A contract full of hot air
Simon* was approached by a door-to-door salesperson from an HVAC company who convinced him to sign a contract for a new furnace. Because the contract was not properly written or explained, Simon didn’t know the agreement was actually an expensive 10-year lease of the equipment.
When Simon’s son, Justin*, discovered the total cost of the furnace would be over $25,000, he became worried for his father and decided to step in to help. “It was a big shock,” says Justin. “At that point, I wasn’t sure what to do.”
Justin tried to cancel the contract, but his requests were either denied or ignored. Because the furnace had already been installed, Justin was told he could not cancel the contract. “At that point I was extremely depressed,” says Justin. “The amount that was owed was absolutely ridiculous for a furnace.”
Later, the HVAC company contacted Justin and Simon and said they wanted to install some missing parts for the furnace. During this visit, the HVAC company also offered to replace the previous contract with a new, less expensive one and with a different financing company. Desperate to be out of the original contract, Justin and Simon agreed.
Justin and his father later discovered that not only was the new contract more expensive than the first, but the HVAC company hadn’t cancelled the original lease agreement. “They tricked us,” says Justin. “They had made the whole thing intentionally confusing.”
That’s when Justin discovered Consumer Protection BC through a Google search and decided to reach out to see what was possible. “[The investigator] was able to answer all my questions and reassured me that she could help,” says Justin.
Consumer Protection BC reviewed the information and found the HVAC company had engaged in deceptive behaviour and failed to disclose the total cost of the furnace in the contract. When everything was resolved, both contracts were cancelled and Simon was able to keep the installed equipment at no further cost.
“It was a major relief,” says Justin. When asked about his takeaways from the experience, Justin encourages others to be aware of their rights, read the fine print before signing and make sure all the important information is captured in the contract.
*Names changed to protect the privacy of the individuals involved.
Curious about your rights when it comes to door-to-door sales contracts?
Have you ever had someone come to your door to sell you a product or service? These types of contracts are called direct sales contracts, and, by law, you have certain cancellation rights. Find out more.
Did you like this? You might like these posts too!
Consumer story: a “catio” turned cat-astrophe
BC couple’s spring skiing plans go downhill fast
Consumer story: cleaning up the pieces of a shady deal
BC Ballet studio keeps frustrated parents on their toes
Consumer story: a yogi seeks help after being denied a refund
About Consumer Protection BC
We are responsible for regulating specific sectors and certain consumer transactions in British Columbia. If your concern is captured under the laws we enforce, we will use the tools at our disposal to assist you. If we can’t help you directly, we will be happy to provide you with as much information as possible. Depending on your concern, another organization may be the ones to speak to; other times, court or legal assistance may be the best option. Explore our website at www.consumerprotectionbc.ca.
8 thoughts on “Consumer story: HVAC company in hot water with BC regulator over deceptive contract”
So who was this HVAC company? Who were their people involved? Or do the crooks get away with defrauding consumers anyway. Theirnames shouldbe posted in every newspaper in the country!
Hey Bruce, our purpose in sharing these stories is not to name and shame a particular company. We share these stories to educate folks about what to watch out for and equip them with information about their rights. That way, consumers are protected more broadly vs just watching out for a specific company. I hope this makes sense!
I agree that the names of the HVAC companies should be included. The elderly and vulnerable are being scammed by these HVAC companies. We are targeted.
I think you would be much more effective if you name the company and the tactics as well. Kinda seems like you are protecting the bad actors, if “consumer protection BC” was really concerned about fraud, then way arent you warning of a specific company that you already know is scamming customers? There could be other customers who are unaware this mystery company has ripped them off and they have a way out.
Hi Chris, the purpose of this consumer story is to raise awareness surrounding contract rules and door to door sales, not publicly shame or open a company up to potential harassment. We aim to educate consumers the best we can from an unbiased perspective. I hope this clarifies it for you.
Companies that engage in these obvious and blatantly deceptive sales practices need to be named and shamed and dealt with severely.
Hi Steve, thanks for your comment. The purpose of this consumer story is to raise awareness surrounding contract rules and door to door sales, not publicly shame or open a company up to potential harassment. We aim to educate consumers the best we can from an unbiased perspective.
Aidan, this is an opportunity missed. Education is important but so is accountability. No accountability or consequences so they just keep on taking advantage of people and getting better and better at it.