Kingston Police are warning local residents after receiving numerous complaints regarding an HVAC company and its sales personnel based out of Mississauga.
According to police, the company is phoning area homeowners – and predominantly targeting seniors – telling them that they will send someone to their house to inspect their water heater.
Once an appointment has been arranged, police say that a salesman shows up in person at the residence, looks at the homeowner’s water heater, and claims that it is out of date and needs to be replaced. The salesman then gets the owner to sign some forms, and photographs the homeowner’s driver’s licence and a void cheque.
“Some of the forms are in fact a loan application for the homeowner to finance a water heater that is thousands of dollars above the average cost of such an item,” Kingston Police said in a press release on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021.
Police say that, while there is no criminal offence involved, these instances may be possible violations of the Consumer Protection Act.
“Under the Act, certain products – including furnaces, air conditioners, and water heaters – cannot be sold at your home unless you initiate the transaction,” Kingston Police said, noting that, in order for a homeowner to initiate the transaction, they would need to call or email a business and ask them to come to the home for the purpose of entering a contract.
Police also note that, for those who become involved with the company, once a written copy of the contract is obtained, the homeowner still has a 10-day “cooling off period” during which time they can cancel the contract.
“If you don’t receive a written contract, or the contract you receive doesn’t include required information about the products or services, you can cancel the contract within one year from the day you entered it,” Kingston Police further explained.
Kingston Police are advising residents not to give their identity information to strangers or individuals who have shown up or contacted them without solicitation.
“Do not let people that you haven’t called yourself into your home,” police said.
Kingston Police also recommends checking with local businesses to get an idea of what a product or service should cost before agreeing to any contract.
“It is always a good idea to get quotes from different companies and contractors,” they said.
Police are encouraging homeowners to educate themselves on their rights under the Consumer Protection Act by visiting the Ministry’s website at: https://www.ontario.ca/page/door-door-sales-and-home-service-contracts.
Complaints concerning such companies and their practices should be made to the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services. This can be done online at: https://www.consumerbeware.mgs.gov.on.ca/esearch/compform/english/complaint.jsp.
Kingston Police are asking the public to share this information with friends and family, and specifically with seniors who appear to be the most commonly targeted individuals in this scheme.