In the 2016-2017 fiscal year, Alberta Courts ordered more than $957,000 in restitution as a result of provincial investigations into breaches of consumer protection and tenancy laws, Service Alberta Minister Stephanie McLean said in Calgary on Thursday.
A home renovator sent to prison for repeatedly scamming customers, the first-ever conviction of a payday lender for charging an illegal interest rate, and door-to-door furnace sellers banned for using misleading contracts — these are three examples highlighted by the Alberta government as it laid out the actions it took to protect consumers in the past year.
Service Alberta’s consumer investigations unit concluded 618 files last year and doled out $272,445 in fines to individuals and businesses for contraventions such as misleading consumers, operating without licences or failing to refund consumers.
McLean highlighted the case of Tam Dang, whose family was saddled with faulty furnace equipment and a lien on their home after an HVAC company refused to let them cancel a contract for an add-on air filtration system.
After assistance from Service Alberta, the family received their money back, the contract was cancelled and the lien was removed, McLean said.
The company was fined $3,000 and its licence was cancelled by Service Alberta after officials concluded the company’s sales practices and contract terms contravened the Fair Trading Act.
Read the full story over at CBC News.