Home services company banned from B.C. for deceptive sales practices

Simply Green Home Services faces $8,000 fine

A Toronto-based home services company has been banned from doing business in B.C. after an investigation into deceptive sales practices and a failure to issue lawful refunds.

Simply Green Home Services offers heating, cooling, air filtration and water treatments by entering leasing agreements with consumers, typically through door-to-door sales. In November 2019, Consumer Protection BC issued a report alleging that the company used deficient contracts and wouldn’t provide refunds when consumers cancelled their service.

According to Consumer Protection BC documents, one consumer says he was told by a salesperson that he would be eligible for an $800 rebate if he installed a water treatment system and heat pump. Not only was there was no rebate after he had the equipment installed, but an independent contractor who later inspected the equipment said it was not functional or installed to code.

READ ALSO: 2-year investigations nets $900,000 in refunds for payday loan customers

That consumer said English was not his first language and he didn’t understand the nature of the contracts he had signed. After Consumer Protection sent a notice of the complaint, Simply Green agreed to cancel the contracts and returned the consumer’s money.

That account was one of four complaints alleging the company suggested or promised a rebate if the customer accepted the contract.

Another consumer said that during a door-to-door solicitation he was told he should replace his old furnace because Fortis BC was penalizing households without high efficiency furnaces. Another complaint said the salesperson claimed to be affiliated with BC Hydro and Fortis BC.

A former Simply Green salesperson interviewed by the inspector said salespeople were deliberately deceptive and most consumers did not understand the nature of the agreement. He said English as a second language was a factor for some consumers.

That salesperson left because he was “uncomfortable with the deceptive sales tactics he was […] trained to use.”

Following the findings of the investigation, Simply Green Services has been banned from engaging in door-to-door sales in B.C. for one year and must pay an $8,000 penalty. The decision was issued June 9 and the company given 30 days to request reconsideration.

Tatiana Chabeaux-Smith, corporate spokesperson for Consumer Protection BC, says the ban will remain in place if necessary.

“The ban will only be lifted once we are satisfied that they have changed their business practices,” she said.

With COVID-19 keeping many people at home, Consumer Protection BC says it’s important the public is informed on door-to-door sales practices.

“Not only are British Columbians spending more time at home these days, but many have been impacted financially by the pandemic,” Chabeaux-Smith said. “We want people to know how to spot an exploitative transaction and be able to exercise their rights under B.C. law.”

Consumer tips include: Knowing your cancellation rights, keeping a copy of your contract, ensuring you understand any financing in the contract, taking your time, saying no if you feel pressured and being cautious of down payments and rebate or environmental incentives.

READ ALSO: B.C. police can now issue $2,000 tickets for reselling medical supplies, price gouging

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
nina.grossman@blackpress.ca


@NinaGrossman
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Two new COVID-19 cases reported in Interior Health

The total number of Interior Health cases since the beginning of the pandemic is now at 522

West Kootenay mother searching for son missing since Sept. 1

Police are investigating the disappearance of Cory Westcott

Students/staff evacuate Rossland Summit School due to smell of smoke

SD20 says students in different learning groups didn’t come in contact with each other in evacuation

Man whose crime spree began in Nelson pleads guilty in death of female passenger

Anthony Cortez scheduled to be sentenced for 2017 incidents

Castlegar Rebels hold three-day camp before upcoming season

The camp looked a little different this year due to COVID-19 protocols

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

2 British Columbians arrested, 3 at large in massive Alberta drug bust

Eight people are facing 33 charges in what police have dubbed Project Incumbent

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Liberals reach deal with NDP on COVID-19 aid bill, likely averting election

NDP and the Liberals have reached an agreement on COVID-19 sick-leave

Money laundering inquiry delayed over of B.C. election: commissioner

Austin Cullen says the hearings will start again on Oct. 26

Most Read