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Renovating Your House: Things to Know before Signing the Contract.

Do you plan on renovating your home soon? If so, it is important to know your rights before signing a contract agreeing to services.

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Consumer Protection BC orders Burnaby martial arts studio to pay a total of $4,700 in penalties and consumer refunds

{March 7, 2014} VICTORIA, BC – Consumer Protection BC has issued a Compliance Order and Administrative Penalty against KFitness Burnaby (dba KFitness and Sport Kickboxing Academy) for failing to comply with the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act and BC’s consumer contract law.

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BC Supreme Court confirms consumer information must be removed from credit reports after 6 years
{Jan. 20, 2014} VICTORIA, BC – The Supreme Court of British Columbia has upheld Consumer Protection BC’s Compliance Order against TransUnion of Canada Ltd., a national credit reporting agency. In a judgement released today, the company was required to cease certain business practices related to the length of time information can remain on a consumer’s credit report.
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Consumer Protection BC orders 15-year ban for door-to-door salesman
{Dec. 11, 2013} VICTORIA, BC – Consumer Protection BC is advising consumers that a Direct Sales Prohibition Order has been issued against Lloyd Schell and his water filtration company, Vin Water Systems, prohibiting the door-to-door salesman from engaging in direct sales within BC for a 15-year period.
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The Case of the Family and Friends Incentive

Note: The details of this story are based on a real case. *Names have been changed to respect confidentiality.

 
{November 18, 2013} Both Sarah and Bill* signed contracts for three-year memberships into a buyers’ club type business. The price tag for each of them was several thousand dollars and they both paid substantial down payments. A few days after entering into the contracts, they began to feel uncomfortable with their decision and requested to cancel their memberships. The business responded that they couldn’t cancel the contract.

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BC consumers warned of home renovator wanted on an outstanding warrant in Alberta

{October 31, 2013} Consumer Protection BC wants British Columbians to be aware of a consumer alert issued by the Government of Alberta warning homeowners that Christopher J. Wright may be operating as a contractor in that province despite facing twenty-two charges.

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The new Wireless Code: what does it mean for you?

{June 3, 2013} VICTORIA, BC – The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) issued a new Wireless Code today, which allows Canadians to cancel their cell phone plans after two years without cancellation fees (amongst other changes).

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Consumer contracts and direct sales: know your rights & recognize door-to-door scams
During the summer, Consumer Protection BC tends to receive more calls from consumers who have been approached at their door about buying a product or service. While there are many legitimate companies who make a living this way, the following information around door to door, or direct, sales will help you make an informed decision.
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Timeshares: Things You Should Know
The purchase and reselling of timeshares is a concern for some consumers and area where Consumer Protection BC wants to help consumers make informed decisions. As such, we offer the following tips to consumers to consider before investing in a timeshare:
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Fees on milk container recycling in BC

{Oct. 29, 2012} VICTORIA, BC – Consumer Protection BC would like to advise consumers that they should not be charged deposit fees on milk containers.

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Consumer Protection BC orders Fitness Essentials to refund consumers

{Sept. 24, 2012} VICTORIA, BC – Consumer Protection BC has ordered refunds for two consumers affected by the closure of Fitness Essentials, a gym located in Vancouver, BC.

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Olympics got you pumped to get fit? Things to know before joining a gym

INFORMATION BULLETIN

Issued in partnertship with Consumer Protection BC and the Better Business Bureau serving Mainland BC

{September 13, 2012} - After watching the world’s greatest athletes during the Olympics, consumers may be signing up with a gym or fitness club eager to get in shape. Consumer Protection BC and Better Business Bureau would like to remind consumers to know your rights and look for a club that fits your needs.

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Consumers now have more options when cancelling fitness contracts

{Aug. 1, 2012} VICTORIA, BC – A new amendment of the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act takes effect today that adds nurse practitioners to the list of qualified health professionals with the legal authority to provide proof of a consumer’s inability to participate in a continuing service contract due to a health condition.

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Gym Memberships: Making An Informed Decision

Staying active and social keeps us young at heart.  There are so many wonderful choices these days to meet new people, have fun, and stay in shape.  Whether you decide to join a gym, take dance lessons or even a self-defense class, it’s still important to know your rights as a consumer.

