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Business and Consumers Part II

Part II



Last month I told the story of the 86 year old gentleman who fell victim to a company who was selling door-to-door and who in effect misled and induced this man into entering a five year contract for his utilities.

Very often, salespeople like these are guilty of misleading by what they don’t say rather than by what they say. They allow people to assume they are being authorized by the city and that they are providing services on behalf of companies like Ontario Hydro or Union Gas.

We have become convinced as we have dealt with these types of situations over the years that people – most often seniors, fall victim to these unscrupulous salespeople and companies. Consumers need an avenue of information and protection. In addition to the consumer, companies need to have assistance in promoting their good business and to weed out those who do not.

Ultimately, when problems arise as they often do, there should be a vehicle available to provide assistance to both the consumer and the business.

The need for CAPP clinic assistance to promote and protect – led us to initiate and propose a program in co-operation with the local Chamber of Commerce and the City of Elliot Lake.

The CAPP will provide a data base of information for both businesses and consumers. This free service would require that all businesses carrying on activity within our municipality be registered in the CAPP database.

Once registered consumers could access this resource and determine what this business is about and what their history has been relative to their business in this area.   Businesses too can access the database to determine if their prospective clients are legitimate or if they have a history of problems with businesses. Complaints would be logged in by both the consumer and the business.

In those cases where a problem exists and both sides are willing – prior to choosing to engage in a court process, a free mediation service will be available by an impartial third party, trained in these circumstances. Mediators would be provided by the Legal Clinic.

Mediation would not preclude a court action but hopefully provide an alternative that may forego the costs associated with a legal process.

If mediation is successful, it would be registered in the data base. If it fails then both sides may register their reasons why it failed.

Whatever the outcome and whatever the process, this database would contain information that would prove useful to both consumers and businesses and by so doing, help promote good business while protecting consumers.

This a “WIN, WIN” in our view. Companies will know that their best efforts are being recognized and rewarded by a good profile in the community. Consumers will be protected by having a resource they can access that will educate them and give them information that may prove critical when dealing with companies seeking their business.

And so, before you “sign on the dotted line” or “shake hands” and say it’s a deal, you can call the CAPP office and screen the business or consumer before you “jump in”. Will it be foolproof – probably not, but it will provide another valuable resource to ensure that business dealings are honest, fair and legitimate.

As we move forward and this program takes shape we are confident that it will prove beneficial to our entire community and especially to our senior population.

Next month, Questions and Answers about the CAPP program.

If you have any questions, please contact Kevin at the Standard or Ken at the Legal Clinic at .