About BC Consumer Protection

Direct Sales Prohibition Order Issued Against Tri Nova Developments

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{February 6, 2006} VICTORIA – The Business Practices and Consumer Protection Authority (the Authority) issued a Direct Sales Prohibition Order on December 9, 2005 against Lloyd Schell Jr. and Tri Nova Developments, ordering the company to stop entering into or facilitating direct sales in British Columbia for five years. Also included in the order were David Schell, Okanagan Miracle Systems Inc., Micro Innovations Ltd., Metro Agencies Inc. and LCS Holdings. The action was taken in response to violations of the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act. The company had 30 days to request a reconsideration of this decision and has not sent a request or other information to the BPCPA.
An investigation by the Authority found that several sections of the legislation were violated and revealed that the company:
  • used misleading tactics by phoning consumers to tell them that they had “won” a free gift in order to gain access to consumers’ homes to sell vacuum cleaners;
  • used undue pressure on vulnerable seniors to make sales and to get consumers to enter contracts;
  • charged grossly exaggerated prices for the vacuums it sold;
  • failed to include information on the direct sales contracts as required under the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act and regulations;
  • made it difficult for consumers to invoke their 10 day right to cancel by not answering or returning calls;
  • took trade-in vacuum cleaners but never remitted monies to consumers as promised for those re-sold;
  • provided refunds to consumers only after intervention by investigators for the Authority (and formerly, the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General); and,
  • did not provide refunds within the prescribed time limit (15 days).
Direct sales contracts are contracts that are entered into in person at a place other than the supplier’s permanent place of business, such as contracts entered into in consumers’ homes. Consumer rights with respect to direct sales contracts under the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act and the Consumer Contract Regulations includes the following:
  • right to cancel a contract within 10 days for any reason;
  • right to cancel the contract if the contract does not contain the information required under the legislation;
  • right to a refund from the supplier within 15 days if the contract is cancelled;
  • right to a copy of the contract at the time of signing or the contract is not binding; and,
  • no requirement to provide a down payment greater than $100 or 10% (whichever is less) of the total price.
The Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act prohibits deceptive and unconscionable acts and practices. Deceptive acts include a representation by a supplier that deceives or misleads a consumer, including a representation that the purpose or intent of a solicitation is for a purpose or intent that differs from the fact.

Unconscionable acts or practices may include whether the supplier subjected the consumer to undue pressure, took advantage of the consumer’s inability or incapacity to reasonably protect his or her own interest for reasons such as age or infirmity, the total price grossly exceeded the total price at which similar goods were readily obtainable by similar consumers, there was no reasonable probability of full payment by the consumer; or the terms or conditions were so harsh or adverse to the consumer as to be inequitable.

For more information on this or any other direct sales issue, visit the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Authority website at www.bpcpa.ca or contact the Authority at its BC toll free number 1 888 777-4393.