We may have an answer to what the strange man was doing in Philip’s wife’s office trying to pressure her into signing up for natural gas.
He’s probably not a conman, just one your garden variety, wears a size D so his shoe can stuff more in the door, sleazy salesman.
Even still, you should throw him off your porch, after the jump…
- “Hi there,
The gas salesman wasn’t running a scam, per se, and what he’s doing is perfectly legal – evil and manipulative, yes, but illegal, no.
A lot of areas allow competition in the natural gas market, and small companies like this go door to door, trying to get people to sign long term contracts for gas delivery. They often misrepresent themselves as city officials, or as being from the utility that actually sells the gas, when in fact they are a middle man – or a potential middle man. If you sign with them, they will buy the gas from the utility and sell it to you.
I learned all this when 2 days after buying my first home a similar schmuck showed up on my doorstep and told me my gas would be turned off if I didn’t sign right away, etc etc, and like Phillip’s wife, I was ready to just do it until he asked to use the phone. For some reason they need to have you agree to the contract over the phone to finalize it. I have no idea why. That’s when I freaked and threw the guy out of my house (additionally upset that I’d been so foolish as to let a stranger inside my home – what was I thinking?) I’ve had a few friends report similar experiences in the first few weeks in a new home – it’s an easy time to prey on people because they’re stressed and constantly being asked to sign stupid things. I called the gas utility and reported the incident, since he claimed to be working for them. I never heard a thing about it after that – but I pretty much chase people off my porch with a broom if they mention natural gas.
Oooh, Google yielded an article about it here:
Previously: A Long Con Doesn’t Go Very Far