Victoria Day weekend marks the start of summer and the start of home renovation season. Make sure you protect your hard-earned money by asking the right questions before you renovate or repair your home.
Follow these tips from Consumer Protection Ontario to help make informed choices before hiring a contractor:
Do your homework – Visit Ontario.ca/ConsumerProtection to learn about your rights and responsibilities before you get started on your project. Find qualified contractors by asking for recommendations from friends and neighbours.
Ask for a written estimate – Have three contractors view the job and give written estimates. Never accept an estimate over the phone and remember that legally a contractor cannot charge you more than 10 per cent above the estimate.
Choose wisely – Check references and consumer sources like the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services’ Consumer Beware List before selecting your contractor. Keep in min d that the lowest estimate may not be the best.
Get a written contract – Once you select a contractor, make sure they include the estimate as part of your written contract. Consumer Protection Ontario has a checklist of what should be included in your contract.
Changed your mind? – You may be entitled to a cooling-off period. Under Ontario’s Consumer Protection Act, you can cancel a contract within 10 days if you signed the contract in your home and the price is more than $50.
Consumer Protection Ontario is your go-to source for advice about your rights as a consumer, how to file a complaint, and other consumer information and advice for Ontarians. Ontario is helping consumers “Ask the Right Questions” before they decide to buy a product or sign a contract and protect their hard-earned money.
See the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services award-winning advertisement on home renovation called “Disco.”
Statistics Canada reported home renovation spending reached $5.2 billion in Ontario in the third quarter of 2014.
Home renovations and repair services are traditionally one of the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services’ top consumer inquiries and complaints.