New Rules Protect Consumers at the Door

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RELEASE — March is Fraud Prevention Month. Kingston Police and Utilities Kingston would like to remind the public that, on March 1, 2018, Ontario banned unsolicited, door-to-door sales of certain products and services to better protect consumers from aggressive and misleading contract sales at the door.

“Utility customers are targets for scams at the door, over the phone and through the Internet. When in doubt, don’t be afraid to shut the door, hang up the phone, delete the email or close your Internet connection. You can always call us to confirm the truth of any sales pitch,” cautions president and CEO of Utilities Kingston, Jim Keech.

Representatives from Utilities Kingston and Kingston Hydro do not go door-to-door for sales purposes.

Kingston Police receive numerous complaints regarding suspicious door-to-door sales people, phone calls and emails for many promotions and services.

LEARN ABOUT THE NEW RULES FOR CONSUMER PROTECTION AT THE DOOR

Products and services that can no longer be offered or sold at your home (unless you initiate the transaction) include furnaces, air conditioners, air cleaners, air purifiers, water heaters, water treatment devices, water purifiers, water filters, water softeners, duct cleaning services, or any good or service that performs or combines one or more of these functions.
Consumers should know:

• Once you have a written copy of a contract, you still have a 10-day cooling-off period to cancel a contract, for the restricted products or services, for any reason.
• If you sign a contract, for a restricted product and service, as a result of door-to-door marketing or due to misleading marketing materials left at your home, the contract will be considered void and you can keep the goods or services without obligation.
• If someone comes to your door to sell these products and services on or after March 1, don’t be afraid to shut the door and call Consumer Protection Ontario at 1-800-889-9768.

More information is available at this Ontario.ca page.

CONSUMER AWARENESS INFORMATION

Learn how to recognize, reject and report fraud with the following tips.

Recognize:


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• Be extra cautious about any unsolicited calls, emails or mailings.
• A door-to-door salesperson may falsely imply they are working with your utility company. Representatives from Utilities Kingston and Kingston Hydro do not sell door-to-door. Utilities Kingston employees and contractors carry identification. Always ask to see it.
• Scammers claiming to be from your utility company may call and threaten to disconnect utility services unless immediate payment is made. Utilities Kingston does not collect payment over the phone. For ways to pay your utility bill, see Payment Options
• Certain products and services may no longer be offered or sold at the door as of March 1, 2018. Learn about new rules from Ontario.

Reject:

• Don’t be afraid to shut the door, hang up the phone, delete the email or close your Internet connection.
• Don’t purchase a product or service without carefully checking out the product, service and company.
• Don’t disclose personal information about your finances, bank accounts, credit cards, utility bills, social insurance and driver’s licence numbers to any business that can’t prove it is legitimate.
• At the door, always make sure you get a business card and look at the salesperson’s ID badge first. Ask to see their City-issued licence to sell door-to-door in Kingston.
• Remember, you have the right to ask sales people to leave your property.

Report:

• Report incidents to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501. This agency collects information on fraud and works closely with police to solve these crimes.
• If you receive a suspicious phone call or visit at your door from someone claiming to represent Utilities Kingston, hang up and call to let us know. A customer service representative is available Monday to Friday from 8 AM to 5 PM by calling 613-546-0000.
• If people refuse to leave your property or you become a victim of fraud through monetary loss, call Kingston Police at 613-549-4660.

Get involved with the conversation online by tweeting to @kingstonpolice and @utilitieskngstn using the hashtag #FPM2018.

Fraud Prevention Month is spearheaded by the Competition Bureau. It brings together law enforcement agencies and public and private sector organizations to combat fraud. Kingston Police and Utilities Kingston are partnering to help spread fraud prevention tips to local residents and businesses.


Release: Utilities Kingston via City of Kingston
Photo: Gerd Altmann (cc)