Five-year Strategy Includes New Protections When Buying Homes, Vehicles, or Doing Repairs and Renovations
Manitoba is providing greater fairness for families and a level playing field for business as part of an overhaul of consumer protection measures, Family Services and Consumer Affairs Minister Gord Mackintosh announced today.
“Whenever we buy anything, we all want two things – we want a fair price and we want to know what we’re getting for our money. Businesses want to offer good products and services while being able to compete in an open marketplace. Simply put, better consumer confidence means better business,” said Mackintosh. “Let’s Make a Better Deal will improve buyer protection, increase shopper awareness and put bad businesses on notice. Let’s Make a Better Deal will ensure strong remedies are available when purchases go wrong.”
To kick-start Let’s Make a Better Deal, the province will introduce legislation which would ban negative-option billing and triple fines under the Consumer Protection Act. The proposed legislation would require the courts to consider ordering restitution in certain situations and imposing fines of up to three times the amount wrongly obtained by a bad business, Mackintosh said.
The minister said Let’s Make a Better Deal will include programs, policies, regulations and proposed legislation including:
- mandatory new home warranties,
- new condominium owner protection,
- real-estate fraud protection,
- a funeral director enforceable code of ethics and funeral price list disclosure,
- payday loan rate limits,
- an independent tenant advisor,
- clear vehicle information disclosure rules,
- cell-phone contract disclosure,
- motor-vehicle repair protection,
- home renovation protection,
- pawnshop rate disclosure,
- improved real-estate condition disclosure,
- fairer collection practices,
- consumer awareness about extended warranties,
- fairer property and life-insurance provisions,
- travel cost protections,
- a pet cemetery code of ethics,
- guidelines for plain language contracts, and
- stronger enforcement.
“This strategy focuses on key purchases when buyers are particularly vulnerable – whether due to significant financial risk, very complex transactions or a serious buyer-seller imbalance. Let’s Make a Better Deal contains innovative initiatives that will improve consumer protection in Manitoba and could serve as a model across Canada,” said Gloria Desorcy, executive director of the Consumers’ Association of Canada (Manitoba).
Also included in the five-year strategy is a consumer rights awareness strategy to ensure Manitobans understand and are empowered by the increased protection that is being offered, the minister said.
“A proactive and consultative approach between the province and key stakeholders is a win-win for everyone,” said Mike Moore, president of the Manitoba Home Builders’ Association.
Let’s Make a Better Deal, Manitoba’s five-year plan for stronger consumer protection, is available at www.gov.mb.ca/fs/cca/cpo/deal.html or from the Consumer Protection Office at 945-3800 or 1-800-782-0067 (toll-free).
The provincial government has acquired permission to alter the name of the popular quiz show for use in promoting its consumer protection measures.