Sign here, and here, and here in blood...

I was taken off guard when the white-shirt-black-slacks fellow at the door turned out to not be a Mormon (yeah, I know, those come in pairs).

Instead, he rapidly and cheerfully explained that I was eligible for a free month of electricity supply (which struck me as a bit odd - what if I decided to take up aluminium smelting during that one month?), and all I had to do to claim it was bring him one of our electricity bills to look at, then sign the piece of paper he had, which he explained was not a contract, absolutely not, nooooo, despite the fact that it looked very much like one to my untrained eye, what with the signing and everything.

He was really rather good. I didn't even have time to think of telling him to go and vigorously root a boot, even though that is my usual tendency in such situations.

He was representing Origin Energy, who have apparently been at it for a while (and yes, he was Indian - they come over 'ere, they take the lousy-paying commission jobs we don't want to do...). I don't know whether Origin are in the habit of doing Ombudsman-worthy things; this salesman certainly wasn't what you'd call frank and up-front, and the just-sign-this-it's-not-a-contract line is clearly illegal. I failed to record him saying it, though.

My sister, who is very polite and not very rich, was screwed over by one of these guys a while ago. He said the new phone contract would save her money. It, of course, did the opposite. New power reseller contracts in Australia are, I think, much less likely to be an outright rip-off, which could explain why there's not exactly been a blizzard of complaints (though Origin have apparently been very good at promptly cutting off the power to delinquent customers).

As a Stargate viewer, by the way, I find the Origin Energy Web site mildly hilarious.

"We'll be welcoming new electricity, LP Gas and serviced hot water customers to Origin. Hallowed be the Ori."

The Ori aren't the greatest of sci-fi enemies, but I suppose they'll do until the end of this, last, series of SG-1.

It's not as if the Ori do ridiculous things like killing off major characters with explosive tumours or something, after all.

7 Responses to “Sign here, and here, and here in blood...”

  1. No Showbiz Mike Says:

    Love the sites. FYI, The USA hasn't seen that part of season 3 of atlantis yet on our sci-fi channel.

  2. JL Says:

    Hehe, this reminds me of a couple of guys I used to work with back when I was selling stuff door-to-door. They tended to have a "bludgeon the customer over the head with how good a deal this is until they cave and sign the damn contract" method of doing things.

  3. Darkside Says:

    I must say - Hail Canada! They broadcast Stargate Atlantis before the US, and they broadcast it in HD! Even Better!

  4. Daniel Rutter Says:

    (Except the Ori are in SG-1, not Atlantis. :-)

  5. Stark Says:

    Hallowed are the Canadi....

    Stinking Canadians with your broadcasting good shows before we get em here! Well, at least we don't have to pay outrageous fees for medical care....hey...Damnit! Well, at least we don't have claim Celine Dion as one of our own! :)

  6. loseweightslow Says:

    I thought electricity pricing in NSW was regulated. The prices are capped at a maximum. I also thought that pretty much every seller charges the cap.
    I dont see a big deal in switching your provider every 12 months to get 1 month free or a years worth of magazines or whatever they are offering.
    The real problem is the spam like nature of having salesmen knock at your door regularly.

  7. Daniel Rutter Says:

    You are correct, loseweightslow; the door-to-door electricity salesmen, at least here in NSW, are unable to truly rip people off (unlike their brethren elsewhere in the world).

    They unquestionably do get people to change their contracts before they receive whatever reward convinced them to switch to their current "supplier", though. They're also muddying the water regarding "green" power. It should stand to reason that you can't get environmentally friendly power for the same price as the standard Australian coal-fired watt-hours, but every power reseller has their own goofy "green" option that doesn't cost a penny extra, to get gullible consumers to switch and think they're doing something.

    (The small print explains that when the two windmills and the solar panel they pulled out of a calculator are sold out, customers get the regular stuff instead.)

    When real green electricity becomes available, it will of course be more expensive, and all of the people who think they've already got carbon-neutral power will ignore it.

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