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New Policy To Publish Enforcement Actions

{October 14, 2011} VICTORIA, BC – Consumer Protection BC has implemented a new policy to publically share information about our licensing and enforcement actions.

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New Administrative Penalty Policy

{July 5, 2011} VICTORIA, BC - Consumer Protection BC is informing our licensed industries of a new policy on the use of financial sanctions, referred to as administrative penalties, for licensed businesses that fail an inspection.

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Fraud Prevention Month Case Studies

What would you do?  Throughout the month of March we have been sharing our “What Would You Do?” columns to raise consumer awareness during Fraud Prevention Month. Each of our consumer case studies begin with a specific consumer situation, continues with how we might handle such a situation and ends with tips for consumers.

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The Case of the Desperate Debtor


Fraud Prevention Month Case #5: Megan had always prided herself on her strong work ethic and stellar credit rating. A proud person, she never thought she would see the day when debt collectors would be calling her. That happened to other people, not her. But that day had arrived almost four months to the day after she was laid off.

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The Case of the Fraudulent Furnace Installer


Fraud Prevention Month Case #4: It was a chilly January. The phone rang as Brian and his wife Emily were finishing dinner. The caller was Tom from Smith’s Heating & Gas. Would Brian be interested in having their air ducts cleaned along with a free furnace inspection?  Since their furnace was 12 years old, Emily and Brian decided to take Smith’s Heating & Gas up on their offer.  Jerry arrived the next day to clean the air ducts and to inspect the furnace. Within minutes, he discovered that Brian had a cracked distributor, which was allowing poisonous carbon monoxide gas to flood their house. Jerry turned off the gas, disconnected the furnace, and phoned his boss David.

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The Case of the Loan Shark Lender

Fraud Prevention Month Case #3: Ever since Bob changed jobs several years ago, the money just never seemed to go as far. Lately, he had been relying on payday lenders such as Cash Barn and Money Tower to get him through to the end of the month. But now there was a new payday lender called Money Penny in town and they were advertising a chance to win a pair of tickets to see an Elvis impersonator in concert. There was just one catch. You had to take out a payday loan for $200 or more.

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The Case of the Greedy Grandson


Fraud Prevention Month Case #2: Greg was always Rose’s favourite grandson. He took her to doctor’s appointments and shopping. He called her on the phone whenever he could and visited often.  Rose grew to depend on Greg and looked forward to his visits. However, he was constantly borrowing money from her, at first, just a few dollars and then larger and larger amounts.

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The Case of the Smooth-Talking Swindler

Fraud Prevention Month Case #1: Eighty-four year old Dorothy thought that Steven looked like such a nice young man. Very polite. Smartly dressed. Working his way through college. Standing there on her front doorstep, Steven explained that his company could offer her a great deal on a brand new vacuum cleaner and all she had to do was allow him to demonstrate the machine and Dorothy would receive a voucher for a free trip to Mexico. How could she say no to a free trip?

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New Licensing Fees in Effect as of January

{September 24, 2010} VICTORIA, BC – After conducting industry consultations, Consumer Protection BC is adjusting the licence fees for several of our licensed industries and occupations.   The new fees will come into effect on January 1, 2011.

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We want to hear about your consumer issues!

{August 23, 2010}  VICTORIA, BC - Consumer Protection  BC wants to hear about the issues of BC consumers.  We have just posted a consumer survey on our website that gives members of the public the opportunity to share their experiences with us.

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Gift Card Law in BC

You can also read our blog post about gift cards.

{July 15, 2010} VICTORIA, BC - These days, companies seem to be moving away from traditional punch cards and issuing pre-paid purchase cards instead.  We would like to remind consumers and businesses that in BC,  gift cards (a.k.a. pre-paid purchase cards or gift certificates) are not permitted have expiry dates or fees except in certain circumstances.

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Consumer Protection BC Wants YOU - Deadline Extended!

{July 12, 2010} VICTORIA, BC - Consumer Protection BC is seeking industry members and consumers to serve on our industry advisory groups.

