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Ontario Green Savings Group Reviews & Complaints

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Bottom line

Our recommendation: avoid contacting or doing business with Ontario Green Savings.

Ontario Green Savings (also known as Green Savings Group) uses Facebook and Google ads promising the installation of a free smart thermostat to get invitations into your home (which they have to do to get around the ban on door-to-door HVAC sales) where they then apply a high-pressure sales pitch to push you into long-term (15 year) contracts that end up charging multiple times more than the equipment is actually worth and cost tens of thousands of dollars to cancel or break.

In addition, they, or an associated company place a lien on your home – typically for $12,000 to $15,000 – which prevents you from selling your home without successfully transferring the contract to the new owner or buying it out.

These contracts are very profitable for the rental companies and a bad deal for the majority of their customers. Purchasing your own unit can result in substantial savings over time, according to the Competition Bureau. Appliance rental is not common practice in Canada outside of Ontario.

Like Enercare, Reliance Home Comfort and Simply Group, Ontario Green Savings Group is another in a long line of HVAC rental companies to apply deceptive sales tactics in order to push consumers into long-term rental contracts with high cancellation fees.

However, unlike those companies, which are now focused on holding and maintaining their existing portfolio of contracts, Ontario Green Savings is still actively expanding and selling to new customers.

Further reading: Is renting a water heater worth it?

Pros

  • No large up-front cost
  • Low monthly payments
  • They handle service and repairs, most of the time

Cons

  • Extremely high cancellation and buyout fees
  • Many complaints about their maintenance and repair services
  • No coverage for damage caused by leaking tanks

About Ontario Green Savings

Ontario Green Savings (OGS) sells long-term rental contracts for home appliances including water heaters, furnaces, air conditioners and HEPA filters. The company was incorporated as 10392197 Canada Corp on September 4, 2017 – 5 days after Ontario launched the Green Ontario Fund.

According to a 2020 press release, they had 8,500 customers. According to their website, they have over 10,000 customers across Canada in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec.

The company was named to Canadian Business’ 2019 Growth 500 and Growth 50 lists of fastest-growing companies in Canada, as determined by their revenue growth over the previous five years.

Charges under the Consumer Protection Act

OGS CEO Saeed Torbati has used a number of company names and corporate entities over the years to operate the same business model.

Ontario Consumers Home Services

Until August 2016 he worked as national sales manager for Ontario Consumers Home Services, a door-to-door sales company which had previously received 63 charges for their conduct.

Ontario Safety Standards

He was CEO of Ontario Safety Standards (Ontario Stars Corporation), which used Ontario Consumers Home Services’ old Ottawa phone number and address.

85 complaints and 77 incidents were filed against the company to the ministry between Jan. 1, 2017 and March 15, 2019.

In April 2019, the CEO and company were charged with 112 offences for allegedly making false, misleading, or deceptive representations to consumers in their homes, using a contract that did not comply with the Consumer Protection Act, and and failing to provide refunds to consumers as required.

The company had 2 charges laid on October 6, 2020: 1 charge for unfair practice – false misleading and 1 charge for fail to deliver valid contract.

Canadian Safety Standards

He was director of Canadian Safety Standards (Safety Standards Group Inc.), which was the company that registered liens on customer’s properties. In 2020 and 2021 the company received:

  • 33 charges of unfair practice – false misleading
  • 32 charges of fail to deliver valid contract
  • 31 charges of fail to refund

Ontario Green Savings

On October 14, 2021, The Ministry of Government and Consumer Services filed charges against Ontario Green Savings (10392197 Canada Corp.):

  • 7 charges of Unfair Practice – False Misleading
  • 7 charges of Direct Agr – Fail to Deliver Valid Contract
  • 5 charges of Fail to Refund

Poor online reviews

They have a rating of:

  • 1.18 rating with 65 reviews on Better Business Bureau (BBB) and 105 complaints closed in the last 12 months
  • 1 on Yelp with 15 reviews
  • While their Google Reviews might look decent at first glance with an overall rating of 4.3, a closer look shows that some of the reviews may not be an accurate representation of the company’s standing with customers as they are split down the middle – almost all reviews are either 1 or 5 star reviews.

Multiple reviews report the company texting and calling customers and offering a chance to win $200 to $1000 gift cards or iPads in return for a 5 star Google review.

Weird search results

They have multiple branded websites (.com and .org), press releases about how they’re a fast-growing company, paid advertorials, Medium articles, Soundcloud profiles filled with useless, robotic text-to-speech audio clips titled things like “How Advantageous is Air Treatment System?”:

bizarre Change.org petitions that are simply a positive review of the company:

These pages are presumably created to push bad press such as this RedFlagDeals thread, this CTV report, this Reddit thread and this tweet and of course the CBC Marketplace hidden camera expose down the Google Results to pages 2 and beyond.

