What To Do When A Door-To-Door Salesperson Comes Knocking
It’s early evening and you’re settling in for dinner, or it’s a busy Saturday afternoon, and you’re getting ready to step out for errands. Either way, it’s an interruption. You open the door and you’re faced with someone asking you for your electricity bill. Far too often these individuals misrepresent themselves, leaving it vague as to whether or not they work with your utility, obscuring the fact that their goal in seeing your bill is to switch your account to their employer’s services. Door-to-door sales, while used legitimately and ethically by many, has been exploited by organizations that know that people do not scrutinize their utility bills, and very often do not fully understand what it means to participate in energy choice and to use an alternative electricity supplier for your energy.
Wondering what to do? Here are some suggestions:
- Know that you do not have to do anything. Unless you feel certain in your own knowledge of your utility rate and what electricity plans are available to you, your best bet is to take any information the salesperson is willing to leave behind and follow up at a later date when you can gather all the facts you need to make an informed decision.
- Memorize your utility’s current “price to compare”. Before switching to any competitive energy supplier, you’ll want to know what you’re leaving behind. On your monthly utility bill, find the “price to compare” and note when that price expires. This is the cost of power from your utility’s default power pool, so use this as your benchmark for assessing other plans. If price is your motivation for switching, you’ll want to beat this number. If you’re looking for renewable energy, ensure that you compare a few plans as some green plans may not be much more expensive than your utility’s price to compare.
- Ask lots of questions. Because energy contracts are binding, you’ll want to be just as informed as you would be with any other contract you sign. Here are some questions you should ask the salesperson:
- What supplier do you work with?
- For each of your company’s offerings, are they fixed rate or variable?
- What happens when my contract with your company ends?
- For any renewable offerings, what are the sources of the renewable energy in these plans?
- If incentives are offered with the electricity plan, when will I receive the incentives and do I have to do anything to earn them or are they automatically included when I sign up for the plan?
- Will I be billed for this plan on my utility bill, or will you bill me separately?
- Other than the rate, what other fees might your company charge me?
- What is the early termination fee for your company’s plans?
- Use your resources. Your utility’s website and energy resource sites like PointClickSwitch have critical information that can help you to choose the best electricity plan and electricity supplier for your home. Your utility’s website will often list the registered suppliers for your area. You can contact each supplier to find out about their offering. On supplier aggregator sites like PointClickSwitch, you can transparently compare supplier plans side-by-side and enroll with the best rate online, or by email, phone or text.
A salesperson knocking on your door to change your rate with your utility can be a fruitful experience as long as you arm yourself with the info you need to understand the fine print and ensure that you are saving, or at least not overpaying, for their product.