Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Beware of National Home Services

This past Saturday a representative from National Home Services rang our door bell. I don’t normally let anyone get much of a word in when they ring our door bell and try to sell us some kind of service. In fact, I have a small sign on our door to ward off Direct Energy and Rogers reps. I usually interrupt them to say “No thanks” and close the door on them.

He identified himself and asked to speak with the owner of the house. I told him that was me. He said National Home Services was taking over for Direct Energy and that he was booking appointments to have our hot water heater rental checked to see if it needed replaced, free of charge. If it was replaced in the last year or two, it probably wouldn’t need to be replaced.

Perhaps that was the hook that kept my attention.

I told him that I wanted to check with Direct Energy before making any commitments. He said that they had nothing to do with it.  I told him that I’d still like to verify with Enbridge or Direct Energy. He actually said he would wait if I wanted to confirm with them over the phone. He even added that if I checked my gas bill, I would see that National Home Services was listed as a partner. I went paperless a while ago, so I couldn't verify at the time.

I asked him if he had any information he could leave with me. He said he didn’t because he wasn’t the sales guy, he was just booking the appointments and head office would follow up.  I asked him if he had a business card. He said he didn’t, but he did offer to write down his name and phone number so I could call him once I had contacted Enbridge.

I got a piece of paper and he wrote it down. He also explained that it was his cell number and he was heading back to Toronto.

It all seemed pretty ballsy if it was some kind of a scam.

We thanked each other, shook hands, and off he went to the next house.

I went to Enbridge’s web site and pull up my recent bill. There was no mention of them. However, they are in fact listed on the Enbridge web site as a "participating company”.

From a customer point of view, that adds a little legitimacy to the situation.

I next visited Direct Energy’s web site. I couldn’t find any warnings. I have heard their radio spots in the past warning people that they do not solicit door-to-door, but this guy never claimed to be from Direct Energy.

My next stop was Google. I searched for “national home services” and “water heater”.

Bingo.

I found old forum posts from people warning about National Home Services. I also found and old Toronto Star article online with the same warnings to consumers. These are warnings from 2007, 2008, and 2009.

I’m still puzzled why there’s nothing more prominent on Enbridge’s web site, or Direct Energy’s web site for that matter. My brother in-law sent me a link to something he found on Direct Energy’s web site. Even in that article, they quote an old Toronto Star article.

I can’t, for the life of me, find that article by going to the main page and digging for it myself. Seriously. They’re running the risk of losing customers to a competitor — you would think they’d be a little more concerned about it.

After some more digging I did eventually find someone else’s blog post from March 2011. That’s part of the reason I decided to make my own post. The more warnings out on the web, the better off we all are.

In retrospect, I should have asked him if he knew my name. If he was in fact “taking over” for Direct Energy, I would think that Enbridge would have supplied him with more contact information. I found out from a neighbour later that he had visited their home as well, with the same story. They own their water heater, they don’t rent it from Direct Energy. The guy even questioned whether they were sure they owned it.

I never did call the rep’s phone number to see if it’s even a legit number. If I can find the paper, maybe I will. Or maybe I’ll post it here. :)

I'd like to add that they are a legitimate company; it's their sales tactics that are sleezy and scammy.

7 comments:

  1. Last June I applied to an opening in this company (sales rep) without doing any research and was "invited" to their open house. Basically, it was like diving into a nest of scammers voluntarily so I could listen to their bullshit. Still can't believe how stupid I was.

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  2. National Home Services is a legit company and if you look at the pro's to what the company "The only Canadian Company" in the space is doing. It's actually bennifiting every Canadian. This is how; 1. Free Energy Star Tank
    2. Free Installation
    3. Free Maintainance
    4. Free Piping Upgrade

    No other compeditor can do this for you, and no other compeditor is 100% Canadian. Every Tank replaced saves the homeowner on gas consumption and takes 1 1/2 cars off the road over a 10 year period. There is lots of merit to this company if people would get over the fact that somneone showed up at thier door. Salesmen often come off sleezy because homeowners simply do not give them enough time at the door, in turn they cram all the good stuff upfront and it's starts to break apart the faith you have in whatever this guy is trying to tell you. Confront them at the door before you go any furthur and make sure you understand what and why this guy is here. Give yourself a chance to understand because there not all scams.

