Contract: (definition) an agreement between two or more parties for the doing or not doing of something specified. An agreement, enforceable by law. The definition of a contract seems clear, so why are we often disputing them?
A well-written contract protects both the consumer and supplier by outlining what a consumer expects to receive, and what a business is expected to provide. But just what information is required to be included in a contract? What rights do both the consumer and supplier have in regards to promise, delivery and cancellation? The Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act covers four types of contracts:
- Continuing Service Contracts: these are generally a health or fitness membership.
- Future Performance Contracts: a contract you enter into when you do not receive the product or service or you do not make payment in full at the time the contract is made.
- Direct Sales Contracts: this generally occurs when you enter into a contract in person but at a place other than the supplier’s permanent place of business (for example a door to door sale).
- Distance Sales Contracts: this generally occurs when you purchase a product or service not in person and you don’t have a chance to inspect it first.
Consumer Protection BC regulates areas such as what information needs to be shared with the consumer, cancellation rights and the timing of when the consumer needs to get a copy of the contract. There is a lot to know about service contracts. For example, for a future performance contract the business has to give a copy of the contract to the consumer within 15 days after the contract is entered into but for a direct sales contract, the consumer has to get a copy of the contract right away. Cancellation rights also vary by contract types.
Many problems can be avoided when both the business and the consumer are aware of their rights and responsibilities before entering into a contract. Got questions? Please post your question in the comment section below.
Direct sales contracts
Continuing services contracts
Tips before entering into a contract for services
14 thoughts on “Contracts – I didn’t agree to that”
I was going to buy a truck through Canada Drives but after 4 week delay and getting the truck was amess I phoned and cancelled right away with them also emailed with the finance company and the them. I looked at my bank statement the other day and they have taken 2 payments out of my account. I do not even have the truck I demanded they come and get it the next day now when I phone them to find out what they are going to do they are ignoring me all together. please help me what steps do I take next
Hi Ron, thank you for asking a question here. I’m not sure if Canada Drives is a licensed car dealership but you may want to contact the Vehicles Sales Authority of BC. They are the regulator of vehicle dealerships in BC. Here’s their website and contact information. I hope they will be able to point you in the right direction.
Does a business have the right to force you to buy a service contract for equipment you buy? We purchased a treadmill years ago at Fitness Town and tried to opt out of the extra $200 fee for service at the time we purchased it. We were told then it was mandatory, even though we said we’d be fine paying out of pocket for a service call if the need arose. They said we had no choice and had to pay for the plan— BUT the good news was if we didn’t make any service calls in 5 years we would receive the $200 service plan fee back as a store credit. Today I discovered (though it was apparently written on a piece of paper we were given at the time of purchase according to them) that I had to claim our $200 credit within 30 days of the five year service plan expiration from the date we purchased our treadmill. This feels like a scheme that shouldn’t be legal. We had 3 kids in the 5 years following our purchase. Of course we lost track of time, the $200 service plan we were not permitted to opt out of went unused (as we expected), but because we did not claim our credit within 30 days of the five year expiration, we get nothing back. How can money you were forced to pay for something you didn’t use have an expiration date— especially when then is no option to opt of of paying for this plan? Because I received such awful customer service at the store today for something unrelated, I decided the integrity of this practice was worth looking into.
Thanks for your help!
Hi Lori, thanks for your question. While warranties/extended service agreements are not covered by the contract laws we oversee, it’s my understanding that a business is allowed to set the parameters of their warranties/service agreements. If the business did disclose the terms and conditions around the $200 credit, then I believe they are within their rights to abide by those rules. This is why it’s so important to read the fine print when making a big purchase. I know this wasn’t the answer you were looking for, but I hope it was helpful. Thanks for reaching out to us here.
I was booked to play a show (played there in May and booked the show for August at that time) in three weeks time. I call to confirm with the venue and they tell me they have no record of booking me and they’ve booked someone else for that night, nothing they can do. Is there something I can do? I have email correspondence from the venue confirming the booking.
