Consumer Alert – Hot Water Heater Rentals

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 Consumer Services asks consumers to beware – complaints about water heater rental businesses have gone up significantly over the past 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, 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 insist on getting 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 buy.  Once you agree to have a water heater installed in your home, you will have to pay some costs if you change your mind.   These costs include:

  • The rental payments still due when you terminate.
  • The expenses the rental company has to pay to remove the water heater.
  • Charges for unreasonable or excessive wear or use of the water heater.

Ontario’s Consumer Protection Act protects consumers who rent water heaters.  Before you rent, be aware of your rights.    

You have the right to cancel a contract if:

  1. You change your mind – for any reason – within 10 days after you’ve received your written copy of the contract.
  2. 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 one year after you signed it.
  3. The agreement does not meet all the requirements of Ontario’s Consumer Protection Act.  In this case, you have up to one year to cancel the agreement.
  4. The contract you sign is not clear or easily understood – or doesn’t clearly disclose key information you need to know.
  5. You do not have clear information about your rights in the contract itself.

You should also know that when you buy a home, you may be taking on the responsibility for an existing water heater contract that comes with your home.  Ask the homeowner, your real estate agent or your lawyer for more information before buying the home.

At Ontario’s Ministry of Consumer Services, we are here to help.

If you have questions or concerns about water heater suppliers or rentals, call us in the Greater Toronto Area at (416) 326-8800, toll-free at 1-800-889-9768 or via e-mail at consumer@ontario.ca.