‘Don’t give up’; Sask. woman says persistence paid off in dispute over home alarm contract
When Brittney Chabot and her husband signed a contract for her home alarm system with Fluent Home in 2020, she says the door-to-door salesperson assured her because her husband is in the military, they could cancel the contract for free if they had to move to an unserviceable area.
"They said, no, no absolute, there is a clause that if we don't service the area or you're not able to be serviced by Fluent and you're military, then you can cancel with no penalty."
Hoewever, in March she found out her husband was being transferred to Quebec. When they tried to cancel the contract, Chabot claims the company told her the option was only available if her husband was actually being deployed, not just moved to a different part of the country.
Chabot, who lives in Hanley, says she didn't give up. What she says ensued was weeks of cumbersome communication, trouble reaching a resolutions department and sometimes being on hold for over an hour.
She says after mounting frustration, it was only after mentioning she was going to the media, Fluent said the contact would be cancelled, with no penalty.
"After I had messaged them a few times during the day, letting them know that 'hey I'm going to the media' that they had processed our cancellation and that they would be sending our confirmation to the email on file."
Fluent Home would not do an on-camera interview, but they did send CTV a statement saying they were deeply sorry for the frustration. They also said the COVID pandemic has affected some operations.
“We are deeply sorry for Ms. Leigh’s frustration. We did allow her to cancel her two-year contract and are refunding her for two months, which is the time it took from her first call to when the contract was officially canceled due to her family’s military redeployment," the statement from the company's president said.
"Like every business during COVID, callers have been experiencing dramatically increased wait times which is highly frustrating for everyone. We are addressing this situation and hope to get back to pre-COVID response times soon," the statement said.
KNOW WHAT YOU'RE BUYING
Saskatchewan's Financial Consumer Affairs Authority (FCAA) says it's important people take time to know what they're buying or signing for.
“There are certain obligations of course that a licensee needs to disclose to the consumer. But certainly, it's incumbent on the consumer to know the contract that they are entering into what they're agreeing to," said Denny Huyghebaert, executive director of the consumer protection division for the FCAA.
Huyghebaert says consumers should check the ID of unsolicited door-to-door sellers, look for license information on the FCAA website and know their rights under the direct sellers act.
Chabot says she is happy with her outcome with Fluent Home. But she is glad she was persistent.
"Don't give up. I mean, it's worth it because companies are not going to change their policies, and they're not going to better their customer service unless people are loud enough about the problems that they're facing."