The Manitoba Consumer Protection Office (CPO) urges Manitobans to be cautious about door-to-door selling of large household items such as furnaces, air conditioners and water heaters as door-to-door sales become more frequent in the summer months.
The Consumer Protection Office investigates complaints about unlicensed businesses and direct sellers, high-pressure sales tactics, warranty concerns on goods and services and cancellation rights.
Consumers are reminded to be aware of their rights under the Consumer Protection Act. In Manitoba, all consumers have the right to:
- Ask to see a salesperson’s direct seller licence. All direct sellers must be licensed by the CPO. If they can’t provide a licence, write down the person’s name and the company name being represented. Before continuing with the transaction, contact the CPO to verify the company is licensed.
- Cancel the agreement if you change your mind. You have 10 days to cancel an agreement with a licensed seller or one year to cancel an agreement with an unlicensed seller. You don’t need a reason to cancel and you cannot be charged a penalty when you do. The direct seller must receive your wish to cancel in writing.
If approached by any door-to-door direct seller, the Consumer Protection Office suggests the following tips:
• Read the whole contract before signing. Don’t sign it if there is anything you don’t understand, such as terms and conditions or if you have questions about your cancellation rights. Before making large purchases, consider reviewing the contract with a lawyer to be sure the terms are clear to you.
- Take your time deciding. If you feel rushed or pressured, ask the salesperson to leave the information with you.
- Ask them to leave if you are not comfortable with the seller or not interested in their product.
- Shop around and get to know the company. Ask for references and be sure to check them. Research the seller’s reputation by contacting the Better Business Bureau and looking on the Internet for reviews.
- If they ask to do an inspection, be sure to get more than one opinion. Contact at least two more companies and compare the results. Always get estimates before making a decision on a large purchase.
- Check with your local municipality to see if any permits, licences or inspections are necessary. If they are, make sure the contract states whether they are the responsibility of the contractor or the homeowner
For more information visit www.gov.mb.ca/cca/cpo.