New Restrictions on Door-To-Door Contract Sales In Ontario

On April 13, 2017, Bill 59, Putting Consumers First Act (Consumer Protection Statute Law Amendment), 2017 (Bill 59), received Royal Assent. 

Bill 59 makes changes to the Consumer Protection Act (Ontario), the Collection and Debt Settlement Services Act and the Payday Loans Act. It also creates a new home inspection regime that requires home inspectors to be licensed and makes changes to Water Heater Agreements.

Consequently, amendments to the Act will become law in Ontario on March 1, 2018, in relation to the following:

Lease and Credit Agreements

Credit Agreements

Agreements for Supply of Appliances (New)

Ban on Certain Door-to-Door Sales (fuller information given below)

Reduced Cooling-off Period (The cooling-off period for all direct agreements is now 10 days after the consumer has received a written copy of the agreement, and not 20 days as previous)

Cashing Government Cheques

Payday Loans

New Rules for Debt Collection

Licensing Home Inspectors 

No Door-to-Door Agreements for Certain Goods and Services

Generally speaking, all suppliers (persons offering products/services to consumers) will be prohibited from soliciting or entering into agreements (called Restricted Agreements) at a consumer's home (or other places as may be prescribed by the Act) in relation to the following goods and services (called Restricted Goods and Services):

  1. Furnaces
  2. Air conditioners
  3. Air cleaners
  4. Air purifiers
  5. Water heaters
  6. Water treatment devices
  7. Water purifiers
  8. Water filters
  9. Water softeners
  10. Duct cleaning services
  11. Goods or services that are a combination of or that perform similar functions to the goods or services listed above (e.g. HVAC).

What is "Solicitation"?

Leaving marketing materials at the doorstep or through letter boxes, at a consumer's home without attempting to contact them is not solicitation, but suppliers should respect any notices saying "no flyer" at consumers' homes. 

Additionally, suppliers should be cognizant of the unfair practices section of the Act. Any marketing material left at a consumer's home which contain representations which could be considered false, misleading, deceptive or unconscionable representations, will constitute solicitation, and so will be in contravention of the Act.

There are also new disclosure requirements for Restricted Agreements.

Exemptions 

The prohibition mentioned above (i.e. against Restricted Agreements) will not apply where the consumer is the one who initiates the contact and specifically requests the supplier to attend his or her home so as to enter into such an agreement.

The restrictions mentioned earlier will also not apply in the following circumstances (called Supplier Exemptions): 

(i) a written consumer agreement already exists for the Restricted Goods and Services; 

(ii) the supplier initiates contact for any reason, by any means of communication (but not in person at the consumer's home) and the consumer also requested that the supplier to come to his or her home; and 

(iii) during such communication initiated by the supplier, the supplied asks the consumer, while at the consumer's home, whether the supplied can solicit a Restricted Agreement in the consumer's home, and the consumer agrees.

"Consumer-Initiated" communication

For advise on when a consumer may initiate contact and specifically request a supplier attend the consumer's home to enter into a Restricted Agreement that would not be in contravention of the Act, or what Record-Keeping is required for Restricted Agreement or the legal effect/consequences of Contravention of the Act, please contact us using the following email address: pm@mooreslawpractice.ca 

The content of this article is intended to provide a general information and should not be considered as legal advice. We would be willing to provide legal advice specific to your situation if sought.