While incidents of telephone or door-to-door marketing scams are not common, they can happen in any industry. In states where the energy market is open for consumers to choose among competitive energy companies for their supply of electricity and natural gas, some consumers may receive confusing or upsetting phone calls, or may hear about an individual fraudulently posing as a door-to-door energy salesman. This is not allowed or tolerated by reputable energy supply companies, or the public utility commissions who oversee them.
If a consumer receives a telemarketing call from someone claiming to be an energy supplier, or if someone knocks on their door and claims to be an energy supplier, the American Coalition of Competitive Energy Suppliers shares the following top tips to help these consumers identify the sales representative, and to help them feel more comfortable when engaged in discussion or exchanging information.
What a responsible sales representative for an energy supplier will do:
- Phone calls are made by a real, live person on the other end of the phone
- Sales representatives will identify themselves and the company they represent, and explain that the supplier is not affiliated with the utility
- Sales representatives will not promise savings without explaining how the savings are generated
- Sales representatives will remain calm and polite, taking the time to answer any questions the consumer may have
- Sales representatives will offer or agree to provide you more information to review before making a decision, and respect a request not to be solicited again
- When engaged in door to door solicitation, the sales representative will:
- Wear apparel bearing the name of the energy supplier represented;
- Wear an identification badge with the agent’s name and photo; and
- Provide contract documentation and a notice of cancellation with all pertinent information filled in.
A potentially fraudulent marketer or imposter might do just the opposite of the things listed above. If consumers ever feel uncomfortable or unsure about a sales pitch, they should end the conversation and visit the educational website http://www.CompetitiveEnergy.org or the public utility commission in their state to identify the appropriate resources.
It’s important that consumers take the time to learn about the energy choices available to them, and to know Your Rights as an energy consumer.
Be sure to use all of the resources available in the Consumer Tools section of the educational website http://www.CompetitiveEnergy.org. Consumers can learn about Programs and Incentives that an energy supplier may offer, and even take a fun interactive quiz to find out which type of energy user they are.
ACCES is a group of competitive retail natural gas and electricity suppliers committed to consumer education and media outreach. Each member of ACCES is an energy supplier committed to helping consumers better understand and take advantage of the benefits of energy choice with high integrity.