After complaints about misleading and high pressure sales tactics, the provincial government has announced a ban on door-to-door energy sales in Alberta.
“Since 2010 well over 1,000 Albertans have complained about door-to-door energy sales,” Service Alberta Minister Stephanie McLean said. “They’ve complained about deliberate misrepresentation, being sold products that they don’t need and contracts not being cancelled upon request.”
The door-to-door ban – which goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2017 – includes the sale of:
- natural gas and electricity energy contracts
- water heaters
- air conditioners
- energy audits
“We heard loud and clear from Albertans who are frustrated by knocks on their doors and aggressive sales pitches in their homes,”McLean said.
The RCMP and Better Business Bureau (BBB) both endorsed the move in a government news release.
“While BBB recognizes the many legitimate and trustworthy businesses who sell door-to-door, we hope these restrictions on misleading and high-pressure sales tactics will help create a marketplace where buyers and sellers can trust each other,” said Mary O’Sullivan-Andersen, President and CEO, BBB Southern Alberta and East Kootenay.
“The RCMP welcomes this change,” Superintendent Guy Rook said. “Our investigators have helped Albertans who have succumbed to fraudulent, high-pressure sales at their door.
“With this ban, we expect to see a noticeable decline in criminal incidents of unscrupulous, door-to-to-door sales of energy products.”
In a statement, Direct Energy says it’s disappointed in the ban.
It says it supports better consumer protection. But it argues Direct Energy customers will be “negatively impacted” because they won’t get to learn first-hand about energy options not available under the Regulated Rate Option.
Energy companies will still be able to sell to Albertans over the telephone and online sales, at kiosks and through advertising.
Previously this week, the province also announced it had struck a deal with three major power producers to formally end coal-fired electricity by 2030 – and would be capping power prices at 6.8 cents per kilowatt hour. (kb)