Ont. curbs door-to-door sales

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On April 10 the Ontario government passed a law designed to prevent home owners and renters from being harassed by unsolicited sales people selling products and rental contracts at the doorstep, typically with fraudulent sales pitches.

The new Putting Consumers First Act will enable the government to specifically ban unsolicited door-to-door sales of prescribed products “such as water heaters, furnaces, air conditioners and water filters.”

The government reports that such sales calls have been among the top complaints received by the Ministry of Government and Consumers Services, with complaints about companies selling furnaces and air conditioners surpassing those received for water heaters since new rules for water heater door-to-door rental contracts came into effect in April, 2015.

Earlier this year, the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI) made a submission on behalf of the industry, with support from the Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating (CIPH) and the Canadian Water Quality Association (CWQA).

While supporting the spirit of the legislation, HRAI expressed concerns about some of its implications. It worries that the legislation might constrain the ability of HVAC contractors to provide solutions for their customers beyond the purpose of an initial sales call and that the law will not effectively address phone solicitation tactics employed by companies to side-step the need for selling at the door, reported Martin Luymes, HRAI director of programs and relations.

HRAI has been assured, however, that it will be consulted in the development of the regulations and that they will be written to address such details, he added.

The new law will also regulate home inspectors. The industry has long complained that these people are often not qualified to inspect plumbing and HVAC systems.

The Putting Consumers First Act will introduce mandatory licensing and “proper qualifications” for home inspectors, along with establishing minimum standards for contracts, home inspection reports, disclosures and the performance of home inspections.

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