Simcoe County is looking at banning door-to-door salesmen posing as utility inspectors and government agents.
“I can speak first hand about the number of seniors who’ve fallen prey,” said Tay Township Mayor Scott Warnock.
And although Ontario is disallowing electricity and natural gas contracts from being sold at the door, residents – and particularly seniors – are facing a hard sell at their doors for water heaters, water filtration systems, heating and air conditioning upgrades and other home-related energy projects.
“They may have had 10 days to change their mind. (But) They don’t see the contract costs until they get their first bill,” said Warnock.
Springwater Township Deputy Mayor Don Allen agreed the public is facing more pressure at their front door and a crackdown is needed. He added a common scam now relates to allegations of tax issues.
“Staff should prepare a report on the best ways to communicate with the public regarding potentially fraudulent Canada Revenue Agency reps,” he said.
The debate at Simcoe County council was sparked by a Township of Wellington North resolution urging the province to ban door-to-door home energy sales, just as it outlawed the selling of natural gas and electricity contracts in the Strengthening Consumer Protection and Electricity System Oversight Act in 2015.
Wellington North Township noted the new law isn’t being respected and “Ontarians over the last 12 months continue to experience unsolicited, aggressive and misleading sales tactics at their door from companies seeking to sell home energy products, despite this provincial legislation.”
But although the issue will be returning to council in two weeks, the county needs to take action now, said Bradford West Gwillimbury Deputy Mayor James Leduc.
“It’s rampant. They’re calling everyone,” he said
The county will highlight police advisories, notices and warnings on its website, said CAO Mark Aitken.
The county is supporting the Wellington North resolution and its concerns.