Bill to ban some door-to-door sales tabled at Queen's Park

An Ontario Liberal MPP introduced a private member's bill Monday to stop door-to-door sales of certain products.

Bill would ban sales at the door of air conditioners, water heaters, furnaces, water treatment devices

Etobicoke Centre MPP Yvan Baker (centre) is introducing a private members bill today that would ban door-to-door sales of contracts for water heaters, furnaces and air conditioners. The mother of Lexy Fogel (right) recently fell victim to an aggressive door-to-door seller. Michael Janigan (left) of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre supports the bill. (CBC)

An Ontario Liberal MPP introduced a private member's bill Monday to ban door-to-door sales of certain products.

"I've heard from far too many consumers who have been taken advantage of by aggressive, misleading and coercive sales tactics at the door," Yvan Baker, MPP for Etobicoke Centre, said Monday morning.

"It's absolutely reprehensible to me that there are people who make a living off preying on people who are vulnerable. Seniors are misled, those with serious health issues are taken advantage of, many others are duped into contracts with no way out."

The bill, Door-to-Door Sales Prohibition Act, 2016, calls for the banning of door-to-door sales, leasing or rental of air conditioners, water heaters, furnaces, and water treatment devices.

Baker said the bill cannot prevent sales people from knocking on doors, but if a sales person tries to sell certain products listed on the bill at a consumer's home and convinces a consumer to sign a contract, that contract would be void.

Under the bill, the consumer would be entitled to any money paid under the contract and the return or replacement of any product taken under the contract.

Finally, if consumers do not receive payment, they have the option of taking their cases to court, and if successful, would double the amount owed plus legal fees.

Individual sellers could face fines ranging from $500 for a first offence, $1,000 for a second offence, to $2,000 for a third and subsequent offences.

Businesses could face fines of $5,000 for a first offence, $10,000 for a second offence, to $25,000 for a third  and subsequent offences.

Michael Janigan of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre said the bill is aimed at discouraging "unscrupulous sales behaviour."

"The bill recognizes the necessity to protect the public, in particular, the vulnerable consumer, from possibly damaging financial decisions made on the basis of high pressure sales tactics," he said.

Baker said the bill will be introduced for first reading Monday. It will go to second reading in June. If it passes second reading, it would go to committee. From there, it will return back to the legislature for third reading.