As the last of this year’s graduates from Algonquin College leave the neighbourhood, and the new crop of students move in, the energy re-sellers looking to take advantage of the newbies flock to the neighbourhood.
If you haven’t already had the “pleasure” of meeting somebody from Just Energy (www.justenergy.com) you will soon be summoned to your front door by a knock, or that obnoxious doorbell we all have and hate. What you will find is a friendly person wanting to talk about your household’s energy consumption and, guess what, how they can save you money! Sounds great right? Wrong. 98% of the people who sign this contract lose money! Here are the stats.
Here’s how it works:
A young, usually attractive, person will visit your house holding a clipboard, binder, or folder and an official piece of ID hanging around their neck, or clipped to their pocket. They say they work for an energy company, this year it is Just Energy (Others include Direct Energy, Active Energy, FireFly Energy, MyRate Energy, etc.)
They will ask you if the energy bills are registered to your name. Right here is where you should get out of this conversation, just say ‘no’ and say the person who takes care of the bills is on vacation for a couple of weeks – easy stuff.
But if you get stuck talking to this salesman he/she will try to convince you into signing a contract that guarentees one cost for your energy (electricity and natural gas) for the next 5 years. Doesn’t this sound great? Nope! The problem is that they adjust your rate to an estimated average of what the energy costs will be in 2015 average it out, and you pay the same amount over the next 5 years. This is bad because you will be paying more than the market price for energy. What you have just agreed to is a fixed rate, that won’t go up, but it’s already way higher than the rate you are paying at the “non-fixed” price.
The trouble is that most of these houses on Deerfield Drive are occupied for one, or two years maximum. This is where most of the profit is made on these companies, because you are paying anticipated 2015 prices in 2010. These companies know that the tenants turn over quite a bit in this neighbourhood, so each year at this time they try to “sign up” as many young people as they can.
Here’s a video about the same scam going on in the US (it probably explains it better than I just did). The company featured in this vid is called US Energy Savings Corp. and they just changed their name to….Just Energy!
How to avoid getting scammed by these guys…it’s pretty easy:
1. Never sign anything at the door. If you are feeling a lot of pressure, that’s bad – end the conversation
2. Ask for a card, talk it over with the dudes in you house, and call the company back if you really want their service
3. Just Google them to get the scoop on what they are offering, and what are the strings
4. If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is
In my experience this year I asked for a card and said “I’ll call you and let you know,” the sales rep sighed, rolled his eyes and handed my this form, which really doesn’t say anything:
Not convinced? Here are some more stories about the scam:
Also, I had a buddy who did this high-pressure energy sales thing for a couple of years all across Ontario and he thought it was a scam to…so even the guys pressuring you to sign this contract know it’s a joke.
If this happens to you, or you had a different experience, let us know by adding your comment below, or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow us on twitter at www.twitter.com/DeerfieldDrive.