Hi – thanks for posting your question here. If you had a contract with the venue, it could fall under a future performance contract but the contract usually gives consumers cancellation rights. I’m assuming that you didn’t pay any deposit and there was no written contract – if this is the case, you won’t have much recourse I’m afraid. If you have put in money towards advertising and some other costs of planning the event, you may be able to get the money back by taking the venue to the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT). Here’s the link to their website. I’m sorry that I can’t suggest much else.
I took my motorcycle to a home based business for a fairly straight forward repair. The starter clutch was dying and needed to be replaced. The bike would start after 2-3 tries. I told the business owner/mechanic I had taken it to a shop a year earlier and they had quoted me $600, but it was near the end of the riding season so I left it. I told him the name of the shop as well. He said no problem, it’s an easy fix and he would have it down in a day or two. He said he had it all fixed and ready to go after about 3 days. Then he said the bike wouldn’t start anymore and that it was a wiring problem. After 3 months of waiting, he still has my bike, it no longer starts, and he told me the bill was $2000. He would not provide a written bill and said it was for parts and labor. I refused to pay and told him we had agreed it would be less than $600.
Now, he has had my bike for almost 4 months, it still does not start, and he is threatening to sell my bike to recover costs.
What options do I have?
Hi Sukhi, thank you for contacting us here. Your situation sounds like a quality of service/work issue and you may need to take it to Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT). It’s an online-based dispute resolution platform and it deals with matters up to $5,000. Here is their website for more information.
We signed up for a security system through Prices and they have since passed on our contract to Telus security. We were happy with Prices and would never have used a service through Telus willingly.
Is this allowed? There does not seem to be any mention of transferring service or subcontracting in our small print of contract.
We have now sold the home ( the equipment involved was owned by us outright so no need to return)
We are now told we are on the hook for the remaining full term of the contract 1 year +.
Hi Kay, thanks for reaching out to us here. That sounds frustrating. Is there any chance that Telus bought the original company you signed with? Also, was your original contract with Prices supposed to continue for the next year +? Thanks!
Hello, I placed an order with a company based in British Columbia (I am based in Los Angeles, California) for a product online. The contract included a clause that I was not made aware of (50% of the sales prices needed to be made upfront and was non refundable – that came to $18,000 for just the deposit).
I need to cancel this order for reasons beyond my control (permitting and city issues) and the company is now telling me I have no right to any of my 50% deposit.
The contract includes no delivery date or timeframe either.
What rights do I have under the law?
Hi there, thanks for your question. The laws that we oversee offer certain protections when a consumer does not receive the goods or service that they ordered online/over the phone within 30 days of the supply date (the day it was supposed to be delivered) or within 30 days of the order (if there was no supply date). In those circumstances, we have a process to help consumers request a refund because they did not get what they paid for. However, the situation you described appears to be a contractual dispute where you changed your mind about the product and are unhappy with the terms of the contract you signed. In these situations (if you can’t work it out with the business), you likely would need to have the issue resolved in court. You may be interested in speaking with a lawyer to explore your options. I imagine this wasn’t the answer you were looking for but I hope it’s helpful to you.
I ordered a Sofa at end of December last year. I received a purchase order which stated that the expected delivery is 6-7 months. However we have not seen anything as of today.
I paid 50% down. When the rest of the payments are due was not clear on the purchase order. There is also no address of the supplier on the purchase order.
Today, I gave a formal notification of cancellation of this future due to contract (purchase order) not having an address of the supplier or the terms of payment.
After I send the cancellation I received a message that item will be here next week. What recourse do I have? Is the cancellation valid? Is a discount appropriate? Thanks
Hey John, thanks for your question. If you ordered the sofa online, you may have some options according to BC’s distance sales laws. You can learn more about your distance sales rights here: https://www.consumerprotectionbc.ca/consumer-help/problem-with-an-online-purchase/. If you can’t come to a resolution with the business, you may want to explore your options with the Civil Resolution Tribunal, where you can make claims up to $5000 on their website here: https://civilresolutionbc.ca/. I hope this helps.