Ontario’s new law could affect your businesses door-to-door sales!
In case you haven’t heard the news, Ontario’s new law can have a major impact on your business’s door-to-door sales.
As of March 1, the province has implemented a ban on the door-to-door sales of certain goods and services in an effort to protect consumers from aggressive and misleading solicitors.
This ban includes the door-to-door sales of furnaces, air conditioners, air cleaners, air purifiers, water heaters, water treatment devices, water purifiers, water filters, water softeners, and duct cleaning services.
With Ontario being only the second province in Canada to restrict door-to-door solicitations (Alberta was the first to do this in 2017), individuals and businesses now risk fines of up to $50,000 (or imprisonment of up to two years—pick your poison) and $250,000, respectively.
However, this doesn’t mean going door-to-door is out of the question… just yet. It just means that the consumer has to reach out to you first, or you must get their approval before you begin knocking.
For instance, if a consumer contacts you ahead of time and invites you to their home, then this is an open invitation to sell any of the restricted products and services at their residence.
Furthermore, if a contract between both parties already exists, then scheduling a maintenance visit to the customer’s home isn’t a violation.
However, if you hope to sell a restricted product or service during this maintenance call, you must get the customer’s permission before your visit. Without this prior approval, you can only leave information about the products and services you offer and nothing more.
Businesses offering restricted products and services are also required to:
- Maintain records for three years of how contact with each customer was made
- Attach a cover page to the contract that includes the name of the business and informs consumers of their rights
- Ensure marketing materials do not contain misleading information
- Identify all costs and cancellation fees in the contract
This new law also offers consumers a 10-day, penalty-free period which will allow them to cancel any contracts they signed in their home.
In addition, if the consumer signs a contract for a restricted product or service as a result of door-to-door or misleading marketing materials, then the contract will become void and the consumer is free to keep the goods or services without obligation. If the consumer is charged penalties or fees from third parties, the business is also obligated to reimburse these charges.
For years, door-to-door contracts have been among the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services’ top complaints. In fact, according to the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, there were over 7,000 complaints, incidents, and inquiries related to door-to-door heating, air and water services in the last three years alone.
Although this new ban does not apply to telecommunications, home maintenance or charities—as they either don’t fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government or generate as many complaints with Consumer Protection Ontario—it’s clear you now need to think twice before you knock.
For more information about the ban, check out the Government of Ontario website.
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