The most recent encounter was last friday; I live in London. I was able to sternly usher the sales rep away- although he used all of the aforementioned lines…….’we’re working with other residents in your neighbourhood’……’working on behalf of the ontario government’……’checking up on homeowners to see if their heating and cooling units meet energy standards- concerning pipes’……

    After telling him we had already been visited by someone from their company, he stared at me, then his clipboard, then told me ‘hmm oh…well your home mustn’t have been checked off; I have it here that I am to inspect…’ I cut him off abruptly and said no, I am not interested. Since he didn’t seem like ending his side of the conversation, (after I had tried to be patient and polite, all while standing my ground on my property), I allowed my doberman to finish his thought. She greeted the strange man with some authoritative barking through my glass door, and he quickly changed his tune.
    He had asked me earlier in the sales pitch if dropping by on Saturday would be a better time; it’s now Monday, and my dog and I are not anticipating any OEG drop-ins in the near future.

  • ourbigfatwallet

    I just had someone come to the door two nights ago selling donations for some charity, which likely wasn’t even registered. It didn’t seem legitimate and it was hard to get the salesperson to stop talking. I find door to door sales invasive and even rude. When I am relaxing at home the last thing I want is a sales pitch. I think I will stop answering the door if I think it’s another sales pitch.

  • danceswithliars

    just finished arguing with a clown from ” ontario energy group ” wanting to inspect our equipment. After repeatedly telling him everything was fine I didn’t need an inspection he said ” well that’s fine we’ll just report to the province and they will deal with you. ” ………..sleaze balls !

  • OEG – Absolute Scum

    Had a representative from this company (Ontario Energy Group) come by in Ottawa South today (K1V). Insisted that he needed to come in to perform an electrical safety check for the hot water and AC unit, and wanted to know if I was the home owner. I laughed and asked him what he was going on about. I don’t even have central air and I own my tank! He said “We sent out letters, didn’t you receive it?”. I told him I did not require his services and closed the door in his face.

    He seemed upset that I was on to him and I heard him say “Someone will be back tomorrow to perform the inspection”. Try me…

    I went out to the road to get the mail 5 minutes later and saw him get into his own vehicle (no company markings). It was a silver impala and I wrote down the license plate number and have reported it to police. If anyone in my neighbourhood is bothered again by this individual in the above mentioned car, let us know in this post and I will provide the license plate number and incident number filled with the Ottawa Police Service so you can attach your complaint.

    • Patronized

      Thanks for warning everyone about this happening in Ottawa South. Stay vigilant folks!

  • SL320

    I had a representative from Ontario Consumers at my door this morning. She used the usually fast talk and references to ‘checking efficiencies’. In any case, there was absolutely no way that I was going to let her into my house. Eventually, the only thing that made her leave was my threat to call the police. I actually did call the fraud squad, but they had already heard it all before.

    Later this afternoon, a neighbour had a visit from the same young woman. Based on my warnings to them, they were ready for her and there were no problems.

    As the young woman ran out of options while standing on their front porch, she eventually asked if she could come in to use the bathroom. Fortunately, my neighbours declined her request. It may seem harsh on a human level, but it is far easier to keep someone out of the house in the first place than it is to get them out once inside. No matter how much you may feel sorry for them personally, don’t let them into your home. Period.

  • Enough is enough

    Today- for the fifth time in 30 days – I had the pleasure of being interrupted by a young person with a clip board asking about my utility bill and furnace/ac efficiency. I was told that I had no I option – that he worked for the governemt of Ontario and needed to ensure I complied with current energy standards. He asked to enter my home to look at the furnace and AC and asked to see my lastest bills. As with the other individuals that have arrived at my door, I was polite and refused them entery into my home and refused to show them my utility bill. I was threatened with “if you are not compliant with our program, your utilities can be cut off”. And bullied by the kind young man- who was less kind each time I wouldn’t allow him in my home. He finally left when I told him my furnace and AC were. Year old and were obviously efficient. Not only is this a scam- they are bullies and use unethical practices to sell a product.