Telephone and Mail Agreements
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5
×
 

Recorded on May 23, 2012 - Contracts made by telephone or mail are called remote agreements and are subject to Ontario's Consumer Protection Act, 2002. This webinar, presented by Margaret Capes, Legal ...

Recorded on May 23, 2012 - Contracts made by telephone or mail are called remote agreements and are subject to Ontario's Consumer Protection Act, 2002. This webinar, presented by Margaret Capes, Legal Education Coordinator of Community Law School (Sarnia-Lambton) Inc., looks at telephone and mail remote agreements: what must be included in the agreement, what the seller or vendor cannot do, and where to turn if the agreement is not fulfilled.
Watch this webinar at:
http://yourlegalrights.on.ca/webinar/telephone-and-mail-agreements

Statistics

Views

Total Views
204
Views on SlideShare
204
Embed Views
0

Actions

Likes
0
Downloads
3
Comments
0

0 Embeds 0

No embeds

Accessibility

Categories

Upload Details

Uploaded via as Microsoft PowerPoint

Usage Rights

CC Attribution-NonCommercial LicenseCC Attribution-NonCommercial License

Report content

Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

Cancel
  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
    Processing…
Post Comment
Edit your comment

    Telephone and Mail Agreements Telephone and Mail Agreements Presentation Transcript