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10 Tips to Avoid A Thorny Situation This Mother's Day

{May 3, 2010} VICTORIA, BC - With Mother’s Day on Sunday, many of us may turn to the internet to purchase that perfect floral arrangement or unique gift for our moms.  Buying online lets you compare product prices and gives you the convenience of having that special item shipped right to her door.  With so many choices, it pays to be careful.

Here are 10 tips to ensure everything comes up roses when you make your online purchase this Mother's Day.

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The Case of the Sneaky Serviceman

Fraud Prevention Month Case #4:

Melissa and Ryan recently bought their first home together. The house was a fixer-upper but it had a lovely garden and a big front lawn. Ryan had recently purchased some new gardening supplies and Melissa was eager to start tidying the yard. As the couple cheerfully got their tools outside to start, they saw a big white “Weed-Pros” van parked outside their home. A man in a coverall uniform smiled and as he approached Ryan and handed him a bill. The man explained that he was providing weed spraying services in the neighbourhood and sprayed their lawn as well. Ryan told the man he never requested this service and would not pay the bill. As the serviceman walked back towards his van, he told Ryan that if he didn’t pay, the bill would be sent to a collections agency.

Ryan and Melissa were concerned. They acknowledged that services were in fact provided, but Ryan certainly did not feel they were responsible for the bill. Nonetheless, Melissa was worried that by ignoring the bill, it would go to a collections agency and potentially affect their credit rating. Ryan was torn. He had plans to buy a pick-up truck to use during the home renovations and knew that a negative item on his credit report could really get in the way of getting his getting a loan, but he felt that what was happening to them was very unfair.

WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

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The Case of the Tempting T-Bird

Fraud Prevention Month Case #3:
Jeremy really wanted to buy that second hand car.  The bright red T-Bird had black leather seats.   He had already thought of the perfect item to hang on the rear-view mirror.  He knew he didn’t have the money but had just seen an ad for guaranteed loans.  All Jeremy had to do was send in fifty dollars and he would get the money.   The ad looked pretty fancy and had a toll free number and it didn’t matter if Jeremy had bad credit, which he did.  It sounded like the perfect solution.  And he really wanted that car.

Jeremy decided to go for it and sent in his money.  It wasn’t long before he heard back from the company – he had almost qualified for the loan and just had to send in an additional payment to secure the loan.  He was so close to getting his car. He could already picture himself behind the wheel.

WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

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The Case of the Renovation Rip-Off

Fraud Prevention Month Case #2:
Bill lives alone. He likes people and they like him. One day, he had a knock at his door. He opened it to find two men standing there. They were in his area doing renovation work for one of his neighbours.  Did he have any work he wanted done at a great price?

Before Bill knew it, he had signed a contract to have an attached sundeck built at a cost of $15,000.00. He gave the men a personal cheque for the full amount, which they cashed at his bank the same day.
Bill then waited for his sundeck to be built…and waited and waited and waited. He kept calling the men wondering when they were going to build his sundeck. One of the men finally showed up several weeks later, spent two hours on the job nailing a few boards in place, and that was the last Bill ever saw or heard of the men.

WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

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The Case of the Swindled Senior

Fraud Prevention Month Case #1:

Twenty-two year old Tanya loved her mother Bessie enormously. Theirs was a close relationship however in recent months, Tanya sensed that something was troubling Bessie. She was uncharacteristically withdrawn, secretive, and appeared depressed. Her mother also appeared to be getting a lot of mail, most of it strewn about the house. Tanya remembered how only a few months earlier Bessie appeared elated and happy and had remarked that “her ship was about to come in”.

The phone call from Bessie’s bank manager came out of the blue and shook Tanya to her core.  Bessie had withdrawn almost all of her savings in a very short period of time and the manager was concerned.

WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

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Olympic Visitors Warned About Property Rental Scams

{January 27, 2010} VICTORIA – Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General INFORMATION BULLETIN - As British Columbia prepares to welcome the world to the 2010 Winter Games, the B.C. Government, Better Business Bureau and Consumer Protection BC are reminding both International visitors and Canadian residents to be careful and do their homework before booking vacation rentals.

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