Free smart thermostat and in-home assessment

The company offers the free installation of a free Nest E, Nest 3rd gen, or Ecobee smart thermostat (approximately $200 to $250 value, before $75 rebate), promoting how much it will help you save on your energy bills.

They advertise the free thermostat on platforms like Facebook and Google:

Click the ad and you’ll find that the catch is that by signing up to get one, you consent to have them enter your home, install the smart thermostat and give you their high-pressure sales pitch for renting new home appliances:

By completing this request for a quote/in-home visit and voluntarily providing your personal information, you consent to the collection and use of such information by us only for the purposes of responding to your request and assisting with the in-home sales appointment for purchase/lease of any HVAC, water treatment or air treatment products you have scheduled. For greater certainty, you have initiated contact and requested and authorized Ontario Green Savings to attend your house to explain its purchase/lease programs.

According to the program’s Terms and Conditions, they will install the thermostat only after the sales pitch for rental contracts, and only if “you qualify”, requiring you to sign documents in order to have the thermostat installed.

It is unclear to what extent these documents are separate from the documents that if signed, would put you on the hook for a 12+ year water heater rental.

Multiple Google reviews indicate that they either never received a thermostat either because the representative had “no recommendations” and the company no longer returns their calls, or that the “free thermostat” is a marketing strategy and only installed if you purchase one of their services – ie. you do not qualify if you don’t buy something from them. More examples here.

This is what they refer to as a “free in-home assessment”: they look at your existing equipment, say you could (or should) be doing better and whatever it takes to get you to sign on the dotted line.

Who owns Ontario Green Savings?

Ontario Green Savings is owned by Saeed Moravvej Torbati.

Who is Saeed Moravvej Torbati?

Saeed Moravvej Torbati is a self-described serial entrepreneur, claiming to own a property management business and a couple of online lending businesses in addition to Ontario Green Savings.

He was born and raised in Iran, moving to Canada at the age of 18. He graduated from Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology with honours in 2012, receiving a degree in Electromechanical Engineering Robotics. He later earned an Associate’s degree in Entrepreneurship/Entrepreneurial Studies from Harvard Business School.

He worked as national sales manager for Ontario Consumers Home Services, a door-to-door sales company until August 2016.

He is listed on Ontario’s Consumer Beware List under the following corporations:

  • In 2020, he received 2 charges for fail to take reasonable care as director of Ontario Stars Corporation (Ontario Safety Standards) of under the Consumer Protection Act, 2002.
  • In 2020 and 2021, he received 97 charges for fail to take reasonable care as director of Safety Standards Group Inc (Canadian Safety Standards)
  • In October 2021, his company Ontario Green Savings’ director George Elias Nehme received 19 charges for failure to take reasonable care as director.

2016 hit-and-run

Saeed Moravvej Torbati was the suspect of a hit-and-run in Scarborough in 2016 that killed a 56-year-old woman. As published in the Toronto Star, Judge Himel summarized the facts of the case in her June 9 decision:

When Torbati realized he hit someone, he drove through the intersection, stopped his car, got out and went over to look at the deceased lying on the ground, appeared panicked and drove off.

Torbati left the scene without identifying himself, drove to a nearby parking lot and took an Uber home. He contacted a lawyer, who advised him he had no obligation to do anything. He also booked a plane ticket to his native Iran.

The next day, he retrieved his car and, after further consultation with a lawyer, surrendered to Toronto police on April 3, 2016, and was charged with fail to remain.

At the time of the accident, Torbati was travelling 15 kilometres over the speed limit, but was proceeding with the flow of traffic. No criminal or driving offences were laid.

He turned himself in to police the next day. He was charged with:

  • (found not guilty) Fail to stop at the scene of an accident contrary to s. 252(1.3) (b) of the Criminal Code, R.S.C., 1985, c. C-46.
  • (found guilty) Breach of a condition of an undertaking contrary to s. 145(5.1) of the Criminal Code.

Saeed was acquitted in June 2021. Judge Himel believed the defence’s position that Torbati was suffering from PTSD, and seeing the women he struck reminded him of the death of his father in a car crash in Iran at the age of 13.

According to the judge’s summary, he is divorced from his first wife, an Ottawa woman, and they have a daughter. He is said to be in a second relationship that produced twin daughters in 2020.

Saeed maintains multiple websites, posts on Medium, YouTube, Reddit and other sites, and publishes press releases, presumably once again to push the news of the hit-and-run and other bad press down in Google’s results.

