Alberta bans door-to-door “energy product” sales

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The Alberta government will prohibit unsolicited door-to-door selling of “energy products” beginning Jan. 1 to protect people from misleading, high-pressure sales practices.

The government has received over 1,000 complaints, many from families and seniors who felt they were tricked into buying furnaces or water heaters on the spot. In other cases, consumers complained of “unrelenting pressure to sign energy contracts with sales people visiting their home two or three times in one day.”

Seniors groups and the RCMP are applauding the move. “With this ban, we expect to see a noticeable decline in criminal incidents of unscrupulous, door-to-door sales of energy products,” said Superintendent Guy Rock, Alberta RCMP officer in charge, federal enforcement.

The Alberta government is banning all door-to-door sales of furnaces, natural gas contracts, electricity contracts, water heaters, windows, air conditioners and energy audits.

“We heard loud and clear from Albertans who are frustrated by knocks on their doors and aggressive pitches in their homes,” said Stephanie McLean, minister of Service Alberta.

The Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada will monitor the legislation as it develops. “Details of the proposed regulations have not yet been released. Though supportive in principle, HRAI will withhold public support until it has a chance to review the regulations in detail,” remarked Martin Luymes, HRAI director of programs and relations, in the group’s newsletter.

“The recent experience in Ontario suggests that even well-intentioned legislation can have potentially devastating impacts on the marketplace. The legislation will therefore have to be examined very carefully to ensure it targets the problem correctly, without punishing legitimate industry players.”

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