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Local Directory for Ottawa, ON


Outlaw door to door sales

So this guy comes to the door a couple of nights ago. Bang bang bang. I was making dinner. The birds were flying free, so we didn’t want to open the door. Besides, birds or no birds, I don’t like opening the door to strangers. They’re almost always selling something, and I’m almost never buying.

GC talked to him through the door.

“Hello? Who’s there?”

“John,” he said.

“John? John who?”

“No, it’s Mike,” he said.

“Mike who?”

The guy said something about the hot water heater. GC and I rolled our eyes at each other.

“We’re not interested,” said GC.

The guy was persistent. He kept saying stuff about an energy efficient water heater, but only if we rented. Did we rent? GC kept repeating that we weren’t interested. The guy insisted he wasn’t selling anything. He wouldn’t take no for an answer. When pressed, he was evasive about which company he worked for. He mentioned Enbridge a few times, but stopped short of saying he worked for Enbridge. GC finally told him flat out we would not be opening the door, and eventually the guy left, saying he’d just have to come back later.

About an hour later he showed up at the BACK door. The back door! How creepy is that? The front door is relatively public, but the back door is for me and my friends and my cat, nobody else.

He started again about the water heater and was it a rental, because if it was, we needed to upgrade it. I don’t want to quote the guy, because I don’t really remember much of what he said, but he made it sound like we had to do it. GC told him to send a letter. He said they’d been coming to the door every day all week, and sending letters since 2009, and we’d been ignoring them.

The more we didn’t want to open the door to him, the pushier he got. I was feeling kind of alarmed by this aggressive stranger at my back door, at night, refusing to leave.

GC doesn’t do rude; he doesn’t know how. But eventually he started getting rude through the door. Not rude enough to make the guy leave, though.

Finally I announced, “I’ve called 911.”

The guy said “That’s fine, the police know who I am.”

But he left shortly after that.

What’s up with these door-to-door energy guys anyway? This isn’t the first time I’ve had them at my door. I’ve also had them while renting. They’ve demanded to see my gas bill, asked what hours I’m usually home, and just generally acted suspiciously and set off all kinds of red flags. It’s alarming to have someone at your door, refusing to leave, and I would never want to do business with any company that would employ either those kind of tactics or those kind of people.

Couple these intimidation tactics with the deceptive practices they use to dupe you once they’re through the door, and you’ve got something very close to door-to-door predatory fraud.

I think door-to-door sales should be outlawed. I don’t care if they’re selling water heaters, chocolate bars or religion, they shouldn’t be allowed to come to people’s homes uninvited. Especially back doors!

12 comments to Outlaw door to door sales

  • i DID call the police on a `door to door salesman`before! A neighbour died and his widow was very frail and elderly too and went to stay with her children, but her car was still in the driveway. I saw two guys come by, they went to the front door and banged really loud. Then one guy stood on the driveway while the other went to the back door. On the way back from the back door he looked in all the windows including the basement window! They left a business card in her front screen door, then they didn`t come by my house, kids were in the yard playing and I was right at the door. Then they skipped the next house (dog tied out) and went to the next house – no car in the driveway. I went next door and checked the grubby business card they left, called the company (cellphone no answer) and then I called the police because it really looked like they were casing houses to rob. Apparently they checked out as a roofing company from Halifax but why were they looking in windows!

  • I’ve had these guys come to my place too. Apparently, they do actually sell water heaters. But, you get locked into really high prices for extended periods of time (~5 years), so I think it basically amounts to a scam. They’re very aggressive. We told them that we weren’t interested and another guy returned to our door an hour later (while the original salesperson stood at the end of our driveway).

  • We had a visit from these sorts to. Usually they are selling pre priced gas service. Ours disappeared when we told him the water and furnace ran on oil instead of gas. They can be quite aggressive though and that is because they are usually totally paid by commission. No sale means no pay as they trudge around the city trying to find the sucker to make their day worthwhile.

  • chuck

    I agree door-to-door salespeople should be outlawed! They’ve been to our door several times despite our ‘no soliciting’ sign. My gf let them in once when she was home alone and I got nauseous she as described taking them into the basement to show them our water heater. They are an incredibly aggressive bunch who have also used the side-door-an-hour-later tactic on us.

    So what can we do?

  • I just don’t answer the door at all anymore. If you haven’t arranged to visit prior to showing up on my doorstep? You’re out of luck. We’ve had these guys too, and my boyfriend has crazy-yelled them off our property.

  • I’ve had the kids selling candy bars to stay off drugs (they stole my neighbor’s cell phone out of his car) and young adults selling magazine subscriptions to work their way through college (I fell for that one – once! – never received a single issue) plus a few tradesmen who were in the neighborhood doing work on other houses and soliciting more work. I’ve never had any be so agressive as your hot water heater salesman. That is scary! I would have called the police after about 2 minutes. Do you have a Better Business Bureau? Complaints to them sometimes help, even if the company is not a member.

  • BBB is not a consumer protection agency of any kind. Its self regulated by paying members thats all.` I would take the harrassment route and talk with the police about how to deal witrh them if they continue to bother you.

  • I hate these guys. I usually just say I’m not interested, shut the door and ignore them until they go away. The back door thing is definitely creepy!

    When we were kids, we had a dog who did not like strangers at all. When he was outside, he was always chained up (and he broke several chains). One day, my dad was under a truck working on the exhaust and a salesman pulled in the driveway (we lived in the country). he started to walk over to my Dad to give his pitch – my dad rolled out from under the truck and politely said, this isn’t a good time, I’m really busy right now. But the guy was persistent (meanwhile the dog is freaking out at the end of his chain). My dad got a little ruder – and the guy still kept going on. finally my dad walked over to the dog, and said to the guy “if you don’t leave, I let the dog off”.

    The guy laughs and says “I’ll go talk to your wife instead” (who was sitting on the front porch with me) and he starts to walk up to the house.

    Without another word, my Dad unclipped the dog’s chain.

    I have never seen a grown man run so fast in my life!

  • Jenny

    EWW! Reminds me of the Filter Queen people – they tell you they are doing an indoor air quality survey, and eventually recommend an “air filtration system” which is actually just a vacuum cleaner. They are very aggressive and misleading. I even know someone who got a job with them – she was mislead herself about what it was she was selling! As soon as she realized what the company was up to she quit. Fortunately most of the interaction I’ve had with them has been over the phone – lot less scary than having some creep at my door.

  • Kathleen

    What an awful person. Thank god GC was there with you. I have had this happen also and it is very scary. I would of called 911 also. Such a creep!!!! The nerve of him to go to your backyard door.

  • deb

    I find it amazing that the Privacy Act has such teeth when it comes to the DNC list but does nothing about these people.

  • I know! The Do Not Call list protects you from the nuisance of telemarketers, but the door-to-door guys go way beyond being a nuisance…they’re right there, in person, in your face, at your house, using sleazy tactics to get in, and refusing to leave!