Government investigation leads to contractor's conviction
Court orders paving contractor to pay back consumers.
A recent Alberta government investigation under provincial consumer protection laws has resulted in fines totaling $24,000 against a paving company operating in Central Alberta and a court order to pay $12,600 back to consumers.
“This case is an excellent example of how this government is working hard to ensure consumers are treated fairly,” said Service Alberta Minister Manmeet Bhullar, who is responsible for consumer protection. “I am pleased the court ordered the offender to pay back consumers misled by unfair business practices.”
George Stewart, owner of G.S. Paving, pleaded guilty in Ponoka provincial court on June 8, to a total of three Fair Trading Act charges of using a contract that does not comply with legislated requirements, misleading consumers, and not delivering on work promised.
Between July and August 2010, Stewart provided consumers in Ponoka and Gull Lake with paving services using recycled asphalt. Two consumers complained the quality of asphalt used and work done on their driveways was poor and not completed as promised.
It is an offence under Alberta’s Fair Trading Act for a business to knowingly sell goods or services that consumers will not reasonably receive any benefit from. Consumers have the right to cancel a contract within one year if the seller is not licensed or provides consumers with contracts that do not comply with the legislation.
Consumers can protect themselves when hiring a prepaid contractor by obtaining at least three estimates and comparing prices, checking the company’s record with the Better Business Bureau and Service Alberta, and ensuring contracts reference their cancellation rights. Albertans can find more information from Service Alberta’s Home Renovations tipsheet at www.servicealberta.gov.ab.ca/ConsumerTipsheets.cfm.
Albertans with concerns or complaints about a company can call Service Alberta’s Consumer Contact Centre at 1-877-427-4088 (toll-free in Alberta) or 780-427-4088 in the Edmonton area.
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To call toll free within Alberta dial 310-0000.