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Simply Group (Simply Green, Sandpiper Energy, Crown Crest) Reviews & Complaints

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Simply Green Home Services
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Bottom line

Renting a water heater, furnace, water softener, air conditioner or any other HVAC equipment or home appliance is similar to buying an extended warranty in that it works as form of insurance. You pay more for the product upfront and get support should anything go wrong.

However, unlike regular insurance you are typically locked into a long-term (15 year) contract that is exorbitantly expensive to cancel or break. These contracts are very profitable for the rental companies and a bad deal for the majority of their customers.

Renting these appliances is not common practice in Canada outside of Ontario. Purchasing your own unit can result in substantial savings over time, according to the Competition Bureau.

Like Enercare and Reliance Home Comfort before it, Simply Group is the latest financing/asset management company to acquire and consolidate the rental contract portfolios of HVAC companies that find themselves in legal or financial trouble after pushing consumers into long-term rental contracts with high cancellation fees using high-pressure and deceptive sales tactics.

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 Simply Green Home Services

Simply Green Home Services Inc., the parent corporation of the “Simply Group” was founded in Toronto in 2013. According to their website, they provide HVAC systems and financing solutions for over 200,000 customers across Canada.

The brands and companies they own include:

  • Simply Group: a non-bank supplier of consumer credit with total assets (read: loan debts) under management of over $3 billion. According to Simply Group’s website, they have over 500,000 customers across Canada.
  • Simply Green Home Services and Sandpiper Energy Solutions: offer HVAC rentals
  • SimplyLED Lighting Solutions: offers tailored LED lighting retrofit solutions in the commercial, industrial and multi-unit residential building space.
  • Crown Crest Capital: the payment collector for Simply Green and Sandpiper
  • Simply Group Financial: financing for home improvement projects.

Their website states: “At this time, we’re only servicing existing customers” and does not provide a way to sign up for their services. They have a 1.8 rating on Trustpilot and 1.5 on Yelp.

Who owns Simply Green Home Services (Simply Group)?

Simply Green Home Services Inc., the parent corporation of the “Simply Group” was founded in Toronto in 2013 by CEO Lawrence Krimker and Co-Founder, Executive Vice President Joseph Krimker. Lawrence was named EY Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2021 in Ontario. He also owns SNAP Home Finance.

Lawrence Krimker

In a message posted on their website, Lawrence Krimker states: “I have long been an advocate for big business and small government. I believe that by and large, governments should focus on improving our infrastructure and social services and let businesses and consumers guide the free market’s evolving journey.”

As Director of Simply Green Home Services Inc., he has received 1 charge for failure to take reasonable care as director and as Director of Crown Crest Capital Corp, he has received 7 charges for failure to take reasonable care as director under the Consumer Protection Act, 2002.

Lawrence is a director of the (possibly defunct) non-profit Canadian Homeowner Protection Association, along with Vitalii Godonooga, Kirill Tatarinov and Salmeed (Ali) Mohammad.

Acquisitions

In 2016, Simply Group acquired Sandpiper Energy Solutions from Oakville Hydro (“OEC”) with 24,000 clients. Oakville Hydro had acquired the portfolio from Norfolk Energy’s (a subsidiary of Norfolk Power) Home Comfort Division in 2013.

Crown Crest Capital acquired a portfolio of rentals from Home Trust in November 2018, which they had acquired the year before from Nationwide Home Comfort and placed a $15,000 lien on customer homes.

In September 2020 it was reported that Simply Group had completed the acquisition of Home Capital Group’s “point-of-sale retail lending portfolio” which had previously carried on through its subsidiary Home Trust Company for $71 million.

This portfolio is presumably the same referred to in the class action lawsuit against Home Trust and Ontario Energy Group where Home Trust allegedly purchased an interest in the lease agreements from OEG, collected money under the lease agreements and to have registered liens against homes.

In October 2020, they acquired SNAP Financial Group Inc. and SNAP Home Finance, which offer home improvement loans with 240 month amortizations for $511 million.

In November 2020, Simply Group acquired Dealnet Capital Corp and its subsidiary EcoHome Financial Inc., a

Acquisition of Ontario Consumers Home Service (OCHS) contracts

In 2017, they acquired Ontario Consumers Home Service (“OCHS”) and Simply Comfort Home Services (“SCHS”) Simply Comfort Inc. with ~53,000 accounts and 1,700 accounts Green Planet Home Services (“GP”) for $6.5 million. Crown Crest Capital took over the contracts in July 2017.

