Heed these words well, for you never know who may be knocking at your door — be very careful when you get strange visitors that claim to be there for your benefit but really have their own profit in mind. The following is something that happened to my family recently that woke us up to this reality.

My wife was at home taking care of our son Chaim Yosef, when there was a strong knocking at the door. The person knocking at the door persisted in knocking until Elizabeth opened the door and found herself face to face with a suited woman. The woman told Elizabeth that her Con Edison bill was overdue, and that she wanted to see a copy of her latest bill. Elizabeth told the woman that we had paid the bill online and that she was not going to show her a copy of the bill.

There were huge flags that waved right then. Why would the woman need to see a copy of the bill if she was saying that it was overdue — if she was a person representing Con Edison, she would be able to look at our billing history online. If she were not a representative of Con Edison, how could she have a copy of our bill? The answer is that she was not a Con Edison representative and she did not have a copy of the bill. I found the same woman in the building a little bit later, having a similar conversation with a different resident. As I passed behind her, I looked at her badge and saw that she was working for one of many competitive companies.

In New York State, the electrical industry is competitive and so numerous companies try to push lower prices into your face in an effort to get your business. As a result, I have been courted by no fewer than half a dozen sales representatives trying to show me how it would be a benefit to me to switch to their company for power supply.

If you ever find yourself in a similar situation, you should find the following to be somewhat useful. Firstly, if someone tells you that your electric bill is overdue, you should ask if they work for that electric company and if so, if you can see their work identification. If they then tell you that they do not work for the electric company, you can ask them why they chose to misrepresent themselves, and ask if they are making a sales visit on behalf of a competitive electric company. If they respond, as they most likely will, that they are a sales representative, you can tell them that you don’t buy anything from people who practice deceptive sales techniques, and ask them to kindly leave.

If you, like me, live in a building that is run by a co-op board, you should next contact said co-op board and tell them about the visit from the sales rep because most co-op boards forbid door to door solicitation of this nature. Most importantly, you know now to keep a careful eye out your peephole should someone suspicious come bearing lies.

14 Comments

    1. I don’t think I’ve yet seen an apartment building in Queens with a doorman. No, sadly we not only have no doorman but we have a basement door that is unlocked during the day.

  1. no problems with utility companies – there is only one national company that sells electricity – there is however huge competition for landline, mobile,satelitte tv packages and most of the weekend is spent avoiding them all ring the mobile trying to persuade us to change!

  2. There are some advantages to living on an unamed dirt track and having a PO Box – required by law in rural areas – in a place which can be reached by tarmac road. We like that distance very much.

  3. So many people fall for these tricks out of the goodness of their hearts. I actually hope that I have a cold and cynical mindset when it comes to my first house. Is this your first experience with something like this?