Man charged after allegedly going door-to-door impersonating a safety inspector
TORONTO -- Ontario banned door-to-door sales in March of 2018 when aggressive sales staff were misleading homeowners into buying or renting furnaces and air conditioners.
During the pandemic, the Toronto Police Service said it's happening again and they just charged someone with impersonating a safety inspector.
Const. Julie Campbell with Toronto police’s fraud division said the suspect was targeting people who just bought a new home and said he was there to conduct an inspection to make sure the furnace was working properly.
“Once they were inside the home and downstairs the suspect immediately said the furnace is outdated and we need to sell you a new one and I have some buddies that can do it for cash and it will save you a lot of money," Julie Campbell said.
When the homeowner witnessed the man going to another recently purchased home in the neighbourhood, he called police and the suspect was charged with uttering a forged document.
Julie Campbell said the suspect was driving a car with a magnetic "gas services" sign on the door and he also claimed he was with the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA).
“Everything including the decal on his car, his uniform and his fake identification would lead you to believe that he worked with the TSSA."
The TSSA is the agency that makes sure safety rules are followed in the province, but does not service or sell furnaces. It is aware of other reports of sales staff impersonating its employees.
According to Alexandra Campbell with TSSA, “the TSSA will never show up at your home unannounced and ask to come into your home to inspect your furnace."
Contractors working legally on gas furnaces, fireplaces and hot water heaters must be properly trained to make sure the work is done in a safe manner.
"It's very important that someone working on your fuel fired device has the right skill level and training and they must be TSSA certified and registered," Alexandra Campbell.
If someone arrives at your door and wants to come in - you can just say no.
“Never allow someone to come into your home unannounced” Julie Campbell said.
You can check if someone is registered with the TSSA by calling the authority or checking their website to find a certified contractor near you.
Also, be careful if you get a call from a business that wants to come to your home because as soon as you make an appointment it's not legally considered a door to door sale.
However, if for any reason you sign a contract that you regret there is a 10 day cooling off period that allows you to cancel for any reason.