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Consumer Protection Office issues caution about door-to-door sales

The Manitoba Consumer Protection Office (CPO) urges Manitobans to be cautious about door-to-door selling and reminds consumers to be aware of their rights if they agree to a purchase from a direct seller.

The CPO licenses companies and individuals that direct sell goods and services to consumers. Common products offered through door-to-door sales are home alarms, vacuum cleaners and furnaces, as well as home renovations such as roofing, building decks or paving driveways.

Consumers who enter into direct sales agreements with licensed companies have 10 days to cancel. Cancellation must be done in writing within that time period and the seller must then provide consumers with a full refund. If the business or individual is unlicensed, consumers have a year in which to cancel.

If approached by any door-to-door direct seller, the Consumer Protection Office suggests the following tips:

  • ask to see the salesperson’s direct seller licence and if they can’t provide a licence, write down the person’s name and the company name being represented and contact the CPO to verify if the company is licensed;
  • be sure to comparison shop, ask for references and check out the seller’s reputation;
  • get three estimates before making a decision on large purchases;
  • always read and understand any contract you are signing and make sure you are given a copy;
  • be cautious of requests for large deposits;
  • if you feel rushed or pressured, ask the direct seller to leave information with you; and
  • if you’re not comfortable, ask them to leave.

Another tip to remember with respect to home renovations is that consumers do not have to pay the full price of any work up front. Under the Builders’ Lien Act, a consumer can hold back 7.5 per cent of the cost for 40 days after substantial completion of the job to ensure a supplier hasn’t registered a lien against your property.

The Consumer Protection Office investigates complaints about unlicensed businesses and direct sellers, high-pressure sales tactics, warranty concerns on goods and services and cancellation rights.

To get more information, Manitoba consumers can contact the Consumer Protection Office at 204-945-3800 or 1-800-782-0067 (toll-free) or by email at consumers@gov.mb.ca.

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