THUNDER BAY – The are many ways that fraudsters seek to separate you from your hard-earned money. While increasingly issues seen by police services are computer related, there are still many cases where people can be taken advantage of starting at their own front door.
The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) urge residents to use caution when dealing with unsolicited service offers using the face-to-face approach.
In some cases, these door-to-door solicitors can sound very reasonable, and can in some cases seek to enter your home with very convincing statements or admonishments.
The OPP state, “If someone comes to your door, ask to see some identification. Remember, you do not have to let them in and they must leave when asked. If you are interested in what a door-to-door salesperson has to offer, take the time to find out about their business and their offer before you pay out any money.”
On January 15, 2018, just before 9:00 p.m., three unknown males attended a residence on Proton Street North, Dundalk, in the Township of Southgate, asking to be allowed into the residence to check the pipes in the basement for water filters. The homeowner was suspicious and wisely turned them away before calling the police. Often water heaters, furnaces, sellers of energy plans may come to your home seeking to sell you on their program.
In Thunder Bay recently there have been a number of cases of people at the doors of local residents seeking to provide water filters. The City of Thunder Bay advises that the drinking water in our community is safe to drink. Residents are advised to make themselves more aware of the full costs and implications of any door-to-door contract.
In Ontario, the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) gives you special rights when you buy something in your home that costs more than $50.
As a consumer, you:
- have the right to cancel a contract for any reason within a 10-day cooling-off period. For water heater contracts, there is a 20-day cooling-off period
- must be given a written contract: under the CPA, a consumer contract has to include specific information about the goods or service and your rights as a consumer. If it doesn’t, you can cancel the contract within 1 year of signing
While you have some rights after the fact, the reality is not getting into a problem situation in the first place is likely a far better means of protecting yourself and your family.
Be wary of service scams. Contact the Competition Bureau at www.competitionbureau.gc.ca (1-800-348-5358) or the Canadian Council of Better Business Bureaus at www.ccbbb.ca if you are unsure about a seller that comes to your door.
If you believe you are a victim of a fraud, contact your local police service. For more information contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at www.antifraudcentre.ca or by calling 1-888-495-8501.
Fraud …. Recognize it! Reject it! Report it!