The province wants to stop aggressive salesmen in Alberta from hawking their energy products door-to-door.
The government announced on Friday it will ban unsolicited door-to-door sales of energy products starting Jan. 1. That includes natural gas and electricity energy contracts, furnaces, water heaters, windows, air conditioners and energy audits.
The province said it has received well over 1,000 complaints from seniors and families who say they felt pressured into signing a contract, or making a purchase on the spot.
“We heard loud and clear from Albertans who are frustrated by knocks on their doors and aggressive sales pitches in their homes,” Service Alberta Minister Stephanie McLean said in a Friday news release.
88-year-old Midnapore resident Ruth Zinck was one of those victims.
Zinck said she accepted a “brochure” from a salesman at her door, but told him she wasn’t interested in signing a contract.
“He managed to cancel that contract and install his own,” she says. “I had not signed it, I had not said verbally I would be interested in them and yet I had a contract.”
Zinck says it took time and a registered letter to cancel the contract and that she has stopped opening the door to strangers.
The RCMP and Better Business Bureau have both endorsed the move by the province. The RCMP said on Friday high-pressure tactics can result in “real financial and emotional harm” especially to “vulnerable persons”.
“With this ban, we expect to see a noticeable decline in criminal incidents of unscrupulous, door-to-door sales of energy products,” Supt. Guy Rook said.
The province said energy companies have “multiple channels” to sell directly to Albertans, either by phone, online or at kiosks and through advertising. They can also still invite salespeople to their home if they choose.