A salesperson has come to your door claiming that they can offer you savings on your energy costs. As you show them your bill, they note your account number and insist you sign a form to receive the savings or ‘rebate’. Weeks later, you receive your utility bill only to realize that you’ve been locked into a multi-year term and your electricity supply rate has tripled. If this scenario sounds familiar, then you’ve been duped by a door-to-door energy scam artist!
The easiest way to protect yourself from falling victim to an energy scam is by practicing good judgment and asking yourself, as well as the person at your door, the right questions. Deceitful sales people look to prey on those who are unaware, vulnerable or distracted, so always remember to be on your guard when someone knocks on your door. For more information click here or read on for helpful tips to spot a scam.
What can you do to protect yourself from falling victim to an energy scam?
If you feel intimidated or scared, don’t open your door. When someone you don’t know shows up at your doorstep, you have the right not to answer. If you do decide to open your door, make sure you ask to see identification. It’s a good idea to make a note of the person’s name and badge number, the name of the company they represent, and the time and date of the visit.
Perform a true apples-to-apples comparison. Before you sign anything, determine if in fact you’re getting the best value for your buck with the proposed energy program. Do your research on the company, rates, options, exit fees, etc. before you commit to anything. Carefully review the terms and conditions to ensure you have all of the information you need to make an informed decision.
Think twice before you disclose your personal information. Unless you decide to enroll in an energy program from a reputable supplier, you should never share your personal or financial information with a sales representative.
Trust your gut. If something seems fishy, then it probably is. Don’t rush into purchasing an energy plan without looking into the company to determine if in fact it is a legitimate business. Use available resources to determine if the company exists. For example, check to see if they have a working website and if so, keep an eye out for spelling/grammar errors or broken links.
Take your time reviewing the details. Ask the sales rep to leave you with any marketing materials such as brochures or flyers that you can look at on your own time, without the pressure of having someone stand over your shoulder as you try to read.
Most importantly, if you have a bad experience at the door with someone trying to sell you an energy program, be sure to report it to their customer service department. By taking action, you can help prevent others from being scammed by door-to-door energy sales tactics and help legitimate companies ensure that the representatives they entrust to market on their behalf are doing so honestly and professionally.