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She felt comfortable speaking to him, since she had mixed up the name Energy Protection Care with Enercare and Enbridge Gas – two firms with which she already had relationships.
The salesman said she had to wait a month for an adjusted bill. Then, he said she would receive rebate cheques until the billing could be corrected. No rebates ever came.
The company said the contract was legal because it was co-signed by the woman’s niece. The salesman drove from Toronto to St. Catharines (a distance of 115 kilometres) to enlist her, even though she didn’t have a power of attorney for her aunt’s finances.
The woman was offered a reduced rate of $ 34.95 a month or a buyout price of $ 3,550 to cancel. But after I intervened this month, along with the Better Business Bureau, OHS agreed to remove the air filter and cancel the deal at no cost.
“We understand this to be a positive outcome for OHS and demonstrative of OHS’ commitment to customer satisfaction,” said Pradeep Chand, the company’s legal counsel.
I also heard about a 76-year-old widow who signed multiple contracts for home services with different companies, adding $ 250 a month to her Enbridge gas bill.
“She’s had two hip replacements, a knee replacement and suffers from a slowly progressing degree of cognitive impairment,” her son said.
The woman was bound by the following contracts:
In March 2017, yet another seller came to her home and signed her up for a reverse osmosis water filter under her sink and a heat recovery ventilation system. Her son cancelled the contract within 10 days and finally set up a power of attorney for her finances.
“Her Enercare maintenance plan and Reliance water heater rental fees were reasonable, but none of the others were appropriate,” her son said. “They all had to be closed to remove liens placed on the house before we could sell it to fund her long-term care.”
What did the salespeople say to get in the front door and get her to sign each contract? Was she targeted because she had white hair?
Her son suspects that after the first high-priced deal was done, she may have ended up on a “sucker list,” leading to other pitches.
Have you heard about companies exploiting cognitively challenged elders at home? I hope this column makes you ask Ontario politicians running for election this June why it took so long to regulate sellers and protect the vulnerable.