by Morinville News Staff
Albertans will ring in the New Year with fewer ringing door bells. Starting Jan. 1, 2017, Alberta will prohibit the unsolicited door-to-door selling of energy products to protect people from what the government says is misleading, high-pressure sales practices.
The door-to-door sales ban includes furnaces, natural gas and electricity energy contracts, water heaters, windows, air conditioners, and energy audits.
The province says it has received more than 1,000 complaints about energy-related, door-to-door sales, many of those from seniors and families who felt tricked into buying furnaces or water heaters on the spot. The government cites other instances of homes being visited as many as two to three times in one day by high-pressure salespeople.
“We heard loud and clear from Albertans who are frustrated by knocks on their doors and aggressive sales pitches in their homes,” said Stephanie McLean, Minister of Service Alberta in a release. “That’s why we’re taking action to protect Albertans by ending aggressive door-to-door energy sales.”
Gordon Voth, President, Seniors United Now, was pleased with Friday’s announcement.
“We support the government’s action to protect consumers from door-to-door energy sales,” Voth said. “We know that seniors are often targets of misleading, high-pressure sales tactics and this ban will help prevent many seniors from feeling forced into energy contracts and purchases they don’t need or want.”
Voth was not alone in welcoming the move. Superintendent Guy Rook, Alberta RCMP Officer in Charge, Federal Enforcement, said the RCMP are in favour of the change.
“Our investigators have helped Albertans who have succumbed to fraudulent, high-pressure sales at their door,” Rook said. “Real financial and emotional harm is often the result from these tactics, particularly among vulnerable persons in our communities. With this ban, we expect to see a noticeable decline in criminal incidents of unscrupulous, door-to-to-door sales of energy products.”
The government says energy companies still have multiple channels to sell directly to Albertans, including telephone and online sales, kiosks and conventional advertising. Despite the door-to-door ban, consumers are free to invite salespeople to their homes.