Charges were laid against Consumers Choice Comfort Services Inc. director Eugene Savitskiy for failure to take reasonable care as director under the Consumer Protection Act, 2002.

These companies were the previous iteration of HVAC rental companies with generic, seemingly interchangeable names. Ontario Consumers Home Service would sell door-to-door, the bill came from Ontario Consumers Home Services, and cheques were made payable to Maxium Financial Services Inc., the latter two businesses having the same address in Richmond Hill, Ont.

OCHS and their directors President Vitali Godonooga and CEO Vasili Tatarinov had been hit with 63 charges under the Consumer Protection Act in 2013 and had been signing customers up for water softeners, air filtration and other equipment via door-to-door sales. The charges were later withdrawn.

Between December 2016 and February 2017, Ontario Consumers Home Services committed more than a million violations of the Rules. During that period, the company made over 96,000 unsolicited calls to Canadians whose numbers were on the National Do Not Call List (DNCL), some of which were outside of the permitted hours.

Ontario banned unsolicited door-to-door home energy appliance sales in 2018 due consumer complaints.

Consumers Choice Comfort Services and Simply Comfort Inc. filed an assignment in bankruptcy on October 1, 2020.

Vitali Godonooga is now listed as President of Simply Comfort Estate Inc., a property management company founded by Marina Zhurkevich incorporated in 2019 specializing in short to long term rentals, which is registered as having one director: Eugene Savitskiy

Acquisition of the rest of Green Planet Home Services contracts

In February 2020, they completed the acquisition of the rest of Green Planet Home Services (“GP”) accounts for $21 million from Larry Galbo, President and CEO of Green Planet Home Services of Etobicoke, ON. The initial purchase in 2017 was $6.5 million for 1,700 accounts.

GP sold water heater, furnace and air conditioning rentals door-to-door in Ontario in 2013, racking up dozens of complaints and news reports.

Complaints and legal actions against Simply Green Home Services and associated companies

CBC report in Ontario

In January 2020, the CBC reported a consumer being quoted $32,406 to buy out her furnace and air conditioner contract from Crown Crest Capital after paying more than $7,000 total in monthly rental fees since 2016 when she signed up with door-to-door salesperson from Consumers Choice Comfort Services.

The consumer’s lawyer informed Crown Crest that because his client signed a contract with a 10-year term, he calculated that the buyout price should be about $15,000. 

While the company’s manager of collections wouldn’t budge, once CBC news contacted Crown Crest, their lawyer Alfred Apps responded with “It was just something everyone missed,” and “We’ll be resolving it today.”

CBC report in British Columbia

In March 2020, the CBC reported a consumer who was quoted $10,633.73 to buy out her furnace rental contract from Simply Green Home Services who sold her a 10 year rent-to-own agreement via a door-to-door salesperson in 2018. At that time, the consumer had already paid approximately $2,400 in monthly fees.

Once again it was only after CBC news contacted Simply Green, their lawyer Alfred Apps confirmed that the parties had reached a settlement, the terms of which are confidential.

Ontario Consumer Beware List

Crown Crest Capital Corp has had 5 charges laid for failure to refund under the Consumer Protection Act, 2002 listed on Ontario’s Consumer Beware List.

Consumer Protection B.C.

In June 2016, Simply Green was cited for “engaging in deceptive acts or practices” and fined $1,200. 

In June 2020, Simply Green Home Services was banned from engaging in door-to-door sales in BC for 1 year after an investigation found the company was using deceptive sales practices and refusing lawful refunds.

Over the course of 13 months, the agency has received 31 calls about the Ontario-based company’s business dealings in B.C.

Better Business Bureau, meanwhile, says it has fielded a total of 114 complaints against the company in the last three years from across the country.

Class action lawsuit

A class action lawsuit was filed on July 7, 2021 against defendants Crown Crest Capital Management Corp., Crown Crest Financial Corp. and these companies’ CEO and owner, Lawrence Krimker alleging that the defendants’ conduct breached consumer protection law, in that the defendants registered amounts on people’s home title that had not been disclosed to consumers.

The lawsuit can be joined by consumers whose HVAC agreement was assigned to Crown Crest.

How much does it cost to rent from Sandpiper Energy Solutions?

It costs $129.99 per month to rent a combi boiler from Sandpiper Energy Solutions. Payments increase by up to 3.5% annually on the contract’s anniversary date. The term is for 180 months (15 years), for a total lifetime cost of at least $23,398, not taking annual increases or tax into account.

Potential additional fees include the greater of $50 or the actual bank charges for the failure to pay (defaulting) or insufficient funds.

