Door-to-door sales of furnaces, air conditioners and water heaters were banned in March 2018, but many Ontarians who signed agreements before are still stuck with them.
In 2015, Angela Ashley of Norland, Ont., signed a contract to buy an air conditioner and said soon after she regretted her decision.
“We bought our air conditioner which was to be paid for over ten years, but my husband was like you shouldn’t have subscribed to that,” said Ashely, who added “we’re now paying ten times what it’s worth, but ever since we signed up, we’ve been doing it.”
In September 2021, Ashley received a call from a company that told her it could help her get out of the long-term contract for a fee of $3,955.
Ashley said at the time that after six years of payments, the air conditioner buyout was still around $10,000, so she agreed to hire the company to try to undo the deal.
“They said it would be quick, it would all be over in a few months, and it would be paid for,” Ashley said.
The company that contacted Ashley is Canada Contract Dispute. She said that after paying them $3,955, she received no correspondence from their representatives and her calls were not returned.
“I left message after message after message after message and no one returned my phone calls. It just goes to voicemail,” Ashley said.
When contacted by CTV News Toronto, a Canada Contract Dispute spokesperson said in a statement, “Canada Contract Dispute works hard to ensure customer satisfaction. Due to events surrounding COVID-19, Ms. Ashley’s case has been seriously delayed. His brief was sent to a litigant prior to correspondence with CTV.
The Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) issued a warning in March 2022 regarding companies offering to terminate home equipment contracts after receiving complaints.
“We have received some of these similar reports from across the province,” FSRA spokesperson Russ Courtney said.
FSRA advises consumers to do their own research, as these types of services dealing with breaking long-term leases for home equipment are so new that landlords should be careful and do their homework before paying to advance for the service.
“Take your time to understand what you’re getting into and remember that you can always step back and talk to someone,” Courtney said.
Canada Contract Dispute said it is currently working on Ashely’s case. Ashley says after nine months of waiting, she hopes to get answers on her case soon.
“Ideally, I’d like this company to pull me (out of the deal) or give me my money back and I’ll still pay for the air conditioner if I have to,” Ashley said.
Although door-to-door sales have been banned in Ontario, some products and services may still be sold at your doorstep. It is therefore advisable for landlords to be careful if you are offered something and never sign a contract that you do not do. completely understand.