Woman who paid $4,000 to get out of air conditioner contract still stuck in it nine months later
Door-to-door sales of furnace, air conditioners and water heaters were banned in March 2018, but many Ontarians who signed deals before that are still stuck with them.
In 2015, Angela Ashley of Norland, Ont., signed a contract to buy an air conditioner and said not long after she regretted her decision.
"We bought our air conditioner that was supposed to be paid out over ten years, but my husband was like you shouldn't have signed up for that,” said Ashely, who added “we’re now paying ten times what it's worth, but since we signed up, we were doing it."
In September 2021, Ashley got a call from a company that said it could help her get out of the long-term contract for a fee of $3,955.
Ashley said at the time, after six years of payments, the buyout for the air conditioner was still about $10,000, so she agreed to hire the company to try and cancel the deal.
"They said it would be quick, it would all be over in a few months and be paid off," said Ashley.
The company that contacted Ashley is Canada Contract Dispute. She said after she paid them $3,955 she received no correspondence from their representatives and her calls were not returned.
"I left message, after message, after message, after message and no one returned my phone calls. It just goes to voice mail," said Ashley.
When CTV News Toronto reached out to the company, a spokesperson for Canada Contract Dispute said in a statement “Canada Contract Dispute works hard to ensure client satisfaction. Due to events surrounding COVID-19, Ms. Ashley’s file was severely delayed. Her file was sent to a litigator prior to correspondence with CTV.”
The Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) issued a warning in March 2022 about businesses offering to terminate home equipment contracts after getting complaints.
“We received some of these similar reports coming in from across the province,” said FSRA spokesperson Russ Courtney.
FSRA is advising consumers to do their own research as these types of services dealing with breaking long term rental agreements for home equipment are so new, homeowners should be cautious and do their homework before paying in advance for the service.
"Take your time to understand what you are getting into and remember you can always take a step back and talk to someone" said Courtney.
Canada Contract Dispute said it is currently working on Ashely’s file. Ashley says after nine months of waiting she is hoping to get some answers soon about her case.
"Ideally I would like this company to get me out (of the deal) or give me back my money and I’ll keep paying for the air conditioner if I have to," said Ashley.
While door-to-door sales have been banned in Ontario, there are some products and services that can be still sold at your door so homeowners are advised to be careful if you’re pitched something and to never sign any contract you don't completely understand.