    • This webinar is brought to you by Community Law School (Sarnia-Lambton) Inc., a nonprofit, registered charitable organization devoted to public legal education and community advocacy training. This webinar is facilitated by Your Legal Rights, a website of legal information for community workers and advocates who work with low income and disadvantaged communities in Ontario. Funding for this webinar was provided by the Law Foundation of Ontario as part of The Connecting Project and the Connecting Communities Consortium. www.communitylawschool.org www.yourlegalrights.on.ca www.lawfoundation.on.ca Community Law School (Sarnia-Lambton) Inc.
    • The content of this webinar is based on law that was current on the date the webinar was recorded. Your Legal Rights webinars contain general legal information. They are not intended to be used as legal advice for a specific legal problem. For more information on how to find a lawyer or to contact your local community legal clinic visit: www.yourlegalrights.on.ca/find- services Your Legal Rights is a project of CLEO and funded by the Law Foundation of Ontario. Please Note:
    • About our presenter… Margaret Capes, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B., M.Ad.Ed, is Legal Education Coordinator of Community Law School (Sarnia- Lambton) Inc. She also acts as Review Counsel for Community Legal Services, as an adjunct professor in the clinical law program, and as faculty advisor for Pro Bono Students Canada and the Dispute Resolution Centre, all at the Faculty of Law, University of Western Ontario. She is the former Executive Director of Community Legal Assistance Sarnia.
    • Hot Topics in Consumer Protection: Telephone and Mail Agreements
    • Webinar Overview 1. What is a “remote agreement” under the Consumer Protection Act, 2002? 2. Rights under the Consumer Protection Act, 2002 a) Right to be Free from Unfair Business Practices b) Rights before entering into the Remote Agreement c) Rights Regarding the Remote Agreement d) Warranties and Quality of Work 3. Enforcement of Rights under the Consumer Protection Act, 2002 a) Rescission/Cancellation b) Complaint to the Ministry c) Civil Lawsuits Appendix A: Resources Appendix B: Detailed List of Unfair Practices under the Consumer Protection Act, 2002 2012, Community Law School (Sarnia-Lambton) Inc.
    • What is a Remote Agreement? •A remote agreement is: • An agreement made for good or services, the cost of which is over $50 (excluding the cost of borrowing); • where one party is in Ontario at the time of the transaction; and • where the buyer and the seller are not together at the time of the agreement (s. 20 (1) CPA; s. 2 CPA;s.44 CPA; s. 36 O.Reg. 17/05). •Common examples of remote agreements are contracts made over the telephone, or through the mail. •Remote agreements are not “internet” agreements, as internet agreements are separately covered under the CPA. 2012, Community Law School (Sarnia-Lambton) Inc.
    • 2012, Community Law School (Sarnia-Lambton) Inc.
    • Right to be Free from Unfair Practices: What are “Unfair Practices”? Under the Consumer Protection Act, 2002 (CPA), all agreements must be free from unfair practices on the part of the vendor. What are “unfair practices”? The CPA specifically prohibits two types of unfair practices: Making a false, misleading, or deceptive representation (s. 14, CPA), and Making an unconscionable representation (s. 15, CPA). The CPA also prohibits a person from retaining custody or control of goods in order to force a consumer into renegotiating the terms of the agreement (s. 16, CPA). 2012, Community Law School (Sarnia-Lambton) Inc.
    • Right to be Free from Unfair Practices: What are “False, Misleading, or Deceptive Representations? False, misleading, and deceptive representations generally fall into four categories: Representations as to the quality, characteristics, condition, or “special” nature of the goods or services; The current or future availability of the goods or services; The need for the goods or service; and The cost, price advantage, or benefit of the good or service to the consumer. A detailed description of what constitutes “false, misleading, and deceptive representations” can be found in Appendix B. 2012, Community Law School (Sarnia-Lambton) Inc.
    • 2012, Community Law School (Sarnia-Lambton) Inc. Right to be Free from Unfair Practices: What are “unconscionable representations” under the CPA? Some business practices are so egregious that they are deemed unconscionable under the CPA. They include:  Taking advantage of the disability, ignorance, language barriers, or illiteracy of the consumer;  Grossly overcharging for the good or service;  Using excessively one-sided or otherwise inequitable contracts to the detriment of the consumer;  Obligations that the consumer has no reasonable probability of paying in full;  Misleading statements of opinion that the consumer relies on or is likely to rely on, to their detriment; and  Using pressure tactics to persuade the consumer to enter into the transaction.
