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  #1  
Old 2012-04-12, 04:25 PM
MTrix MTrix is offline
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Default Direct Energy - Water Tank Rental

I would like to share my experience and warn new home owners or first time buyers.


On September 2010 my wife and I signed off on the purchase agreement for a brand new house with Urbandale. The purpose of buying our home was to become owners of our own property, including all the amenities like our hot water tank. I informed the builder of our choice, and I was told to contact Direct Energy.

In April 2011 we received the Direct Energy standard rental terms and conditions agreement brochure. The termination option in the brochure indicated that we may terminate the rental and return the hot water tank at any time by calling 1-800-493-3034.

On August 22, 2011 I consulted with a Direct Energy rental specialist before removing the hot water tank to avoid any misunderstandings. I was told by their specialist that the only fee that would apply is a $75 charge if the unit was to be picked up by their company.

On August 29, 2011 after 4 PM we received the keys to our new home from the lawyer.

On August 30, 2011 the tank was removed and returned to Direct Energy by D.R. Francis Plumbing Ltd.

On December 21, 2011 we received an invoice from Direct Energy in the amount of $1536.80 for the tank we had already returned to them. I immediately contacted Direct Energy's customer service and I explained the situation. A manager in customer care, assisted me with this issue (Ref#17071868) and escalated it to other managers. After contacting all the recommended sources I was told that the brochure/contract I was given is outdated and that the charges still applied.

I sent a written complaint to the office of the president, and I received a phone call from the supervisor who told me it was unfortunate that I received outdate information and that I was misinformed but the charges still applied. I requested to speak with higher management; Only to be yelled at by the Manager.

My argument with Direct Energy was that I was given an outdated terms and conditions agreement brochure, and Direct Energy's rental specialist agent did not disclose/provide any information regarding a buyout fee.

The brand new water tank was never used since it was returned after closing day; a rental bill was never issued.

Direct Energy does not want to return the tank or the equivalent value in dollars.

I consulted with the ministry of consumer services; unfortunately I was told it would take up 10 weeks for someone to look into my complaint but even then they cannot force any company to change their mind only ask.

I submitted my complaint to the Better Business Bureau; only to reach an unresolved case with no intervention by them.

After four months With no resolution I was forced to make a decision. In my last invoice I was threatened with the possibility of actions from a collection agency. To me my personal credit has value, therefore to avoid seven years of bad credit; On March 29, 2012 I paid the full amount of $1536.80 to the account invoice date March 9, 2012.

I am now negative $1536.80 in my budget and no water tank, nothing to account for it. Had I been informed correctly or would have foreseen the outcome; I would have still canceled the contract with Direct Energy. The only difference is, I would have gladly paid the $1536.80 but not return the water tank.



The reasons why I did not want to give Direct Energy my money...

I did not want to spend the rest of my life renting a water tank. Of course no one knows when they will die but aside from that I am only 29 and if I were to rent from now until I retire, for example 65. If you do the math...

$27 /month
$324 /year
$11,340 for 35yrs of renting (not taking increasing rates into consideration)

The average water tank cost $600 to $900, with installation you are looking at $1100 to $1400.
Simply within 10 years you could purchase two/three brand new water tanks with installation.

If you taken efficiency into consideration, most water tanks are between 45% and 65% energy efficient. With time this efficiency decreases causing your gas bill to increase.

This is the other reason I decided to replace the water tank. I replaced the unit with a tankless water heater the RC80i which is 96% efficient.

Yes the cost is a lot more for a tankless but there are multiple factors I took into consideration that led me to my decision.



Above all my only content is not having to deal with Direct Energy ever again. Direct Energy has to learn that their customers are people not just profits.



A reminder for those that do not know;

With tank rentals that started before September 15 2010, you do not have to buy out the tank if you want to terminate.
With tank rentals that started after September 16 2010, your only option for terminating is to buy out the tank.
See Direct Energy terms and conditions.

My story was taken to the media, if you would like to see what was aired on CBC News please follow this YouTube link.
I have also attached related documents for those interested.
For more details regarding water tank rentals and tanks vs tankless see this link.

Thank you for your time for those who read my post. If you could share my experience with others I would appreciate it. I don’t expect anything from Direct Energy I only want to spread the news.

