Are you looking to hire a snow removal company to clear your yard of snow this winter? The following tips may be of interest to you before you hire a contractor.

Here are a few tips for choosing a trusted and well-established snow removal company:

  • Ask your neighbors or family members to pass on the name of the snow removal company they received good service from.
  • Contact several snow removal companies to become familiar with the way things work in your area.
  • Get information about pricing, payment methods, and types of contracts. A serious company will take the time to answer your questions. Such a company has actual offices and extensive experience and can provide recommendations if requested.
  • Do not trust someone who approaches you with just a telephone number as contact information. In case of a problem, you could have trouble tracking down that person.

Verify whether the snow removal company representative has an itinerant merchant license

A snow removal company representative is considered an itinerant merchant if they solicit your business outside of their actual offices, for example, if they come to your home without your requesting it.

This type of merchant must have a license from the Office de la protection du consommateur and provide a written contract.

Getting information about a snow removal company

You can get further information about a snow removal company using the tool Get information about a merchant. By entering the name of a moving company into the tool, you will know:

  • if they are licensed, in the case of an itinerant merchant;
  • if the Office has previously intervened with them;
  • if it has received formal notices from other consumers.

Concluding a detailed agreement with the snow removal company you hire is to your benefit. The more details your contract contains, the better informed you will be regarding what to expect.

Contract concluded in person

The Office de la protection du consommateur recommends you always ask for a written contract. This will allow you to have and maintain proof of your agreement. A written contract will make it easier to assert your rights if you are not satisfied with the company's services.

Information to be found in the contract

The contract does not have to adhere to a specific form, especially if you are doing business with an itinerary merchant. Make sure that everything that was promised by the snow removal company representative is included in the contract, along with all important details.

The contract should include, for example:

  • the duration of the contract (set dates: from this date to that date);
  • the precise quantity of snow that requires removal (for example, the contract should say "5 cm snowfall minimum" instead of "a snowfall");
  • the time by which the snow must be removed;
  • the place where the snow should be left (make sure to check municipal bylaws);
  • all related tasks, such as spreading salt or sand, clearing access to doors, and so on;
  • the total charges and terms of payment.

Contract concluded with an itinerant merchant

Did you sign a contract with an itinerant merchant? If so, it means that they solicited your business outside of their actual offices. They might, for example, have come to your home without your requesting it.

The law prescribes that such a contract must be concluded in writing and that it includes all mandatory information. For further information, refer to the page What a contract with an itinerant merchant contains.

A contract concluded with an itinerant merchant can be cancelled within 10 days. For further information about cancelling this type of contract, refer to the page Cancelling a contract concluded in person.

Contract concluded by phone or online

If you plan on choosing a snow removal company over the phone or online, know that the law provides that a distance contract must be provided in writing.

Information to obtain before signing a contract

Before concluding a contract, the snow removal company must provide certain mandatory information. For example:

  • their name, address, phone number and, if available, their fax number and email address;
  • a detailed description of the services offered;
  • the total amount you will need to pay and, if it applies, the amount to be paid on periodic payments;
  • the terms of payment;
  • the start date of the snow removal services;
  • the duration of the work;
  • the cancellation terms, if they are provided for;
  • any other condition or restriction that applies to the contract.

Transmission of the written contract

The snow removal company must provide a written contract within 15 days after you entered into an agreement. This will allow you to verify whether the contract's contents correspond to the offer that was made to you. The contract must be presented in a way that allows you to hold on to it.

Content of the written contract

The contract must include your name and your address, the contract signature date, and all the other mandatory information the merchant must provide before you enter into an agreement.

The Office recommends that you not sign any document before making a final decision to hire a snow removal company. Contrary to popular belief, you do not always have the right to cancel a signed contract if you change your mind within 10 days.

For further information about cancelling this type of contract, refer to the page Cancelling a contract.

Some companies might request a down payment before the first snow removal. Most companies request 2 post-dated checks (for example, the first dated November 15 and the second one, February 15).

If possible, avoid providing a down payment before the snow removal company has started providing the services, or only provide a very small sum. This will avoid potential problems if the company closes its doors or if they do not provide the services that were agreed upon.

It is best to schedule monthly payments on dates agreed upon with the snow removal company.

Paying an itinerant merchant

Did you sign a contract with an itinerant merchant? If so, it means that they solicited your business outside of their actual offices. They might, for example, have come to your home without your requesting it.

This type of snow removal company or individual cannot request or accept a down payment within the 10 days that follow the signing of the contract. Indeed, this delay is designed to allow you to cancel the contract, if desired. You should therefore refuse to allow the snow removal services to start before the end of that 10-day period to avoid any conflict.

Payments made over 2 months in advance

If the snow removal company requests a payment to be made over 2 months in advance:

  • check whether they have a trust account;
  • write down the check payable to “[name of the merchant] in trust.”

A trust account will protect you in case the merchant goes bankrupt or closes its doors. The amounts deposited in such an account could serve as damages if something happens.

Some merchants are exempt from having to have this type of account. Refer to our tool Get information about a merchant to know whether a merchant benefits from such an exemption.

Knowing the rules if a contract is concluded by phone or online

If you concluded your contract by phone or online, the snow removal company can request or accept an advance payment in only one case: if you pay by credit card.

You recommend this page: https://www.opc.gouv.qc.ca/

Last update : November 22, 2022

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The information contained on this page is presented in simple terms to make it easier to understand. It does not replace the texts of the laws and regulations.