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What You Need to Know About Travelling Heat Pump Salespeople

What You Need to Know About Travelling Heat Pump Salespeople

Exterior renovationsWhat You Need to Know About Travelling Heat Pump Salespeople

Have you ever received an impromptu visit from a door-to-door heat pump salesperson? In recent years, itinerant heat pump sellers have travelled throughout Canada and it goes without saying that their reputation has preceded them.

Indeed, many people have come forward to denounce their often questionable sales tactics and dishonest promises. Here is an overview of the habits you should create to avoid being cheated, as well as the remedies available to you in the event of a problem.

Door-to-Door Sales: Guidelines Respected Across Canada

While this article mainly focuses on Quebec, as it is a translation of the original version which was in French, we know that our readers and clients live all across Canada. Therefore, we want to guide you to the correct information for your province.

Here are the websites where you can learn about current rules and regulations for door-to-door salespeople (or direct sellers) for each province:

Since we currently do not cover the territories, we won't insert the links in our article. However, note that this type of information is most often found on government websites.

Door-to-Door Heat Pump and HVAC Salespeople: Should You Be Wary?

The first meeting

Typically, these direct sellers will try to get in touch with you by coming directly to your door or calling you. Some now post ads on Facebook, asking people to fill out an online form. Not long after that, they will call you back. Now comes the slew of promises: energy savings, the device sold at an unbeatable price, incomparable maintenance and warranty plan and much more.

How people are convinced to sign the contract

Signing the contract quickly and installing the device as soon as possible. 

One of the tactics most often used by this type of salesperson is high-pressure selling. Most of the time, they will want you to sign the contract right away and will leave you little time to read the various terms. Once the contract has been signed, someone will come and install the new device the very next day. While this surprisingly quick delivery time may give the seller a favourable impression, it can actually be a bad sign.

The reason behind their hastiness is driven by a factor that some of us ignore: although it is possible to cancel a contract with a door-to-door salesperson within 10 days of signing it, it will be more difficult to do so if the device has already been installed. You can still resort to cancelling, but the process for doing so will be much more complicated.

Person with empty pockets

Attractive savings that are impossible to prove

Secondly, the savings they promise are often very attractive. Who wouldn't want to take advantage of this? If it all sounds too good to be true, that's because it is. Of course, signing the contract early on will keep you from double-checking this information, and like in any other situation, blindly trusting a complete stranger can be risky.

While energy savings are often put on focus, the low cost of the device is also often touted. Once again, this surprisingly attractive price is often hiding something. Indeed, most of the models sold by these people are entry-level models for which you will be offered a minimum price of $6,000 or $7,000, and in some cases much more than that. You should know that for the product you are being offered, an honest vendor will probably charge $3,000.

In some cases, sellers will even say that they are official representatives of government programs put in place to help people who wish to undertake renovation projects. While it is true that these programs will indeed help you save money, you should know that the organizations that administer said programs are not associated with salespeople, itinerant or not. Therefore, if the seller puts forward that they are directly working for these programs, this is not true.

The company may disappear suddenly

While it is harder for a well-established company to disappear overnight, the same cannot be said for door-to-door salespeople who are often difficult to trace once the device stops working. Therefore, you may be stuck with a defective device that you must continue to pay for without even being able to benefit from its features!

In some cases, another installer will call you, acting as a real saviour. They will offer to take over the contract on their own account. So what happens then? Since you are having problems that need to be solved quickly, you will sign a new contract and you'll find yourself in another tricky situation.

How do you avoid being scammed by a door-to-door salesperson?

signing a contract

1) Never sign a contract during the first meeting

When approaching this subject, the answer to the previous question is of utmost importance. First of all, you should never sign a contract during this first meeting. Always take the time to read your contract from start to finish, with a clear head. Moreover, be aware that this recommendation is supported by the statements of the Office de la protection du consommateur.

