A door-to-door water treatment sales company faces 112 charges under the Consumer Protection Act in Ontario, Canada
The Province of Ontario filed 112 charges against an Ottawa businessman accused of door-to-door water treatment sales business.
According to the Ottawa Citizen, Saeed Torbati faces charges under the Consumer Protection Act in relation to his role as director of Ontario Stars Corporation. Torbati also allegedly also been carrying out business as another company that calls itself "Ontario Safety Standards."
“It is alleged that the corporation made false, misleading, or deceptive representations to consumers in their homes. It is also alleged that the corporation used a contract that did not comply with the [Consumer Protection] Act and failed to provide refunds to consumers as required,” said Harry Malhi, a spokesman for the ministry, in an emailed statement. “Mr. Torbati is charged as a Director of Ontario Stars Corporation. It is alleged that he failed in his duty to prevent the corporation from committing offences contrary to the Consumer Protection Act.”
According to the ministry, the charges come from the complaints of 19 Ottawa residents.
The Ottawa Citizen conducted an investigation into complaints about business practices of Ontario Safety Standards in 2017. Several people alleged they were subjected to high pressure sales tactics, given misleading information and also expressed frustration about difficulty faced in withdrawing from a contract during their provincially mandated “cooling off period." The period gave a consumer up to 20 days to cancel a contract they had agreed to.
According to the Citizen, some claim the company promised the equipment being installed would help save money on their bills. But, the savings never materialized.
The city issued warnings about companies offering water filters or water softeners to residents who draw their water from municipal water supplies, according to the Citizen. City engineers cautioned that municipally supplied water is already soft and a water softener could increase sodium levels. Engineers also claimed additional filtration of Ottawa municipal tap water is not necessary.
Pradeep Chand, a lawyer representing Torbati as well as Ontario Safety Standards and Ontario Stars Corp., said his clients intend “to vigorously defend themselves against the allegations and are eager to have the matter dealt with before the courts.”
“We urge all commentators to remember that evidence against the defendant has not been heard and it will be tested in a courtroom,” Chand said. “Until then, there are many reasons, including Canada’s constitution that support the presumption (Ontario Safety Standards) and Mr. Torbati are innocent of the allegations against them.”