Expert
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Thursday 28 June 2018

How to avoid scams when buying a heat pump

The doorbell rings on a weekday evening right after dinner. The person at the door immediately announces they can save you money on your electricity bill. Beware! This could be one of those salesmen who offers to sell you a heat pump that’ll deliver impossible savings. Numerous reports and websites warn consumers of this kind of scam. A good example is : https://ici.radio-canada.ca/actualite/lafacture/227/rept.html

Savings of 50%, 60% and even 80% with a heat pump?

These companies take advantage of government programs like Rénovert to convince you to buy their heat pump. The strategy is first to quickly show you the astounding savings their unit will provide. Some say they can save you as much as 80%! They then tell you that despite the high cost of their heat pump, these savings on top of the tax credit provided by the government mean the unit will pay for itself.

What they don’t tell you is that the heat pump they’re selling is an entry-level unit, and that their price is way more than what you could readily find by shopping around. The salesman will try to get you to sign on the dotted line before you can compare his price, and he’ll claim that they’re going to be in your neighbourhood for just a short time, that they only have room for one last customer in your area, or that your neighbour Mr. X has signed and that they’re going to install his the next day. When a door-to-door salesman puts the pressure on to get you to sign a $10,000 contract, beware the scam artist!

The truth about heat pumps

  • An entry-level heat pump should cost between $1,800 and $2,400 plus installation, and a high-end unit between $3,000 and $4,000.
  • You should be able to get energy savings of between 25% and 35%, not 80%.
  • A heat pump is less efficient with extreme outdoor temperatures. An entry-level unit will lose most of its effectiveness when the temperature dips below –10°C, –25°C for a high-end unit.
  • Note that the representative from a reputable company will conduct an in-depth analysis of your requirements. And they won’t panic when you ask them a question they haven’t rehearsed in advance.

How to avoid heat pump scams

If you want to purchase a heat pump, here are a few tips:

  • Shop around and compare offers from several suppliers. Only buy from a dealer with a solid reputation. Always be skeptical: if an offer seems too good to be true, it’s probably a scam!
  • Never sign a contract presented by a door-to-door salesman on the same day. Ask him to come back the next day. They’ll most likely respond it’s impossible or extremely complicated.
  • If you sign a contract, you should be aware that there are rules governing door-to-door sales. The law clearly states that you have 10 days to cancel such a contract either by phone or by registered mail. For more details, visit the Quebec Office de la protection du consommateur website.

Do you need information on heat pumps and what they can do for you? We’ll be happy to provide all the information you need.

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