Door to Door Furnace Scams – A Cautionary Tale
- January 31, 2022
- Posted by: Atel Air
- Category: Air Conditioning, Brockville Community, Greely Community, Heating, Home, Home Comfort, HVAC System Advice, Kemptville Community and Events, Osgoode and Metcalfe Community
Many of us have answered the knock at the door, facing aggressive furnace salespeople who will say almost anything to get inside. They’ll sometimes offer a free inspection, free equipment or safety checks; and far too often people unwittingly let them into their homes.
Despite personal safety concerns, the word “FREE” is an easy way to gain access to someone’s home. While the Ontario government has outlawed unsolicited door-to-door sales of furnaces and other home comfort appliances, the practice is still rampant as these scammers prey on the elderly, uninformed and other vulnerable people.
One of our own customers was recently taken for a ride by these swindlers. She has graciously allowed us to share her story, as a warning to others of what could happen. Fortunately, ATEL Air was able to help her escape the situation and provide her with new equipment, saving her thousands of dollars.
For the sake of anonymity, we’ll call her Mary. Just a few weeks ago a door knocker arrived at Mary’s home and used high-pressure sales tactics to convince her to replace her ageing furnace. Since Mary’s furnace was purchased 20 years ago, she knew it would need to be replaced soon, and this seemed like a great deal. The $94.99/month price was affordable, and the company made everything so easy.
What was not made clear to Mary was that the $94.99/month was to be paid for a period of 15 years, adding up to thousands of dollars more than she needed to pay. For reference, this system could have been purchased outright for only $4,500.
Adding insult to injury, the company refused to cover the new furnace under their warranty, because her air conditioning system might leak water and ruin it. The company subsequently contracted to replace Mary’s air conditioning system for an additional $94.99/month plus 2% interest. Mary then decided to give us a call to compare pricing on a new air conditioning system and she shared her story.
Fortunately, both time and the law were on Mary’s side, and we were able to help her. We advised Mary of her rights, and because she had signed the contract fewer than 10 days prior, Mary was able to force the company to remove the furnace they had installed. It’s a good thing too because the unit was not installed properly. You’ll notice in the photos that a drainpipe was installed in front of the filter cabinet, making it impossible to change the filter!
ATEL Air was able to give Mary both a new furnace and a new air conditioning unit for less than $90/month total. Her new Daikin HVAC system is covered by a 12-year warranty, and she owns it outright with no liens placed against her home.
We were proud that we were able to help Mary out of this mess, saving her thousands of dollars and years of frustration. Nobody should have to go through this experience, and legally they shouldn’t.
The Ontario Consumer Protection Act can help protect you from situations such as Mary’s. When you purchase something that costs more than $50 from a salesperson either at your door or in your home, you:
• Have the right to cancel a contract for any reason within 10 days of receiving a written copy of the agreement.
• Must be given a written copy of the contract including specific information about the goods or service and your rights as a consumer. If it does not include the information, you have up to one year to cancel the contract.
• Can cancel the agreement within one year if the salesperson made a false or misleading statement about the contract.
The Ontario government also forbids the following products from being sold by door-to-door salespersons. These products and services can no longer be offered or sold at your home unless you initiate the transaction.
• Air conditioners
• Air cleaners
• Air purifiers
• Water heaters
• Water treatment devices
• Water purifiers
• Water filters
• Water softeners
• Duct cleaning services
• Any good or service that performs or combines one or more of the above functions
If a deal seems too good to be true, or simply doesn’t make sense to you, give ATEL Air a call. We can help you to navigate industry jargon, slippery terms & conditions and anything else that might put you at risk of being taken advantage of. We’re your friends & neighbours and work hard to earn your trust.