Consumer Awareness

Utilities Kingston reminds customers, be aware before you sign a contract with door-to-door sales people, understand your rights at the door, and know who you’re talking with over the phone.

Did you know?
Certain products and services may no longer be offered or sold at the door as of
March 1, 2018. Learn about new rules from Ontario.  
(Utilities Kingston does not  go door-to-door to sell products or services.)

On January 1, 2017, new rules came into effect regarding energy contracts and how energy retailers deal with residential and small business consumers. The rules include banning contracting with consumers at home. Read more about retail energy contracts from the B/Consumers/Energy+Contracts.

Door-to-door Sales

General reminders 

Little black book of scams

Get a guide to protection against fraud from Competition Bureau Canada

Get cyber safe

Stay safe online with information from
Public Safety Canada

We frequently receive calls from concerned customers who have been approached by door-to-door sales people.

These individuals may falsely represent themselves as being associated with Utilities Kingston or Kingston Hydro in an attempt to sell energy contracts, rent water heaters, replace furnaces, sell home water filtration systems, or provide in-home energy assessments.  It's important to know that, as of March 1, 2018, many of these products and services may no longer be offered or sold at the door.

Sales people may use scare tactics, such as suggesting that equipment does not meet safety regulations or that municipal treated water does not meet quality standards.

We’d like to reassure customers: Utilities Kingston follows all safety regulations and quality standards. It is still in the business of providing reliable and energy-efficient water heater rentals, but never sells them door-to-door. In addition, Kingston Hydro does conduct free in-home energy assessments, but only on an appointment basis. Our representatives and employees carry identification and customers are encouraged to ask to see it.

Customers are reminded:

  • Certain products and services may no longer be offered or sold at the door as of March 1, 2018. Learn about new rules from Ontario
  • Always make sure you get a business card and look at the salesperson’s ID badge first.

  • Ask to see their City-issued license to sell door-to-door in the City of Kingston.

  • Don’t share personal information (i.e., your gas or electricity bill) unless you are sure you want to sign a contract.

  • Carefully read the contract, disclosure statement and price comparison provided by the salesperson.

  • Remember, you have the right to ask sales people to leave your property. If they don’t, then contact police. 
  • Utilities Kingston and Kingston Hydro do not go door-to-door for sales purposes.

  • The Consumer Protection Act gives you special rights when you buy something in your home (e.g., at your door) that costs more than $50. For example, you have the right to cancel a contract for any reason within a 10 calendar-day cooling-off period; and a consumer contract has to include specific information about the goods or service and your rights as a consumer. If it doesn’t, you can cancel the contract within one year of entering into the agreement.

  • When in doubt, give us a shout! We’re always happy to answer your questions. Please contact customer service at 613-546-0000 during regular business hours, Monday-Friday 8 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Learn how to protect your rights at the door from Consumer Protection Ontario.

  • To get alerts on complaints against companies in your area, visit the Better Business Bureau.

New rules to protect consumers at the door

Products and services that can no longer be offered or sold at your home (unless you initiate the transaction) include furnaces, air conditioners, air cleaners, air purifiers, water heaters, water treatment devices, water  purifiers, water filters, water softeners, duct cleaning services, or any good or service that performs or combines one or more of the above functions.

Once you have a written copy of the contract, you still have a 10-day cooling-off period to cancel a contract, for the restricted products or services, for any reason. If you sign a contract, for a restricted product and service, as a result of door-to-door marketing or due to misleading marketing materials left at your home, the contract will be considered void and you can keep the goods or services without obligation.

If someone comes to your door to sell these products and services on or after March 1, don’t be afraid to shut the door and call Consumer Protection Ontario at 1-800-889-9768.

More information is available from Ontario.ca at
https://www.ontario.ca/page/door-door-sales-and-home-service-contracts#Rules 

Four things to remember if you are approached to sign an energy contract

  1. As of January 1, 2017, no one can sign you up for an energy contract while they are at your home. They can leave information, but are not allowed to leave a contract.

  2. Always make sure you get a business card and look at the salesperson’s ID badge first.

  3. Don’t share personal information (i.e. your gas or electricity bill). An energy retailer only needs this information if you decide to enter into a contract.

  4. Energy retailers are not your utility, the government or the OEB. The OEB and Utilities Kingston do not go door to door.

Learn more about the rules an energy retailer must follow, and how they are enforced by the Ontario Energy Board. If you'd like to make a complaint against a natural gas or electricity retailer, refer to steps to make a complaint from the regulator.

Telephone Calls

Beware of callers using a 1-800 phone number and demanding immediate payment for utilities. A telephone scam has been reported by several Utilities Kingston customers, and by other utilities across Ontario.

If you receive a suspicious call:

  • Do not provide any personal information including Utilities Kingston or credit card account numbers.

  • Collect any information possible about the caller.

  • Contact Utilities Kingston customer service at 613-546-0000 during regular business hours, Monday-Friday 8 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., to report the incident.

  • Learn more from the Electricity Distributors Association with their tips Don’t be a victim of phone fraud.  

Customers are reportedly receiving phone calls from scammers claiming to be from their “utility company”. Those contacted are being threatened with having their utility services disconnected if they do not immediately provide payment. The fraudulent caller may instruct the person to send a money order in the amount they claim is outstanding. In some cases, those contacted have been asked by the scammers to make a bank deposit, send a wire transfer or purchase a retailer gift card.

Utilities Kingston customer service does not place calls from an outbound 1-800 number. Our standard procedure for lengthy overdue accounts is to provide multiple notices prior to disconnection. Utilities Kingston always hand-delivers a Final Notice to the service address prior to any disconnection. For lengthy overdue accounts, we request payments be made at City Hall, or via Paymentus, a third-party credit card payment provider. Learn more about Payment Options.

Report Fraud

  • Report the incident to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501. This agency collects information on fraud and works closely with police to solve these crimes.
  • If someone comes to your door to sell restricted products and services on or after March 1, 2018. don’t be afraid to shut the door and call Consumer Protection Ontario at 1-800-889-9768.
  • If you receive a suspicious phone call or visit at your door from someone claiming to represent Utilities Kingston, hang up and call to let us know. A customer service representative is available Monday to Friday from 8 AM to 5 PM by calling 613-546-0000.
  • If people refuse to leave your property or you become a victim of fraud through monetary loss, call Kingston Police at 613-549-4660.