Door-to-door scams have been on the rise in Ontario, according to data from the Canada Anti-Fraud Agency and the FSRA. These occur where a representative, generally from an unknown company, attends an individual’s home unsolicited. These representatives target vulnerable populations and compel them to sign agreements that are highly one-sided, but are falsely held out as being in the individual’s best interest. These representatives also often coach the individual to respond to questions pertaining to the contract, and pressure them into complying with their instructions.
It is also not rare for the company to later alter the terms of the agreement, or to add or append them after they were already signed.
One-sided agreements made based on false representations may be rescinded by a court. Ontario’s Consumer Protection Act is one avenue for rescinding this type of agreement. The signing party who has been defrauded may also escape performance of the agreement based on the doctrine of non est factum – i.e., based on mistake – where the terms of the agreement are fundamentally different than what they intended to agree to when they signed.
If you encounter such a situation, it is recommended that you consult with a lawyer before signing any documents or making any agreements. If you think you have been a victim of fraud, please contact us. Our firm has experience with handling these situations, and we provide free consultations.