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

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

Just Posted

File photo
Paramedic training returning to Castlegar

Emergency Medical Responder and Primary Care Paramedic training to take place in Castlegar

Doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine are seen being prepared on Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Decatur, Ga. Hundreds of children, ages 12 to 15, received the Pfizer vaccine at the DeKalb Pediatric Center, just days after it was approved for use within their age group. (AP Photo/Ron Harris)
One death, 60 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

The death is connected to the outbreak at Spring Valley long-term care in Kelowna

Portions of the Skattebo Reach Trail are being improved. Photo: Betsy Kline
Skattebo Reach Trail near Castlegar to become cycle friendly

Trail improvements geared towards cyclists being done in 2021

COVID-19 cases are once again dropping across the West Kootenay. Illustration: BC Centre for Disease Control
Ten new cases of COVID-19 in Nelson area

Numbers are steadily dropping across the West Kootenay

Katherine Shearer will be taking over as the SD20 superintendent. Photo: Submitted
SD20 superintendent Bill Ford to retire

Ford will be replaced by Katherine Shearer

From the left: Laura Greaves, Kyle Whyte and Steve Bigelow rescued a poisoned eagle Sunday, May 9. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
West Kootenay residents, Conservation Service Officer save poisoned eagle

CSO Kyle Bueckert released the eagle into the wild Thursday, May 13

The bodies of Carlo and Erick Fryer were discovered by a local couple walking on a remote forest road in Naramata on May 10. (Submitted)
Kamloops brothers identified as pair found dead near Penticton

The bodies of Carlo and Erick Fryer were discovered by a local couple walking

Municipal governments around B.C. have emergency authority to conduct meetings online, use mail voting and spend reserve funds on operation expenses. (Penticton Western News)
Online council meetings, mail-in voting option to be extended in B.C.

Proposed law makes municipal COVID-19 exceptions permanent

A nurse prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press)
British Columbians aged 20+ can book for vaccine Saturday, those 18+ on Sunday

‘We are also actively working to to incorporate the ages 12 to 17 into our immunization program’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine. (AP/Eranga Jayawardena)
2nd person in B.C. diagnosed with rare blood clotting after AstraZeneca vaccine

The man, in his 40s, is currently receiving care at a hospital in the Fraser Health region

Brian Peach rescues ducklings from a storm drain in Smithers May 12. (Lauren L’Orsa video screen shot)
VIDEO: Smithers neighbours rescue ducklings from storm drain

Momma and babies made it safely back to the creek that runs behind Turner Way

Signage for ICBC, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, is shown in Victoria, B.C., on February 6, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
$150 refunds issued to eligible customers following ICBC’s switch to ‘enhanced care’

Savings amassed from the insurance policy change will lead to one-time rebates for close to 4 million customers

The Libby Dam on the Kootenai River in Montana. The dam created the Koocanusa Reservoir, which straddles the B.C./Montana border. (photo courtesy Wikipedia)
Outflow at Libby Dam to be increased

Volume increase to aid migration and spawning conditions for endangered white sturgeon in the Kootenai River

Most Read