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Service Alberta acts to protect consumers in energy contract disputes

Direct Energy Marketing Ltd. faces four counts under consumer protection legislation. 

By launching an investigation following two separate complaints, Service Alberta is committed to taking every measure to ensure consumers are protected from unfair business practices.

The charges stem from two separate incidents: failure to cancel a contract, and failure to provide a refund on time.

In February 2015, Direct Energy Marketing Ltd. allegedly enrolled a consumer with an energy contract, even after the consumer complains a request was made to cancel the contract within the legislated 10-day “cooling-off” period.

Direct Energy Marketing Ltd. has been charged with two counts under Section 19 of the Energy Marketing and Residential Heat Sub-Metering Regulation for enrolling a customer in an energy contract after the consumer asked to cancel it within the cooling-off period.

In October 2014, Direct Energy Marketing Ltd. allegedly failed to provide a refund within the legislated period of time after a contract to supply a furnace to a home was cancelled at the request of the homeowner.

Direct Energy Marketing Ltd. has been charged with one count under section 31 of the Fair Trading Act for failing to refund a deposit within 15 days after cancellation, and one count under section 10 of the Energy Marketing and Residential Heat Sub-Metering Regulation for using a contract that does not contain all the prescribed clauses required within the contract.

Penalties under the Fair Trading Act include a maximum fine of $300,000 or three times the amount obtained in the offence – whichever is greater – and up to two years in jail.

The cases were first heard in Edmonton Provincial Court on October 30.

More about Direct Energy Marketing Ltd.:

  • Licensed as an energy marketer in Alberta since 2003.
  • Licensed as a Pre-Paid Contracting Business in Alberta since 2010.
  • In 2009, entered into an undertaking with Service Alberta requiring its sales agents to ensure that customers knew that they represented the competitive retail side of Direct Energy and not its regulated (or default) side.

Consumers who have questions or concerns with Direct Energy Marketing Ltd. can contact the Service Alberta Consumer Contact Centre at 1-877-427-4088.

Consumers with questions about their utility bill or contract can contact the Utilities Consumer Advocate at 310-4UCA (4822). 

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