Today has been a real scammy day.
There is something really disheartening when you realize that you are being scammed. It's really a punch to your system, why me and why am I not smart enough to figure it out the first time.
Don't fret too much because in the end I haven't lost anything, except maybe my pride and self-assurance.
Man comes to the door and says he'd like to talk to me about my Hydro bill. He says he would like to see that I'm getting the provincial discount that I'm entitled to. He shows me a Hydro bill and there is an item there clearly labelled "provincial discount". I am reluctant to show him a bill, but he insists - I ask what he's selling and he says, oh he's not selling anything he is just here on behalf of Hydro and Enbridge to see that I'm getting billed correctly - or something to that affect - I am not so sure since I'm distracted by Maddy and he speaks fast with a thick accent. But I think that Bell & Rogers always subcontract to third parties so it must be something like that - I show him an old bill and he says that it looks like I am not getting a discount, but it's hard to tell would I like someone from customer service to call me to explain what all this is (he's unable to answer my questions, but assures me that someone from customer service will be able to). I say, Ok and give him my number. He says I need to sign here to agree to get a call from customer service (again, believable to have to sign to agree to have someone call) I was a bit hesitant but he shows me a stack of other signed papers and says there is no obligation.
He hands me some literature and leaves. I look at the literature and I haven't signed any agreement to be contacted for further information - it's an actual contract with a company (up until this time he never gave me the company's name, nor carry it anywhere on him, although he did carry a lot of papers with Enbridge and Hydro Brampton on him). Not only is it a 5 yr contract with a fixed rate, he's written down my hydro account number and I surely did not give him permission to do that. The literature he gives me is not information but a welcome to Summitt Energy...Oh man, I've been SCAMMED!
Luckily he is only a few doors down when I go to call him back. I said, I agreed to have your company call me but I did not agree to have any services - this contract is for a 5 year contract, it clearly says that it will lock in a rate on my bill - nothing about calling for more information. He denies that this is true and says that it's not any sort of contract. I said well, I did not give you permission to write down my account number, so I would like to remove it. I took a pen and scribbled it out. He said, oh you don't have to do that because we already have access to your account number in our records. He then ripped up the contract and handed it back to me, but before he did that, he removed and kept the bottom part with his ID number and name.
I did call Summitt Energy and reported him, and they did say they'd take action for misrepresenting their product. Although I don't have much hope they'll do anything really. I did some research on the internet and found out that the service they provide is not technically illegal, they do a lot of fishy things to get people to agree to contracts and it's difficult to weasel out of them. They have been forced to call you within 10 days of signing the contract to allow you to opt out, but I say if you don't know you've signed a contract and you don't know what it's for, how can you be sure to say no? Apparently any affirmative answer will be taken as a "yes".
This door to door guy took advantage of the fact that I was dealing with a squirmy 13 month old to write down my account info without me even noticing he was doing it. it was really skeevy. The info online was at least 2 years old and focused on Stouffville, so I sent an email to a writer on the local paper - maybe the Guardian can put something out to warn people that these folks are working Brampton - I consider myself pretty savvy but I don't know how someone who has english as a second language will handle this kind of sell. The fellow had quite a stack of signed forms in his book. I don't know if they were faked or real.
The second scam is a bit more worrisome.
So, we are renting this house in Brampton and we pay next to nothing. The owner is a reluctant landlord and uses a realtor office to do the legwork. Since we moved in we've had a lot of trouble - mostly electrical, the electrical is very old and wonky, I waited three weeks for a fix to come last year and the electrician took over two weeks to do the job - he said the electrical needs to be replaced because to do the fix up work would take too long and it would just blow again. But the owner didn't want to pay the extra to get it done right, and he did the surface work and sure enough about three months ago the electricity blew in the kitchen - maybe more like 4 months. So we only have one outlet that works, which is the stove outlet and we have an extension cord that we run all the appliances off of - Microwave, kettle, coffee maker, toaster, blender...well, there's a lot of potential small appliances in a kitchen.
We've been trying to get them to fix that for months. They think the electrician should fix it for free. He says no. They say it's our fault, somehow. In the middle of this, the water tank breaks and starts leaking all over the basement, ruining some things we had in storage, making the basement unlivable for about two weeks. They demand to see the water tank and the three inches of water before they agree to fix it. It was the weekend that we had Casey stay with us, so they had a fit about the dogs being here. But they agree to fix it, and they say they will follow up with the electrician. That was about 6-8 weeks ago.
In May we passed our one year agreement and we didn't get a lease renewal form. They said they forgot. They come back and said that they'd like to raise the rent. We say, ok, raise the rent the maximum but we've been pretty easy on you for fixes like the electricity and some other broken things (like a broken range that should be replaced). If you insist on raising our rent, we'll be a bit more adamant on seeing things fixed in a timely and complete manner. They tried bringing up that we have a dog that was not agreed to, but we said it's on the lease (and it is). Besides, you cannot discriminate against pets unless there is a complaint.
The realtor comes back and says the owner has decided not to increase the rent, but to put the house on the market, since she can't possibly cover her mortgage with the low rent we pay. Like it's our fault she is overpaying her mortgage. Anyways, they are going to list the house and the realtor will be there on Tuesday to take pictures. Ok, we tidy up the place a bit, but we are not really concerned because we can't believe the owner will be able to sell this place - it's in bad shape. Maybe she'll sell it to someone who can flip it.
The realtor never shows up. But lists the place anyways, promises that she is working on getting us an electrician and will give us 24 hr notice of any showing. The listing is up on MLS, but for a very high amount, higher than the original price that she could not sell it for. And no pictures.
Last night I get a call that someone is coming for showing the next morning. Less than 24 hours, so we spend several hours cleaning (after everyone being sick, it's a bit of a cluttered mess). Guess what, I sit here for 1.5 hours, no show.
There is no for sale sign on the lawn, the MLS listing is vague, and lacking pictures. There is no work or rental contract for us to sign and they keep forgetting to make payment arrangements (like postdated cheques). We have not missed a payment, we have kept the house in good repair (other than a generally cluttered appearance) and we have no dogs now. There is nothing we are doing that gives them any reason to get us to leave.
However, they want a lot more money for rent which they can't get, they don't want to fix the place up, even to sell it, they book mysterious bookings and don't call to cancel, they don't even bother to put up a for sale sign out front.
I am beginning to think the selling of the house is a scam as well, and they are just trying to get us to leave so they can get in other tenants who will pay a significantly higher amount.
Dom is just shrugging it off - there isn't anything they can do to get us out other than actually selling the house (and we have right of first refusal so we actually have to see the offer - they can't lie and say it was sold!) They are just using some tactics to get us so uncomfortable that we'll leave on our own.
I am ready to pack it in but that's because I hate skeeviness. I hate feeling like an idiot and I hate feeling like we are bad tenants when we have done everything right.