SAINT JOHN (GNB) – Following a previous news release about high-pressure sales tactics, the Financial and Consumer Services Commission is reminding New Brunswickers to be careful when dealing with door-to-door salespeople.

“We have legislation to help protect New Brunswick consumers who are being solicited at their home,” said Alaina Nicholson, director of consumer affairs with the commission. “Consumers need to be aware of their rights and responsibilities and recognize high-pressure sales tactics when engaging in financial and consumer transactions.”

The commission has received multiple inquiries from the public about companies using high-pressure sales tactics when offering home inspections and mould removal services. Upon visiting the home for inspection, the homeowner is informed, for example, that the attic is filled with mushrooms or mould and for safety reasons, that the situation needs to be taken care of immediately. The sales representative then uses high-pressure sales tactics to persuade the homeowner to hire them to fix the problem.

Consumers who experience high-pressure sales tactics from a service provider are advised to call the Financial and Consumer Services Commission. Any consumer who observes suspicious or unusual behaviour is advised to call the police.

Vendors who offer to sell consumers goods and services at their home are typically required to have a licence from the commission. New Brunswick consumers are encouraged to ask to see the salesperson’s direct seller’s licence. These licensing requirements help protect consumers by providing a screening process for individuals selling at consumers’ doorsteps.

In addition to high-pressure sales tactics, consumers are also advised to be cautious of the offer of free home services, inspections or testing, as these are often followed by a sales pitch.

Beware of high-pressure or misleading sales tactics such as:

  • Saying it is a one-time offer only available now.
  • Offering free inspections, consultations or offering prizes to visit a consumer’s home, with the intent of soliciting a sale once there. Examples of inspections could include furnaces, home heating devices, mould detection, air quality or water testing.
  • Misleading consumers by implying that they work for a municipality, a provincial organization or a utility company.
  • Misleading consumers by implying that the condition of their home or equipment in their home is dangerous or inadequate for habitation and requires an immediate fix or remediation. If an unfamiliar salesperson or company raises concerns about a consumer’s home or equipment in their home, they should consider getting a second opinion before agreeing to purchase anything.

The Financial and Consumer Services Commission has a number of resources on its website to help consumers make informed choices. Consumers who have been approached by an unlicensed direct seller should report it to the commission. Any consumer who feels threatened or intimated during a sales interaction is advised to call the police.

The Financial and Consumer Services Commission has the mandate to protect consumers and enhance public confidence in the financial and consumer marketplace through the provision of regulatory and educational services. It is responsible for the administration and enforcement of provincial legislation that regulates the following sectors: securities, insurance, pensions, credit unions, trust and loan companies, co-operatives, and a wide range of other consumer legislation. It is an independent Crown corporation funded by the regulatory fees and assessments paid by the regulated sectors. Educational tools and resources are available online.