Alberta’s NDP government announced Friday it is banning door-to-door electricity sales.
The move comes in response to increasing concern over misleading and high-pressure sales tactics.
“The government has received well over 1,000 complaints about energy-related, door-to-door sales,” a Friday news release said. “Many have come from seniors and families who felt tricked into buying furnaces or water heaters on the spot. In other instances, consumers felt unrelenting pressure to sign energy contracts with salespeople visiting their home two or three times in one day.”
The door-to-door ban – which goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2017 – includes the sale of:
- natural gas and electricity energy contracts
- water heaters
- air conditioners
- energy audits
“We heard loud and clear from Albertans who are frustrated by knocks on their doors and aggressive sales pitches in their homes,” Service Minister Stephanie McLean said.
“We’re taking action to protect Albertans by ending aggressive door-to-door energy sales.”
The RCMP and Better Business Bureau (BBB) both endorsed the move in a government news release.
“While BBB recognizes the many legitimate and trustworthy businesses who sell door-to-door, we hope these restrictions on misleading and high-pressure sales tactics will help create a marketplace where buyers and sellers can trust each other,” said Mary O’Sullivan-Andersen, President and CEO, BBB Southern Alberta and East Kootenay.
“The RCMP welcomes this change,” Superintendent Guy Rook said. “Our investigators have helped Albertans who have succumbed to fraudulent, high-pressure sales at their door.
“With this ban, we expect to see a noticeable decline in criminal incidents of unscrupulous, door-to-to-door sales of energy products.”
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Energy companies will still be able to sell to Albertans over the telephone and online sales, at kiosks and through advertising.
Previously this week, the province also announced it had struck a deal with three major power producers to formally end coal-fired electricity by 2030 – and would be capping power prices at 6.8 cents per kilowatt hour.