Is your furnace running? It sounds like the start of a joke

Is your furnace running? It sounds like the start of a joke

FortisBC warns customers about fake salespeople

Representatives claiming to be from FortisBC are turning up unannounced asking to check your furnace; but they aren't from FortisBC.

FortisBC is warning people that door-to-door salespeople have been targeting FortisBC customers in recent weeks; although what they are after remains a mystery, according to Diana Sorace, corporate communications advisor for the company.

“We’ve had reports from all over B.C.: the Lower Mainland, the Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island, and the Interior,” she says. “They knock on the door, say they’re from FortisBC, and ask to come in and see your furnace or another appliance to do an inspection.

“It’s not clear what they’re trying to do, as they haven’t got in anywhere yet,” she adds. “It could be a sales pitch, but the customers who have called us about it haven’t let them in.” She notes that there has been a spike in calls complaining about the practice in recent weeks.

FortisBC does not perform unannounced inspections on home equipment, and representatives do not visit homeowners to sell or repair any products. Their visits are always by appointment, and employees always carry valid identification.

FortisBC advises customers to be cautious of anyone who shows up at their home unannounced, claiming to be offering any kind of appliance inspection. Always ask for photo identification, and get—and record—the name of the person and the business they are representing.

If the salesperson asks to see your gas or electricity bill, always say no. These bills contain personal information which should not be shared with anyone. If you are asked to sign an agreement, or any kind of paperwork, read the fine print very carefully and be sure you know what you are signing.

If you ask a salesperson to leave your property, they must do so right away. If you feel unsafe, call the police non-emergency line for your local detachment.

Any suspicious or unannounced visit from someone claiming to be a FortisBC representative should be reported to the company immediately. Customers can receive confirmation that they are speaking to a legitimate FortisBC customer service representative by calling 1-888-224-2710.

Anyone who believes they have been the victim of a fraud is encouraged to report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, either online (http://bit.ly/1PQLh6T) or by phone (1-888-495-8501). Instances of misleading or deceptive marketing practices can also be reported to the Competition Bureau (online at http://bit.ly/1fMzbId or by phone at 1-800-348-5358).

“Be wary if people arrive at your home unannounced,” says Sorace. “If you have someone come to the door, write their name down and contact FortisBC, especially if they arrive unannounced.”