BROADCAST DATE : Mar 20, 2009

Utility Contracts: Power of Persuasion

Like any commodity, electricity and natural gas prices go up and down with the markets. In some provinces, you have a choice when it comes to who will supply your power -- a public or a private utility. Ontario and Alberta have deregulated both utilities, and in Manitoba and B.C., you can pick your natural gas provider.

But since deregulation, consumers have complained about pushy door-to-door sales from utility marketers, leading some to enter into contracts that have raised their bills by hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

With so much at stake, the sales people are supposed to follow provincial codes of conduct governing their behaviour during the sales pitch.

The rules state they can't mislead consumers, make false statements, misrepresent who they are, nor can they exert undue pressure.

But as Wendy Mesley reveals in a hidden camera investigation, every sales agent we tape appears to be overstepping the rules.