TORONTO, ONTARIO–(Marketwired – April 22, 2013) – EnerCare Inc. (TSX:ECI) and EnerCare Solutions Inc. (collectively, "EnerCare") commend the Ontario Government for following through on its commitment to substantially enhance protections for Ontario consumers with its introduction of the Stronger Protection for Ontario Consumers Act, 2013 ("Bill 55"). Bill 55 is a direct response by the Ontario Government to quell complaints to the Ontario Ministry of Consumer Services about rental agreements for water heaters entered into through door-to-door sales, which complaints were second on the Ministry's consumer complaints list in both 2012 and 2011. The Government reiterated that Bill 55 has been introduced specifically to "crack down on aggressive door to door sales tactics."
Among other things, if passed as introduced, Bill 55 will:
- Double the existing 10-day cooling-off period to 20 days, providing consumers with more time to consider their decision;
- Ban the delivery and installation of water heaters during the new 20-day cooling-off period;
- Provide new consumer protection when the rules are not followed, such as requiring the supplier to pay all cancellation fees when the 20-day cooling-off period is not observed and giving the consumer a set-off right against any amounts owing to the supplier for those fees; and
- Give enhanced authority to the Minister to make regulations governing supplier conduct and agreement content, such as a requirement that companies confirm sales by making scripted and recorded telephone calls to the customer.
"EnerCare looks forward to assisting in the legislative process so that Bill 55 can pass quickly, and the necessary regulations can be implemented, so as to help protect our customers and Ontario consumers from the bad actors in our marketplace," said John Macdonald, President and CEO. "We encourage all parties in the legislature to get behind this important initiative in consumer protection without delay."
If passed, EnerCare believes that Bill 55 is very much a positive development for its customers and its rental water heater business and will greatly assist in its continued efforts to combat attrition.
A copy of Bill 55 can be found at http://www.ontla.on.ca/bills/bills-files/40_Parliament/Session2/b055.pdf and background on the proposed legislation can be found on the Ministry of Consumer Services website at http://news.ontario.ca/mcs/en/2013/04/strengthening-protection-against-aggressive-door-to-door-sales.html.
EnerCare also applauds the launch by the Homeowner Protection Centre, a not-for-profit advocacy organization for homeowners, of a new website (www.waterheaterdoortodoor.com) to give Ontario consumers a voice and platform to encourage all MPPs in the legislature to enact changes that offer protection from door-to-door water heater sales as soon as possible.
This past March, the Homeowner Protection Centre released a report about water heater rentals in Ontario. The report is called Domestic Hot Water Tanks and other Equipment: A Consumer Perspective. Included in the report were recommendations to improve the current situation in Ontario.
A copy of the Homeowner Protection Centre press release that announced the launch of the website can be found at http://huffstrategy.com/MediaManager/release/Homeowner-Protection-Centre/18-4-13/Ontario-consumer-protection-website-launched/2771.html.
Certain statements in this news release are forward-looking statements, which reflect management's expectation regarding EnerCare's growth, results of operations, performance, business prospects and opportunities. Such forward-looking information reflects management's current beliefs and is based on information available to them and/or assumptions management believes are reasonable. Many factors could cause results to differ materially from the results discussed in the forward-looking information. These factors include risks associated with the failure to realize the anticipated benefits of Bill 55. Although the forward-looking information is based on what management believes to be reasonable assumptions, EnerCare cannot assure investors that actual results will be consistent with this forward-looking information. Except as required by applicable securities laws, EnerCare does not intend and does not assume any obligation to update or revise the forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
ABOUT ENERCARE INC. AND ENERCARE SOLUTIONS INC.
EnerCare Inc. and EnerCare Solutions own a portfolio of approximately 1.2 million installed water heaters and other assets, rented primarily to residential customers in Ontario. EnerCare Inc. also owns EnerCare Connections Inc., a leading sub-metering company, with metering contracts for condominium and apartment suites in Ontario, Alberta and elsewhere in Canada.
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