The Peterborough Examiner
February 22, 2013
By: Sarah Deeth

Aggressive sales tactics by door-to-door salespeople have caught the attention of Peterborough Utilities, and the company is warning residents to use a little caution before signing a contract.

Sales people, hawking water filtration systems, have shown up on the doorsteps of city homes and have told residents that the installation of a new water filtration system is mandated by the government, or part Peterborough Utilities water meter project.

Neither is true, said David Whitehouse, director of customer and corporate services with the Peterborough Utilities Group.

The company sent out a press release and took to social media sites like Twitter and Facebook to spread the word.

Whitehouse said the move was met with good response, with several people re-tweeting and even making their own posts about door-to-door salespeople.

Meanwhile, GreenUP added its own voice to the mix, stating via social media that some of these sellers may be attempting to represent themselves as affiliated with the non-profit agency.

Some use ID that resembles GreenUP’s branding, the agency reported.

There is nothing to prohibit someone from selling anything door-to-door, Whitehouse said.

But when customers are told that something’s mandated, or part of a company program, there’s cause for concern, he said, and customers need to know what is correct.

There are vulnerable residents who may believe that they’re required to install a new filtration system, Whitehouse said.

If a salesperson comes by during business hours residents can call Peterborough Utilities to verify his or her identity if he or she claims that the filtration system is part of a PUC program. PUC can be reached at 705-748-9300.

But salespeople often visit homes after hours, and Whitehouse acknowledged that there’s no way to verify their identity until the next business day.

The best thing you can do, he said, is ask them to move along or come back during the day if you’re interested in their product.

PUC employees all have picture identification that can be produced on request. They also drive vehicles bearing the PUC logo.

Whitehouse also pointed out that there’s a 10-day cooling off period which allows consumers to cancel contracts without inquiring a penalty.

Peterborough’s water is filtered, tested and meets requirements, he said.

“Our water is treated and more than fine to drink straight from the tap,” he said, adding that the choice to purchase an additional filtration system is up to the consumer.

sarah.deeth@sunmedia.ca