Senior Scene March 19,2018

Have you grown weary of the vacuum cleaner salesman who throws dirt on your clean floor and then proceeds to demonstrate the amazing product he is selling at a ridiculously low price that requires a degree in Engineering to assemble? In late February there was good news for Canadians concerned about coercive and misleading salespeople on their doorsteps. A ban on unsolicited door-to-door sales of certain household appliances took effect March 1st in Ontario. Businesses will only be able to sell to a consumer at their home if the consumer has contacted the business ahead of time and invited them to their home for the purpose of making a sale. These rules will apply to the following items:
• Air cleaners
• Air conditioners
• Air purifiers
• Duct cleaning services
• Furnaces
• Water filters
• Water heaters
• Water purifiers
• Water softeners
• Water treatment devices
• Bundles of these goods and services
While the province’s ban on unsolicited, door-to-door sales covers most heating, air and water services, it does not apply to telecommunications companies, home maintenance services or charities. MPP Yvan Baker, Etobicoke Centre, who pushed for the ban said it stops short of encompassing companies in other sectors because they do not all fall under provincial jurisdiction or generate as many complaints with Consumer Protection Ontario. “Telecoms are under the jurisdiction of the federal government. Charities who come to the door presumably are not selling anything so the legislation cannot apply to them,” said MPP Baker. “Home-maintenance services theoretically could be captured under this legislation, but I focused on the products where we received the most complaints.”
If after March 1st, a consumer is pressured into making a sale without having contacted the business ahead of time asking them to visit, the contract will be considered void, and consumers will be able to keep the goods and services with no obligations. Businesses will also be required to keep a record of how contact with the consumer entering the contract was made. “This is a critical component of the bill, as it puts the burden of proof on the business, not the consumer,” said Wanda Morris, VP Advocacy.
“CARP (Canadian Association of Retired Persons) members are particularly vulnerable to predatory door-to-door sales as many are retired and home during the day to answer the door,” said Morris. “This ban will ensure residents do not become victims of unscrupulous salespeople.” CARP has long called for legislation to protect Ontarians from falling victim to deceptive business practices, and unsolicited goods or services.
Last week I addressed the topic of cyber safety and now the library is inviting everyone to celebrate Fraud Prevention Month by learning to protect your online info… Are you concerned about your safety online? Wary of online banking? Nervous about email scams? March is Fraud Prevention Month, and on Tuesday, March 27th from 6:00-7:30 pm, the Belleville Public Library, in partnership with the Quinte First Credit Union will be holding a Fraud Prevention Workshop in the Library’s 3rd Floor Meeting Room. This workshop will discuss how to identify attempts by fraudsters to steal your information and how to keep it safe. For more information about this free workshop, please call 613-968-6731 x2037.