    • Example: Unfair Practices Nothing But Gutterballs Ernie Swan is an elderly man who still lives in his own home in Fairview, Ontario. Ernie is generally in good health, although it is apparent after even a short conversation with him that Ernie suffers with some mental impairments caused by early onset dementia. When a salesperson from Gutterman Guys called one day to explain that they would be in the neighborhood and could inspect Ernie’s gutters at no charge, Ernie took him up on the inspection offer. When Gilbert Gutterman arrived the next day, he didn’t look at the gutters, but did ask for and got Ernie’s okay to inspect the ventilation system. When Gilbert telephoned the following day, he convinced Ernie that not only did his gutters need cleaning, his ventilation system did as well. When Ernie asked several times Gilbert to repeat and explain the problems with his gutters Gilbert simply persisted in his assurance that needed cleaning, which Gutterman would do for the low price of $2,000. Ernie finally agreed, and Gilbert picked up the $2,000 cheque later that day. When Ernie’s daughter heard about this, she asked him to show her the contract for the cleaning services. Ernie told her that he never received a contract. A second inspection of both the gutters and the ventilation system by a different contractor revealed that neither actually needed cleaning. Did Gutternman engage in any unfair practices in this case? In what way(s)? Did Gutterman engage in any unconscionable representations? In what way(s)? 2012, Community Law School (Sarnia-Lambton) Inc.
    • Rights Before Entering into the Remote Agreement: Information to be Provided and Method of Delivery Buyers must be provided with certain information by sellers BEFORE the agreement is signed (s. 37(1), CPA; O.Reg. 17/05). This information can be provided orally or in writing, and the seller can refer the buyer to a preexisting publication (for example at a website or in a brochure) for this information (s. 37(2), CPA; O.Reg. 17/05). The buyer MUST be given the opportunity to accept or decline these terms, and the ability to correct errors, BEFORE the agreement is signed (s.38, CPA; O.Reg. 17/05). The information that must be disclosed is very specific and includes the following: The name of the supplier and, if different, the name under which the supplier carries on business; The telephone number of the supplier and, if the consumer is required to deal with the supplier at particular premises, the address of that premises; A fair and accurate description of the goods and services to be supplied to the consumer, including any technical requirements related to the use of the goods or services. 2012, Community Law School (Sarnia-Lambton) Inc.
    • Rights Before Entering into the Remote Agreement: Information to be Provided and Method of Delivery, Cont. An itemized list of the prices at which the goods and services are to be supplied to the consumer, including taxes and shipping charges. A description of each additional charge that applies or may apply, such as customs duties or brokerage fees, and the amount of the charge (if the supplier can reasonably determine it). The total amount that the supplier knows will be payable by the consumer under the agreement, or if the goods and services are to be supplied during an indefinite period, the amount and frequency of periodic payments. The terms and methods of payment. As applicable, the date or dates on which delivery, commencement of performance, ongoing performance , and completion of performance will occur. For goods and services that will be delivered: the place to which they will be delivered, and if the supplier uses a specific manner of delivery and intends to charge the consumer for delivery, the manner in which the goods and services will be delivered, including the name of the carrier (if any) and the method of transportation to be used. 2012, Community Law School (Sarnia-Lambton) Inc.
    • Rights Before Entering into the Remote Agreement: Information to be Provided and Method of Delivery, Cont. For services that will be performed, the place where they will be performed, the person for whom they will be performed, the supplier’s method of performing them and, if the supplier holds out that a specific person other than the supplier will perform any of the services on the supplier’s behalf, the name of that person. Any rights that the supplier agrees the consumer will have in addition to their rights under the CPA, and any obligations by which the supplier agrees to be bound in addition to its obligations under the CPA, with regard to cancellations, returns, exchanges ,and refunds. If the agreement is to include a trade-in arrangement, a description of the trade-in arrangement and the amount of the trade-in allowance. The currency in which amounts are expressed, if it is not Canadian currency. Any other restrictions, limitations and conditions that will be imposed by the supplier 2012, Community Law School (Sarnia-Lambton) Inc.
