Beware of fake Ontario Energy Board visits

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Residents in Eastern Ontario have reported phone calls by individuals claiming to be from the Ontario Energy Board. The OPP have issued a warning to residents to be aware of this scam. The OEB does not engage and is not involved in any type of sales activity.

Typically, the individuals will contact a homeowner by way of telephone requesting to attend the residence in order to conduct a green energy assessment to qualify for a green energy rebate. Once in the home, the representative will use high pressure sales tactics to have the homeowner purchase products and services in order to qualify for a rebate.

Service scams continue to pose a threat to Ontario consumers and businesses. Door‑to‑door salespeople can use high pressure tactics and can be aggressive in nature. Consumers may find themselves in a situation where they purchase a product or sign up for a service contract they neither need nor want.

In 2018, Ontario banned unsolicited door‑to‑door sales of certain household appliances to better protect consumers from aggressive and misleading contracting at home. The new rules apply to air cleaners, air conditioners, air purifiers, duct cleaning services, furnaces, water filters, water heaters, water purifiers, water softeners, water treatment devices as well as bundles of these goods and services.

In 2017, Ontario banned energy retailers from signing up customers for an energy contract while at their homes to give consumers the ability to make choices about their energy supply at their own pace and with better information.

How can you prevent yourself from becoming a victim?

  • Ask for photo ID, get the name of the person and the name of the company or charity they represent;
  • Be sure to get it in writing, ask for literature and don’t feel pressured to make a decision on the spot;
  • Never share any personal information or copies of any bills or financial statements;
  • Research before you invest. Don’t sign anything and always read the fine print;
  • An energy retailer cannot sign you up for an energy contract while they are at your home. For more information about the rules that energy retailers must follow, visit: https://www.oeb.ca/knockknock.
  • For other contracts signed within the home, you have a cooling off period. For example, consumers in Ontario have the right to cancel a contract for any reason within a 10‑day cooling off period. For water heater contracts, there is a 20‑day cooling off period; and

If you believe you have become a victim of fraud, contact your local police service and the Canadian Anti‑Fraud Centre at 1‑888‑495‑8501 (toll‑free) or report online at www.antifraudcentre.ca. You can also call Crime Stoppers at 1‑800‑222‑8477 (TIPS)

Know your rights under the Consumer Protection Act, at:  www.ontario.ca/page/your‑rights‑under‑consumer‑protection‑act

1 COMMENT

  1. Thank you so much for this important story.
    Bad actors are applying so many tactics to entice consumers to sign-up for programs they don’t need. As we come to the end of the winter disconnection ban(April), scammers will once again reach out, posing as your utility and threatening disconnection unless you make an immediate payment. Know that the utility must send reminder notices and disconnection warnings before they disconnect you and will never ask for payment by giftcard, cash or crypto currency.
    Ontario Energy Board works to protect consumers and in addition to the KnockKnock page your referenced in your article, we have this scams page [oeb.ca/scams]. Our intent is to help consumers recognize when they might be faced with a scam. We also, ran some radio ads last year, which are still available at the bottom of the scams page for anyone who is interested.
    Thank you again,
    Karen Evans
    Director, Public Affairs, Ontario Energy Board

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