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A Consumer Perspective

Most Canadian homeowners own their water heaters, except in Ontario where water heaters are predominantly rented. While the largest rental market is found in Ontario, there are also smaller markets in the Maritimes, Manitoba, and Quebec. Utility providers in these provinces, including Hydro Quebec, Manitoba Hydro, and NB Power, have offered water heater rentals, but seem to have had less take up than in Ontario. Rental companies have also recently targeted Alberta to expand their rental business.

While the water heater markets across Canada have traditionally been stable and relatively free of consumer complaints, new concerns have recently been reported, particularly in the Ontario market. Recent media coverage reflecting an increase in consumer complaints has led the Homeowner Protection Centre to examine homeowner discontent with the rental water heater market.

The objective of this report is to review water heater products available across the country, review the history of the rental market, especially in Ontario, identify homeowner water heater issues, and conduct an analysis and provide recommendations to improve the marketplace for consumers.

The Homeowner Protection Centre of Canada received funding from Industry Canada’s Contributions Program for Non-profit Consumer and Voluntary Organizations. The views expressed in the report are not necessarily those of Industry Canada or the Government of Canada.

Categories: Uncategorized

Homeowners And Water Heaters

Homeowner Brief

The Water Heater Homeowner Brief is specifically tailored for homeowners to understand the rental water heater issue, as outlined in our recent report Domestic Hot Water Tanks and Other Equipment: A Consumer Perspective. It highlights the core concepts and findings from our research which are important for homeowners to be aware. The one-page brief helps Homeowners understand the issues. More importantly the brief outlines the key steps and initiatives that homeowners themselves can take to protect themselves

Categories: Uncategorized

Examining The Impact Of Regulations On Consumers

The growth of the Condominium market in Canada has been significant. According Statistics Canada, in 2006, 11% of all household were condominiums. Ontario statistics indicate condominiums comprise almost 62% of the new home construction in the province. Many have acknowledged that there is a need to review and update condominium laws to better enhance consumer protection. A number of issues have been raised in recent Ontario consultations into Condominium Act reforms, including condo manager qualification.

The Homeowner Protection Centre has received funding to undertake a research project titled Condominium Managers – Examining the Impact of Regulation on Consumers. This project seeks to provide an evidence basis to reform and update consumer protection in the condo marketplace. Our focus on the roles and responsibilities of condo managers will also help governments and consumer advocates to develop more informed positions.

Expected Completion: March 2014
The Homeowner Protection Centre of Canada received funding from Industry Canada’s Contributions Program for Non-profit Consumer and Voluntary Organizations. The views expressed in the report are not necessarily those of Industry Canada or the Government of Canada.

Categories: Uncategorized

Konw your Rights

This information was taken verbatim from Consumers International, the global voice of consumers.

Over time, the consumer movement has developed this vision into a set of eight basic consumer rights that now define and inspire much of the work Consumer International and its members do (around areas such as financial services and communications):

The right to satisfaction of basic needs
To have access to basic, essential goods and services: adequate food, clothing, shelter, health care, education, public utilities, water and sanitation.
The right to safety
To be protected against products, production processes and services that are hazardous to health or life.
The right to be informed
To be given the facts needed to make an informed choice, and to be protected against dishonest or misleading advertising and labelling.
The right to choose
To be able to select from a range of products and services, offered at competitive prices with an assurance of satisfactory quality.
The right to be heard
To have consumer interests represented in the making and execution of government policy, and in the development of products and services.
The right to redress
To receive a fair settlement of just claims, including compensation for misrepresentation, shoddy goods or unsatisfactory services.
The right to consumer education
To acquire knowledge and skills needed to make informed, confident choices about goods and services, while being aware of basic consumer rights and responsibilities and how to act on them.
The right to a healthy environment
To live and work in an environment that is non-threatening to the well-being of present and future generations.

Categories: Homeowner Concerns

Home Buyers

Owning a home for the first time is an exciting experience, but it can also be overwhelming and confusing. The Homeowner Protection Centre is working to make this experience simpler and more enjoyable for you.

Take some time to explore our Resource centre. The below links are shortcuts to articles that may be most relevant to you, but there is much more on the site.

Sign up for monthly HPC e- newsletters, we will send you current news and helpful tips for owning a home.

Categories: Homeowner Concerns

Consumer Tips

1. Know your dates.

Home purchasers should submit defect lists before their deadline. Late lists may not be accepted. Include all outstanding items whether or not the builder has committed to do the work. If it’s not on the list, you have no leverage to get it done.