The seller, the installer and the financial company collecting the monthly funds are often three different companies. In the following customer’s case, Sandpiper Energy Solutions is the seller, the HVAC contractor was MRM Home Comfort Ltd and the company collecting payments is Crown Crest Capital.

Thanks go out to one of their customers (you know who you are!) who contacted me and was kind enough to provide the following documentation in order to help others “avoid getting scammed like I did”.

Further reading: Is renting a water heater worth it?

Sandpiper Energy Solutions contract example

Example buyout quote

How to cancel an Simply Group/Crown Crest contract?

If you have a rental contract through Sandpiper, Simply Green 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) and ask them to publish your story. Customers who have had their stories published usually have their contract concerns resolved.
  4. Have a lawyer do a title check to see if Simply Group have registered any illegal liens against your property: https://www.ontariohvacscam.com
  5. Join the class action lawsuit against the associated companies, which alleges breached consumer protection law in registering security interests against consumers’ home title.
  6. Buyout the contract

The buyout price is calculated based on the following formula:

(Monthly Payment x 105) x (1- (0.005 x number of payments made) and are subject to HST.

The buyout amount starts at 58.3% of the total payments associated with the contract of $23,398 (before annual increases and tax) and decreases from that amount by 0.5% per month or 6% per year:

MonthBuyout priceBuyout price after tax
1$13,580.71$15,346.20
2$13,512.46$15,269.08
3$13,444.22$15,191.96
4$13,375.97$15,114.85
5$13,307.73$15,037.73
6$13,239.48$14,960.61
7$13,171.24$14,883.50
8$13,102.99$14,806.38
9$13,034.75$14,729.26
10$12,966.50$14,652.15
11$12,898.26$14,575.03
12$12,830.01$14,497.91
24$12,011.08$13,572.52
36$11,192.14$12,647.12
48$10,373.20$11,721.72
60$9,554.27$10,796.32
72$8,735.33$9,870.92
84$7,916.39$8,945.52
96$7,097.45$8,020.12
108$6,278.52$7,094.72
120$5,459.58$6,169.33
132$4,640.64$5,243.93
144$3,821.71$4,318.53
156$3,002.77$3,393.13
168$2,183.83$2,467.73
180$1,364.90$1,542.33

At the end of the contract term, you can continue to rent month-to-month, return the product to them or buy it out for $700. If you do not choose, they of course assume that you selected to rent month-to-month and continue to charge the monthly fee until you contact them about it.

Sandpiper Energy Solutions Builder Rental Equipment Agreement

The home builder can receive an “installation allowance” in return for installing and commissioning a unit of rental equipment and sending the the name, address and closing date of each home the equipment has been installed in.

Contact

Simply Green Home Services

Sandpiper Energy Solutions

Crown Crest Capital

  • Web: https://www.crowncrestcapital.com/
  • Email: customersupport@crowncrestcapital.com
  • Phone: 1 (800) 764-5138
  • Mail: 2225 Sheppard Ave E., Suite 800, Toronto, ON M2J 5C2

Customer reviews

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1 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)
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Run, don’t walk away

Rated 1 out of 5
September 21, 2022

This company has been an issue from day one. In the beginning they installed the wrong water heater after being without hot water for five days after being told it would be here the next day. Then we got a furnace with them and the wrecked our air conditioning by hooking up the wires backwards. They refused to take responsibility for it. Now we get a call almost weekly claiming that our account is inarrears when it’s not as we have the bank statements to prove that it its paid. They send us multiple bills monthly, generally 2-3 that each show a different amount owing. I have asked for them to correspond in writing in which they absolutely refuse instead sending us emails that often go straight to the junk mail. They call with a different number each time. They have set up a collection agency and falsely claim to be calling from a separate collection agency when in actuality it’s the same company – different department. People got wise to that, so they changed the name of the collection agency. They call all hours, days – not following the collection agency rules and are demanding and threatening on the phone. I have been hung up on numerous times. The pay out for the furnace and the water heater is 3 times what it costs to by the exact same furnace and water heater brand new and this has been going on now for 2-3 years. This company is being dishonest and ill reputable. the accounts are separate between the water heater and the furnace and they dictate which amount goes to what account and then call you and tell you owe money. I want their stuff out of my house and I can’t just get them to take it. They are saying the only way for me to get them out of my house is to by the equipment out. I don’t want the equipment, I want them out of the house. I realize I would have to pay a cancellation fee but the cancellation fee should not be three times the value of the equipment brand new when it’s 2-3 years old.

Eden

Leave a review or submit a complaint

If you have experience with one of Simply Group’s companies, 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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