Know the facts on contracts - May 23rd 2013
Spring is here, and that means the spring home show season is as well. I’m sure many of you have attended home shows this spring. I have been at several home shows recently and had the chance to speak to many people who attended the shows. Home shows are a great place to see products you may consider using for your home improvement projects and to speak to the trades people who may end up doing those projects for you. However, I often see many new to market products and services at home shows. This is where I get concerned.
Some customers can get caught up in elaborate displays, videos, or sales presentations. When this happens they tend to make their purchasing decisions based on emotion rather than logic and can sometimes get themselves into a sticky situation.
Earlier this week I received a call to my office from a customer who had just this experience. They contacted my office asking for some advice. After meeting a contractor at a recent home show they booked an appointment with the contractor for an estimate. At that time they signed a contract and gave the contractor a substantial deposit. The work was scheduled to begin in mid-June.
Since signing the contract, the customer decided to look into the contractor a little further. Upon their investigation, questions came to mind that had not been addressed at the time the agreement was signed, such as: how long has the contractor been in business? How long has the product been used in this market? What kind of insurance coverage does the contractor have? Do they have a business license? Do they have a current account WorkSafe BC? When the customer began to ask these questions, they became even more uncomfortable with the contract they had signed and the deposit they gave the contractor.
At this point the customer contacted my office asking for my advice. I suggested asking the questions above, and if they were not satisfied with the contractor’s response, to ask to have the contract cancelled and their deposit refunded. However, it’s not just that easy. In British Columbia, a customer has the right to cancel a written contract within 10 days and receive their deposit back. Since in this case the contract was signed more than 10 days ago, the contractor is not legally obligated to refund the customer’s deposit. If the customer had done their homework prior to signing the contract they would not find themselves in this situation.
It is important to note that just because an item is a new product it does not necessarily mean it will not perform as promoted, however, but make sure to do your homework BEFORE you sign a contract.
When in doubt, don’t pout, let me help you out!