Attachment 9608

Attachment 9609

Attachment 9610

Attachment 9611
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Updated Closing Date: From Sept. 8th 2011 to August 29th 2011 it IS!!!!!

Last edited by MTrix; 2018-12-18 at 04:41 PM.
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Old 2012-04-12, 05:26 PM
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good2know good2know is offline
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You would have had to sign a rental agreement pre-possession. What did it say?

Don't they have to return your tank?

I wish you well in resolving this. Have you spoken to Hugh Adami? He did the article on their attempt to switch all rental agreements to this buy out only scheme.

Last edited by good2know; 2012-04-12 at 05:31 PM.
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Old 2012-04-12, 06:53 PM
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xdarrylx xdarrylx is offline
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Sorry to hear all that.
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Old 2012-04-12, 07:06 PM
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good2know good2know is offline
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What troubles me is that this is not a new thing, and many many have the same termination of agreement restrictions.

Has anyone spoken to their builder about not having a rental tank at all? I'm guessing the buy it through builder cost may not be a heck of a lot different than that buy out cost.
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Old 2012-04-12, 08:29 PM
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springwater springwater is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by good2know View Post
What troubles me is that this is not a new thing, and many many have the same termination of agreement restrictions.

Has anyone spoken to their builder about not having a rental tank at all? I'm guessing the buy it through builder cost may not be a heck of a lot different than that buy out cost.
We pushed Urbandale to let us just purchase our own water heater, but you either sign the agreement to rent from Direct Energy or you don't get to build with them. There is no way around it. It is a complete SCAM! The builders obvioulsy get kick backs from Direct Energy for forcing their rental units on those building new homes. It really makes me sick.

To the OP, how are you liking the tankless model? I'm looking to return my Direct Energy rental tank and get a tankless myself so I can say goodbye to the $25/month I'm currently wasting on rental fees. Hope you're able to get a resolution, I can't believe they're making you pay...
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Old 2012-04-12, 08:49 PM
mike407 mike407 is offline
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Unfortunately, the rental of the hot water tank was outlined in our purchase agreement with the builder: "The purchased acknowledges that a rental water heater will be supplied...". I attempted to get out of this without success.

The list of possible upgrades includes $2000 for a tankless system. I asked if this meant we could own the unit and avoid rental fees but I was told it was still $37/month for rental and the $2000 charge was simply for installation.

I still plan to buyout the tank or purchase a tankless system after close but this story will certainly make me think twice...
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Old 2012-04-12, 09:17 PM
Cosmogrrl Cosmogrrl is offline
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Ack! That is terrible! I'd say here's another $75 you charged me to remove my tank - bring it back in a*seholes...
This seriously shouldn't be legal. Where did you get your original DE rental agreement from? Urbandale or DE themselves?
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Old 2012-04-12, 09:27 PM
foxborough foxborough is offline
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If you watch the Youtube video you will discover that he was provided with a copy of the new agreement at closing and that he had initialed it. He admits that he didn't read it as he thought that it was the same. A really expensive way to find out that you really should read everything before you sign.
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Old 2012-04-12, 09:46 PM
TKG26 TKG26 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foxborough View Post
If you watch the Youtube video you will discover that he was provided with a copy of the new agreement at closing and that he had initialed it. He admits that he didn't read it as he thought that it was the same. A really expensive way to find out that you really should read everything before you sign.

+1

Also from the timeline listed above, this tank clearly falls within the NEW T&C listed on the DE site. Would be nice to see that signed document...

Had that been read, the OP could have contacted DE to buy out the tank or upgrade to tankless.

The hating should be on the builder, they are the ones that build and own the homes first. IT is up to them whether or not you get a rental... Once you accept that when signing your papers to purchase the home you agree to the tank. DE is not the bad guy here. You cant be mad at them for an agreement they make with a builder before you own the home. The beef should be with the builder.
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Old 2012-04-12, 10:06 PM
atari atari is offline
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Even after paying their buyout fee Direct Energy still refuses to provide you with the water tank you paid for through the buyout? You unfortunately signed the new agreement, however I would not have paid unless the water tank was returned by direct energy. Let collections come until direct energy fulfills their part of the agreement. At least having the water tank to resell would offset some of the buyout costs in the end.
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