A liar came to my door the other day. I knew he was lying because he worked for an energy retailer. And his lips were moving.
Indeed, his lying gums never stopped flapping as he laid on the patter about how much more I’ll end up paying for power if I didn’t sign, on the spot, this fantastic contract from his wonderful company.
The companies’ names change, but their game doesn’t. Invariably, those who sign these contracts find their electricity bills shoot up shockingly. Often the only way out of the contract is to pay a hefty penalty.
Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Mike Brown, after countless horror stories from seniors and other constituents, introduced a private members’ bill to ban door-to-door sales of energy contracts.
“I have not been able to discover where one consumer anywhere benefitted from buying one of these contracts,” he told me. “The opportunity for winning in this is non-existent.”
Brown’s bill died on the order paper, but he hopes Ontario’s Energy Consumers Protection Act, in effect January 1, will at least curb some of the worst abuses of these retailers, which are the subject of countless consumer complaints.
The liar at my door, a beefy, talkative one, opened by saying he’d come to read my meter, and came equipped with what looked like a portfolio of laminated Hydro Ottawa bills. When I could get a word in edgewise, I declined and shut the door.
A quick Google of his company’s name (the search engine helpfully suggested completing the query with “scam”) revealed they have an F from the Better Business Bureau, the lowest possible score.
I poked my head back out the door, where the liar had moved on to my next door neighbour. Said she reminded him of his sister.
The nice-guy façade disappeared fast when I leaned over to tell my neighbour, “I wouldn’t if I were you.”
“Why don’t you mind your own business?” growled the liar.
I mentioned that F from the BBB. He insisted they had an A. And which Better Business Bureau awarded that, I asked him incredulously.
Here, for the first time, the liar’s spiel faltered for a beat and he offered, lamely, “The main one.”
Even as he retreated, he jabbered on about green energy, how many people he’d signed up and even, bizarrely, David Suzuki, barely pausing for breath between lies. Where do they find such skilled performers?