Door to door energy scammers

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low_pt
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Door to door energy scammers

Post by low_pt » Sat Mar 26, 2011 2:34 am

I'm pretty pissed off while writing this, but news of this needs to get around. Plus, I can’t sleep and I think it will help to get this on paper.
So it's about 3 PM today and I am sitting on the couch (my day off from classes) and keeping the puppy occupied while watching a movie. Suddenly there is a legit POUNDING on the front door. Not like the UPS guy does, but like a cop would. I'm in my pj pants and a tshirt and the dog starts freaking out. Well I go answer the door and here stand these two people. Both in mid to late 20’s, both well dressed. A guy and a girl. They have clip boards and some paperwork. I immediately think they are from some electoral campaign and am ready to politely tell them I don’t have time to talk because I have to get some things together. In the mean time, the dog is trying to sneak passed me and get out to see them.

They have ID tags clipped to their jackets and it said “_____ Energy”. I honest to god can not remember what the first word was. But, it doesn’t matter as there are a LOT of these little companies springing up. More on that later.

Well the woman starts talking and was acting nice at first, inquiring about the dog’s breed and age, etc. Then they got down to business. They started by informing me that they HAD to come out to my house to try to contact me because I had failed to respond to the several notices they had sent. I’m standing there like….wait who are you? They claimed to be the “direct supplier in this area” for my natural gas. I reply that no, my natural gas is not supplied by you; I have no contract with you.
They gave me some kind of BS (literally, the guy was talking in circles and would not directly answer any of my questions) and claimed that they were the natural gas supplier FOR consumers energy. I just stared at the guy when he said this. The woman then produced an “example bill” and asked if I could show her one of my bills. They claimed to be at my house to verify that I was “protected properly” from adjustable gas rates. Again I just stared. The guy then starts a little middle-school explanation of supply and demand and how, if I am not properly protected, my gas prices will go up in the winter. Shocking that supply and demand can lead to increased prices in the winter! Oh no, this is brand new news!

At this point I have red flags going off all over the place and just want them to leave. I politely say that I do my bill payment online, which is paperless, and I would not be able to produce a form for them to see. This was not true and I had, in fact, received a bill in the mail just the day before. They say that, Oh, no problem. (and I quote) “Go get that laptop I see over there on the coffee table, look up your most recent bill and bring it over here, we will wait outside”. Are you ******* kidding me?

This is where MY particular experience will vary from the normal person’s experience. I’ll get into that in a bit, but because I deviated from their normal plan they did not offer me a contract.

Anyways. The dog is trying to escape at this point and I have the door half open. No shoes or socks, and it’s pretty cold today. I still wasn’t 100% sure what the heck was going on (and wasn’t until I did more research later) but I knew these two were lying to me. I started asking why, if they were indeed affiliated with Consumers, they didn’t have information about my account and my “protection”? Why they had to come knock on my door?
I explained that someone knocking on my door for something like this is very off-putting. They responded that they had “called several times”. I said, no, you sure have not. They said they got my primary phone number (landline) from Consumers and that I was not answering it. I reasoned that had this been true, my cell phone would have been ringing, as the house has not had a land line in 6 years. The girl jumps in “well, we sent you notices in the mail, none of which have been returned”. Again, I corrected her as I even peruse my junk mail. So many red flags going off at this point!

Well the dog and I are about out of patience. I explain that I am wasting my heat with the door open and that I am going to put a coat on. I shut the door, and just sat there on the couch for a few minutes. I was through being polite.

Much to my surprise, they did not leave. So I grabbed the recent bill, put it in my pocket, put on a coat and boots and step outside. Again, I ask “so explain to me what you want; why are you here?”.

Guy: “We NEED to see a copy of your bill to make sure you have the correct protection”
Me: “Why do YOU need to see a copy of MY bill, depicting MY contract with Consumers?”
Guy: “Because without the correct protection, you bill could be 10 times higher than it is!”
Me: “And what if I don’t care?”
Guy: “You could be paying a lot more than you should be paying. Look, we are just trying to do our jobs”
Me: “You are not answering my question”
Guy: “Listen, prices go up in the winter. Because of the way natural gas is supplied and distributed-“
Me (cutting him off): “Listen, don’t talk down to me, I understand how supply and demand works, I understand how distribution works. I want to know why you think you have the right to see my contract”

(I should note that they were getting progressively more and more assertive. The transcript does not reflect the tone properly.)

Well, I had enough at this point and I played the lawyer card. I pulled out my Consumers bill and held it out.

Me: “I am an attorney, this is pretty cut-and-dry. I have NO contract with you but you still want to see this, right?”
Woman: “Yes.”….She literally just glances at it….“Ok”

They turned to leave at this point. I sarcastically apologized for wasting their time and went inside fuming.

So I immediately called Consumers and got to their customer service reps, explained what happened, they re-assured me that those people do not work for them, and that they are not affiliated with them at all. They explained to me that this has been a recent issue and that I would normally have been offered a contract (by them) to sign myself onto their services, at a fixed rate, for a set period.

Its all to do with these new legislations being enacted to protect the homeowner from only having one gas supplier available. But, what happens is you get all these new energy startup companies who use various tactics to entice, scare, harass, etc. It has been very easy for them to confuse older people…they come to call in the mid afternoon at places they think people are there during the day (older folks). We live in a neighborhood of almost exclusively retirees.
Normally, they use some ploy to convince you that you are “not protected”, or are “paying way too much”, they get a bill from you and would usually try to sit you down and explain that you are at risk for increased pricing, rate adjustment, or that you could actually save money with a fixed rate. They get you to sign on and BAM they are your new natural gas supplier at a fixed rate that often does NOT save you any money.
I have read stories online about them doing things like offering fake coupons, discounts, inspections, pretending to be bill collectors; all sorts of crap.
All sketchy stuff. I think they knew that I had caught them in a lie, and that I sure as hell would not sign a contract, and they just gave up once I got too in their faces with the lawyer stuff and produced the bill.

Also, I am full of crap…still have to finish law school, but “attorney” sounds better than “law student” haha.
Again I can’t remember the name of them….but there are several out there “Just Energy”, “Direct Energy”, etc. They change names a lot too.

Long story short, don’t sign anything that these people may bring to your doorstep and don’t be enticed by their clever lies. Next time I am just taking the shotgun to the door with me.
-Alex
-Alex McGee
1998 Dodge Neon: 2.4L Eaton M62 S/C

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Re: Door to door energy scammers

Post by dawm » Sat Mar 26, 2011 5:31 am

i had the same thing when i first moved into my house, wasnt a week into actually living there that someone stopped by asking to see my bill. But at that time since i just moved in i didnt have a bill nor was i gonna give them one if i had one, but she was polite and told me their website to goto when i do get my bill. I dont recall the name but when i went to their site their prices were much higher than consumers.

after 2 other door to door people came to my door through out the months, ive added a 'NO SOLICITING' decal to my front door.
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Re: Door to door energy scammers

Post by Eric12775 » Sat Mar 26, 2011 7:35 am

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Re: Door to door energy scammers

Post by SeniorPBA2B » Tue Apr 26, 2011 2:43 pm

I don't open my door to anyone I don't recognize unless I have my 9mm in the wasteband of my pants in clear sight. Believe me, anybody that isn't 100% honest doesn't hang around very long. :evil:

My family is also under strict orders not to open the door to anyone they don't recognize unless I'm there.

Jim
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