Ontario Strengthening Rules on Water Heater Contracts
Longer Cooling-Off Period and Clear Contracts Better Protect Consumers
Ontario is increasing protections for consumers who feel pressured to sign a contract at the door for a water heater, giving them twice as long to reconsider their decision with a new 20-day cooling-off period.
As of April 1, 2015, consumers can cancel a contract signed at the door for any reason and without penalty within the 20-day cooling-off period. Also, suppliers cannot install a water heater within that same period unless there is a request from a consumer or there is a potential safety issue with the heater being replaced.
In addition, water heater suppliers now must:
- Give consumers information about their rights before a door-to-door water heater contract is signed
- Disclose key contract terms in clear, easy-to-understand language
- Provide information to the consumer about costs of long-term leases of water heaters compared with purchasing a water heater outright
- Make a scripted and recorded telephone call to a consumer to confirm the contract. If it is not confirmed, the contract would be void
- Pay all cancellation and other fees if the 20-day cooling-off period is not observed
- The new rules are part of the Consumer Protection Act.
- Door-to-door water heater rentals/removals are traditionally one of the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services’ Top Complaints.
- In 2014, the ministry received more than 1,700 complaints and inquiries about water heater removals and rentals.
- The ministry’s Consumer Beware List has information about businesses that have failed to respond to the ministry about a written consumer complaint; have had an order issued against them; or have a conviction or outstanding charge pending under the Consumer Protection Act.
“Door-to-door water heater sales have regularly been a 'Top 10' complaint in our ministry, which is why our government has taken the steps to better protect consumers when it comes to these types of contracts. These new rules will ensure Ontarians are armed with the information they need to ask the right questions and make informed decisions when entering a water heater contract at the door.”