Orillia residents, many others burned by water heater scam


“They turned fast because they knew they had to do it to keep it going. By the time I found out what was going on, it was too late,” the Orillia said

Orillia resident Duncan McDonald, like many others in Ontario, recently fell victim to a scam that left him frustrated and fighting for justice.

The 61-year-old responded to a Facebook ad in September promoting a tankless water heater. After being connected online, representatives of the self-proclaimed Ontario Green Savings Corporation showed up at McDonald’s home with aggressive sales tactics and a rush.

“I’m intrigued by this product, and it’s about the same price you pay for a water heater,” he said. “What they didn’t tell me was that they made you sign a 12-year contract, but they didn’t give you a physical copy of the contract, which was a big mistake for me.”

MacDonald received the electronic contract, which he signed. The next day, the company came to his house and dismantled his old water heater.

“They turned around quickly because they knew they had to do it to stay that way,” he said. “By the time I knew what was going on, it was too late.”

The day Ontario Green Energy left McDonald’s, it placed a lien on his house so he couldn’t sell his house without the company collecting all the money owed.

“They put it in the fine print, they don’t tell you,” he said. “They came back and pulled this brand new deal, and they said I needed to put in a water softener, and I went, ‘No. Get out.'”

To make matters worse, MacDonald says tankless water heaters don’t work well. On cold days, he said, it took three to four minutes for the hot water to come out of the heater, stressing it wasn’t worth the cost he agreed to pay.

“I advise people not to respond to Facebook ads of any kind,” he said, “unless they’re a local company and you know who they are.”

MacDonald said it could happen to anyone, explaining that he had a master’s degree and that he had studied tankless water heaters, but he still got scammed.

He hired attorney Dennis Crawford to investigate. Crawford assured MacDonald he was not alone, saying thousands of people had fallen prey to the same scam.

“We’ve all been influenced by high-pressure sales tactics and bought something that we later regretted,” Crawford said, “but the problem is, when they install this device in your home, they don’t tell you that they are The contract is then sold to a finance company who will file a lien on your home without telling you.”

The Consumer Protection Act provides for a one-year cooling-off period that McDonald’s can take advantage of. However, Crawford said scam companies like Ontario Green Savings are not adhering to the cooling-off period.

“I’ve written to these companies asking them to remove the lien, to get their equipment back and to observe a one-year cooling-off period,” he explained. “What they did in the Duncan case was the finance company removed their lien, but the door-to-door company that originally sold the water heater registered its own lien the next day.”

Homeowners have paid $10,000 to $20,000 to get rid of such liens because they don’t have time to fight them in court, Crawford said. Sadly, unless people can afford to pay a lien or hire a lawyer, they’re stuck with sub-par equipment, he said.

Since McDonnell signed the Ontario Green Savings Contract without his registered homeowner wife realizing it, McDonnell will make the case that the lien is illegal, which he hopes will result in the lien being lifted and the equipment was removed from his house.

Ontario Green Savings No Response Orillia Matters‘Request a timely comment.

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