    • Example: Rights Before Entering into the Remote Agreement Big Dog Satellite Radio Runaround Leng, who lives in Fjordville, Ontario, recently purchased a new vehicle which came with a 3-month free, promotional subscription to Big Dog Satellite Radio. Leng really enjoyed the many channels, especially “Guitar Greats”. As the free promotion neared its end, she began receiving materials in the mail and telephone calls from Big Dog about purchasing a subscription. Since she really enjoyed the tunes, Leng decided to take their call after supper one night and discuss her options. She was advised there was 6 month, 1 year, and lifetime pricing available. Leng considered her budget and decided upon a one-year subscription at $149.99. The salesperson took Leng’s Visa information and advised her how to activate the subscription. When Leng asked if there was any other paperwork, the Big Dog representative said there was not, but to call if she had any questions. Within 3 days, Leng started to have buyer’s remorse. She just started a new job and really did not have the funds to pay for the satellite service. She called the 1-800 number for Big Dog and was only able to leave a message about her decision. After a month, Leng wondered why she was still receiving the satellite service. She called Big Dog and a customer service representative advised her that the year subscription had been charged to her Visa and that was why she continued to have the service. They refused to cancel the service without a termination fee. Does the contract with Big Dog meet the requirements of the CPA? How is it defective? Did Leng receive all of the information to which she is entitled under the CPA? What is missing? May Big Dog charge Leng a termination fee under these circumstances? 2012, Community Law School (Sarnia-Lambton) Inc.
    • Rights Regarding the Remote Agreement: Timing and Manner Timing: A copy of the remote agreement must be delivered to the buyer. The copy of the agreement must be delivered to the buyer at the earliest of: 30 days after the good or service is provided, or Within 60 days of the entering into the agreement (s.46(1) CPA; s. 39(1) O.Reg. 17/05). Manner: The remote agreement must be provided in such a way that the buyer can save or print a copy if sent by email. The allowable methods of delivery are: By email By fax By mail By personal delivery (s. 46(3) CPA; s. 39(3) O.Reg. 17/05). 2012, Community Law School (Sarnia-Lambton) Inc.
    • Rights Regarding the Remote Agreement: Content The remote agreement must have very specific information included for it to be valid under the CPA. The required information includes ALL of the terms outlined in the pre-agreement disclosure discussed earlier, as well as: The seller’s telephone numbers, address where the sellers conducts business, fax number, email address; The name of the buyer; and The date of the agreement. 2012, Community Law School (Sarnia-Lambton) Inc.
    • Rights Regarding the Remote Agreement: Warranties and Quality of Work The seller is deemed to warrant that the services or good to be provided are of reasonably acceptable quality (s. 9(1) CPA). This applies to goods or services purchased through the mail and over the telephone. 2012, Community Law School (Sarnia-Lambton) Inc.
    • Example: Rights Regarding the Remote Agreement Magazine Madness Stew Fusburn is an avid magazine reader. While Stew reading an article on GPS chips in whales at his dentist’s office, a card dropped from the People’s Geographic. The card asked for basic information about his address, telephone number, email, Visa number , as well as his signature. The card also promised a subscription price that was half the newsstand price. It stated People’s Geographic was published monthly at its head office in Harrowsmith, Ontario. Stew decided to take the plunge and mailed the card for a 12-month subscription in early April. Stew did not receive or sign any other documents related to the subscription, but his Visa was billed on April 25. The May edition arrived on time, but June and July were over a month late. Stew called People’s Geographic, who assured him that Canada Post was to blame for the delivery problems. By September, Stew began to receive the magazine in a timely fashion and he thoroughly enjoyed the articles. In December, the magazine stopped arriving altogether. Stew’s calls to the People’s Geographic were not returned, but the company website was up to date and it appeared they were still publishing other magazines. Stew paid nearly $100 for the subscription but now deeply regrets that decision. In what ways does the subscription “agreement” fail to comply with the CPA? Did People’s Geographic meet its warranty and quality requirements under the CPA? 2012, Community Law School (Sarnia-Lambton) Inc.
    • Enforcement of Rights under the CPA: Rescission/Cancellation Under the CPA (s. 18), a consumer may rescind any agreement entered into while the other party engaged in an unfair business practice under the Act. If rescinded, the agreement and all related agreements, guarantees, and payment security are cancelled as if they never existed. Notice of rescission must be given within one year after entering into the agreement. If information is not disclosed in whole or in part in the manner required by the CPA, the buyer may cancel the agreement up to 7 days after receiving a copy of the agreement. If the remote agreement is not delivered on time and/or not delivered by an approved method and/or does not include all the required terms, the buyer can cancel the agreement within one year of entering the agreement (s. 47(2) CPA). Rescission and/or cancellation should be done in writing, and the consumer should keep a copy of the cancellation for their records. Any goods received by the buyer prior to cancellation should be within 15 days of the cancellation (s. 96(1) CPA; s. 81(2) O.Reg. 17/05). The seller has 15 days from the cancellation date to return funds to the buyer (s. 96(1) CPA; s. 81(2) O.Reg. 17/05). 2012, Community Law School (Sarnia-Lambton) Inc.
