by Deron Johnston
On February 23, the provincial Ministry of Government and Consumer Services announced that, effective March 1, “Ontario will ban unsolicited, door-to-door sales of certain household appliances to better protect consumers from aggressive and misleading contracting at home”. In order for contracts signed in the consumer’s home to be valid, the homeowner has to have contacted the business and invited them into their home for the purpose of signing a contract. Any contract that violates these new rules on door-to-door solicitation will be voided and consumers will be able to keep the goods and services with no commitment on their part.
These new rules only apply to: air cleaners, air conditioners, air purifiers, duct cleaning services, furnaces, water filters, water heaters, water purifiers, water softeners, water treatment appliances and bundles of these goods and services. Other goods and services sold at the door may still be legal to sell, except in North Grenville, which requires a Municipality of North Grenville licence to sell anything door-to-door.
The businesses that provide these goods and services must now keep a record of how contact was made, and provide very clear information about the consumer’s rights. Any contracts signed in the home for these goods and services will also have a ten-day window that allows the consumer to cancel the contract for any reason, without penalty. Even if a customer calls for a repair, maintenance, or for any other reason, the business may only leave information about the products and services that they sell. The only exception would be when the business has a written contract in place with the customer and gets their approval in advance of the visit to solicit a contract for these goods and services.
According to the provincial government, door-to-door contracts yield one of the highest number of complaints to the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services. Ontario is now the second province to restrict door-to-door solicitation and contracts. Quite often, seniors are the targets of these aggressive and misleading sales tactics.
North Grenville’s bylaw regarding door-to-door selling requires ALL companies and individuals who want to sell door-to-door to apply and pay for a licence from the Municipality of North Grenville. These individuals and company representatives must be able to provide a copy of this licence at the door. If they cannot, residents are advised to call the Bylaw Officer (613-258-9569 ext. 206 or ext. 204) and report the company and individuals.