So you’ve heard about the Consumer Protection Act (CPA), but do you really know how it protects you? Like how contractors cannot charge you more that 10% over their written estimates or that you have a cool down when you sign up to a gym? We’ll cover these and many more ways that the CPA protects your customer rights in Ontario.
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What The Consumer Protection Act Covers You For
Laws against misrepresentation protect you against false and misleading business claims. These include incorrect claims about their themselves and/or their products, specifically;
- Falsely claiming that an individual or business has a license, accreditation, certificate or other qualifications.
- False claims about the quality, style, model, and other features about a product or service.
- Recommending unnecessary improvements or repairs.
If any of these false claims are made, then the consumer can leave the contract within one year.
2) Cooling Off Period
Select businesses need to offer a period that allows consumers to leave a contract without any penalty when a product or service is over $50. Cooling off periods vary between business types, but are fairly standard, for example, gyms have a ten day cooling off period from the day that you receive the written contract. Other industries that offer cooling off periods are; newly built condos, payday loans operators, purchases made from door-to-door salespersons and time share units.
3) Delivery of Goods
Many rules also exist for product delivery. Goods must be delivered within 30 days from the promised delivery date, or if there is no delivery date, 30 days from the purchase date. You’re able to receive a full refund if these conditions are not made and you do not accept the future delivery of the goods.
If you did not request or order a delivered good, then you are not obliged to pay for it AND you can keep the item or dispose of it.
4) Rights Under a Contract
A contract is required for any purchase that is over $50 if; it is from a door-to-door salesperson, a membership sign-up (ex. gym or fitness club), a subscription (ex. magazines) and if a business or individual is hired. All fees, cooling down period (if there is one) and other terms must be explicitly written in the contract. Also, if you received a written estimate from a contractor, then the final amount cannot be more than 10% of the estimate. Contracts can all be cancelled if the previously mentioned rules are broken ( being Misrepresentation, Cooling Off Period and Delivery of Goods.) More detailed information about you contractual rights can be found here.
5) What To Do If A Business Breaks The Consumer Protection Act?
If a businesses or individual breaks any of these rules then the first step is to notify them and hopefully settle it directly. Preferably, the best way to resolve these matters is to have all communications in writing with filed copies. If the notifications fail, then you can file a complaint with the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services or file legal proceedings. More information can be found here on the Governmental Website.
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