OPP warn of “green energy” scam

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The Upper Ottawa Valley detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is warning residents of a potential scam that has been reported in the area.  

Police urge residents to beware of individuals going door-to-door offering to conduct an energy assessment to qualify the homeowner for a green energy rebate.

The scammer typically asks to inspect the victim’s furnace and water heater and, once in the home, the individual will use high pressure sales tactics to have the homeowner purchase products and services in order to qualify for a rebate.

They may also ask for personal information and banking information, such a void cheque, for the transaction.  

Police say door‐to‐door 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 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.

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

How can people protect themselves?

• 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: 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

• To learn about programs and credits to reduce your electricity bill, visit: www.ontario.ca/yourelectricitybill.

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) or report the incident online at www.valleytips.ca.

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