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Energy-related scams: how to avoid them

Last modified: 2022-03-30 | Approximate reading time 3 mins

Karine Dutemple

If there is any certainty in this world, it is that there will always be dishonest people knocking on your door to try to extract money from you that you did not plan to spend.

This stranger whose arrival is unexpected presents himself as a representative of Energy Star? Beware! He is certainly a fraudster, willing to do anything to get inside your home.

As we want to prevent anyone from being a victim of this kind of dishonest maneuver, here's everything you need to know about it. Seems like forewarned is forearmed!

Energy scams: some tips to avoid them

1) Beware of appearances

homme présentant sa main_Soumission Rénovation

If your experience is similar to mine, you will probably be asked if you are the owner of your home the second you open the door in front of you. This already seems suspicious as an entry into the matter! To make it more credible, the individual will be dressed professionally, will present himself most of the time as a government representative, an employee of Energy Star or as an employee of a program such as Rénoclimat or EnerGuide. In some cases, the individual may even claim to be a worthy representative of Natural Resources Canada.

He will have some information on the subject to try to prove his credibility. He will try to convince you to let him inside, claiming the need to inspect your windows, your water heater or your heating or air conditioning system.

No matter how you feel about this individual (some might look relatively friendly), remember that no representative from the government, an energy efficiency program or Energy Star will come knocking on your door without an appointment to do so. At no time and under any circumstances should you allow this individual to enter your home.

2) Don't provide any information

If it is not wise to let someone you didn't plan to visit inside your home, it's also not advisable to provide information about your property, yourself or your spouse. This includes personal information, such as your date of birth, email address, phone number, personal insurance number or bank information (account and credit card).

3) Don't sign anything

signer contrat_Soumission Rénovation

For those who might be fooled by a seemingly honest contract, keep in mind that it is very likely that the document on which you sign will have carbon copies underneath that indicate something other than the first page.

This type of fraudulent scheme obviously causes its share of complications, the fraudster having a contract signed by you. Consequently, it will be very difficult to challenge the latter in the absence of both expensive and complex procedures.

4) Ask for a lot of information...

The more information you ask for, the more hesitant and uncomfortable your interlocutor will seem to be in the face of your aplomb. Keep in mind that all information provided must be cross-checked, whether it is information about a tempting offer or information about a business or government program.  Beware of the credibility of the sources consulted to be well informed and avoid making a decision that you could easily regret!

Specifically, explicitly ask the salesman to provide you with the name and contact information of the company he works for, his full name and the salesman's registration or license. In the event of fraud, you will be able to pass this information on to Natural Resources Canada and your municipality's police department.

In case of fraud: what to do?

femme tenant un téléphone_Soumission Rénovation

If you are experiencing this type of situation, please contact your municipality's police department to let them know about this incident so that appropriate action can be taken. Also, be aware that it is important to notify Natural Resources Canada if any individual comes to your door claiming to be the representative of that organization, Energy Star or EnerGuide.

The recommended procedure is to send an email with the necessary information:

  1. your name ;
  2. your address ;
  3. the date the incident occurred ;
  4. an explanation of the course of the event in question ;
  5. information about the fake seller (name of company and seller).

Let's finish by saying that if you have lost money as a result of this misadventure, Natural Resources Canada cannot help you get your money back, as this is a process that needs to be done by contacting the relevant authorities, as mentioned above.

Do you have any questions about door-to-door selling? Contact the Federal, provincial and territorial Consumer Affairs offices.

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