Ever more cunning air conditioning and heat pump scammers!
We’ve all heard of someone who thought they were getting a good deal, but ended up with a ton of problems!
For some years now, we have warned you about door-to-door heat pump salespeople who pressure clients into signing a contract, then install units whose performances are far from what they promised! These scammers now also work by phone and social media. Here are a few tricks to avoid signing a sales contract you may regret.
Types of scams
First, there’s the salesperson who comes to your door to make you an offer that sounds too good to be true. Above all, they insist you must sign the contract immediately, since they only have a few heat pumps left in stock, or very few time slots available for installation in your sector.
Phone, email or social networking (Facebook, for example) scams use different methods and might mention the Chauffez Vert and Rénoclimat programs to grab your attention. First, they start with the price scam. The fraudster declares that you have won a heat pump, and all you need to do is pay the taxes. Once they’ve got your money, they will vanish, never to be seen again!
Email scams often use phishing attacks. You’ll receive a message that appears to be from a trusted company: the image, logo, etc. all look familiar. You are asked to validate some information by clicking on a link. These emails are used to steal your personal information or install malware on your computer.
How to avoid becoming a victim of fraud
At Klimfax, like at all other serious and trusted businesses, we will never pressure you into signing a sales contract, just as we will never request any personal information by email.
Here are a few tips to protect yourself:
- Never sign a contract on the spot. You’ve already signed? The Consumer Protection Act requires all door-to-door salespeople to grant you a 10-day period within which you can cancel your contract by phone or by registered mail.
- No energy conservation organization authorizes anyone to sell heat pumps door to door.
- Never fill out any energy savings forms on Facebook.
- If you receive a request for personal information by email from a company that appears to be trustworthy or that you have dealt with in the past, contact them by phone to provide them with this information.
A few (true) facts about heat pumps
Scammers often offer solutions or products with incredible performances or at ridiculously low prices. Here is some interesting information about heat pumps:
- An entry-level wall unit heat pump costs between $2,400 and $2,800, installation included. For a high-end unit, you can expect to pay $3,000 to $4,500. Pay careful attention to the product brand. Check that the product is reputable and has been on the market for several years, so that the manufacturer will have replacement parts for any repairs you may need over the next 10 years.
- Energy savings (and therefore the reduction in the electricity costs for heating your home) which you can reasonably expect when installing a heat pump vary from 25% to 40%. Many companies will attempt to convince you that you will save 40% on your entire bill. This is not the case. It is also important to note that a heat pump will not, for example, allow you to save on hot water. In Quebec, approximately 60% of your electricity bill is heating.
- An entry-level heat pump will lose its effectiveness when the temperature dips below -10 °C, and a high-end unit, below -20 °C.
- A serious company will send a technical advisor to your home to thoroughly evaluate your needs and the options available to you for maximum satisfaction.
In any circumstance, if you have any doubts about the honesty of the offer being made, ask for some time to consider it, and let the salesperson know that you will contact them. A serious company will respect your need to reflect before investing in this type of project!
If you believe you have been a victim of fraud, report it to the Canada Anti-Fraud Centre by calling them toll-free at 1 888-495-8501.