BY MELISSA HORTON
A new door-to-door sales ban took effect on March 1 preventing certain companies from knocking at your door.
For years, residents have been dealing with door-to-door sales tactics, some of which are too aggressive for most consumers. The ban prevents almost all heating, air-conditioning and water companies from soliciting through door-to-door sales.
You may be wondering why just these companies have been targeted. The reason is credited to the large number of complaints received by the government about these companies. A Feb. 27 Global News article states that door-to-door sales of these specific services resulted in 7,058 complaints over the last three years.
Since the ban is limited, other salespeople can still knock on your door. For instance, charities can show up because it is less likely they are trying to sell you a product and there have not been a high volume of complaints.
This new law offers a wide variety of protection for consumers, more than we have ever seen before. Consumers now have a 10-day cooling off period if you have entered into a contract, which allows you to back out of the contract penalty free. It also bans repair companies from trying to sell to you while on a maintenance call at your home.
So what can happen if the law is violated? A pretty hefty fine of $50,000 could be issued or up to two years of imprisonment. If a corporation is in violation, they could pay a fine of up to $250,000.
With such serious consequences, companies may begin to rethink how they do business. However, other companies will continue to go door to door.
Avon is one of these companies which has utilized door-to-door sales since its inception in 1886. It is one of the oldest companies leading the charge in home sales but that doesn’t mean the tactics haven’t changed. Consumers are no longer looking to buy from a typical salesperson. With online shopping and retail stores, companies let the customers come to them. Gone are the days of old-fashioned samples and products being brought straight to the door. According to Avon representative Jen Newton of Cambridge, the purpose now is to inform rather than to sell,
“We do sometimes knock on doors to introduce ourselves and offer free catalogues and discuss the Avon opportunities. We act more as information providers and advertise in an old-fashioned way. At that point, if they need more information or are interested in our services, they can contact us.”
With a growing irritation of aggressive sales tactics and confusing contracts, sales representatives remain cautious in order to avoid turning off potential customers.
“We are never pushy or aggressive like other door-to-door salespeople. I personally dislike pushy salespeople so I would never do it to anyone else,” said Newton.
It seems that the world of sales has changed along with the customer. Customers no longer respond to the older ways of selling products, leading companies to pursue a more informative route, which means they can still knock at your front door.
Ontario is only the second province to ban door-to-door sales. Alberta’s ban took effect on Jan. 1 after that government similarly received a large number of complaints regarding energy contracts. Alberta’s ban, although not as extensive as Ontario’s, seems to have paved the way for protection of the consumer in Canada.
For now, we will have to wait and see if other provinces will follow suit. To learn more about what the door-to-door sales ban covers, visit www.ontario.ca.
BY MELISSA HORTON