Door-to-Door Salesperson Sentenced to Five Months in Jail and Ordered to Pay Back More Than $57,000 to Consumers
On March 21, 2014, Babak Navarchi, operating in the Toronto area as Mr. Tankless Inc., pled guilty to several charges under Ontario's Consumer Protection Act and defrauding the public under the Criminal Code. He was sentenced to more than five months in jail followed by three years' probation and ordered to pay $57,000 restitution to 33 consumers.
Since 2009, 33 consumers entered into agreements with Mr. Tankless for the rental of hot water heaters, furnaces and air conditioning units. They were promised a free water softener and government rebate after having an energy audit completed. The consumers paid deposits and gave Mr. Tankless void cheques for "credit check purposes."
Consumers believed they were renting products but discovered they were signed up for loans to finance purchase of those products instead. Their signatures were forged on loan application documents and the person signing on behalf of the company was Frank Piroozi, a known alias of Navarchi.Most consumers never received the products or refunds they requested. When some consumers attempted to follow up with Mr. Tankless, they were unable to find the company at the address given.
Justice Donald J. Halikowski of the Oshawa Criminal Court convicted Navarchi and Mr. Tankless on charges of:
- engaging in an unfair practice by making a false, misleading or deceptive representation
- failing to refund payment within 15 days of being given notice of cancellation of the consumer agreement
- failing to ensure Mr. Tankless complies with the Consumer Protection Act
- fraud over $5,000 under the Criminal Code
Navarchi has also been ordered to stop communication or association with the victims and stay 100 metres away from their places of residence, education, employment or worship. The consumers are from Barrie, Brampton, Burlington, Newmarket, Toronto and Whitby. Some are elderly.
Consumers are reminded to check the ministry's Consumer Beware List before doing business with any company.
- Ontario’s Consumer Protection Act, 2002 provides for fines of up to $250,000 for corporations and $50,000 for individuals convicted of offences. It also provides for jail terms of up to two years less a day for each offence.
- The act also empowers the court to order offenders to pay compensation or make restitution to victims.