Senior Scene September 26, 2018

The first few days of the Autumnal Equinox have passed and unfortunately this also heralds the season of “fly by night” repair people and pretend contractors as they target the vulnerable members of our community promising “quick fixes” and patch repairs prior to the advent of winter.  With this in mind I wanted to share some information from Consumer Protection Act 2002 as they apply to purchases made at the door:

  • If you sign a contract in your home, you many cancel within 10 days by providing a proper “notice of cancellation”.  You may provide this notice via fax, email, registered letter, or hand delivery and it is good practise to keep a copy of your letter.  Upon receipt of your notice, the company has 15 days to refund your money and either pick up the product in question, or provide the funds to ship it back to the company in question.
  • Anything you purchase in your home with a cost in excess of $50 requires a written contract.
  • Legally the contract must contain:  the name and address of the buyer and seller, a description of the item, and clearly state the price, delivery dates, delivery charges and the date on which services are to be performed and completed.  Failure to provide all this information gives the buyer the option to cancel the contract within one year of signing, and the company must provide a full refund.
  • The only exception to the above clause protects the supplier in the case of emergency work and permits them to retain reasonable compensation for work performed.
  • If your agreement contains an estimate, the final price cannot be more than 10 percent above it unless you agree.
  • Consumer agreements must disclose important details such as an annual renewal fee.  If you encounter an aspect of the arrangement that was not disclosed but is required by law, you have the right to cancel the contract within a year.
  • If the company does not deliver or begin performing services within 30 days of the date stated in the agreement you have the right to cancel the agreement at any time before delivery or commencement of performance.  You will lose this right if you agree to accept delivery or permit the company to perform its obligations after the 30 day period.
  • Under law, there is a minimum warranty on the quality of services in that they must be of reasonably acceptable quality.  You have the right to file a complaint if the quality is below this standard.
  • You are protected against unfair business practices such as deceptive promotion and sales tactics.  If an unfair practice has occurred such as misrepresentation of a product or service, you have the right to rescind the agreement within a year.
  • When you cancel an agreement signed in your home, any other arrangements you made as a result of that purchase, such as a financing agreement, are also cancelled.
  • If you have paid at least two-thirds of the cost of your goods, a business cannot take them back from you except by court order.  However, if you miss a payment, the business can take you to court to get full payment, and this could hurt your credit rating.

If you have questions about your rights you may contact the Consumer Protection Branch at 416-326-8800 or 1-800-889-9768. Another option is their website: https://www.ontario.ca/page/consumer-protection-ontario

Information in this column is compiled by Shell-Lee Wert- Executive Director of CCSH, 470 Dundas Street East, Unit 63, Belleville, K8N 1G1.  Please visit our website at https://ccsh.ca, or email me at shell-leew@ccsh.ca or check out our CCSH Facebook page, or call 613-969-0130 or 613-396-6591 for information and assistance.  CCSH is a proud United Way member agency.  Funding in part from the South East Local Health Integration Network