Alberta senior warns of unsolicited door-to-door sales after spending $25K

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Alberta senior warns of unsolicited door-to-door sales
WATCH: An Alberta senior is warning of unsolicited door-to-door sales after she said she was sold on several “energy-efficient” items she didn’t necessarily need. Tomasia DaSilva reports. – Mar 11, 2024

A Calgary senior is warning others to be wary of unsolicited door-to-door sales after she said she was sold on a number of unwanted “energy-efficient” products totaling $25,000.

Seventy-one-year-old Pat Fullerton told Global News she was caught off-guard when a salesperson rang her doorbell a few months ago. She said the man told her he was from Provincial Smart Home Services, and she invited him in.

“He chatted to me very nicely,” she said. “He was playing me up and I didn’t know at the time.”

Fullerton’s confusion was partly because she heard the words “energy rebate” and thought she was in for a government “freebie”.

“I thought this is a retiree incentive, because they do that in the U.K.,” she said.

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She was also flustered with the salesman’s pitch partly due to the fact she’s bravely battling signs of early dementia.

“I just didn’t know what to think,” she added. “My brain had gone at this time, ‘What’s happening? Who is this?'”

The senior said she let the team do their installation and only thought twice about her decision when she received her first bill.

“Nobody said anything about any money,” she said adamantly. “It was $104 a month for all of this that I didn’t want — didn’t need.”

“I should have been more assertive, but I was in shock. Looking back, I was in total shock.”

Pat with friend Sandra. Global Calgary

Neighbour and friend Sandra Weisgerber has been helping Fullerton navigate that shock.

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She told Global News she’s very upset about what happened.

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“It’s a terrible situation what they did to Pat,” she said. “They definitely took advantage of her.”

“Can you imagine living here all by yourself and somebody coming in and you think you’re getting a seniors discount or a government rebate — and you get this?!”

Weisgerber has reached out to lawyers to see if anyone can help. She now plans to help Fullerton file a complaint with the proper provincial authorities and beyond.

“It’s sick is what it is,” she added. “How do they sleep at night? How would they like it if someone did that to their parents?”

Provincial Smart Home Services

The company is licensed to operate in Alberta and across the country, including in Ontario where it is headquartered. Global News has confirmed it also has an office in Edmonton, which was stated on Fullerton’s contract.

No one from Provincial Smart Home Services responded to our numerous requests for comment,

It is not accredited with the Better Business Bureau, but the BBB Serving Central Ontario told Global News it is aware of the company.

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“We do receive complaints all across Canada for this business,” BBB President and CEO Angela Dennis said.

Dennis said the majority of complaints centre around products and promises.

“Some (complainants) are indicating that they’ve being suggested that they can get a rebate — and never seen that rebate.”

The BBB also posted an alert on its site when it comes to Provincial Smart Home Services’ reviews.

“What we had found is that the company was incentivizing consumers to submit customer reviews,” she said. “That is not acceptable on our site.”

Dennis said it’s important to think twice before signing any contract.

“If somebody shows up at your door, don’t make a quick decision,” she said. “Please don’t make the decision on the spot. Please check and do your research before making any of those decisions when signing any contract.”

Door-to-door “energy” sales have been banned in Alberta since 2017, while sales of many other products have a 10-day cooling-off period so that consumers can change their minds.

Service Alberta told Global News anyone who has been approached by this company or any other selling energy products should contact it and file a complaint.

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“While the company has a legal prepaid contracting license, they are banned to be selling their products at the door,” said Nicky Gocuan, press secretary for Minister of Service Alberta Dale Nally.

“We exempt a number of regulated entities, including most of our specifically licensed industries (prepaid, energy marketing, time-share, retail home) from having to have a direct sales licence for their activities that fall under the other regulatory framework.

“So a company with a prepaid contracting business licence doesn’t need a separate direct sales business licence. Prepaid contracting is a form of direct selling.”

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