Water heater sales and rentals
Most complaints about water heater sales and rentals are about unclear or misleading contracts.
Many consumers in Ontario are tempted to rent a new water heater from door-to-door salespeople who offer deals that sound too good to pass up.
The Ministry of Government and Consumer Services asks consumers to beware — complaints about water heater rental businesses continue to increase year-to-year. Most of these complaints are about unclear or misleading contracts.
Here are some tips to keep in mind:
Don’t sign on the spot. If the salesperson pressures you to sign on the spot, insist you need more time to read the contract and the cover page, including the fine print.
Get it in writing. Ask about the rental fees, installation, repair and extra service charges and promises, such as warranties — and get these details in writing.
Ask for identification. Ask for photo identification, the name of the company the salesperson works for and to keep a copy of any sales material that the salesperson shows you.
Be sure before you sign. After the 20-day cooling-off period is over you will have to pay some costs if you change your mind. These costs may include:
- the rental payments, which are still due if you terminate
- the expenses the rental company has to pay to remove the water heater, and
- charges for unreasonable or excessive wear or use of the water heater
Check your contract carefully. All door-to-door water heater contracts must have a specific cover page attached that outlines your rights. This cover page, which includes the name and contact information of the company you are dealing with, must be attached to the contract before you sign it. Once you agree to a contract, you must sign both the contract and the attached cover page. You will also have to sign a mandatory statement.
Get the information you need. The salesperson should also give you information about your rights, and examples of the costs of long-term leasing of water heaters.
Ontario’s Consumer Protection Act protects consumers who buy and rent water heaters. Before doing so, be aware of your rights.
You have the right to cancel a contract if:
- You change your mind within 20 days of signing your water heater contract.
- Water heaters cannot be installed within that 20-day cooling off period, except under limited circumstances. These include recalls, safety issues with your existing water heater, or if your existing supplier is handling the replacement
- the business or salesperson who you’ve signed your contract with has made a false, misleading or deceptive statement. In this case, you can cancel an agreement for up to 1 year after you signed it
- the agreement does not meet all the requirements of Ontario’s Consumer Protection Act. In this case, you have up to 1 year to cancel the agreement,
- and you do not have clear information about your rights in the contract or the cover page
Remember, if you initiated the call for a new or replacement water heater, the company is permitted by law to install it within the 20-day cooling-off period. Remember, if you called for a new or replacement water heater, you also must sign a contract (and cover page) before any installation work can be done.
Once you have signed a water heater contract and a cover page, you should know that you will receive a scripted verification call from the company or its representative between the second and fifteenth day of signing your contract. You cannot get the call on the same day that you signed the contract. You still have the right to cancel your contract within the 20-day cooling-off period, even if you agreed to the sale in the verification call.
The verification call will not take place for safety or product recall water heater installations, or if the consumer initiated the transaction.
You should also remember that if you sign a new water heater rental contract, you will have to end your existing contract with your current supplier. There may be fees for ending your current contract and having your existing water heater removed.
Remember, you may also be eligible for a water heater upgrade from your current supplier. Call them and check your options before upgrading with a new supplier.
When you buy a home, you may be taking on the responsibility for an existing water heater contract that comes with the home. Ask your real estate agent or your lawyer.© Queen’s Printer for Ontario, 2015.