2. Include a no substitution clause in your contract.

3. Let the company know what you expect.

4. Get your voice heard.

  • Leave lots of voice mail messages.
  • Send letters.
  • Call the company President. Call every Vice President and leave lots of messages.
  • Email your Consumers Minister.
  • Email your Housing Minister.
  • Write your Chief Building Officer and your Mayor.

5. Always be reasonable about your expectations.

6. Be factual.

7. Do not libel or slander.

8. Do not exaggerate.

9. Always act professionally.

10. Keep detailed and dated records.

11. Document all discussions.

12. Send discussion notes to builders/warranty representatives. Note the name of who you talk to.

13. Do not expect financial compensation but do expect the problem to be fixed.

Categories: Homeowner Concerns

How to Look for Real Estate Services

When it comes to real estate, people like the idea of having someone else giving them the options, and just laying all the information in front of them. There are customers who have a certain style that they have in mind, and usually it is better to hire someone else to do the work for them.

Real estate services do exactly that, which is why most customers will prefer to hire someone else than do the work themselves. These services usually include a broker, and brokers are so good at what they do, that they are able to recommend some houses that will catch the attention of their customers.

If you are looking for a home that is best for family, and not too hard to maintain, it is always best that you ask for help professionally so that they can help you decide and give you some options. Looking for a real estate service is not hard at all, you just have to know where to look.

If you do not know where to star, or how to get moving on your home plan project, here are a few ways on how to search for the best real estate service.

  • Research online – researching online can be a great way to look for real estate websites and brokers. Some companies will have a personal webpage so that it will be easier for you to look through the houses that they have or at least know about their history in terms of doing business. Before you decide, you must always make sure that the company you are going with has good customer service, good feedback, and has a good track record. It is dangerous to go with a service that does not have good feedback or a bad reputation, simply because you will be dealing with money and paper work. Money is a very sensitive topic, and you need to develop a comfort first with the service that you hire before you start doing business with them, that way you avoid yourself from getting scammed. 
  • Ask for recommendations – family members and friends somehow know about your interests and if you ask them for a personal recommendation, they will be able to give you one right away. Asking for recommendations from people you trust will be of benefit to you, because you will not have to worry about the company having a bad track record or a history of bad customer service. If they can recommend someone to you, then it means that they have already done business with the service and can gladly tell you that they have received good customer service with no records of bad reputation from the company. 

Know what you want – before you look for a real estate service, always make sure that you are firm with what you want. In order to communicate effectively, you must make sure that the company has a firm grasp of your style and taste so that they can recommend good houses that will work well around your budget and style. It is always better that you stay safe than having to regret that you have not been clear with what you want out of a house.

Categories: Real Estate

How to Reduce Your Home Insurance Payments

home insurance brokers MiltonWith the price of home ownership, utilities, grocery and other related costs constantly increasing, almost everyone is looking for better ways to save on their household expenses. From cutting out outside entertainment completely to taking lunch to work and school, there are many different ways that the family can save money. In addition to cutting out all of the little extra niceties, are working with their clients to reduce their home insurance payments. When a homeowner follows their recommendations, they can save a substantial amount of money each month in reduced home insurance payments each year. With this in mind, here are 3 great tips and recommendations that people all over Canada can use to make sure that they are minimizing the amount that is actually spent out each year.


#1 – Raise Deductibles

One common recommendation that many people may already be familiar with is raising home insurance brokers Milton deductibles. By raising the amount of the deductibles that has to be paid with each claim, the owner can save on their monthly payments. However, before a homeowner raises the amount that has to be paid out of their pocket, it is important that they are well prepared in advance to make the additional amounts when required.


#2 – Install Innovative Home Security Systems

In addition to raising the deductibles, another area that can help with reducing the amount that paid involves installing the latest home security systems. This is because most insurance companies will offer discounts to these homeowners since it reduces the chances of theft when the security system is in place.


#3 – Shop Online for the Best Insurance Providers

Reducing the cost can take a little time, but it will be well worth it in the long run. So, for those of you who want to save as much money as you can, you should make sure that you are shopping around. Fortunately, there are a large number of sites online that can assist with this type of comparison shopping, and most of the homework has already been done. This is because some sites will rate the insurance providers based on a set criterion.

Saving money can be challenging if an individual is concerned about the family budget. One area in which people can reduce the amount spent out each month is to consider changes in home insurance policies. Some of which involve raising insurance deductibles, installing recent home security systems and comparison shopping online.

Categories: Real Estate