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The Real Deal: Energy Salespeople

ALBANY – With nice weather upon us, door-to-door energy salespeople have been hitting up neighborhoods across the Capital District.  We’ve heard from a number of folks who tell us some of the salespeople are getting downright aggressive.

Bonnie opened the door to her apartment in Albany the other day to a pretty pushy salesman trying to get her to switch her energy supplier, “He told me that he legally had to talk to me, I told him that I was fully aware of what they were doing, I'm happy with National Grid, please leave... I was very nice at first, “ she says.  But when he wouldn’t leave she had to threaten to call the cops.  “The guy I chased down the street would not give me his contact information, they won't give you any leave-behind information aside from the statement from the government regarding the fact that they have deregulation of the electric,” she says.

Some Energy Service Companies (ESCOs) are more ethical than others but the Real Deal is these salespeople don’t make money unless they can get you to switch so most are pretty aggressive.  By law, if someone shows up at your door selling energy, they must be wearing a photo identification card with the name of the company they are representing on it.  They should also have written material about the plan and rates they are offering.

If a salesperson can’t provide that information or if you’re not interested in switching providers ask them to leave.  You might also want to call your city or town, confirm that this company has a peddlers permit on file and file a complaint with them.  The New York State Public Service Commission regulates ESCOs (http://www3.dps.ny.gov/W/PSCWeb.nsf/All/0DF760D32E6D9BC085257687006F39D4?OpenDocument) you can file a complaint with them if you feel a salesperson has acted inappropriately.

“Shut it (the door) and move on and hopefully eventually they'll go away and call the cops if you have to, it almost came down to that and that's not the way to do business,” Bonnie says.

ESCO’s don’t just come door-to-door, CBS6 has also heard from a number of people that have been getting bombarded with phone calls too.  National Grid says it does not provide customer names or telephone numbers to ESCO’s.  If you’re getting unwanted calls, asked to be removed from the company’s calling list.  If they refuse and you’re on the federal Do Not Call Registry, try to get as much information about the company, the caller, the plan they are offering—so you have all the ammunition you need to file a complaint against them for a DNC violation.  You can do that here: https://complaints.donotcall.gov/complaint/complaintcheck.aspx?panel=2

If you are considering a switch in providers, do your homework.  The PSC has a website you can use to compare rates: http://www.newyorkpowertochoose.com/
 
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