Table of contents

Overview

Consumer alerts help protect consumers from dishonest business activities. The intent of these messages is to help consumers make informed decisions and encourage research prior to making large purchases or signing contracts as there are many reputable businesses across the province offering quality and legally compliant services.

Calgary

  • Unlicensed prepaid contractor Omar Ghandour

    Unlicensed Prepaid Contractor

    Consumer Protection Alert - Omar Ghandour (PDF, 129 KB)

    Name: Omar Ghandour
    Associated businesses:

    • 1st Choice Contracting Ltd.
    • OG’s Renovations Ltd.
    • Your Custom Renovations Ltd.

    The Consumer Investigations Unit is warning Albertans about a home improvement/renovation contractor – Omar Ghandour – operating in the Calgary region. Ghandour has been charged with multiple offences under Alberta’s consumer protection laws in addition to criminal charges of fraud and theft.

    He is known to:

    • take deposits from consumers without having a proper business licence
    • provide renovation contracts that don’t align with consumer protection laws
    • fail to refund consumers when contracts are cancelled

Consumer tips

Home improvement or renovation contractors must have a prepaid contracting licence from Service Alberta.

Before you pay any money:

  • ask to see a business licence
  • establish the total cost of the project
  • have a written contract in place, stating clear project deliverables, timelines and a payment schedule.

Read more tips about working with home improvement contractors.

If you suspect a contractor may not be licensed, or is avoiding work commitments, report it at 1-877-427-4088.

Provincewide

  • Gender neutral silhouette of a person, indicating no photo available for this user.

    Suspicious website – Alberta-wide

    Consumer Protection Alert – bookalbertaroadtest.com (PDF, 66 KB)

    Website: bookalbertaroadtest.com
    Region: Alberta-wide
    Associated business names: Book Alberta Drive Test; Road Test Services Ltd.

    The Consumer Investigations Unit is warning Albertans about a website, representing itself as a driving test scheduler, operating throughout Alberta.

    Book Alberta Road Test is a suspicious website that does not provide the driving test scheduling service it advertises. It is believed this website collects personal information, including driver’s licence information, full names, addresses and credit card information.

    Albertans are reminded that personal, financial and banking information can be used in identity theft and fraud. Albertans should exercise caution, conduct research and verify the legitimacy of a website and the use of the personal information before disclosing any over the internet.

    Ongoing investigation by the Consumer Investigations Unit suggests that this website:

    • requests personal and financial information
    • charges consumers for a service not rendered
    • engages in unfair practices, which includes taking actions and making statements that may reasonably deceive or mislead consumer

    Consumer tips – Internet sales

    Albertans are reminded not to use a third party to schedule a driving test. Albertans can only schedule an appointment directly through an approved Alberta registry at: Book a passenger vehicle road test.

    The Internet Sales Contract Regulation applies to residents of Alberta or to people purchasing goods or services from Alberta businesses that sell online. This regulation sets out the requirements of Internet Sales Contracts, cancellation, refunds and recourse. Further information on Internet Sales is located at: Internet shopping.

    The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre collects information on fraud and identity theft. They provide information on past and current scams affecting Canadians. If you think you're a victim of fraud, report it at: Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

    If you suspect someone of not complying with Alberta’s Consumer Protection laws, report it at 1-877-427-4088.

  • Unlicensed Prepaid Contractor Jason Robert Schoenau

    Unlicensed prepaid contractor – Alberta-wide

    Consumer Protection Alert – Enviro Paving Corporation and Jason Robert Schoenau (PDF, 153 KB)

    Name: Enviro Paving Corporation
    Region: Alberta-wide
    Associated Individual: Jason Robert Schoenau

    The Consumer Investigations Unit is warning Albertans about a paving contractor – Enviro  Paving Corporation, and its Director, Jason Schoenau – operating throughout Alberta.

    Enviro Paving Corporation has been convicted multiple times for contravening Alberta’s consumer protection laws. Enviro Paving Corporation’s Prepaid Contracting Business License is currently suspended and a Director’s Order pertaining to this business remains in effect.

    The Consumer Investigations Unit has recently conducted new investigations that have resulted in pending charges against Enviro Paving Corporation and Jason Schoenau for multiple offences under Alberta’s Consumer Protection Act.

    Enviro Paving Corporation and Jason Schoenau are known to:

    • request deposits from consumers without having a Prepaid Contracting Business Licence;
    • Provide contracts that don’t align with consumer protection laws;
    • Fail to provide refunds
    • Engage in unfair practices, which include taking actions and making statements that might reasonably deceive or mislead consumers.
       
  • nulife logo

    Licence suspension – Alberta-wide

    Consumer Protection Alert – Nulife Quality Care Ltd. | Alberta Home & Water Solutions Inc. (PDF, 140 KB)

    Name: Nulife Quality Care Ltd. | Alberta Home and Water Solutions Inc.
    Region: Alberta-wide
    Affiliated businesses: Canadian Home Improvement Credit Corporation

    The Consumer Investigations Unit is warning Albertans that Nulife Quality Care Ltd., which also operated as Alberta Home and Water Solutions Inc., is currently not permitted to engage in direct selling activities in Alberta. Its licence has been suspended until it comes into compliance with licensing and operational requirements of Alberta’s consumer protection laws.

  • Icon of a door

    Unlicensed direct seller

    Consumer Protection Alert – Canadian Home Improvement Credit Corporation (PDF, 127 KB)

    Name: Canadian Home Improvement Credit Corporation
    Region: Alberta-wide
    Affiliated businesses: Nulife Quality care Ltd. | Alberta Home & Water Solutions Inc.

