Taken from the Queens Chronicle, Published 9/24/2015
If you own a restaurant, hardware store, laundromat, or other small business in Queens, you’ve probably been approached multiple times by cold calls and door-to-door salespeople asking you to switch your energy provider.
They can be aggressive and, unfortunately, they frequently prey on business people who speak English as their second language. Key pitfalls to watch out for include:
1. Salespeople who don’t clearly identify themselves. If someone is representing an energy supply company, they are required to identify the energy supplier they’re representing early in the sales process.
2. Salespeople who claim they’re representing Con Edison. This is a major red flag. Con Edison doesn’t make door-to-door sales calls or cold calls.
3. Short-term contracts. We strongly advise against signing an energy contract for less than 12 months because the majority of people offering contracts for less than a year are interested in what happens after the contract expires, which usually means substantially higher rates.
4. Below-market rates. If a supplier’s rate offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. If a sales person is offering a low rate for six months, the rate will almost definitely be transferred to high variable rate after the initial contract expires.
5. Cancellation Fees/Service Fees. If you’re already with a third-party supplier, realize that if you switch your suppliers you’re probably going to face a cancellation fee. You should also ask about any service or other fees associated with the contract (there shouldn’t be any).
Over 100 languages are spoken in Queens and aggressive sales people are more likely to target immigrant communities because of the language barrier. If English is your second language and you’re being presented with a new energy contract, ask to speak with someone who speaks your first language to explain it to you.
Global Energy’s customer representatives speak more than a dozen languages, from Spanish and Portuguese to Korean, Farsi and multiple Chinese dialects, and we frequently work with community members to help them better understand their contracts and monthly energy bills.
If you believe you’re being overcharged, need help understanding your bill, or have any questions we’d be happy to help you. Just call us at (718) 303-9617, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit us at www.globalenergy.wpengine.com.