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A stranger knocks on your door? Beware, it may be an itinerant merchant!

Far from selling the traditional encyclopedias or the mythical vacuum cleaners, an itinerant merchant can now offer heat pumps, solar panels, attic decontamination services or other major work on your home. These contracts, worth several thousand dollars, are often financed on credit.

Before you fall for this scam, here are some tips to follow.

  • Make sure the itinerant merchant is licensed by the Office de la protection du consommateur. Although the permit offers you some protection, it does not attest to the honesty of the salesperson or the quality of his or her services.
  • Beware of sales tactics and promises. The itinerant merchant may try to convince you that the offer is a bargain or that it is for a limited time. They may also tell you that you can save a lot of money or take advantage of government programs. Before you give in, check their claims. Take the time to compare prices with a few suppliers.
  • Check the contract before you sign it. Are you interested in what they are offering? Ask the vendor for a copy of the contract and take the time to study it in detail. Pay particular attention to the payment terms.

If you have entered into a contract with an itinerant merchant, you have the right to cancel it within 10 days, without charge or justification. In some circumstances, you may have a year to cancel. For example, if the salesperson is not licensed or does not deliver the goods or provide the service within 30 days of the contract date.

To learn more about itinerant sales, visit the Office de la protection du consommateur.