Consumer Alert – Hot Water Heater Rentals

Door-to-door water heater rental salespeople can make entering into a new contract seem very attractive. But sometimes, consumers can feel pressured to sign on the spot, and this can lead to problems.

The Ministry of Government and Consumer Services encourages consumers to be aware of their rights when of signing a contract at the door.  Complaints about water heater rentals are always among the most common ones received by the ministry, and 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 sign.  After the 20-day cooling-off period is over and you have verified the contract, if 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 may 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.

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.
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:

  1. Within 20 days after you’ve signed your water heater contract - you do not need any reason to cancel.
  2. The contract 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.

You also have additional rights if a water heater was installed during the cooling off period, unless you invited your existing supplier to your home, your water heater was determined be unsafe or was recalled and it is replaced by your existing supplier.

At Ontario’s Ministry of Government and 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.