Knock Knock, I’m Slim Shady, The Real Slim Shady – Consumer Alert

Freeport, Illinois – Heads up everyone. The door to door “electric and gas energy” salespeople are out going door to door again in Freeport.  It seems about every 30 days some company representing an electric or gas supplier is knocking on our doors. Their tactics are often manipulative and very persuasive.  Here’s the pitch;

Hi Mam, I’m Anthony and I represent the State of Illinois Electric and Gas supplier and my job today is to check your bill to make sure you’re receiving the latest discounts on your energy services“.

The customer may say, “well I only have electric” or “my electric bill is high“, to which the salesman may say, “well, that’s probably why we were sent here“. Then they’ll ask to see a copy of your bill.

If you say you don’t have a copy of the bill, they say, “that’s okay, you don’t have to have the bill, we can just call ComEd and get your account number”. They add, “once we have your account number we can verify if you are registered for the discounted rate“.  They go on to say, “we can’t call them from our phone, so we’ll have to call them from your phone“.

While there are a few 3rd party energy companies that do offer reduced rates on your electric or gas service, our advice; Never give someone who comes knocking on your door any bill of yours, especially someone who comes specifically asking to see one.

If they had a living room sales pitch would you let them sit on the Lazy Boy?

The methods many of these companies use are very deceptive. They lead people to believe they are associated with some authority such as, the State of Illinois or some Government organization and they are doing a simple “routine check” of people’s utility bills to see if you’re “saving money” or “on the plan“.

Once they have your bill in their hand, they now have your account number. Once the have your account number, all they have to do is fill out a piece of paper that they get you to sign, authorizing that they looked at your utility bill, and you are in fact getting the discounted rate. During that entire process, you may have been just signed up. The salesman may have made a commission and you might be locked into some 3rd party utility supplier or vendor. Oh, and for one or more years perhaps too. You might be signed up and locked into something you had no idea about.

While there is a possibility to save money with alternative energy suppliers, do your homework. Get the person’s name, company they work for, phone number, ask them if they have information they can leave you, and DO NOT GIVE THEM YOUR BILLS.

Ask them questions too.

Questions like where are they from, or where are their offices. You may be surprised to find the answer is Rockford, Chicago and usually, they are completely out of State.  Tell them you’ll call them back after you check it out first.

The door to door energy sales people are quick. They have a 30 second sales pitch that makes them appear to be an authority regarding your bill. They also attempt to legitimize their reason to be at your door with making sure your bill shows the energy discounts, that you’re on the plan“.

What may seem like common sense to some, to  elderly people, even teens who live on their own don’t be susceptible to these tactics. People can really get taken advantage of by a line of bologna.  If it’s a good thing, he or she will leave you with enough information (and places to find more) with a way to contact them again.

The rule of thumb here; Don’t get intimate with a door to door sales person on the first date. When the pitch requires you to give them something within the first 30 seconds of being at your door, and it just so happens to be something personal, like a BILL, red flag.

P.S. Never sign on the first date either.

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