    That guy should not have told you he was taking over the tanks for Direct Energy since there is no affiliation between the two companies. If you were to call Direct they would have told you to ask him to leave. However if you were to ask them if they could do what National has offered to do then they would have nothing to say. It's to bad this gentleman did not leave you with a brochure but salemen are only givin a 1 to 1 ratio brochureto application, so he might have had 3 more hours to work with a couple more applications why give one to you if you have already made a decision. (exceptions some carry more for this reason) Also, the salesmen coming door to door arn't looking to come back and hassle you for a week to sign-up, they come to the door, they give there pitch, and they look for interest. They don't need to leave you with anything because you are no longer thier customer. You are not goin to call them, you will call the company so all salary is lost to them.


    If you can't see the bennefit in the company call and get all the information for yourself straight from the source, Not from a biased, uncredible blog.

    P.S. This blog has no true content other than door to door salesmen are bad, and the most recent one to knock on my door was National. Grow up and stop wasting your time.( btw they'll be back in the nieghboorhood before you know it. Be patient. )

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  3. The information that I have posted here is true in the sense that it is actually what I experienced, and have since experienced at least two more times (each one claiming to be from National Home Services) since this blog posting.

    Their "stories" are exactly the same every time.

    - they claim to be taking over for Direct Energy
    - they have National Home Services IDs
    - they want to see our hot water heater
    - they are replacing all the hot water heaters in our neighbourhood (our's was checked and serviced last year by Direct Energy -- for free -- and given at least 3 more years of use)
    - they don't have brochures
    - they don't have business cards (Who DOESN'T have a business card when they are doing business? Can't tell me they used them all up every time just before getting to our door)

    If these people aren't representing National Home Services, that's not my problem and National Home Services should be concerned that their reputation is being tarnished by these people.

    Google the story. The same thing can be read everywhere, and yet I don't see any stories about NHS looking into this "misrepresentation". There's nothing on their web site the last time I checked, advising people that these door-to-door guys don't work for them.

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  4. If the homeowners took the time to listen to what some of these guys have to say instead of just slamming the door in there face before they have a chance to say anything,you would find out that what national home services offers allot of these other ones don't, such as reliance and Direct.For example National offers free maintenance package on all parts on the tanks and if the tank breaks National offers to replace the old tank with a new model not a newly refurbished model like direct and reliance.

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    Replies
    1. If the reps didn't start the conversations with lies, perhaps more people would listen to what they have to say.

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    2. FYI.....david m ,I think you are mis-informed.All DE&Reliance rental tanks have maintenance included !!!
      I know for a fact that DE doesn't use re-furb tanks

      just my two-cents

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  5. I applied for a job with National Home Services after I just graduated from Graduate School. The ad for the job seemed to good to be true: "$17.00 an hour to measure and prepare hot water installations. No experience needed." As you could imagine I just finished school with a lot of debt and just needed some money to help out. Well once I arrived for the job training I realized that not only did they lie about the job description the "bosses" went on to pressure the trainees into coming back for the training promising BIG money and that all you had to do was go door-to-door and the customers would basically do all the work. You would make a commision of $135 per water tank/HVAC systems plus $25 for every contract that you get signed. I remember feeling a little uneasy about the prospect of going door-to-door, however, I decided to at least give it a shot. I knew that they had misrepresentated their business model and ideals to us trainees, trying to explain to us that it was for the good of the customer. It was one of the worst experiances of my young life. As a trainee you follow a "experianced" salesman, or as I would call them a scam artist, from door-to-door as they use lies, pressure and misrepresentation to sell their contracts. Not only did I see people trying to swindle mostly senior citizens, new immigrant families but the work enviroment for National Home Services is toxic. They promote the money and the partying that comes from the deals that you make. Their employees display total disregard for the rights of the customers and for the rights of fellow employees. In that one day of training I received nothing from NHS except an uneasy stomach and a daily dose of racial, homophobic, sexist comments that directed not only to customers as they closed the doors but to other trainees and employees. Everything about NHS is shady and they DO misrepresent themselves and the services they offer. Do not sign any contract from them.

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