Better Business Bureau issues warning about door-to-door sales
Published Thursday, May 2, 2019 8:21PM EDT
The Better Business Bureau issued a warning on Thursday telling customers to be cautious of door-to-door sales representatives offering free smart devices.
Scarborough resident Marcia Thomas told CTV News Toronto earlier this year that two people came to her door claiming to be with an agency that helps homeowners save money on their electricity bills.
“I repeatedly told them I was not working and I did not want any added expenses.”
Thomas agreed to have a smart thermostat, smart doorbell, smoke detectors installed in her home, in addition to insulation put in the attic over her bedroom. She said she was told there would be a small monthly charge, but that rebates and energy savings would cover it.
She said she was shocked when the bill arrived.
“My first bill is for $146. There is a lien on my house,” Thomas said.
Thomas signed a contract to pay for the smart home devices at a cost of almost $60 a month and the insulation for about $70 a month. The contract term is for 10 years.
“I tried my best not to get into these things, but I just hear Ontario savings rebate and I thought, OK,” she said.
Following hundreds of complaints, door-to-door sales were banned in March of last year, but products such as thermostats, smoke detectors, light bulbs or fire alarms are not covered under the ban.
Thomas signed her contracts with a company called morConnect. The company told CTV News Toronto that Thomas understood the terms of agreement and confirmed her understanding in a follow-up phone call. When she complained, the company said it would try to resolve the issue.
“We provided Ms. Thomas with a rebate cheque in the amount of $700,” a spokesperson for the company said. “We understand that Ms. Thomas is not satisfied with the contract. However, we feel we have put forward to her a more than reasonable settlement.”
The company later told CTV News Toronto that to help resolve the matter, it will lower the term of the contract to 60 months.
Thomas said she would still have expensive monthly payments she can’t afford.
“I feel violated because I told him I wasn’t working,” she said.
Customers have 10 days to cancel a door-to-door contract.
With files from CTV News Toronto's Pat Foran