Right now there are multiple companies going door to door misrepresenting themselves as affiliates of Fortis BC or the B.C Environment Agency and using high-pressure sales techniques to sign customers up for monthly rental rates that mean they will pay double or triple the cost they should be paying for a furnace. Their business plan is to prey on unwitting homeowners, they knock on the door dressed in a smart suit or wearing a smart uniform with a name badge that includes the logos of Fortis and the BC government.
They say that they are in the neighbourhood doing “Free” furnace inspections, once inside your home they will normally say that the furnace is “ not to code”, “unsafe” or a “fire risk” and they need to replace it. They then use these fear tactic’s to sell them a new one at an inflated rate using high-pressure sales techniques. They say that they are waiving the upfront installation fee’s and they just need to “rent” the furnace for a short period at a low monthly cost. When you read the fine print of the contract you will see quickly that they don’t define the term of the contract although the salesperson will tell you its around 5 years. The contract in very fine print will tell you that your total cost of renting is triple what it would cost you to just buy it conventionally. They will also file a lien on your property which may affect your mortgage renewal or sale of your home, worst case it will hold up the sale as this needs to be removed in order to complete on a sale or purchase. They will not warn you of this beforehand and finding out last minute is not a good circumstance to be in. Not to mention that the value of the lien is often $15,000-$20,000.
Once they have the contract signed they want to get the furnace in as quickly as possible so that you have no time to read the contract and change your mind so they typically show up at 9 am the next morning and get the installation done as quickly as possible. These companies do not have your best interest at heart, their goal is to get you stuck in a long contract where you pay way more than you need to. They don’t explain the rental program fully and definitely don’t draw your attention to the hugely inflated cost to rent. Luckily, legally you have a 10 day cooling off period so if you are lucky enough to realize within the 10 days you can fight them to get out of the contract but by that time they have scraped your old furnace and will try and get you to buy the furnace they installed, again this price is hugely inflated and not what it would have cost you through a respectable furnace company. Our advise if you are lucky enough to have them remove the furnace is then to do research on local furnace companies and have one of them put a new furnace in for you on a conventional purchase or finance option. Get multiple quotes and make informed decisions.
Read our story in the Maple Ridge News
Couple signs up, but Maple Ridge company comes to rescue
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We have been working with an amazing local couple in Maple Ridge who was recently pressured into changing their furnace by one of these companies, luckily we have been able to help them get out of their contract and the company is coming to remove the new furnace and cancel their contract. We like to help at least 1 family at Christmas and we have chosen this family this year, we will be installing a brand new furnace and thermostat free of charge for them to keep them warm this winter. We would like to thank The City of Maple Ridge for their excellent service in promptly issuing the gas permit. We would like to also thank Emco Poco HVAC for their incredibly kind donation of a new thermostat.
Bottom line and the message here is to never allow door to door salespeople into your home no matter who they say they are affiliated with, if you are looking for a furnace do your research and only invite local, honest and respectable companies into your home that you have pre-arranged appointments with. Never “Rent” your furnace no matter how many times they tell you its the best option, you will pay triple the cost of that furnace and there will be a large buy out at the end of the contract if there even is an end to the contract.
Please stay safe out there and make informed decisions.