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Richmond business owner warns of suspicious energy salespeople

FortisBC urges Richmond residents to contact them if they have any doubts about calls or door-to-door visits
A Richmond business person said he was approached by people who claimed to be FortisBC representatives.

A Richmond businessman warns others of suspicious door-to-door sales by people who claim to be FortisBC representatives.

Andre Parfeniuk, a business owner in Richmond, said two men claiming to be FortisBC representatives showed up at his storefront late last month and asked to see his furnace. 

"I'm suspicious because they asked to see my bill information, my personal information, and they just didn't sound right," said Parfeniuk, adding that they were wearing a badge around their neck.

He then called FortisBC and asked if they were sending people into his neighbourhood, and the answer was negative.

"I read up on it online and this is actually something that's happened before in [other cities], so now it seems like it's made its way into Richmond," he said.

Parfeniuk did not provide the information and asked the two men to come back the next day.

When they returned, they said they were actually salespeople from a local energy marketing company.

"They are going door to door asking to see gas bills in order to sell their gas [packages]," he recalled.

"I don’t really understand this method, but it is very suspicious considering all the other stories of FortisBC scams."

FortisBC said it does not perform unscheduled inspections on home or business equipment and residents should not give away their personal information or money to people who claim to represent FortisBC.

"The only time we would come to your door unannounced is to notify you of a natural gas disruption, emergency, access your meter or advise you of construction work in the area,' said Mark Falkenberg, a spokesperson at FortisBC.

Don't give away personal information: FortisBC

Falkenberg said FortisBC hears periodic reports of scammers who pretend to be their representatives while trying to get personal information or money from members of the public. 

"Our representatives will always carry FortisBC identification...We encourage people to call us if there is any doubt about the authenticity of a call, email or ad, to confirm its legitimacy."

However, there are licensed independent gas marketers who sell natural gas contracts door-to-door to homes and businesses, added Falkenberg.

Those gas marketers will sometimes ask to see a gas bill because they need an account number and point of delivery number to register someone in the program.

"However, if there's any doubt, we encourage people to not share their personal information and to not show the person calling their FortisBC bill as it contains personal and confidential information," said Falkenberg.

"If a gas marketer comes to your door, we encourage customers to be informed in making a choice that best meets their needs by reviewing information about the Customer Choice program."

Easy Energy, one of the licensed gas marketing companies, said their representatives will introduce themselves clearly as representatives of the company when they approach residents or business owners, and donning their identification badge is mandatory.

"[Our] salespeople do not market appliances or furnaces, will never ask to see a consumer's meter or equipment and will never request personal financial information from a consumer," said Kathryn Mamaid, a spokesperson for Easy Energy.

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