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Consumer Protection BC

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    Summertime, door-to-door sales and your contract rights
    Summer is near! The sun may not be the only thing that makes a greater appearance this time of year: so does the number of door-to-door salespeople at your stoop. Do you know your rights when it comes to these types of contracts?

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    Contract tips if you’re booking a holiday party (yes… already!)
    It seems weird to be talking about holiday parties in September, doesn’t it? Last week we received two calls from consumers, asking about deposits they put down on holiday venue rentals – specifically, they asked if they were entitled to refunds if they cancelled their contracts. Check out our top three tips when it comes to signing a contract for a venue rental.

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    Salesperson at your door? Know your rights!
    With all the purchasing options out there (some just a mouse click away), some people may believe the reign of the door-to-door salesperson is over. But from the number of calls we get each year on this topic, I can tell you the door-to-door sales industry is alive and well. Why? Well, it works. While there are many legitimate sellers, in this post we will talk about your door-to-door sales contract rights, offer tips on how to respond to a door-to-door seller and share information about where to go if you need help.

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    Don’t buy into a home renovation scam!
    Have you ever been approached by someone at your door, offering you a renovated bathroom or a new roof at a price that seems just a little too good to be true? In this blog post, we’re sharing information about home renovation scams!

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    Work out the details of your gym contract before signing!
    It’s fall and in anticipation of the upcoming holiday season (and all the delicious food), I’ve been thinking about joining a gym. But I have questions for myself – including whether I can commit to going on a regular basis to make the membership worthwhile. Do you have the same questions? Well, read on to learn what to ask if you are considering  joining a gym.

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    Contract deposits: are there limits?
    Are you planning to have some work done on your home? Perhaps have a new roof or driveway installed? One of the things you may want to consider is whether a deposit is required to seal the deal. Deposits are fairly standard and the amount can vary from business to business. However, be cautious if the business requires what seems to be an unreasonably large deposit or requests payment in cash. These may be warning signs of future trouble so if you’re not feeling comfortable, follow your gut.

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    Financing or Leasing? Know the Total Cost.
    Written by Consumer Protection BC’s enforcement inspector Financing and leasing are two ways of paying for an expensive purchase by making a series of smaller payments over time, rather than one full payment upfront. These options may be beneficial at times, but they may come at a cost in the long run so it’s important to make an informed choice. Let’s find out about your rights when it comes to these payment options...

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    Is a digital signature valid for my gym contract?
    2016 is here and if you have listed “getting fit and healthy” as part of your new year’s resolution, you may be considering signing up for a gym membership. A few months back, we had inquiry question from a consumer who signed up for a gym on a tablet and was wondering if her digital signature was legal. In this blog post, we’ll share the answer to that question as well as some other important information about signing up for a gym.

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    Top 3 tips if you are getting a mortgage
    For many people, buying a house is the biggest financial transaction they'll ever make. It may be stressful and exciting all at the same time. There are many elements that have to come together at the same time and there are many steps involved. One integral part of house hunting is getting financially approved before you start looking. While we don’t oversee mortgages or financial institutions, we wanted to offer some tips if you are thinking of getting a mortgage. For many people, buying a house is the biggest financial transaction they'll ever make. It may be stressful and exciting all at the same time. There are many elements that have to come together at the same time and there are many steps involved. One integral part of house hunting is getting financially approved before you start looking. While we don’t oversee mortgages or financial institutions, we wanted to offer…

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    What would you do? A guide to being a savvy consumer: home-repair
    Written by Consumer Protection BC’s enforcement department Scenario: It’s a beautiful day so you decide to go outside and clean up your front yard. A salesperson approaches you and says they were in the area repairing your neighbour’s roof. The salesperson tells you they noticed your roof appears to be damaged, and in need of urgent repairs. Since they are already in the area, they are willing to offer you a “neighbour discount”; but since they are very busy, you have to give them a $3,000 deposit to hold the job. Yikes! You’re really concerned about your roof leaking but you aren’t sure what to do. What would you do?(a) Rush inside to get your cheque book and write a cheque to the salesperson for $3,000. Whew! You are glad you were outside when the salesperson drove by!(b) Tell the salesperson that you aren’t interested. You go inside and call…

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    What would you do? A guide to being a savvy consumer: gym memberships
    Written by Consumer Protection BC’s enforcement department Scenario: You have decided that it’s time to get fit! You sign up at the local gym for a one year membership. The 12 month gym membership includes weight training, cardio machines, as well as unlimited yoga and spin classes. You sign a contract and pay the entire 12 month membership fee of $600. You’re eager to get into shape so you go to yoga and spin classes at least 5 times a week. After a few months, the owner of the gym tells you they will no longer offer those classes but they will still provide weight training and cardio equipment. What would you do? (a) Wish they still offered yoga and spin classes but you do nothing, thinking that you still have 9 months left on your contract, and you’ve already paid so there isn’t much you can do. (b) Ask…

