The Consumerist Goes Undercover At IDT Energy

We decided to go undercover and try to find out what was really going with IDT Energy.
For nearly a year, we’ve told you about door-to-door salesmen trying to get New Yorkers to switch to IDT Energy, pretending to work for ConEd.

August 1, 2006: “the IDT sales rep. told him to sign up or else he will be fined”
October 09, 2006: “Look out for a man and an African-American woman sporting a ConEd binder…”
November 27, 2006 : “On my block they were buzzing people and saying “We are from the electric company there is a problem with your bill.”
December 04, 2006: “A couple of months ago my 15 year old son opened the door to a man claiming to be a conEd representative. The man convinced him that we could get a much better deal if he signs some papers, never mentioning anything about switching to another power supplier. I now got my bill with $100 in service fees.”
December 21, 2006: “Yesterday, a salesman from IDTenergy knocked on our door. He lied and said he was from ConEdison and he said there was a problem with our electric bill.”
February 08, 2007: “Today a representative of IDT Energy came to my door (we do not allow canvassing in the building), presented herself as a Con Edison employee, (her EXACT words were “I’m with Con Ed”)…”

So, we sent a writer to work for Midtown Promotions, one of the door-to-door companies that gets subscribers for IDT Energy. Unlike last time, this one got successfully hired. Now that he’s done working for them, we’ll unveil his diary entries and the results of his first-person investigation.

Fire up the popcorn and subscribe to the investigations tag. — BEN POPKEN


Edit Your Comment

  1. gwong says:

    Huzzah for Consumerist and their hard-hitting investigations!

  2. CapnMarrrrk says:

    Shouldn’t you guys have waited until he/she was filing stories before you announced you had a guy on the inside?

  3. Charles Duffy says:

    @CapnMarrrrk: If (per the article) “he’s done working for them”, I presume that the information necessary for the stories has already been collected.

  4. TPIRman says:

    Drool. I can’t wait.

  5. Kifune says:

    ohhhh…definitely looking forward to this.

  6. hallik says:

    I was in the same situation. They lied and told me they would refund me 5% on all my electric bills. I brought out 3 and they told me they’d do it, and asked for more. Suspicious if they really were from ConEd, because of what I’ve heard on Consumerist, I brought out 3 years worth and caught them in their lie. The man said he couldn’t do it and I told him to GTFO.

  7. Seth_Went_to_the_Bank says:

    These people came to my building also. They also lied to my face about being from ConEd.

    Consumerist should really get in touch with the New York Attorney General’s office, as the AG is not omniscient and really does like to here about big issues they may not be aware of.

    A good way to contact them is to call them and ask for comment, as this suggests to them that they should become aware of the issue.

  8. strathmeyer says:

    1) Allow them into your appartment.
    2) Call ConEd and ask them why they have employees in your house. Receive reply.
    3) Call police. Hope they come.

    I’d probably be able to start a fist fight in the mean time, but wouldn’t recommend it for others.

  9. zingbot says:

    They actually managed to get 4 guys inside our building without permission, then went to every apartment and tried to work their magic. When I protested about their unauthorized presence and asked for ConEd ID (since they said they were from ConEd), they loudly mocked me and spoke to several other tenants in the building about it. It was creepy and bullying.

    I called ConEd and they wanted nothing to do with me. The representative basically tried to disconnect me quickly.

  10. mantari says:

    YES! PS: Please include some lolz.

  11. jcj7161 says:

    crikey why do we have to subscribe to read an article.
    It’s as sleazy as IDT trying to get you to sign up.

  12. HavocHQ says:

    What boggles me is if this company is constantly lying to customers to trap them into costly contracts, why hasn’t anyone been sued or arrested yet? Can companies really get away with this that easily?

  13. Elvisisdead says:


  14. Namrepus says:

    You know… I’ve subscribed to this to read it…and there is nothing there.

  15. Ben Popken says:

    @jcj7161: @Namrepus: You don’t have to subscribe, the stories will post to the main page, I was just suggesting it as way to keep track of the story.

  16. Deusfaux says:

    I’ve done door to door sales and each time we were given a very professional ID with photo and name and # to show residents. I would be surprised if anyone would let the guys talk to them without one.

  17. upokyin says:

    An IDT guy came to my apartment in Queens last month. I wasn’t sure what to make of his spiel at first, but when he told me I couldn’t sign up for his deal by mail or phone, I realized it was a scam and told him to get lost. After reading all these other stories, I wish I had called the cops.