Beware The Bad Energy Salesman

Kevin L. Hoover
Mad River Union

ARCATA – When the Vista Energy Marketing, L.P. salesman at your door asks you to show him your PG&E bill, you might think twice about that. The Arcata Police Department and Better Business Bureau already have.

vista_logo"A guy knocked on my door from 'Vista Energy' saying we qualify for a discount on our gas bill," reports a Union reader. Mr. Vista was as relentless as he was unpleasant in pursuit of the Arcata resident's utility bill.

"This guy was creepy, pushy and wouldn't let me see the form he wanted me to sign, or take a photo of or have a good look at his badge or what he said was a permit from the police."He also used tricky tactics, according to the resident. "The initial statements gave the impression more that he was from the utility company and that we 'qualified' for a discount. He just needed to see our power bill," the resident said. "I even have a 'no soliciting' sign up and he blazed past that."

This resident's experience apparently isn't unique. The Better Business Bureau reports 36 complaints against Vista over the past three years. They include false representations by salespeople, unexpected and excessive charges and poor service.

In some cases, the company acknowledges the problems and reports disciplining or terminating bad-behaving employees. "We hire top notch salesmen to ensure this sort of thing does not occur," said Vista in response to one BBB complaint.

It also claims that some problems were caused by unknown individuals only pretending to be Vista reps. "False flag" door-to-door salespeople are not unknown, some going to considerable lengths, such as obtaining faux company garb, to impersonate representatives of legitimate companies.

But this particular Mr. Vista seems to be the real deal."There is a gentleman who just recently obtain a business license and solicitor’s permit from the City," said APD Lt. Ryan Peterson. "This problem just surfaced so we will be contacting the solicitor to fix the problem."

Whatever Vista's issues, the BBB has revoked its accreditation due to the abundance of complaints.

 

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One Comment;

  1. Fred Mangels said:

    Not necessarily a scam, but I’ve had a guy come by the house claiming he was from Dish Network. He even had a Dish Network decal on his shirt sleeve and pointed that out to me.

    He said he was going to upgrade our satellite dish but needed to see our satellite receiver to make sure the receiver was compatible with the upgrade. That was how he could get into the house.

    Once in the house he wanted to know how much we were paying for the service (shouldn’t he know that if he worked for Dish?), then started in about it kinda sucks not being on the cheap teaser deal we signed up for. We only had the introductory deal for the first two years. Then he suggests it would be easy enough to switch to Direct TV to get back on an introductory deal price.

    He asked if he could have a seat. I said no. When I told him the wife did most the TV watching he asked to talk to her. I said no. I finally convinced him I wasn’t going to bite but asked for his business card should I change my mind later. He seemed surprised at that and fumbled around a bit trying to find one. Then he left.

    The card had Dish Network on it, but the gist of the info was he sold satellite TV of any type. We never did get out satellite dish “upgrade”. He was just going around trying to flip customers from one service to the other so he could get a commission.

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