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Southwestern Ontario Contractor Fined for Unfair Practices and Failure to Refund Consumer Deposit

Court Bulletin

Southwestern Ontario Contractor Fined for Unfair Practices and Failure to Refund Consumer Deposit

Ministry of Government and Consumer Services

Convicted - Sheldon E. Benson and Benco Concrete Inc.

Location - Kitchener

Description of Offence - Benco Concrete Inc. provided consumers with a contract that did not include information about the consumers' right to a 10-day cooling-off period when signing a contact at their home. Mr. Benson did not refund the consumers' deposit after they cancelled the contract.

Date of Offence - On or about April 27, 2015 - two counts of unfair practice; between May 26, 2015 and January 11, 2016 - two counts of failure to refund

Date of Conviction - October 26, 2017at the Ontario Court of Justice in Kitchener by Her Worship Magoulas

Penalty Imposed

The court imposed the following against Mr. Benson:

  • Fine of $250 for not providing a proper contract and $1,000 for failure to refund
  • One-year probation with terms of restitution
  • Payment of $1,068 to the consumers in restitution

The court imposed the following against Benco Concrete Inc.:

  • Fine of $500 for not providing a proper contract and $2,000 for failure to refund

Background

  • Consumers from a Kitchener household entered into an agreement with Benco Concrete Inc. for concrete driveway work on April 27, 2015 and paid a deposit of $1,068. They cancelled the agreement within the 10-day cooling-off period, which is their right under the Consumer Protection Act, 2002.
  • Mr. Benson, as the sole operator of Benco Concrete Inc., had provided the consumers with a contract that did not include required language about rights under the act.
  • Mr. Benson kept the deposit despite the consumers' multiple attempts to cancel the contract.
  • The act empowers the court to order offenders to pay compensation or make restitution to victims.
  • In cases where consumers sign a contract for $50 or more, at their home, the act provides for a 10-day cooling-off period to cancel a home renovation contract without cancellation fees.
  • Consumer Protection Ontario reminds consumers to:
    1. Pay no more than a 10 per cent deposit
    2. Visit the Consumer's Beware List before entering into a contract with any company, and
    3. Visit www.ontario.ca/ConsumerProtection for tips on how to protect their money and ensure they are signing a proper contract.
  • Ontario's Consumer Protection Act, 2002 provides for fines of up to $250,000 for corporations per charge and $50,000 per charge for individuals convicted of offences. It also provides for jail terms of up to two years less a day for each offence for individuals.

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