Off Topic: Buyer Beware – Direct Energy

The further we dug in our Buyer Beware project, the more I realized I didn’t like Direct Energy.  In the process I even found out that my household was signed up with them.  Our landlords were angered that they had been duped by the sales pitch, but it was also helped by the fact that the person making the pitch was a relative. Thankfully they only have 1 more year on their contract and they have no plans of resigning.

My contributions to the Buyer Beware project were two interviews, one customer, and one saleswoman, as well as writing the conclusion.

I was really shocked to learn that, while not registered with the Better Business Bureau, they have a rating on the BBB website.  What is that rating? … and F.  They received a total of 441 complaints from consumers in the last 36 months.  Most were not resolved in a timely fashion and 21
were not resolved at all.

Aside from their horrible rating, they used underhanded methods to procure a sale: giving the potential customer a false sense of urgency with signing the contract, an After-I-leave-this-doorstep-the-deal-is-void kind of thing.

Through the saleswoman interview, I learned that the training a saleswoman undergoes in order to go out door-to-door is something less than intensive to say the least.

In my customer interview with my landlord, she expressed how she felt bombarded by numbers and random statistic and wished she would have asked around a little before signing on.  But the pitch was made so that she felt as though she had to sign immediately or the offer wouldn’t be valid.

Their whole pitch is that Direct Energy buys gas in bulk so that they can give it to the consumer at a reduced price and lock them in at that price for 5 years, because otherwise we’d be at the mercy of Manitoba Hydro… when we checked the numbers, the gas cost from Manitoba Hydro only fluctuated a few cents and never reached the “locked in” rate that Direct Energy claimed would save the customer money.

Pretty much, my advice to you is that if someone comes to your door selling Direct Energy… don’t sign up.

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