Did you know when you sign certain agreements in BC, you are entering a contract that entitles you to certain cancellation rights? Find out how this real BC consumer exercised her rights to cancel her contract after buying an air purifier from a company she trusted initially.

Consumer story: Regulator helps BC consumer out of an unlawful $7,000 air purifier contract  

Emily* was approached by a friend about working as a salesperson for a vacuum and air purifying company on Vancouver Island. Emily felt the opportunity would be a great part-time job, so she decided to go for it. 

Emily was told that to work for the company, she had to personally purchase one of the air purifying units. Unsure at first, Emily was reassured that she wouldn’t have to pay for it once she began doing demos for potential customers. Emily went down to the storefront and signed a contract and financing agreement for one of the purifying units that would be delivered in two days’ time. She was not provided with a receipt or a copy of the contract at the time of purchase, as required by BC law. 

Emily began to feel that the company’s sales process was less than upfront and did not align with her values. After deciding to part ways with the company, she contacted them to return her air purifying unit, but they refused. They told her she was bound to the expensive financing agreement. When the business refused to budge and charges started to appear on her credit card, Emily began to worry.  

“It was horrible. I was sleepless and would just cry and cry,” said Emily. “I lost some faith in people’s kindness. I would never do such a thing.” 

Emily began doing some research and came across Consumer Protection BC’s website and decided to contact them for help. After providing the necessary information to the Consumer Protection BC investigator, Emily was advised that the transaction was not compliant with the rules because she had not been provided with a copy of the contract. This meant Emily was within her rights to cancel and receive a refund for what she had already paid. 

After Emily returned the unit, the Consumer Protection BC investigator contacted the business on Emily’s behalf and advised them to stop trying to collect payment and to refund what was owed. The business eventually agreed and released Emily from the expensive contract, totaling more than $7,000 after interest. 

When asked about her takeaways from the experience, Emily encourages others to read contract details carefully and to communicate in writing if there’s an issue with a business. 

“Don’t sign a contract unless you know the terms and take your time to look over it carefully,” says Emily. Emily also urges others to remember that when something seems too good to be true, it probably is.  

“No one is giving away free things unless they want something back.”

*Names changed to protect the privacy of the individuals involved. 

Where to go for more information

A future performance contract is an agreement where you do not pay in full upfront, or you don’t get the goods or services immediately. By law, your contract must contain specific information. If certain information is not included, or you didn’t get a copy of the contract within 15 days, you may be within your right to cancel. Learn more about the rules for future performance contracts by visiting our website. 

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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.