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消费者被误导 公司欲盖弥彰
Energy Company caught misleading consumers



通过向消费者提供虚假信息,不良推销商会实施一系列伎俩,令消费者签署他们本不会签署的商业合同。具有语言障碍的族裔社区成员最有可能成为某些商业机构,特别是能源公司一系列不良商业行为的牺牲者。

By offering deceitful information, unethical business practices try to mislead consumers into business deals that they would otherwise have not entered. Lacking language skills, ethnic community members are more likely to fall prey to such practices.

南茜的报道揭露了一家能源公司惊人的商业丑闻,其涉及推销员对华裔客户误导,而后公司管理层相互勾结试图加以掩盖,但其结果却是欲盖弥彰。

Nancy Jin’s story reveals a corporate scandal at an energy company that involves a salesperson’s action of misleading a Chinese Canadian and a subsequent cover-up scheme orchestrated by the company’s upper management.

*本文未使用公司及个人真名

*Company and other names have been disguised


误导消费者
Misleading consumers


2014年7月,当32岁的林女士正在餐馆上班时,一位不速之客,即来自能源公司Great Energy Company的推销员(Smith先生)敲开了她的家门。欲竭力推销暖炉和空调租恁合同的Smith告诉林的母亲李女士,家中现有的设备已经陈旧并且亟需更换,而该能源公司可以免费升级这些设备。

In July 2014, when Ms. Lam, a 32 year old restaurant worker was at work, her home had an unexpected visitor – a salesman (Mr. Smith) working for Great Energy Company. Trying to sell a rental contract for a new furnace and AC unit, Smith told Li, Lam’s mother, that their current equipment was old and needed to be replaced, and that the company would upgrade the equipment for free.


据林女士称,家中现有的设备都运作良好,从未出现过损坏或停运的情况。但急欲促成销售的Smith却告诉李女士新的设备和服务效率更高并且可以节省能源开支。此外,用户还可以免费得到两台新设备。

According to Lam, the current equipment was working fine -- they’d never been damaged or broken. But Smith, desperate to make the sales, told Li that the new equipment and services were highly efficient and would result in reduced energy costs. Besides, the home would get an equipment upgrade at no costs. Who would refuse?


最终,不识英文的李女士同意接受租恁合同,并代表林签了字。而在该能源公司客服中心执行预防欺诈行为的例行程序,使用英语对客户所签署的合同进行信息确认时,李女士也在电话中进行了认可。

Li agreed. Unable to read English, she signed the contract on behalf of Lam. And when the company’s call centre tried to verify the information in the contract in English– a routine process to prevent fraudulent activities – Li gave a go ahead over the phone.


据林女士称,其母亲完全是因为相信了免费升级,才同意更换这些设备。但是当她收到月结账单时,却被惊得目瞪口呆。林女士发现她每月需要为此额外支付$150元设备租恁费,据她估计,这相当于要花费$5500元买断价。

Lam says that only based on her understanding that it was a free upgrade, her mother allowed the equipment to be replaced. But when she received her monthly utility bill, she was shocked. Lam found that she was charged an extra $150 per month for the equipment rental fee.  Lam estimates that it would be equivalent to a buyout price of $5500.


林女士称:“我们是收入非常有限的五口之家,我们完全不需要这些新设备。如果我们知道其花费这么高,绝对不会允许安装这些设备。目前这笔费用已经给我的家庭造成沉重的经济负担。”

“My family of five lives on a very limited income,” says Lam. “This new equipment was completely unnecessary for us. Had we known that it would cost us so much, we certainly would have refused. It is a huge financial burden for the family now.”


身陷困境的林女士只得向《大中报》寻求帮助。

Lam, in desperation, sought help from Chinese News.


公司欲盖弥彰
Corporate cover up

在《大中报》代表林女士提出相关问题后,首先作出回应的是该公司业务经理White女士。当《大中报》转达了林女士的指控,即其母亲是被误导签署租恁合同时,White女士立即辩称:“我们已经(就相关合同)进行过电话确认,在我们安装设备之前对方已经确认所有信息,并做出同意安装的决定。

Ms. White, the company’s operation manager was the first one who addressed the issues raised by Chinese News on Lam’s behalf. When conveyed about Lam’s allegation that her mother was misled into signing the contract, she quickly came to the defence:  “We did a verification phone (of the contract) call, where the person verified all the information before we came to install them… and she gave the go ahead.”


White女士证实有确认电话录音存在,并承诺会通过电邮向《大中报》发送录音副本。

White confirmed the existence of the verification call record and promised to email a copy to Chinese News.


然而几天之后,该公司合规&法规事务经理Jackson却否认有相关电话录音存在。

However, a few days later, Ms. Jackson, the company’s Compliance & Regulatory Affairs manager denied that such a phone record ever existed.


