Ruth and Konrad Robic of Keremeos want to warn residents about a high pressure sales pitch making the rounds in the village.
It started with the Robics when a card arrived in the mail with a bingo game on it. It was promotional material from a water filtration company.
“I don’t know why I bothered, but I ended up phoning about it,” Ruth recalled. “The next day a salesman showed up, saying he was here to test our water. I told him we had good water here in Keremeos, but he was so persistent, I finally began feeling a little guilty for him being here.”
Ruth let the salesman in, who began an incessant sales pitch that went on and on.
“He insisted on testing our water,” she related, “and when I kept insisting that our water was fine, he turned to my husband. After a while, he began to wear him down.”
The Robics debated each other on the need for a rack of filters under their sink, with Konrad thinking it might not be a bad idea, and Ruth continuing to insist that Keremeos water did not need household filtering. The contract, for a “seven stage drinking station,” came to a total of $3,177.88.
“We ended up signing,” Ruth said, “the salesman left after a long time – I wasn’t happy with the arrangement. I lost a night’s sleep.
As soon as I thought the company would be open the next morning, I called to cancel the contract. They told me it was no problem, a salesman would come out with a release for us to sign.”
The next day, the Robics were visited by two salesman – the original, whose name was Rob, and a younger, more aggressive one.
“They came in and sat down,” Ruth recounted, “and the younger one asked us if we thought the company should fire Rob. I said no, and then he started on about the contract, acting very overbearing. He then got up, saying he was going to call and see if he could get us a better deal.
I told him that I wasn’t asking for that-I had to finally get rude with him in order to get them to leave.
I just don’t think it’s right- if people don’t want to buy something, you shouldn’t try to sell it to them.”
Ruth wants to warn others in the village to be aware of the scam.
“I looked it up on the internet,” she said, “and these water tests are all just dirty tricks. We have some of the best water in Canada here – we don’t need filters on our water supply here.”
Kevin Huey of the Keremeos Irrigation District confirms Robics’ thoughts.
“There is no need for anyone to filter their water in Keremeos,” he told the Review, noting that several years ago a similar situation occurred in the village where a water filtration company tried to hard sell filters to residents.
“The previous company we officially requested to cease or desist their operation in Keremeos was leading people to believe they were from the government. They were providing very false misleading information to make a sale which made it appear that the KID was not informing and therefore misleading the residents about the quality of water which was not remotely true.
We ask residents to please contact us directly if they have any questions or concerns with the water at any time and don’t sign anything until you have talked to us and have become informed,” he advised.
The Canadian Bar Association’s website has this to say on door to door sales and contracts you can cancel:
What is a “future performance contract”?
Perhaps you’ve signed a contract with someone who came to your home and sold you a magazine subscription or a vacuum cleaner, or you’ve entered into a contract for home repairs. Or perhaps you’ve gone out and signed up to join a health club. Under the Business Practices & Consumer Protection Act, these are known as “future performance contracts.” Most door-to-door sales and similar contracts are “future performance contracts.”
A future performance contract is one where you don’t receive the goods or services or the payment isn’t made in full when you sign the contract. For example, you agree to buy a vacuum cleaner and pay it off over six months. Or you agree to buy an encyclopedia set which will be delivered in installments. Or you agree to join a health or fitness club and pay a monthly membership fee for one year. Contracts under $50 aren’t considered future performance contracts.
A future performance contract must include certain things
If the total purchase price is $50 or more, the Business Practices & Consumer Protection Act lists all the information the contract must include to be legally binding. Among other things, the contract has to be a written contract signed by you, and it must:
– show the date
– include the name, address and telephone number of the seller
– describe the goods or services
– show other costs, including taxes and shipping charges, as well as the total price
– include a detailed statement of the terms of payment
You must be given a copy of your contract within 15 days after signing it. If the contract you get doesn’t contain all of the things listed in the Business Practices & Consumer Protection Act, then you have up to a year to cancel the contract.
Special rules apply to two types of future performance contracts
The two types of future performance contracts are:
– direct sales contracts
– continuing sales contracts
What is a “direct sales contract”?
A direct sales contract is a contract signed at a place away from the seller’s permanent place of business, for example, at your home. There’s a limit to the down-payment the seller can ask from you. If, for example, you buy a vacuum cleaner from a door-to-door salesman who comes to your home, the direct seller can’t ask for a down-payment of more than $100 or 10 per cent of the purchase price, whichever is less. But if you invite a supplier into your home more than 24 hours in advance, then a contract signed with the supplier isn’t a direct sales contract.
What is a “continuing services contract”?
A continuing services contract is a contract where you receive services over a period of time, rather than all at once. It is limited to contracts for dance lessons, personal training (i.e., a boot camp), weight loss programs, self defence lessons, and gym and travel club memberships.
Can you cancel these contracts?
Yes. Whenever you sign a direct sales contract or a continuing services contract, the law gives you up to ten days to cancel the contract after receiving a copy of it. In fact, the contract itself has to state that you have this right to cancel at any time within the ten days.