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    What would you do? A guide to being a savvy consumer: home-repair
    Written by Consumer Protection BC’s enforcement department Scenario: It’s a beautiful day so you decide to go outside and clean up your front yard. A salesperson approaches you and says they were in the area repairing your neighbour’s roof. The salesperson tells you they noticed your roof appears to be damaged, and in need of urgent repairs. Since they are already in the area, they are willing to offer you a “neighbour discount”; but since they are very busy, you have to give them a $3,000 deposit to hold the job. Yikes! You’re really concerned about your roof leaking but you aren’t sure what to do. What would you do?(a) Rush inside to get your cheque book and write a cheque to the salesperson for $3,000. Whew! You are glad you were outside when the salesperson drove by!(b) Tell the salesperson that you aren’t interested. You go inside and call…

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    What would you do? A guide to being a savvy consumer: gym memberships
    Written by Consumer Protection BC’s enforcement department Scenario: You have decided that it’s time to get fit! You sign up at the local gym for a one year membership. The 12 month gym membership includes weight training, cardio machines, as well as unlimited yoga and spin classes. You sign a contract and pay the entire 12 month membership fee of $600. You’re eager to get into shape so you go to yoga and spin classes at least 5 times a week. After a few months, the owner of the gym tells you they will no longer offer those classes but they will still provide weight training and cardio equipment. What would you do? (a) Wish they still offered yoga and spin classes but you do nothing, thinking that you still have 9 months left on your contract, and you’ve already paid so there isn’t much you can do. (b) Ask…

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    Charlotte’s story: yoga studio inflexible when it comes to refund
    Charlotte* loves exercising and was excited to enroll in a specialized yoga practice at a local studio. She eventually agreed to purchase a $1000 year-long membership upfront and received a credit card receipt after the transaction but no contract. 

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    Jack and Lisa’s story: Paving the way to a consumer refund
    Jack and Lisa* had just returned from a Home & Garden Show and were greatly impressed with a paving product showcased by a local provider. Not wasting any time, they called the company into their home to provide an estimate and, after taking some measurements and drawing up a contract, the company requested a $650 deposit for the paving product. Jack and Lisa wrote the cheque and were looking forward to the next step in the process – installation. That step never came.

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    Video: Rebecca’s hot tub contract story
    Have you ever come across a situation where you signed something and immediately after realized that it was a mistake? It’s often our “gut feeling” that tells us to take a different action. In this video, we share the story of Rebecca*. When she found herself in "hot water" with her hot tub contract, she called Consumer Protection BC for help.

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    How John and Mary navigated a misleading contract
    Mary lives in Kelowna with her son’s in-home caregiver, John*. John was approached by a door-to-door salesperson who was selling a new furnace with a 20-year lease. John was not properly informed about the lease agreement and therefore did not fully understand his long-term payment plan, which was very expensive. This was when Mary stepped in to try to help John find a way out of the contract. “I was rattling around, trying to find a solution and I contacted Consumer Protection BC,” says Mary.

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    Back to the mat: A peaceful resolution for Chelsea and her yoga practice
    Chelsea had paid for a lifetime membership with a yoga studio, unaware at the time that lifetime memberships aren’t allowed in BC. In less than a year, the yoga studio sold to a new owner who had no provisions in place for honouring the existing lifetime memberships. “No one was taking responsibility,” says Chelsea, “I thought I was out of luck.” She had paid for a service that no one was willing to provide and was disappointed that her method of relaxation had turned into such a headache. “It was very frustrating and no one was acting very yoga-ish about it,” says Chelsea, “I felt very taken advantage of.”

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    Deceived: Jake’s moving nightmare
    Jake landed a new job in Calgary and had three weeks to pack up his life in Winnipeg. He started looking for a moving company, “being a millennial, the first place I looked was online,” says Jake. He hired the company and arranged for his belongings to be delivered to Calgary. The delivery date arrived and his belongings were nowhere to be seen. Something didn’t feel right.

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    Contract requirements: How Eddy was able to exercise his cancellation rights
    It was time to get his chimney fixed so Eddy hired a masonry company to do the repairs. After quite a delay in getting any work done, the masonry company tried to convince Eddy he had a mould problem in his house and they could help. Eddy had a background in the trades and knew there was no mould problem. This was a red flag for him so he decided to cancel the contract and get his deposit back. Something just didn’t feel right. When the business owner stated all deposits were non-refundable, Eddy got nervous.

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