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.

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About Consumer Protection BC 

We are not-for-profit regulator responsible for overseeing certain industries and specific 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 try to offer a referral to a relevant organization, if one exists. Other times, court or legal assistance may be the best option. Explore our website at www.consumerprotectionbc.ca.