Complaints and legal actions against Ontario Green Savings and associated companies

CBC Marketplace hidden camera catches HVAC scam in action

In January 2021, CBC Go Public and Marketplace exposed deceptive sales tactics being used by a salesperson representing Ontario Green Savings to push a homeowner into signing an appliance rental contract, stating:

You have to get it replaced within the next six days,” he said, explaining that once the tank hits 10 years, insurance will no longer cover any damage. “So if anything happens, I’m liable. I’ve seen the tank … Insurance won’t cover that s–t

Pretending to be endorsed by the Ontario Energy Board

On June 25, 2021, the Ontario Energy Board (OEB), which regulates electricity and natural gas utilities, published a consumer alert about Ontario Green Savings and associated accounts such as @energyassistanceprogram and energyassistanceprogram.org that refer to the “Energy Assistance Program” or the “Assistance Program” after receiving complaints from consumers about emails that appears to be affiliated with or endorsed by the OEB.

The OEB will not email you or call you about energy rebates unless you have reached out to us first and an energy assessment or home inspection is required to apply or qualify for CEAP, OESP or LEAP.

On July 2021, Halton Hills Hydro alerted their customers that Energy Assistance Program or Ontario Green Savings were promoting energy rebates and appear to be using Ontario Energy Board logo, name and images and asking for personal information and promising rebates after a home visit.

Selling $40,000 worth of contracts to a blind woman (CTV report)

In November 2021, Ontario Green Savings sold a legally blind, legally deaf senior who struggled with mental illness 3 long-term contracts after she had responded to an advertisement on Facebook promoting government rebates if she made upgrades to her home. They also placed a lien on her home.

She was told there would be rebates coming monthly, she never did get a rebate and couldn’t afford the monthly payments.

After the report was published by CTV, Ontario Green Savings offered the customer to buy out the 3 contracts and remove the lien on her home for a total of $9,500.

Selling 12-year contract after Facebook ad response (Orillia Today)

In September 2021, a 61-year old Master’s degree holder was sold a 12-year contract after he responded to a Facebook ad for tankless water heaters and signed a contract he was sent electronically. A lien was placed on his home.

Selling $40,000 in contracts door-to-door in 2019 (Global News)

Susan Giffen of Mississauga remembers being sold a 12-year contract with Ontario Green Savings for a new furnace, air conditioner and HEPA filter by a door-to-door salesperson in 2019, a year after Ontario banned door-to-door sales of specific home equipment including air conditioners, furnaces and water heaters.

Ontario Safety Standards sells $1,800 water softener for $6,000 (Ottawa Citizen)

Two Ottawa women complained to the Ottawa Citizen that Ontario Safety Standards sold them 10-year contracts at $59.99 per month for water softeners door-to-door that would see them pay $6,000 over its course for a unit valued at $1,800. After the story was published, one of the women had the water softener removed at no charge.

Operating without a business license in Alberta

Service Alberta’s Consumer Investigations Unit ordered Canadian Home Improvement Credit Corporation (CHICC) to stop direct selling until an appropriate business licence had been obtained.

How much does it cost to rent from Ontario Green Savings?

In November 2021, the prices charged by Ontario Green Savings for a:

  • HEPA filter was $68.79 per month for a contract total of $8,134.80
  • Tankless water heater was $96.04 for a contract total of $13,520.10
  • Furnace was $173.99 per month for a contract total of $23,546.05

Further reading: Is renting a water heater worth it?

Ontario Green Savings contract

If you are or have been a customer of Ontario Green Savings, please help us improve this article by sending us a copy of the contract.

How to cancel a Ontario Green Savings contract?

First, know your rights under the Ontario Consumer Protection Act when signing or cancelling a contract and more specifically, when dealing with door-to-door sales and home service contracts.

If you have a rental contract through Ontario Green Savings or associated company, you have a few options:

  1. You can cancel a contract for any reason within 10 days of receiving a written copy of the agreement.
  2. File a complaint with the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services if you think the company has broken the law in the Consumer Protection Act.
  3. Contact the media (eg. CBC Go Public, Sean O’Shea at Global News or Pat Foran at CTV News) and ask them to publish your story. Customers who have had their stories published usually have their contract concerns resolved.
  4. Order a copy of your home’s parcel register to see if there is a lien on your home or have a lawyer do a title check to see if they have registered any illegal liens against your property: https://www.ontariohvacscam.com
  5. Join any class action lawsuits against the associated companies
  6. Buyout the contract

Contact

Ontario Green Savings

  • Web: https://ontariogreensavings.com/
  • Email: info@ontariogreensavings.com
  • Phone: 1 866 899 9917
  • Mail: 100 King Street West, Suite 5700 Toronto, Ontario M5X 1C7

Green Savings Group

  • Web: https://greensavingsgroup.org/
  • Email: info@greensavingsgroup.org
  • Phone: 1 866 899 9917
  • Mail: 100 King Street West, Suite 5700 Toronto, Ontario M5X 1C7

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If you have experience with Ontario Green Savings, we’re interested to know your thoughts. How long have you been with them and what do you think about their service, contracts and value? Let us know by leaving a review and sharing your experience below!

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