Think before buying at the door

April 5 2013 by Ellen Roseman

HRAI Door-to-Door - small

As the Ontario government considers a crackdown on door-to-door sellers, check out this infographic. (Click to enlarge.) It shows how much trust is placed in different types of services sold at the door.

If you’re unsure of the current law, the Ontario Ministry of Consumer Services has information on dealing with door-to-door sellers. Here’s a guide to your rights.

Here’s a story about a vacuum cleaner salesman who wouldn’t leave the home of an elderly widow until she signed a deal. She complained to the ministry and got $1,000 in restitution — and was allowed to keep the vacuum cleaner.

Water heater rentals and removals are high on the list of door-to-door offenders. Here’s a link to the ministry’s consumer beware list, where you can search by category.

And just for fun, check out the Kijiji ads for door-to-door sellers in Ontario. You find the usual suspects here (lawn care, burglar alarms, heating and cooling).

You can also find several ads for Bell, which is looking to sell home phone, Internet and TV by knocking on doors in multi-unit apartments.

“We are looking for individuals who are hunters (by nature),” say the Bell ads. “Opportunity to earn up to $70K+.”

Bell already pesters current and former customers by telemarketing and direct mail. Now it will be showing up at your door. Is there no privacy?


  1. Robb

    Apr 5 2013

    The worst offenders in Alberta are the companies selling home alarm systems door-to-door.

    Vivint, formerly APX Alarm, deploys hundreds of door-to-door sellers every summer and they are very aggressive. They usually lead with something like, “There’s been quite a few break-in’s in your area lately.”

    I recently had someone from SHAW Cable call and ask if everything was okay with my service. When I told them I didn’t use SHAW, the rep quickly hung up.

    Sure enough, he called back the next day and said he was calling former SHAW customers and asking how to win them back. When I said I’ve never been a SHAW customer and asked how he got my number (unlisted cell phone), he hung up.

    Can’t wait for the next call 🙂

  2. bylo selhi

    Apr 6 2013

    This begs the question of why anyone would buy anything from anyone who makes an unsolicited pitch at their door. The same question applies to unsolicited e-mails (spam) as well as phone calls. If I didn’t invite the contact my response is short and simple, “No!”This applies equally to commercial salespeople, charities, pollsters — and politicians.