February 27, 2018 – Good news for Canadians concerned about coercive and misleading salespeople on their doorsteps. A ban on unsolicited door-to-door sales of certain household appliances will take effect March 1st in Ontario. Businesses will only be able to sell to a consumer at their home if the consumer has contacted the business ahead of time and invited them to their home for the purpose of making a sale. These rules will apply to the following items:
- Air cleaners
- Air conditioners
- Air purifiers
- Duct cleaning services
- Water filters
- Water heaters
- Water purifiers
- Water softeners
- Water treatment devices
- Bundles of these goods and services
Click here to watch a video of MPP Yvan Baker of Etobicoke making the announcement. He credits Maria Mikelenas-McLoughlin, CARP Etobicoke Chapter Chair for working with him to achieve this win.
Who is NOT banned?
While the province’s ban on unsolicited, door-to-door sales covers most heating, air and water services, it does not apply to telecommunications companies, home maintenance services or charities. MPP Yvan Baker, Etobicoke Centre, who pushed for the ban said it stops short of encompassing companies in other sectors because they don’t all fall under provincial jurisdiction or generate as many complaints with Consumer Protection Ontario. “Telecoms are under the jurisdiction of the federal government. Charities who come to the door presumably aren’t selling anything so the legislation can’t apply to them,” said MPP Baker. “Home-maintenance services theoretically could be captured under this legislation, but I focused on the products where we by far received the most complaints.”
If after March 1st, a consumer is pressured into making a sale without having contacted the business ahead of time, the contract will be considered void, and consumers will be able to keep the goods and services with no obligations.
Businesses will also be required to keep a record of how contact with the consumer entering the contract was made. “This is a critical component of the bill, as it puts the burden of proof on the business, not the consumer,” said Wanda Morris, VP Advocacy.
“CARP members are particularly vulnerable to predatory door-to-door sales as many are retired and home during the day to answer the door,” said Morris. “This ban will ensure residents don’t become victims of unscrupulous salespeople.”
CARP has long called for legislation to protect Ontarians from falling victim to deceptive business practices, and unsolicited goods or services.
CARP polled its members to determine support for a prohibition on door-to-door sales and the responses were clear: nearly 90% of respondents indicated that they were in favour of such a law in their own province. Furthermore, over 95% of CARP members polled believe that predatory door-to-door sales is an issue for seniors.