We have provided the regulations for registration of new customers and door-to-door sales to help you feel more secure when signing up with an electricity or natural gas retailer/retailer. To protect your natural gas and electricity bills from scammers, this article will outline the rules and regulations that energy retailers/retailers in Ontario. This article will help you recognize untrue sales practices and avoid signing up for contracts with hidden terms.
Fair Energy Marketing Practices
These rules and regulations should be adhered to by all energy marketers/retailers when soliciting door-to-door sales. The Code of Conduct, which is regulated in Ontario by the Ontario Energy Board, outlines these guidelines in detail. This code outlines exactly what sales representatives should do to solicit honest home and commercial sales in Ontario.
Talk to a Legitimate Business or Home Owner
Sales reps are advised to be cautious when soliciting commercial or home sales. Before presenting any sales pitches, they should consult with an authorized account holder.
Who can sign?
The contract must be signed by the appropriate authority, regardless of whether it is a new fixed price agreement or a renewal. It is important to be cautious when selling energy to people who are not fluent in English, have disabilities or are under 18 years old.
- Residential cases should have contracts signed by the account owner, spouse, or common law partner.
- Contracts for commercial selling must be signed by the owner of the business or an authorized representative.
Create a Business Card
Every customer should be given a business card by sales representatives upon their arrival. The business card must include the following: the name of the sales representative, Ontario Energy Board license number, the name and address of the energy marketer/retailer, toll-free telephone numbers, and the website address.
Offer Business and Product Materials
Sales representatives must always provide accurate information about the business and products. They must inform the consumer that the business they represent offers a fixed price agreement for natural gas or electricity supply. They are also required to tell consumers that they are not associated with the Ontario Energy Board and the Government.
Communicate Pricing Terms and Conditions
The rate per unit to be paid by sales representatives should be indicated along with the terms and conditions. Account holders should be able to review the contract, including the price comparison form, disclosure statement and terms and conditions.
Do not Pressure the Consumer
Door to door sales requires that sales representatives do not stress account holders and allow customers to review all paperwork before signing.
Updated Sales Material
Every sales material must contain correct, factual information that does not mislead consumers. It should also include current pricing, a up-to-date disclosure, price comparison form, and contract terms and conditions.
Be truthful and consistent with communication
All information and facts should be communicated to account holders by sales representatives. Sales representatives should not use deceptive or inaccurate information to sell products or services. It is important that they adhere to the code of conduct.
Display a valid identification badge
Each sales representative receives an energy marketer/retailer identification card. This badge should be worn on outside clothing to make it easily recognizable by consumers. The badge must contain the representative’s identification and photo ID. It also needs to include the name of the marketer/retailer, valid identification number, and the expiration date.
Signing a contract
Before you sign up for a new contract, make sure to get a copy all sales materials. You should ensure that you are provided with the following documentation:
- A signed, dated and certified copy of your contract
- An signed and dated disclosure form for natural gas or electricity
- Signed and dated price comparison sheet for natural gas or electricity
- The Terms and Conditions of the energy retailer/retailer
- The company card of the sales representative
You should immediately receive a copy of any sales documents after you have signed up with the energy merchant/retailer. You should have the contract, price comparison forms, contract terms and condition, disclosure statements, and any additional product information.
Third Party Affirmation Call
After the expiration of the 10-day cooling-off period and approval date, a representative from the call center will contact the account holder to confirm the contract. An affirmation call gives account holders the opportunity to clarify any information and get answers to their questions. The affirmation call, which is digitally recorded and initiated by the energy retailer/marketer as an outbound call, is recorded.
An affirmation call is a description of the purchased product or service, the price, and terms and conditions of the contract. It also includes a number of Ontario Energy Board regulated questions. This affirmation call will be kept on file by the energy marketer/retailer for the duration of the contract. Account holders will be able, if required, to request a digital copy the affirmation call at any time during their contract.
10 Day Cooling Period
The Energy Consumers Protection Act 2011 (also known as the rules, regulations and sales to consumers) provides account holders with a cooling off period of 10 days during which they can cancel their contract. The Energy Consumers Protection Act gives consumers the right to cancel their contract at no cost and without penalty for up to 10 days after they have received a text-based copy.
Start the Sale
If the contract was made online or if the account holder responded to a direct mail campaign by an energy merchant/retailer, the affirmation call will not be mandatory.
Unfair Sales Practices
- This includes any phony, misleading or fraudulent statements that are made to the customer. Ex: Not providing important details such as the contract length, termination, renewal policies, key dates, and extra charges.
- Information about the quality of the energy source or products provided. Example: Saying they will supply you with green energy if they don’t.
- The track record of an energy retailer/marketer or the association of a business with an alternative supplier of electricity or gas marketer. Example: Making misleading statements, including misrepresentation, claiming to be from the utility company or government.
- Contract pricing and additional fees must be clearly stated.
- Unconscionable actions taken by the account holder. Example: A sales representative might unfairly exploit an account holder who may not understand the terms and conditions of the agreement, is elderly, disabled, or has been pressured to sign onto a contract.
- Failing to provide details about products, services, and the business of the energy marketer/retailer. Example: Giving the impression that the sales representative represents a local utility or the government, or the Ontario Energy Board.
- Unqualified individuals may sign into new contracts/renew or extend existing contracts if they are not account holders or have the appropriate signing authority.
Some examples of fraud or forgery include, but not be limited to:
- Signature of the account holder on the contract
- Modifications to the contract only after authorization from the account holder
- Pretending to be the account holder during a reaffirmation phone
- Registering an account holder under deceptive pretences
You should know your legal rights as a customer if you plan to purchase natural gas or electricity from any energy retailer/retailer other than your local utility. The Code of Conduct for Energy Marketer/Retailers is the standard for all energy merchant/retailers providing energy in Ontario. These guidelines are mandatory and must be followed by all sales representatives.