National Energy Corporation, has agreed to pay a total of $7 million in restitution, administrative monetary penalties, and costs to settle the Bureau’s concerns about its door-to-door selling tactics. The Bureau stated that it had become aware of thousands of complaints that National’s sales agents concealed their identity and the purpose of their visit in order to gain access into the customers’ homes, and made misleading representations to the customers about the need to replace or upgrade their existing water heaters.
The consent agreement between National and the Competition Bureau was signed on November 24, 2014. In addition to paying restitution and monetary penalties, National has agreed not tell consumers that their agents require access to consumers’ water heaters for safety reasons or to determine that their water heater is eligible for an upgrade, and not to tell consumers that their existing water heater is unsafe or that it is eligible for an upgrade. National is also required implement a Corporate Compliance Program.
National was recently acquired by Reliance Home Comfort. The merger was cleared by the Competition Bureau on November 17, 2014. Just a few weeks earlier, on November 5, Reliance agreed to pay $5 million in penalties to settle the Bureau’s allegations that it used anti-competitive tactics against competitors, including National.