Door to door electricity scammers.

[li]No, you are not trying to help me.[/li][li]No, I do not “qualify for a discount”.[/li][li]No, you are not with PECO, you do not “represent” PECO, and “major electricity provider” is not the name of your employer.[/li][li]No, you are not knocking on my door because I failed to respond to a notice on my electric bill. You’re knocking on every door on the block. Did they all fail to respond?[/li][li]No, I do not have to show you my electric bill.[/li][li]No, there is not a code on my electric bill that you need to check.[/li][li]No, I am not going to let you bully me into giving you information.[/li][li]Yes, I am shutting the door in your face, because you insist on completing your canned spiel and refuse to give a straight answer to any of my questions.[/li][/ul]
These people are a plague.

Brings back memories of trying to sell encyclopedias door to door for a company which wasn’t entirely honest with its employees. At least not with us new employees.

I had one of the jamokes ask to see my bill and I informed him (honestly) that I get my electric bill online. So he said he’d wait for me to look it up and print it out for him. I just laughed and closed the door.

If I had the time or motivation, I’d agree to print out my bill, then call the police. Hopefully I could distract him long enough until the cops arrived.

…the hell? This is a scam with which I am unfamiliar.

Huge issue here for a while, my electricity company distributed ‘do not knock’ stickers to keep their customer base. If they come here despite the notice they are trespassing and I report them to their companies. That supposedly gets them fired. Your laws offer no protection?

Before you can report them to their company you have to get the name of the company, which is something they try to avoid telling you.

It’s not a scam. It’s an attempt to offer you “cheaper” electricity.

The way it works here is that Dayton Power & Light still carries the electricity, and charges for the carriage, the administration, and the billing. The only thing that might be cheaper is the cost of the electricity itself, and that is such a small amount that who cares?

That’s why the sales drones have to be so pushy; they really don’t have anything to sell. It’s a similar sales tactic, both in management and in how they treat their poor drones, to door-to-door magazine sales.

Basically, they belong to third party utility carriers and try to get you to switch over to their company. They often do so by pretending to be from some official agency saying that you’re supposed to be getting lower rates or other deception (“Slamming”).

I guess it depends on how you define “scam”. They certainly [del]misrepresent[/del] lie about what they’re doing. And in some cases, if you do show them your bill, they take the account number and switch you without your permission. Sometimes, whether they switch you voluntarily or not, you’ll get a small discount for a few months, followed by a dramatic increase. When you investigate, you discover that you now have a long term contract that you’ll have to fight to get out of.

Around here I’ve heard them use the line, “I’m here to check that your payment protection plan is in place.” Which is code for a guaranteed rate that’s significantly higher than the market rate (which does fluctuate, but not that much!)

While this has been going on in Chicago for a few years, it’s recently ramped up significantly due to the City’s contract with ComEd expiring. It’s enough of a plague and confusing problem that the local NBC station is doing a news expose on it tonight at 10.

I’ve put “No Soliciting” and “Do Not Disturb” signs on my apartment buzzer and doors. I work second shift and they will invariably show up while I’m still sleeping or in the shower.

That’s all true. But it’s not a scam. They’re selling an actual product. Frankly, I assume that most of the people buying it are those who insist that a government monopoly is bad, and private enterprise is better, and I have little to no sympathy for them getting ripped off. They get what they asked for. Too bad.

I’d call “Switching someone’s service without their permission and/or under false pretenses” a scam.

Lying about who they are and switching your electricity provider without your permission is not a scam?

Unfortunately that’s not the majority case. Around here, it’s the older people who don’t understand what’s going on in the first place, who are the most vulnerable. They’re the last to understand the deregulation that occurred, and the last to pursue information about green energy and alternate delivery services. So when the door-to-door people show up and use scary phrases that make them think their power could be shut off, they comply with showing these people their bills (because they also still get paper mail).

People actually subscribing to alternative energy companies are people like me, who go online and look for reputable companies that deliver nuclear/wind/water sourced power. I say like me, but I’ll qualify that it’s not anything I’ve bothered with. I prefer an un-convoluted bill from one company.

One came to my mother’s house today while I was there. I answered the door, saw a gentleman standing there with a clipboard and knew immediately it was either a voter registration drive or the electricity thing. I don’t recall his opening line but I heard something about utility rates or something, knew what was up, took the card he proffered, said “I’m not interested” and shut the door. This was followed by a frantic pounding on the door and him shouting “you have my ID”. Looking at what I was holding, I realized that it was a laminated ID so I had no choice but to open the door and hand it back to him. He launched into his spiel and every time I tried to question him about who his employer was he acted all offended and said “I’m trying to tell you but you keep interrupting me!”.

I’m wondering now if the ID trick was on purpose so I’d have to reopen the door and talk to him. It seems unlikely but why would he hold out his ID that way at the very start?

Look, you have to agree, you have to sign the agreement. Maybe it’s just Ohio, but slamming is illegal here. The new provider is required to send you a letter, and you can cancel the new provider. The only way it happens is if people are not paying attention.

I’ve had two at my door over the last year or so. I’ve found the nicest way to make them just shut up and go is to tell them “I already have an alternative provider contract.” Since they know damn well those contracts are set in stone and nearly impossible to back out of until they expire, they have nothing to push at me any more, simply say thanks and leave.

But they depend on people “not paying attention” or not understanding. They most definitely go out of their way to confuse and mislead people. Maybe you’re just arguing about the definition of the word “scam” but there’s no way what they’re doing can be considered honest and aboveboard.

And illegal or not, slamming does occur and when it does it’s a “scam” by any reasonable definition.