Edmonton·Video

Police urge Edmontonians to close the door on energy scams

Door-to-door salespeople are still trying to sell Albertans furnaces, water heaters and electricity contracts, despite a government ban on the practice.

'There are con artists and thieves who want to take advantage of an open door'

Nick Malychuk, 84, is warning others to be wary of door-to-door salespeople, after a recent encounter with one at his home. 1:48

Door-to-door salespeople are still trying to sell Albertans furnaces, water heaters and electricity contracts, despite a government ban on the practice, Edmonton police said Thursday.

Police received about 195 reports concerning fraudulent door-to-door sales in 2016, and to date in 2017, 19 complaints have been filed.

Of those complaints, 95 were related to furnace inspections and five concerned energy contracts, police said in a news release.

'Misleading claims and outright scams'

Nick Malychuk, who lives in Edmonton's Greenfield neighbourhood, was contacted three times over the course of three months by energy company salespeople — even after the new provincial regulation came into effect.

The salespeople at his door wanted to inspect the furnace and the water heater, and brought up the carbon tax rebate.

At one point, one of the men knocked on his door and when no one answered, he called the house.

"If you can get away with it, don't answer the door," said Malychuk, 84.

"And if you do happen to answer the door, ask questions and be careful of what they're saying and turn their questions into answers in such a way that they're not welcome."

Malychuk said he contacted police after new government legislation came into effect on Jan. 1.

"I still do not know what they were going to be selling," he said. "Obviously they would be offering something you do not need, but I don't know what it might be."

Effective Jan. 1, the government banned door-to-door sales of furnaces, water heaters, windows, air conditioners, energy audits and natural gas and electricity energy contracts.

Penalties for companies that don't comply include a fine of up to $300,000 or up to two years' imprisonment under the Fair Trading Act.

However, there continue to be reports of salespeople misrepresenting themselves to get into people's houses, police said.

'It didn't feel right'

"While most door-to-door sales are legitimate, there are con artists and thieves who want to take advantage of an open door," said Det. Linda Herczeg with the EPS Economic Crimes Section in a statement.

"Police receive frequent door-to-door sales complaints involving aggressive individuals and high-pressure tactics. These also include reports of suspicious people attempting to push their way into homes with misleading claims and outright scams."