“Knock Knock, sir, “ Two happy go lucky grinning agents beam as they walk right past your do not solicit sign in official branded polos, “We are not here to sell you anything. We just want to make sure you are receiving the right electricity rate for your business. Just get out your bill, and we will take a look and make sure your rate is the correct rate and we will be on our way.”
YIKES. A “Door Knocker” is what we call a salesman who goes from business to business (or home to home) selling power contracts. Some are legit, and some are big fat liars. My buddy Mohan has been dealing with an unfortunate situation that has made me think of how we can help here at Shop My Power. It all started just the way you read above.
After being convinced by these cats that he was being charged the wrong rate by his utility, Mohan owner of Union Ice Cream in NY, got out his bill out (no!!) for the impostors to inspect. The “agents” told him he was over paying and would he like for them to adjust his rate? Of course he agreed and signed the dotted line. What Mohan didn’t realize was that these alley cats were from a questionable supply company…. and that he had been conned. That lower rate was actually the makings of a much higher bill, and he was locked in for years. You can read more about how electricity rates can be deceiving in a previous article.
I heard a similar story not two days later, and this time I heard from a supplier. He told me about a team of brokers who go door to door and offer what looks like a three cent rate. The fine print will reveal that yes, there is a fixed three cent adder in addition to the market index price they are also being charged. OUCH. These brokers have a fleet of Ferraris out front. Now we know why!
Contracts are binding. Unfortunately, a contract you sign under a con can be as binding as a contract you sign with full disclosure. You are legally bound. Super Bound (bound with a cape.) Here are three simple truths that will go a long way toward keeping your wallet out of harm’s way.
- Remember that there is no such thing as a ridiculously low now or never rock bottom rate. Prices are where they are (like interest rates!) and electric companies are going to make the profit they need to survive. Find out what the ball park market prices look like (or contact a good broker to find out) and look to lock in at the bottom range of the average range. If a price sounds too good to be true, then IT IS
- Never Never Never show a door knocker your bill. If they are who they say they are, they should already have your billing information and invoices on hand. They want to get your ESID or meter number, your billing address, your current contract end date, account number and other pieces of information that will be used later to steal your business. Only give that kind of information to someone you trust! Read my article about fear in the electricity marketplace for more on how to get a real rate with real savings at Shop My Power.
- Never agree to anything on the phone and tell your employees not to entertain calls about your electricity bills. Tell any caller to fax you the contract and offers and you will take a look. I would not give your email. I’ll place my bet on the fact that the contract you receive will be scandalous.
The bottom line is your utility is NOT going to visit you in your store to sell you power. In fact, I have never once seen a good reason to get your bill out for anyone who walks on to your property.
They are not utility reps, they ARE salesmen and you can bet your bottom dollar they are soliciting so kick them out before they TAKE your bottom dollar!
If you want to have some fun, get out your phone recorder and ask them to verify their identities one more time and watch them squirm. Send what you record to me at TRAY@shopmypower.com and together we can do our part to expose bad players.