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Etobicoke MPP wants to ban some door-to-door sales

Last Updated May 3, 2016 at 2:29 pm EDT

An Etobicoke MPP has joined the chorus of other local politicians pushing the province to ban the door-to-door sale of certain home service products.

Yvan Baker, who will be introducing the bill at the Ontario legislature on Monday, said if passed, the legislation would ban the sale, rent or lease of water heaters, air conditioners, furnaces, and water treatment devices at the door.

It would also allow the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services to add additional products to the list as needed.

“Ontarians continue to receive unwanted sales people at their door who use misleading and aggressive sales tactics to entice people into contracts that take advantage of them,” Baker said a news conference at Queen’s Park on Monday. He was joined by the Consumers Council of Canada and the Public Interest Advocacy Centre for the announcement.

Baker said he had heard several stories from his constituents and others about how they have been misled by such salespeople at their doorsteps. He said the problem is particularly concentrated in the lease, sale and rent of water heaters, air conditioners, furnaces, and water treatment devices.

He said the four products have the highest number of complaints from consumers and have cost Ontarians over $3.1 million in 2015 alone. That number only takes into account consumers who have reported their experiences to the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, and could be much higher.

Baker said that while the bill can’t stop salespeople from knocking at a person’s door, it would ban the sale itself.

If passed, the bill also proposes stiff penalties to individuals and businesses who don’t comply.

Individuals would be subject to fines of up to $2,000, and companies would be fined up to $25,000.

Baker said any contract signed at the door would be void, and the consumer would be entitled to any money paid under the contract and the return or replacement of any product taken under the contract from their home.

If the consumer does not receive the payment, they can choose to take the company to court and could receive double the amount they were owed, on top of any legal expenses.

“I have heard from far too many consumers who have been taken advantage of by aggressive, misleading and coercive sales tactics at the door. To me, it is reprehensible that organizations have a business model that thrives on preying on the most vulnerable people in our province,” Baker said.

“We must take action to protect Ontarians and end this predatory practice.”

Mississauga city council approved a motion last week that asks the province to ban door-to-door sales in the home service sector, such as furnaces and water filtration systems. Markham has also put forward a similar motion.

Last month, Mississauga Coun. Karen Ras and Markham Coun. Colin Campbell launched a campaign urging the province to put a halt to such sales.

The councillors also want other municipalities to join their cause and also encourages residents to sign a petition.

Recently, the province banned door-to-door sales for electricity and natural gas contracts via the Strengthening Consumer Protection and Electricity System Oversight Act, 2015. But the councillors want better legislation to protect homeowners from door-to-door sellers.