Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York warns consumers that energy savings representatives are going door-to-door falsely saying they are affiliated with BBB. Monroe county residents have contacted the BBB claiming door-to-door salesmen are requesting to view their energy bills stating they can reduce their heating costs. BBB experience has shown this type of solicitation tends to move swiftly through a community and often continues to other areas as well.
While some salespeople are honest, BBB is issuing an alert to proceed with caution should a representative knock on your door. Door-to-door solicitation is an age-old sales method but most bargains are not worth the risk of doing business with someone you don’t know or trust.
Energy service companies, or ESCO’s, develop, install, and fund projects designed to improve energy efficiency and reduce operation and maintenance costs for their customers or facilities. In BBB experience door-to-door business solicitation can spell trouble.
“Energy bills can certainly be of concern this time of year and the last thing consumers in our area need is to be taken advantage of,” said Warren Clark, Better Business Bureau President. “BBB has business reviews available for many of the energy service companies operating in our area and around the country. We encourage consumers to start with trust at bbb.org and to find a reputable company before making a home energy buying decision.”
BBB recommends the following steps before buying something from a door-to-door sales person:
- Do your research. Ask the salesmen for written material about the company and let them know you are going to research them first before doing business with them. Check the company’s Business Review with BBB at bbb.org. Ask to see the salesperson’s New York State Peddler’s License. If they will not present it, cease all business transactions and notify the police.
- Don’t fall for empty promises. The seller might claim to offer a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee, but many complainants had no way to contact the seller if they were dissatisfied. Make sure you have valid contact information should you need a repair.
- Never pay with cash. When paying by check or credit card you have at least some way to protect your money—such as canceling the check or reporting it as fraud to your credit card company. If you pay with cash and are dissatisfied, you’re at the mercy of the salesman.
- Know your rights. If you decide to make a purchase, ask for a dated cancellation form and a dated receipt. Note that the Federal Trade Commission Cooling-off Rule gives you three business days to cancel a purchase made from your home. Saturday is considered a business day.
- Report the bad guys. If you feel that you were ripped off by a door-to-door salesmen, file a complaint with your Better Business Bureau at bbb.org. Also report any unlicensed salesmen to the appropriate city or county authorities.