    • Enforcement of Rights under the CPA: Complaint to the Ministry If the rescission or cancellation of the remote agreement does not resolve the matter with the seller, the buyer may file a complaint with the Ministry of Consumer Services (s. 105, CPA). As private lawsuits are expensive (in terms of time, money. and certainty of result), a consumer may want to first file a complaint with the Ministry of Consumer Services to see if that results in acceptable redress for the consumer. Online complaint forms are available on the Ministry’s website: www.sse.gov.on.ca/mcs. The Ministry has broad investigative and remedial powers. The Ministry may order the seller to comply with the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, 2002. The Ministry may also bring charges in Provincial Offences Court. The Provincial Offences Court may, upon conviction, impose upon an individual a fine of up to $50,000, or imprisonment for a term of not more than two years less a day, or both. A corporation that is convicted may be fined up to $250,000. 2012, Community Law School (Sarnia-Lambton) Inc.
    • Enforcement of Rights under the CPA: Civil Lawsuits Civil Lawsuits: Breaches of the Consumer Protection Act and Warranty Issues (ss. 6,7, 18(8), CPA). The CPA allows for lawsuits for breach of contract . If damages can be proven as a result of breaches of the CPA, then the buyer can take the seller to Small Claims or Superior Court. Additionally, given the warranty provisions in the CPA, it is possible a tort claim could be launched if the work is substandard and damages can be proven. The limitation period for starting a claim is 2 years from the date the breach was discovered under the Limitation Act, 2002 2012, Community Law School (Sarnia-Lambton) Inc.
    • Appendix A: Resources and Contact Information Ministry of Consumer Services Consumer Protection Branch 5775 Yonge Street, Suite 1500 Toronto, ON M7A 2E5 Phone 416-326-8800 or 1-800-889-9768 Website: www.sse.gov.on.ca/mcs Email: consumer@ontario.ca Ministry of Consumer Services website on Cancelling a Contract under the Consumer Protection Act : http://www.sse.gov.on.ca/mcs/en/Pages/Cancel_a_Contract.aspx Ministry of Consumer Services Complaint Form : http://www.sse.gov.on.ca/mcs/Documents/stel02_046670.pdf Small Claims Court To pursue a claim before the Small Claims Court it is important to review the Small Claims Court information and forms at the Ministry of Attorney General website: http://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/courts/scc   2012, Community Law School (Sarnia-Lambton) Inc.
    • Appendix B: Examples of “false, misleading and deceptive representations” (s. 14(2), CPA) The CPA includes the following as examples of false, misleading, or deceptive representations:  That the goods or services have sponsorship, approval, performance characteristics, accessories, uses, ingredients, benefits, or qualities that they do not have;  That the person supplying the goods or services has sponsorship, approval, status, affiliation or connection that the person does not have;  That the goods or services are of a particular standards, quality, grade, style, or model, if they are not;  That the goods are new, or unused, if they are not or are reconditioned or reclaimed;  That the goods have been used to an extent that is materially different from the fact;  That the goods or services are available for a reason that does not exist;  That the goods or services have been supplied in accordance with a previous representation, if they have not;  That the goods or services, or any part thereof, are available when the person making the representation knows or should know that they are not; 2012, Community Law School (Sarnia-Lambton) Inc.
    • Appendix B: Examples of “false, misleading and deceptive representations” (s. 14(2), CPA), Cont.  That the goods or services, or any part thereof, will be available by a specified time when the person making the representation knows or should know that they will not be available by that time;  That a service, part, replacement or repair is needed or advisable, if it is not;  That a specific price advantage exists, when it does not;  That misrepresents the authority of a salesperson, representative, employee, or agent to negotiate the final terms of the agreement;  That the transaction involves or does not involve rights, remedies, or obligations if the representation is false, misleading, or deceptive;  That misrepresents the purpose or intent of any solicitation of, or communication with, a consumer;  That misrepresent the purpose of any charge or proposed charge; or  That misrepresents or exaggerates the benefits that are likely to flow to a consumer if they help a person obtain new or potential customers. 2012, Community Law School (Sarnia-Lambton) Inc.
    • This webinar was brought to you by Community Law School  (Sarnia-Lambton) Inc. and Your Legal Rights with funding  from the Law Foundation of Ontario. For more information about consumer issues visit the Consumer Law  section of Your Legal Rights at www.yourlegalrights.on.ca.  For more public legal information webinars, including webinars on  other consumer protection topics, visit: www.yourlegalrights.on.ca/training. For information about other consumer issues, social welfare laws,  and community advocacy training visit the Community Law School  website at www.communitylawchool.org.    Community Law School (Sarnia-Lambton) Inc.