It was just last year when I received a call from a recent client who had just moved into her new home. She was new to the area and unfamiliar with local utility companies.  She was calling me with a question about the very first visitor she had to her new home.

On the day after she moved in, a gentleman knocked on her door claiming he was with her water heater company and needed to check on the condition the previous homeowners had left the rented water heater in. Since the man was dressed in official uniform and aware that she had just moved in, my client let the salesman into her home and showed him to the basement. Within 10 minutes, he had convinced her that the water heater was outdated and too old for energy efficient use (it was less than six years old) and that she would need a new one installed.

My first question to her was: “Did you sign anything?” She had, but luckily Canadian consumers have 10 days to legally back out of a contract without penalty. These door-to-door sales tactics are sneaky and dishonest and I’m happy to report that something has finally been done about it.

In response to the 2,240 complaints the Ontario government received in 2013 alone about door-to-door water heater sales tactics, the Stronger Protection for Ontario Consumers Act legislation was passed late last year.

One of the aspects of the new legislation will protect consumers by curbing aggressive door-to-door sales tactics for water heater rentals. The 10-day “cooling off” period has been extended to 20 days in order to give homeowners more time to consider their decision. Delivery and installation of a new water heater has been banned during that 20-day period. Also required will be scripted and recorded calls to the consumer within the 20 days to ensure that they are aware of all the terms of the contract. Finally, in order to crack down on companies not following the new rules, the supplier will be required to pay all costs and cancellation fees that a consumer incurs when the 20-day cooling off period is not observed.

For more information about the Stronger Protection for Ontario Consumers Act, visit http://bit.ly/1hGQOK4.