A joint CBC Marketplace/Go Public investigation using hidden cameras is exposing the deceitful tactics being used to trick consumers into overpriced long-term rental contracts for new heating and cooling equipment (HVAC Scam).
A Marketplace producer went undercover, posing as a homeowner, to test what is behind the flood of complaints coming in from across the country, despite government attempts to fix the problem.
Alberta and Ontario banned door-to-door sales of HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) products in 2017 and 2018 respectively, but complaints and consumer protection charges continue to pile up.
This is happening here too. I see a few of these rentals every year on home inspections and the buy out for the seller is usually ridiculously high. They put a lien on your property so you are forced to buy it out before you can sell it.
Most people have no idea they have a lien until they go to sell or refinance the property, he said. At that point, they often have no choice but to pay the HVAC companies out to lift the lien and allow the sale or refinancing to go through.
Experts say the best way to protect yourself is:
- Don’t sign up for big purchases on the spot.
- Always read the fine print before signing.
- Ask to see credentials.
- If you already have a contract, check your land title to see if there’s a lien on your property. It’s better to fight it now than find out later.
- If there is a lien on your property contact a lawyer
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