KETTERING, Ohio (WDTN) - A Kettering woman raised a red flag when a door to door pitch didn't sound quite right. The wife and mother said a salesman promised cheaper energy bills, but his approach had her worried so she contacted 2 News Investigates.
"I turned around and there was a gentleman stopped at my window waving at me," explained Shellie Marksberry.
Shellie said she was in the kitchen of her Kettering home when a man knocked on the door and offered her better rates on her energy bills.
"He said he was representing Vectren and Dayton Power and Light and he asked to see my electric and gas bills," said Shellie. "I thought he got a little too pushy when he said that I look like a woman who is in control, can take care of my household and make all of the decisions."
Wary of the situation, Shellie said she asked to see some identification.
"He said he didn't have any business cards but handed me a brochure," said Shellie.
The brochure was advertising Just Energy, a current, approved supplier under DP&L and Vectren. Customers are allowed to choose their supplier since electric and natural gas are not regulated.
"We are the shaker, not the salt. The ship, not the cargo," explained Colleen Ryan, who is the president of Vectren Energy Delivery, Ohio.
Ryan confirmed Just Energy is a legitimate supplier, but believes Shellie did the right thing in not sharing her information.
"I would encourage folks to not share their bill with a marketer because you can actually go online to register," said Ryan.
VectrenChoice.com lists suppliers customers are able to choose from and how to switch, if desired.
Ryan said you don't need a salesperson to do this. 2 News Investigates reached out to Just Energy about the sales experience Shellie said she had.
A spokesperson e-mail the following statement:
"We can confirm that we conduct training and orientation sessions for every individual who markets on behalf of the company, and that includes clearly articulated expectations with regards to professional conduct and regulatory requirements. With close to two million customers across Canada, the U.S.. as well as the UK, our business is built on customer satisfaction. Essentially, as an independent energy retailer, we offer consumers added choice in their natural gas and electricity supply in markets where energy prices are deregulated. Independent representatives remain a significant part of our business model, and, as such, we have in place well-defined and communicated internal protocols designed to help all of our representatives abide by the highest standard in sales practices. In fact, it is clearly expressed in our training process that independent contractors are required at the door to identify themselves by name as a representative of Just Energy (or a JE company), ensure their badge is clearly displayed, disclose that the purpose of their visit is to sell natural gas or electricity supply, and that they are not affiliated with any local utility, the government or any consumer group. As well as wearing Just Energy-branded clothing, ICs are required to wear a “We’re not the Utility” button. Beyond this, we expect that they maintain courtesy and respect at all times. To confirm, we look to everyone – from our employees to our independent representatives to our business partners – to consistently represent our company with professionalism, integrity and honesty. These are principles that guide our behavior. In those instances where independent representatives do not live up to our marketing standards and compliance codes, we will follow through with comprehensive investigations and take any necessary corrective actions. As an added measure of customer protection, we conduct phone-verified (and recorded) calls through an independent third party for every enrollment. The call is to confirm directly with the customer if the IC clearly stated that they are a representative of Just Energy (or an affiliate company) and clearly stated that he/she is not associated with the local utility."
Just Energy currently has a D- rating with the Better Business Bureau. BBB files indicate that this business has a large volume and pattern of complaints concerning misleading sales practices. Consumer complaints allege that door to door sales persons are misleading consumers, providing false information and using high pressure sales tactics. It also states Just Energy has failed to correct the underlying reason for the complaints.
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