Alberta woman issues warning about water filtration company after being left with costly contract

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Alberta woman warns about water filtration company after being left with costly contract
WATCH: An Alberta water filtration company is under fire after a consumer complained about its services. Tomasia DaSilva has more on the complaint and the actions Service Alberta has now taken – Mar 4, 2020

An Alberta woman is warning other consumers to be wary of unsolicited door-to-door sales tactics after being left with a costly contract.

Marion Eccles became aware of the contract when her friend Cheryl Miranda of Calgary passed away in September. As the estate executor, Eccles came upon a hefty bill for Alberta water filtration company NuLife Quality Care.

“The contract was for 10 years,” Eccles said. “$139.99 a month plus tax.”

Not only did she feel that price was excessive, she couldn’t even find most of the equipment the company said it installed — just a new water tank.

Alberta woman warns about water filtration company after being left with costly contract. Tomasia DaSilva

WATCH: Calgary father warns of unsolicited door-to-door sales after being left with expensive contract

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Global News tried to get a hold of NuLife numerous times by phone and email to see exactly what was installed. We also went to the company’s Edmonton address listed on its website. We were told NuLife hadn’t been there in months.

When Eccles first contacted NuLife she said she was told she would have to go through its finance company — Canadian Home Improvement Credit Corporation (CHICC) to deal with the contract. CHICC had also put a lien on the home.

“They’re saying they want the contract paid out, “Eccles said. “It’s a tragedy, and I’m sure it’s happened to a lot more people.”

Service Alberta has put out a consumer protection alert stating: “The Consumer Investigations Unit is warning Albertans Nulife Quality Care Ltd., which also operated as Alberta Home & Water Solutions Inc., is currently not permitted to engage in direct selling activities in Alberta. Its licence has been suspended.”

The alert also mentioned CHICC, stating: “Albertans were warned in August 2019 about CHICC’s unlicensed activities. This business remains unlicensed to operate in Alberta.”

Global News reached out to CHICC, which said it wouldn’t comment on the Service Alberta alert but did say: “CHICC was not required to have a licence, the contractors were. CHICC is a finance company. We do not sell or install any products/services. We rely on honesty and integrity, from both the homeowner and the contractor.”

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It added it has discontinued doing business with NuLife, even though it has a recording of Miranda confirming the equipment installation.

Eccles believes her friend was confused when she signed up.

“I just don’t think she knew,” she added. “She just wasn’t well. I don’t think she knew what she signed on.”

WATCH: Calgary police investigate door-to-door scam that cost family thousands of dollars

Calgary police say, in general, door-to-door sales complaints are a challenge to investigate because it’s often unclear if a crime has been committed.

“If a door-to-door salesmen comes by and is completely fraudulent — they’re just lying about company, they don’t ever provide the service or they don’t ever provide anything like that — that sounds like it’s a fraud,” CPS Fraud Team investigator Sgt. Matt Frederickson said.

“But if it’s a legitimate company and maybe there are questionable practices about how they’re getting you to sign the contracts — that sounds like a more Services Alberta type question.”

CHICC told Global News on Wednesday it will end the contract and only require that Eccles pay for the water tank. It has also said it will pull the lien on the home.

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Eccles said it wasn’t necessarily about that — it was about making sure someone fought for what was right.

“What about the people that don’t have the resources, the knowledge, to do that?”

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