她称:“我们没有这个电话录音……我不清楚White是怎么和你说的,但我们找不到相关录音。”

“We don’t have this phone record… I am not sure what White had told you, but we cannot find it.”


《大中报》之前曾报道过推销员使用欺骗手段诱导不会说英语的客户对书面合同进行口头确认的事件。这些欺骗手段包括告知客户公司想要做一个用户满意度调查,他(她)希望客户能对所有英语问题回答“Yes”。

Chinese News has previously covered stories where salespeople used deceptive tactics to manipulate non-English speaking consumers into giving a verbal go-ahead of a contract. Such schemes include convincing consumers that the company wanted to conduct a consumer satisfaction survey and that he (she) would appreciate if consumers gave all the “YES” answers to English questions.


由于《大中报》未能获得电话录音,目前无法知晓林女士的母亲是如何被说服确认所有信息,并同意安装相关设备。但是,当《大中报》告知Jackson对租恁合同存有异议的林女士要求公司对$5500元买断价提供大幅折扣时,Jackson 回复电邮称,为让客户满意,公司同意降价至$4000元。

It is impossible to tell, without the phone record, how Lam’s mother was persuaded to give a verbal go-ahead of the contract. But when Chinese News told Jackson that Lam would be disputing the rental contract, and was seeking a deep discount to the buyout price of $5500, Jackson sent an email to Chinese News saying the company agreed to reduce the price to $4000, as “a customer service gesture.”


但是,Jackson 却不小心将其公司内部电邮对话内容发给了《大中报》。这些令人吃惊的对话不仅显示了推销员的误导行为,也暴露了该公司试图掩盖其错误而欲盖弥彰的丑闻。

However, Jackson has accidentally forwarded internal emails to Chinese News that has not only exposed salesperson’s misleading action, but also a scandal of corporate cover up.


据这些内部电邮对话,在与《大中报》交涉后,业务经理White随即向其同事发送了一封电邮:“Jackson,你能否查看下这个文件——听下电话录音,”

According to the internal emails, right after answering Chinese News initial inquiry, the operation manager White sent this email to her colleague: “Jackson, can you review this file – listen to the call,”


在不到一小时后,一个名叫Johnson的人回复称:“我认为我们不应该将任何信息或电话录音透露给报纸,他们将会尽其所能把我们抹黑。”

Less than an hour later, a person named Johnson responded:” I am of the opinion that we do not divulge any information or call recordings to the news paper, they can and will use everything to put us in a bad light.


“建议发出以下声明,‘公司一直以严格遵守安省所有相应法规,并提供高质量的设备为自豪。目前我们正与(林女士)一家进行沟通。’”

“I would send this canned statement. "The company prides itself on strict compliance with all applicable legislation in the Province of Ontario while providing high quality equipment. Currently we are in communication with the family of (Lam)”


相关对话在第二天仍在继续,Jackson回复称:

The conversation continued the next day, when Ms. Jackson responded with:


 “这一确认电话显然有问题……从录音中可以听到推销员诱导客户,而客户显然有严重语言障碍。此外客服中心从一开始就认定这通电话存在疑问。我同意Johnson的意见,我们不能发送这通电话录音,而是应该作出类似声明。”

“This affirmation is not good at all....The agent can be heard coaching the customer. A strong language barrier has been identified. Call center had also flagged this call from the beginning.
I agree with Johnson that we do not send any recording and we make a statement to that effect.”


显然,Jackson所否认的电话录音不仅存在,而且被该公司客服中心标记为可疑电话,因为从中可以听到推销员“诱导客户”,而该客户存在“严重语言障碍”。很显然,Jackson是明知推销员行为不当,因此拒绝向《大中报》公开电话录音,以期掩盖这一丑闻。

Apparently, the phone call that Jackson denied the existence of was flagged by the company’s call centre as the salesperson was heard “coaching the consumer”, who showed a “strong language barrier”.  Apparently, realizing the wrongdoings of the salesperson, Jackson refused to release the phone record to Chinese News, in an attempt to sweep the scandal under the carpet.


该公司法律顾问在回复《大中报》的电邮中称,《大中报》收到的电邮对话内容是“内部业务沟通”并受到“隐私法的保护”。其同时再次强调该公司“完全遵从”政府规章制度,且其行为一直满足行业最高标准。

After Chinese News contacted Jackson for comment regarding the internal cover up, the company’s legal counsel responded to Chinese News in an email, stating that the email conversations received by Chinese News are “internal business communications” and are “protected by privacy laws”. It again stated that the company is “fully compliant with” the government regulations and that it holds itself to the highest standards.


但与此同时,邮件提出将为林女士的买断价提供进一步折扣。

But meanwhile, the email offers to reduce Lam’s buyout price further.



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