    The Consumer Investigations Unit is warning Albertans about an unlicensed business – Canadian Home Improvement Credit Corporation (CHICC) – whose representatives have been attending consumers’ homes and offering to test the quality of tap water.

    Once inside consumers’ homes, the representatives solicited, negotiated and concluded rental agreements for the installation and long-term use of home water filtration systems. Financing of those contracts was provided by CHICC. Service Alberta has ordered the CHICC and to any employee, representative, or agent of CHICC to immediately cease engaging in direct selling activities until an appropriate business licence has been obtained.

  • Gender neutral silhouette of a person, indicating no photo available for this user.

    Unlicensed payday lender/High-cost loan lender

    Consumer Protection Alert – True Loan Inc. (operating as True Payday Loan) (PDF, 125 KB)

    Name: True Loan Inc. (operating as True Payday Loan); Group Buddy Inc.; Groupe Buddy Inc.
    Region: Alberta-wide
    Affiliated businesses: Group Buddy Inc., Groupe Buddy Inc.

    Service Alberta is warning Albertans about unlicensed payday loan and high-cost loan lenders operating under the following names:

    • True Loan Inc. operating as True Payday Loan
    • Group Buddy Inc.
    • Groupe Buddy Inc.

    These businesses operate a range of websites (identified below) as follows:

    • TruePaydayLoan.ca
    • NationalPaydayLoan.ca
    • CashBuddy500.com
    • CashBuddy500.ca
    • FastmoneyLoans.ca
    • PaydayKing500.com
    • SimpleLoans500.com
    • creditmontreal500.com
    • pretsohben.com
    • rapidpaydayloans.net
    • royalfinances.ca
    • solutions500.com
    • Speedypayloans.ca
    • Speedypayloans.com
    • Pretcash2000.com
    • Magikloans.com
    • Magikcash.com
    • Gofivehundred.com
    • Cashflow500.com
    • Cash2gonow.com

    These lenders are not licensed to engage in payday or high-cost lending in Alberta. Investigations into consumer complaints have determined these lenders have engaged in prohibited lending and collection practices under the Consumer Protection Act, Payday Loan Regulation, and High-Cost Credit Regulation.

    Any person engaging in payday lending (loans of $1,500 or less with a term of 62 days or less) or high-cost lending (any credit at a rate of more than 32%) must be licensed under the Consumer Protection Act. You can search to determine if a lender is licensed.

    Any Albertan who has entered into a loan with these lenders and has been the subject of unfair practices or abusive collections behaviour is encouraged to file a complaint with Service Alberta through the Service Alberta Consumer Contact Centre at 1-877-427-4088.

    For more information on the rights and protections set out under Alberta’s consumer protection legislation, visit Consumer and business tips.

Consumer tips – Door-to-door sales

Companies selling direct to consumers in their homes must have a direct seller's licence from Service Alberta.

Before allowing someone in your home:

  • ask for official ID and get answers to all of your questions
  • be vigilant of offers to test the water, air quality or equipment in your home
    • these ‘tests’ always conclude you need water/air purification systems or your equipment is at the end of its lifespan and should be replaced
    • this is a common tactics used by unscrupulous salespeople to trick consumers into buying products or signing contracts for services
  • verify the information with official sources (e.g., the municipality or your utility provider) before making final decisions about purchasing products such as water filtration systems
  • beware of hidden financing terms and conditions in any agreement
  • before you sign any contracts, make sure the information provided to you by the salesperson matches the information written in the contract
    • if you finalize a purchase in your home – such as agreeing to buy a water filtration system – you have 10 days to cancel that purchase
  • remember – if the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is

Tips about dealing with door-to-door sales

If you suspect unlicensed business activities, or have an incident to report, call the Consumer Contact Centre at 1-877-427-4088.

You can also report any consumer transaction as an anonymous tip. This is an alternative to a formal complaint. Call 1-877-427-4088 and follow the prompts to Report a Rip-off.

Report a Rip-off

The Report a Rip-off phone line allows you to anonymously report suspicious or potentially illegal activities in the marketplace. Report concerns about your own experiences, or about activities you have seen or heard, and that fall under consumer protection laws. Examples include:

  • suspecting individuals or businesses are operating and providing services without appropriate licences
  • suspecting individuals or businesses are offering services without or with incomplete contracts
  • suspecting individuals or businesses are offering services with inflated or extreme fees
  • suspecting one’s employer or other businesses are involved in unfair consumer practices such as undue pressure, false advertising, misleading promises
  • any other suspicion related to consumer-business transactions such as hearing about a business that took money but didn’t do the work, encountering a business that’s sharing unsolicited estimates, donation rip-offs, and more.

Call 1-877-427-4088 to make a report.

Report a Rip-off is not a dispute resolution tool, nor will the information reported through this channel necessarily lead to a formal follow-up contact or investigation.

If you believe you have more specific information to share about unfair practices or financial losses related to consumer transactions, you can file a consumer complaint. All complaints are assessed on a case by case basis to determine an appropriate course of action for addressing the issue. Anonymous complaints are not accepted.

Contact

Connect with the Consumer Contact Centre:

Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Toll free: 1-877-427-4088
Email: [email protected] Consumer Investigations, Northern Alberta (north of Red Deer)
Email: [email protected] Consumer Investigations, Southern Alberta (Red Deer and south)

Disclaimer: ‘Consumer Alerts’ serve to publically identify individuals, businesses, or specific business practices reasonably suspected of contravening Alberta’s consumer protection laws for the purpose of quickly informing the public and protecting them from financial harm. The information identifying individuals and businesses is made public only after the validity of allegations relevant to each case has been reasonably established. An individual or a business is only guilty of any alleged offences when they are found guilty in a court of law or when a decision for administrative action has been imposed by Service Alberta.