KAWARTHA LAKES-The Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) is warning consumers to exercise caution if they are approached by door-to-door salespeople offering home improvements or assistance to terminate home service/equipment contracts, such as water heaters.
Property owners across Ontario, including those in the Greater Toronto Area, Orillia, Peterborough, Brantford, Welland, Collingwood and Kawartha Lakes, have reported that these individuals requested payment in cash and recorded their personal financial details. Homeowners later found that liens were registered against their properties or their existing mortgages were discharged and replaced with larger mortgages at higher interest rates.
Homeowners were approached by individuals who claimed to:
- Offer certain home renovations (e.g., kitchen, roof, gas);
- Represent businesses offering assistance to terminate unfair home service/equipment contracts (e.g., HVAC, furnaces, water heaters); or
- Offer assistance with mortgage refinancing.
FSRA encourages consumers to exercise caution if anyone offers you home renovations and/or assistance in getting out of your home service/equipment contract. If you are contacted by phone or in person by individuals offering these services, make sure you:
- Verify their identities;
- Verify the company they say that they work for;
- Do not pay cash for services performed;
- Do not sign any documents until you fully understand what you are purchasing;
- Seek the opinion of a trusted family member, friend, or lawyer before signing documents; and
- Do not divulge or provide confidential information such as bank account information, tax returns or mortgage papers.
If you believe you have been a victim, file a complaint with your local police department. If this matter involves your mortgage, or a mortgage broker or agent, please contact FSRA.
FSRA licenses mortgage brokerages, brokers, and agents to safeguard public confidence and trust in Ontario’s financial services. If consumers obtain a mortgage through individuals or companies not licensed by FSRA, they are not protected under the Mortgage Brokerages, Lenders and Administrators Act, 2006 and its regulations that govern Ontario’slicensed mortgage brokerages, brokers and agents.
Consumers are encouraged to check the public registry to ensure they are working with a licensed mortgage broker, agent, brokerage, or administrator.
FSRA continues to work on behalf of all stakeholders, including consumers, to ensure financial safety, fairness, and choice for everyone.