Remember that you always have 10 days to cancel a contract with an itinerant merchant. This protection extends up to one year after signing the contract if:

  • the seller's surety bond is invalid;

  • the contract does not comply with the standards in effect;

  • the promised good is not delivered within 30 days of signing the contract (unless you have consented to this late delivery);

  • the merchant does not hold a permit.

2) Make sure your contract includes all the necessary information

Regarding the contract as such, it must contain certain precise information. Make sure that the merchant includes a document called "Statement of consumer cancellation rights and cancellation form" as well as a resolution form that complies with the standards currently in effect.

Next, it would be a good idea to ask the seller to write down the savings you can make from the device they want to sell you on the contract. Keep in mind that this is a way to make sure they are giving you their word by making such promises and if they are telling the truth, they shouldn't be bothered by this request.

Finally, know that for a door-to-door sales contract, a statement clearly indicating that you can cancel your contract within 10 days of signing it must be explicitly written on it.

woman on the phone

3) Ask for specific product information and compare it with other retailers

In any case, find out about the noise level of the device, its performance standards and its compliance with the standards in effect in your municipality.

Next, compare the information submitted to you with what is being offered by other retailers. This will help you get a better idea of ​​the value of what they are offering. There's no need to travel to do this. Just call another company and they should be able to provide the information you need. For performance standards, compare those provided by the vendor with those put forward by the Canadian Standards Association.

4) Ask the seller to prove that they are in good standing

Third, ask the salesperson to talk about themselves and their professional background. Find out how long they have been working in their field and at the same time, ask them to provide you with two very important pieces of information: their license from the Régie du bâtiment du Québec as well as proof that they have an itinerant merchant's permit (issued by the Office de la protection du consommateur).

What's more, take the time to verify that their RBQ license is still valid. You can do this on the Régie du bâtiment du Québec website. Always keep in mind that a valid RBQ license will allow you to be compensated in the event of a dispute, that is, if the work done at your home is of poor quality or if it is incomplete.

Indeed, RBQ license holders are required to offer a surety bond guarantee ($ 40,000 for general contractors and $ 20,000 for specialized contractors). Note that each time an owner files a license surety bond claim, the RBQ adds it to the list of indemnities paid since 2009, the year in which this protection came into effect.


Here are some other links that may provide you with useful information about the itinerant seller:

  • the list of pending complaints;

  • the balance sheet of suspended licenses (there are none at the moment), restricted licenses (in french only), or cancelled licenses (this last link concerns decisions rendered more than two months ago from the date of publication of this item, no cancellations having occurred in the last 60 days);

  • the Registre des entreprises du Québec: you will be able to check the merchant's registration (NAQ), in addition to knowing whether the latter is affiliated with a company that has experienced bankruptcy or has been the subject of various appeals.

As for the door-to-door merchant's permit, you can check that it is valid by going to the website of the Office de la protection du consommateur. If you have been the victim of a dishonest salesperson, do not hesitate to file a complaint directly with this organization. Note that the holder of an itinerant merchant permit with the OPC is required to provide a surety bond, which will allow you to be compensated in the event of a problem.

Summary of things to do to avoid getting trapped

How to avoid getting scammed
1) Never sign a contract on the first meeting
  • Read the entire contract with a clear head
2) Make sure your contract contains all the necessary information
  • Make sure that the contract is accompanied by a cancellation form and a document entitled "Statement of consumer cancellation rights and cancellation form"
  • ask that the promised savings be written on the contract
  • check that a mention indicating the possibility of cancelling the contract within 10 days of its signature is indicated on it
3) Request specific information about the product
  • ask about the noise level of the device
  • inquire about appliance performance standards
  • make sure the appliance complies with the standards in effect in your municipality
  • compare all of this information with that of other retailers
4) Ask the seller to prove they are in good standing
  • Check that they have a valid license from the Régie du bâtiment du Québec
  • make sure that they have an itinerant merchant's permit, which is issued by the OPC

Would you like more information about heat pumps? Take a look at our article How to maintain a heat pump

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Last modified 2023-11-07

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